They're naming a Greenwich Village street corner after this guy. Here's why.

Larry Selman was a prolific fundraiser and a genuinely nice guy.

If you've ever watched "Friends," you've seen the building at the corner of Bedford and Grove Streets in Manhattan.

See those buildings in the back? Yep, those ones! They're iconic. Image via Warner Bros. Television/ Getty Images.


That building was used for many years as the exterior of the hit 1990s sitcom. But earlier this month, some real life friends gathered there, too, to honor someone else: Larry Selman, a legend in the Greenwich Village community.

Larry Selman was known to the folks in Greenwich Village as the Collector of Bedford Street.

Photo provided by Alice Elliott, used with permission.

Why the "Collector of Bedford Street"? Selman collected an estimated $500,000 for charity before he passed away in January 2013 at the age of 70. He was also developmentally disabled.

“I believe there's a god, and I believe that he put us here for a reason," Selman told his Bedford Street neighbor, Alice Elliott, in her 2002 Oscar-nominated documentary about him.

“I see Larry as a philanthropist and a fundraiser and a community activist, and he had an IQ of 60 or less," Elliott told the gathering of friends earlier this month as they honored Selman at the corner of Bedford and Grove by naming the street corner after him.

A short pudgy man with thick prescription glasses, Selman lived in a cramped apartment with his beloved pets.

He quickly became involved in his local block association from the very beginning of its creation. He was helpful to his neighbors, accepting deliveries when they couldn't be home, sweeping the sidewalk, and in one case even reminding neighbors of other neighbors' birthdays.

He was, in that sense, Facebook before Facebook even existed. "He just made it his business to know who you were," Elliott said.

In the ultimate of neighborly acts, the local block association even raised money to care for Selman themselves after his elderly uncle passed away.

“If you measure people's hearts instead of their IQs, Larry would've been completely off the charts," Elliot said.

The trust fund was built up with contributions from people who lived in the neighborhood and even some who had retired and moved away to distant states. After Elliot's documentary was released, the Kiwanis Club adopted it as a tool for teaching "service leadership" to high school students. Students in high school Key Clubs sold buttons with a drawing of Selman to raise money, sending checks of $500 and $1,000 that also went in to the trust fund.

To say that Selman was a persistent fundraiser is like saying that Bruce Springsteen occasionally rocked the house.

Selman was a relentless force on the streets of Greenwich Village, raising money for AIDS, the fallen firefighters of 9/11, and in his final days of solicitation, a group that provides pets for seniors.

He was a familiar sight in the neighborhood, always approaching passersby for contributions. And neighbors said that one of the Selman's greatest charms was that he never found it inappropriate to ask for a contribution.

Producer Darren Star gets buttons from Selman at the Jewish Image Awards in Film and Television in 2003. Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images.

In "The Collector of Bedford Street" we see Selman hitting up a doctor who is examining him, asking for a contribution. At a ceremony in 2009, Selman was honored by The Caring Institute along with Colin Powell. During a photo op, he promptly asked the former Secretary of State if he'd like to contribute a little something, too. Powell placed a $100 bill in Selman's hand.

When I attended Selman's 70th birthday party not long before his passing, he asked me in that unmistakeable nasal New York accent, "Would you like to make a contribution?"

Selman suffered a stroke in 2007, meaning that he was destined to spend the last six years of his life in a wheelchair.

But even this didn't stop his fundraising. Although his speech was slurred, he still wheeled around Bedford Street collecting. Home care attendants, paid for by the community, stayed with him 24/7 in the one-room apartment whose walls were covered with greeting cards bearing pictures of puppies and kittens.

He passed away in June 2013, but he'll be remembered as the founder of an unmatched community in his neighborhood.

After the unveiling of the street sign that will now mark the corner of Bedford and Grove as Larry Selman Way, Elliott told a gathering of neighbors and local legislators:

“We feel that Larry actually created this community and that we are all beneficiaries of that. I hope we can pass it forward."

More
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

Most Shared
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

Keep Reading Show less
Family