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Freeflowing

An Intellectual retreat on the Housatonic



On sabbatical from New York Law School, Nadine Strossen finds her place to write, in the light-filled living area with a view of the Housatonic River flowing outside. Leading to the master bedroom, a long row of bookcases faces a set of sliding glass patio doors. Part of Noam’s vast collection of owl figurines also occupy the shelves.

Photograghs by John Kane & Wendy Carlson

A few handmade signs caution visitors to drive slowly down the steep, winding driveway to Nadine Strossen and Eli Noam’s island house on the Housatonic River in New Milford. Leading over a one-lane, steel-girder bridge, the road ends at Spruce Island, their wooded spit of land that divides the river. Just above the cluster of spruce trees, a stream of cars whizzes endlessly on Route 7, but all that can be heard below is the swoosh and swirl of rushing water that flows past the front steps.

The house, in fact, is so isolated that Strossen and Noam feel lucky to have stumbled upon it when it was up for sale in 2008. The couple spend most of their free time writing and researching, so they were looking for a tranquil place near the water and close to an airport where Noam could land his Cessna 182.

So in the dead of winter, in the midst of a snowstorm, a realtor showed them this one-of-a-kind, 3,000-square-foot contemporary perched on concrete pillars. The realtor promptly got his car stuck in the driveway and had to have it towed the following day, which might have been a cautionary tale for Strossen and Noam. But by the following June, they had moved in and have never regretted it. 

The house, with its “industrially aggressive appearance,” didn’t have a lot of curb appeal, says Strossen, but inside the floor plan was open and modern. Floor-to-ceiling windows in both the master bedroom and extensive living room allow the couple to watch the ebb and flow of the river year-round. The quiet location proved to be a perfect retreat for the pair of academic authors. The huge double desk they share in their study was actually the dinner table the couple “inherited” from violinist Itzhak Perlman, whose Putnam County home they previously inhabited. 

In a way, the river home has become much like a mini–think tank for the two intellectual movers and shakers. Strossen was the first woman and youngest person to serve as president of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). During her tenure, from 1991 to 2008, she led the organization, advocating on a number of polarizing issues, including Internet free speech, women’s reproductive rights, and reforming the racially-biased criminal justice system.

After retiring as president in 2008, Strossen continued teaching law at New York Law School, where she has been a professor since 1988. In December, she began a six-month sabbatical from teaching to work on her second book, Hate: How to Combat It Through Free Speech and No Censorship, and to spend time with Noam, a professor of finance and economics at the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. Noam is author of more than 30 books.

Strossen grew up in rural Minnesota, which is why she loves being close to the water and mountains in Litchfield County. Noam was born in Jerusalem, and first came to the United States as an exchange student. The two met while they were studying at Harvard earning advanced degrees. Noam went on to teach at Columbia, where he founded and currently leads the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information, which focuses on strategy, management, and policy issues in telecommunications, computing, and electronic mass media.

Strossen’s family background greatly influenced her to pursue a career in civil liberties. Her father was a Holocaust survivor, and her grandfather was arrested for violating conscription service during World War I after immigrating to the U.S. from Croatia. “His sentence for being a conscientious objector was to be forced to stand against the courthouse with his hands against the wall so that passers-by could spit on him,” Strossen says.

As ACLU president, she was especially proud of her defense against Internet censorship. “I’m very proud that we won,” she says, referring to ACLU vs. Reno in 1997, the first major Supreme Court ruling on the Internet regulation. “All nine Justices of the Supreme Court struck down the anti-indecency provisions of the Communications Decency Act because they violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech.”

Speaking of the current usage of social media, Strossen—who herself eschews social media—says: “The discipline imposed by Twitter is positive. We should be able to condense even complex ideas in a brief phrase that is simple but not simplistic.” 

So, as a civil libertarian, what message would she Tweet? Simply this: “We need to galvanize people to cherish their personal freedom and to work for it.” 

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December 2017

The Smithy Store will host a complimentary coffee and chocolate pairing event on Sunday, December 10 from 2:30 to 4:30 featuring Zero Prophet Coffee and Plum Brook Chocolate. ...

Cost: free

Where:
The Smithy Store
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
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Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Carol
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The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
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Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

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SHEPAUG TO STAGE THE 1940s RADIO HOUR OPENING NIGHT – FRIDAY DECEMBER 8 WASHINGTON, CT,  November 5, 2017 – Shepaug Dramatics is proud to bring The 1940s Radio Hour to the stage...

Cost: $10 Per Ticket, $5 for Seniors and Veterans

Where:
Shepaug Valley School
159 South Street
Washington, CT  06793
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Sponsor: Shepaug Valley School
Telephone: 203-770-1891
Contact Name: Julie King
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St. Michael’s Parish will present Candlelight Advent Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 10, beginning at 4pm.   St. Michael's Parish, illuminated by candles, provides a...

Cost: Freewill Offering

Where:
St. Michael's Parish
25 South Street
Just off the Litchfield Green
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Sponsor: St. Michael's-Litchfield
Telephone: 860-567-4456
Contact Name: Jo Ann Jaacks
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In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

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The Department of Theatre Arts will present "Happy Holiday from Irving Berlin: A Musical Revue" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside...

Cost: $7-15

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
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The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

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December 1st - December 30th The show opens with a reception on Saturday, December 2nd from 11AM to 4PM.  The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
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Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

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The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

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Sodexo will host a Hot Chocolate Bar with Toppings from 1 to 4 p.m. in the WCSU Student Center Restaurant on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Students can use a meal...

Cost: $9.75

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White St.
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Jane Goodall Center for Excellence in Environmental Studies at WCSU invites the campus community to join them at a screening of the documentary, "Jane," based on the life of Dr. Jane...

Cost: $5

Where:
Bank Street Theatre
46 Bank St.
New Milford, CT
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The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

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Sodexo will host a Hot Chocolate Bar with Toppings at The Daily Grind in the WCSU Campus Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The cost is charged a la carte. For...

Cost: A la carte

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave. Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The OWL Cookbook Club wants to simplify your holiday baking! Join Audra MacLaren and Patricia Moore as they host the Cookbook Club’s Holiday Cookie Swap Party. Be inspired by one of our...

Cost: FREE and open to the public.

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

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Unplug and spend the afternoon crafting and creating! The Litchfield Historical Society’s Crafternoons will explore a new theme in history with hands-on crafts and games that encourage...

Cost: $7 members; $10 non-members

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06032
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Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

December 1st - December 30th The show opens with a reception on Saturday, December 2nd from 11AM to 4PM.  The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

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Join us the 3rd Friday of each month for a light lunch, music and dancing. Music this month: “Michael Ciulla Music made possible by the NW CT Community Foundation Litchfield Community...

Cost: $7.00 pp

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

December 1st - December 30th The show opens with a reception on Saturday, December 2nd from 11AM to 4PM.  The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

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Paul Winter's Winter Solstice celebrates the spirit of the holidays with the extraordinary acoustic of NY's greatest Cathedral, St. John the Divine. This multi media event features...

Cost: $90.00 pp

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Rd.
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

WCSU will host a 5 p.m. planetarium show Saturday, Dec. 16, followed by telescope viewing of the sky from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Westside Observatory and Planetarium on the university's...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

As part of the Newtown Savings Bank Fine Arts & Family Series, Ives Concert Park will present the world-famous Harlem Gospel Choir at 7 p.m. in the Veronica Hagman Concert Hall in the Visual...

Cost: Advance tickets $25, at the door $30

Where:
Veronica Hagman Concert Hall
WCSU Visual & Performing Arts Center
43 Lake Avenue Ext., Danbury, CT 06811
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Telephone: 203-837-8732
Website »

More information

As part of the Newtown Savings Bank Fine Arts & Family Series, Ives Concert Park will present the world-famous Harlem Gospel Choir at 7 p.m. in the Veronica Hagman Concert Hall in the...

Cost: $25-30

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

December 1st - December 30th The show opens with a reception on Saturday, December 2nd from 11AM to 4PM.  The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

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