I was a graduate student in the Creative Arts Program at Columbia in 1962 when it was quite a small program with about twelve students. As a native New Yorker, I felt very much at home. Also, I liked the fact that one could take courses in different departments. Thus, I studied painting with Nick Carone, anthropology with Margaret Mead and was most fortunate to have Meyer Shapiro as my advisor. The college also provided studio space in a small building off Broadway, which I shared with a Chinese artist named Chen. During this time I was teaching physical science at the Fashion Institute of Technology, a job I got through the placement office at Columbia. I painted views out the window looking south from my shared apartment on 110th Street and prepared my science lectures on the subway down to FIT.
Most of my paintings were inspired by city life, fruit stands on Broadway for example, and at times still life. In my Masters essay I related the spatial structure of Vermeer and Mondrian, specifically a painting of a woman at a table by Vermeer at the Met and "Broadway Boogie Woogie" at MoMA. I was pleased to be able to have a graduate exhibition at the Crypt Gallery. One day my advisor came to my studio to see what I was working on. It was a large semi-cubist painting of a woman walking down the street, with tall buildings on the right side and shafts of white light falling on the sidewalks. I was having a lot of trouble with the image, and still remember how thrilled I was that the esteemed Meyer Shapiro liked my painting, felt it was very strong and that I should keep working in the style I was developing.