Tuesday, August 5, 2014

In Honor of Len Belzer

Len Belzer
Last Wednesday, July 30, Len Belzer,  Cosimo author, died from an apparent suicide. He was 73 years old.

Len Belzer was many things throughout his life: he had served in the U.S. Airforce Intelligence Service, he was a writer and journalist, a social worker, host of his radioshow The Comedy Hour, and a student of consciousness and spirituality. His interest in spirituality and his love for New York City, where he lived for many years, resulted in writing a beautiful guidebook in 2000 together with his wife Emily Squires, Spiritual Places in and Around New York City. This book was a tribute to the city they both loved and especially the places, that many people don't always appreciate or even know about, that offer rest, beauty, nature and regeneration of the spirit.

The first time I met Len was when preparing the release of the first (Paraview) edition of their book. He was a nice man with a quiet demeanor and a dry sense of humor. He was also extraordinarily committed to bringing this book directly to the readers: he regularly dropped by our office, picking up copies of their book and then visiting the spiritual places to offer the books to their stores, from the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine to the New York Buddhist Temple, from the Isamu Noguchi Garden to the Cloisters, from the Ayurveda Cafe to Hangawi Korean restaurant, and many more galeries, museums and parks in and around New York City.  Over the years, Len and Emily got many requests to update their book, and so they did in 2008.

The unexpected death of Len's wife, Emily Squires, an Emmy award winning TV director, in late 2012, affected Len deeply. His death a year and half later, is a sad end to his creative and diverse life. May he be remembered for his love of city culture, his creativity and sense of humor.

Alexander M. Dake
Publisher, Cosimo

Click here for a sample of an interview by Len Belzer with comedian Bill Hicks on Len's Comedy Hour.

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