Massive fire in Seaside Park, New Jersey

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

September 12, 2013 2:55:37 PM PDT
We're working on breaking news. And just what they don't need: Several businesses on the boardwalk at Seaside Park on the Jersey shore ablaze right now, after a fire started in Kohr's Frozen Custard shop- on the Jersey Shore since 1923, right about when the boardwalk was built and then it just spread. Fast. The businesses that had just been rebuilt from Superstorm Sandy, gone.

But the boardwalk that's burning right now is the one piece of boardwalk that wasn't destroyed by the storm. Now they're trying to destroy some of the boardwalk that hasn't burned ? to act like a firebreak. What a mess and what a shame.

We're there with the latest.

We're also covering the big count tomorrow ? the counting of the final 19,000 ballots in the Democratic Primary for New York Mayor.

Much pressure apparently on Bill Thompson to concede the race to first-place finisher Bill de Blasio, and not wait until the final ballot count to determine whether de Blasio ends up with more than 40 percent of the vote and avoids a runoff.

Why it's taking so long? It's complicated. But Democratic Party power brokers are reportedly now lining up behind de Blasio, wanting to get on with the general election against Republican nominee Joe Lhota.

And we're in Queens, where an out-of-control SUV jumped the curb and plowed into a group of middle school students walking home. One of them was seriously hurt when she was pinned under the car. She was freed when some good Samaritans lifted the car. Jim Dolan is on the story.

Meanwhile I'm chanting, "never procrastinate. Never."

It's not just a mantra for me, I think it's really more of an obsession. Sometimes unhealthy, but I've found it more effective than not for getting things done.

It started, as folks who have read this column more closely than is perhaps healthy, when I was a kid and I was lazy and didn't open want to open a heavy garage door like my mom had asked, to go look for our dog Fanny, who had run away. By the time I did open it after a final chastisement by my mother ? and rode my bike looking for Fanny, she had been hit by a car, and was dead.

It changed my life. I never procrastinate. Heck, I'm doing next year's taxes already.

I thought of the Fanny story, and am kicking myself today, after the death yesterday of a true New York icon and character. Marshall Berman was a philosopher and writer, and political science professor at City College. He was just 72 when he died of a heart attack.

He wrote about modernity and cultural attitudes, and took issue with so-called "post modern" philosophies.

He was quirky and oh-so-smart. I had a chance to talk to him in depth after an initial encounter last year. I was excited to sit down with this controversial and thoughtful man, and get his take on New York as it was about to enter the last year of the Mayor Bloomberg era. "Sure," he wrote me. "Call me."

I made a note: "Call Marshall Berman."

But dang-it-all, I never followed up. And now it's too late. My big loss. And New York's big loss with his death. Prof. Berman helped define the beauty of New York's melting pot ? not just its ethnic melting pot, but it's political diversity.

Berman's death, my personal backdrop as we prep tonight's 11 p.m. newscast. And it burnishes my mantra even deeper - don't put off for tomorrow what you can do right now.

RIP, Marshall Berman.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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