New "Center for Inquiry-Metro New York" Opens
Interim Offices Rented
We are pleased to announce the opening of new offices of the Center for Inquiry in the New York/New Jersey area and the renaming of the Center as
"Center for Inquiry-Metro New York."
The new offices at 19 Walnut Street, Montclair, New Jersey, will be officially launched at a grand-opening luncheon meeting on Sunday, September
23rd, at Friar Tuck's Restaurant, 691 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove, New Jersey 07009-1211, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Many important speakers will be
present. Friar Tuck's restaurant is two miles from the offices. Reservations are required.
A second, stunning meeting will be held at the New York Academy of Sciences, cosponsored by
CSICOP and the Center, on 2 East 63rd Street in Manhattan, on
the topic, "Intelligent Design: Pro and Con," on Thursday, November 1st from 2 to 5 p.m., may we invite our readers to attend.
We are pleased that Barry Seidman, a veteran skeptic and secular humanist, who has been coordinating events for several months, will head up the new
Center as executive director. Barry has written articles for the Skeptical
Inquirer and Free Inquiry, and has inexhaustible energy.
Purpose of the Center for Inquiry-Metro New York.
The goal of the Center is to convene programs specifically designed for skeptical inquirers and secular humanists. Cosponsored by the Committee for
the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), publisher of the Skeptical Inquirer, and the Council for Secular Humanism
(CSH), publisher of Free Inquiry, the Center will (1) encourage the application of
reason and science and free inquiry to all areas of human interest, (2) question the sacred cows of society and cultivate critical thinking, and (3)
provide a place for skeptics and humanists to meet with like-minded individuals. We are building new secular and rationalist communities.
Both CSICOP and CSH have separate agendas: CSICOP deals with science and the paranormal, CSH with religion and ethics. Though both have separate agendas,
we will share resources at the Center, as we do at our Centers in Amherst, New York and Los Angeles. Free Inquiry and the Skeptical Inquirer have
approximately 7,000 readers within a 75-mile radius of Greater New York (New York City, North Jersey, Long Island, Westchester County, and western
Connecticut, and southeastern Pennsylvania). Moreover, there are thousands of additional supporters in the region. We are developing the largest
freethought movement in the history of the United States!
Our eventual goal is to buy or build a permanent headquarters for a Center for Inquiry in New York City itself -- the financial and media capital of
the world. If not New York City, where else? And if not now, when? Our long-range goal, as I said, is to build similar Centers all over North
America. Many are on the drawing boards.
The Center for Inquiry movement is the first major effort of thoroughly nonreligious folk to find a home. We wish to make it clear that we are not
negative nay-sayers; we wish to affirm that although we are skeptical of untested paranormal or religious claims, our goals are affirmative,
constructive, positive. We wish to demonstrate the importance of critical inquiry for the understanding of nature and developing humanist values, and
at the same time provide a home for skeptics and freethinkers, humanists and secularists.
Out of the Chrysalis
by Tom Flynn
Now that CFI-Metro New York has left the chrysalis and spread its wings, I can't help looking back to its "caterpillar" phase. For a year I worked with
Bob Price, Barry Seidman, and some wonderful volunteers to stage events in northern New Jersey. We hoped to attract a core group who would eventually
become charter supporters of the Center. We called it CFI-NJ/NYC then—even out loud (pronounced "C F I
Noodzh-Nick," if anyone cares). Most events were held at hotels along Route 3 -- the Howard Johnson's with the teeny
meeting hall and the unisex bathroom, or the Radisson buried in the office park that not even cabdrivers could find. We also used the Montclair Public
Library, little dreaming that Montclair would become the Center's eventual home.
Bob and Barry and their volunteers created some excellent events. I fondly recall the science-fiction seminar with Star Trek writer David
Gerrold, among many others. Along the way, this Buffalo boy put too many miles on his
leased Volkswagen and learned all the best shortcuts around and under Route 3.
One January 20, 2001, CFI-NJ/NYC held its last event at the Radisson. Attendees pledged $23,000 toward a permanent Center; the year of groundwork
had paid off. Today, the renamed Center for Inquiry-Metro New York has a full-time office in Montclair and a paid executive director, Barry
Seidman. We're laying plans for cooperative ventures in Manhattan with the prestigious New York Academy of Sciences.
I fondly remember my visits to New Jersey and the friends I made. I look forward to returning often -- and expect to enjoy innovative programming at
Tom Flynn is editor of Free Inquiry and director of
Productions. He is author of Galactic
The Gala Grand Opening of the Center for Inquiry-
Metro New York!
Sunday, September 23rd, 11a.m.-4 p.m.
Come join us at the Friar Tuck Inn on Route 23 North (691 Plompton Avenue) in Cedar Grove, NJ. Admission is only $29, including luncheon.
Please RSVP by calling (973) 655-9556.