Remembering 9/11

I remember it well, from the balcony on the 39th floor of my Midtown Manhattan office building located just 3 miles north of The World Trade Towers. Chapter 43 of my memoir, Simply Between Millions: From Wall Street to Hollywood, recants that fateful day 20 years ago today:

CHAPTER 43 – 9/11

“As I write these words, it is exactly one week prior to the 10th Anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. This is how I remember it:

It was the most beautiful of NYC days. Crystal clear blue skies and a coolness that made everything in the city feel alive. I was excited to go to work that day because I was giving my printer the thumbs up for my first mailing, The Tola Report. It was this fancy, four-page color flyer that was going out to more than 1,000 owners. I had spent the past six weeks getting it ready. Now it would be finalized and sent out directly from the printer. I also purchased two new suits and was excited to get them to my tailor on John Street. My tailor was less than 500 yards from the World Trade Center. I had planned to go there before I went to the office – he opened at 8 AM. But I was running late and the subways were crowded, so I decided to go straight to work and then go see him during lunch. I arrived at my Midtown office just before 8 AM.

If I had stayed on the Lexington Avenue subway line, I can only guess that I would have been at my tailor’s at exactly the time the first plane hit.

View from Midtown Manhattan on 9/11 – RIP

Our office had a balcony with an unobstructed view of Tower I and a partial view of Tower II (about half). As I was proof-reading my report for the last time, a senior broker, Zev, came running past me with a huge pair of binoculars. I would soon learn that he was a paratrooper in the Israeli Army and loved his military binoculars. He screamed, “Smoke’s coming out of the Tower”, as he ran by. I turned to look out my window and then at my clock radio that was playing the news. It was 8:44 AM, and there was still no mention of it. About three minutes later the reporter sounded confused when he said something about a small plane had hit the World Trade Center. I went to the balcony to check it out. A few other brokers and assistants had joined me, and others were in my office listening to the radio. We passed the binoculars back and forth, each taking a few minutes to look. Soon we were all staring at each other because we knew it wasn’t a small plane. There was way too much smoke pouring out of a huge swath of floors high up on Tower I. As real estate people, we strangely knew it would fall. Then a plane hit Tower II and it was chaos. Everyone in the office seemed to be running all over the place, onto the balcony, into my office, over to each other’s desks, until I found myself alone on the balcony.

Time stood still for the next two minutes as I secured myself so the binoculars wouldn’t move a millimeter. Then I focused my sights on Tower I. The stainless steel skin of the building, right below where the smoke was pouring out, was peeled away like a banana skin, arching away from the building, frozen in the air.

I then saw two men climb onto the steel skin, one behind the other, clinging for dear life, crawling away from the inferno. When the first man couldn’t go any further, he let go. As he plunged to his death, he did what appeared to be a backward swan dive. The other man soon followed, and when he let go, he grabbed his knees and slowly tumbled forward. I put down the binoculars and went inside. I’m not sure what happened next, other than I was on the balcony with a few others when Tower I fell. I didn’t have the binoculars, but I watched in shock as Tower I slowly crumbled to the ground. The same for Tower II – I was on the balcony and stayed until I could no longer see the horizon.

The next thing I remember, I was standing in the middle of Madison Avenue looking downtown at the smoke-filled sky. Cars were stopped dead in their tracks, doors open, people just standing there, screaming and pointing to downtown. If felt like a scene from a movie, as New Yorkers fled the streets not sure what to do. It soon felt like everyone was moving north. Me and two other brokers who lived in New Jersey walked north to my place. The entire time I looked back over my shoulder, trying to figure out what happened. All cell phones were dead, so it was word of mouth from the people in the streets. Once we got to my place, we put the TV on and set up camp. My apartment was busy with friends coming and going. By 6 PM, my broker friends had left, and fortunately, they both got off the island and made it home safely.

The next day, Jimmy V and I took the subway south to Canal Street. For some reason, we both needed to go there. The subways weren’t running past Canal, so we got out and walked east toward the Manhattan Bridge. Every street running south to downtown was barricaded with NYC policemen. We finally found a side street in Chinatown where we snuck by and made our way toward the rubble. It was at least a mile away. By the time we got to Foley Square, Jimmy V had an asthma attack. The air quality was bad, and of course, we shouldn’t have been there. Since he could barely breathe, we went down into the subway, just to get away from the polluted air. Twenty minutes later, we headed back.

What I remember most about our trip wasn’t the sounds and smells of the city that day. It was the two-inch layer of soot and ash delicately resting on the wrought iron fence surrounding Foley Square. It looked like really dirty, dry snow had fallen – it was eerie and yet strangely peaceful at the same time. I truly did feel my skin crawl that day. Something I won’t forget for the rest of my life.”

RIP to those who perished, and continued strength, happiness and unity for the rest of us.

Have an awesome weekend everyone…and get your workout in!

Peace – R

Chinese eBook in Stores Now!

Excited to announce the Chinese edition of my new motivational book, How to Drink from the Fountain of Youth: 30 Steps to Everlasting Youth, is now available in eBook format at these fine stores: Barnes & Noble, Ratuken kobo and Odilo. Coming soon to many more, plus the Chinese paperback will be available later this month.

Have an awesome day everyone…and get your workout in! Peace – R

How to Drink from the Fountain of Youth: 30 Steps to Everlasting Youth

Time to de-COVID-tize your Habits

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

It’s exactly one year since the Coronavirus shut us down and we’re slowly getting back to normal, so it’s time to de-COVID-tize your Habits. That is to say, keep the good ones and delete the bad. It’s also been a while since my last Tola Talks 2.0, so it’s good to be back! Today is all about getting you back on track with those pre-COVID routines that include your old – and good – habits. So let’s re-tool, re-focus and stick to the winners that served your well.

All the while staying safe and strong and thinking positive along the way…also know as “Step 11 – Think Positive” in my new book, How to Drink from the Fountain of Youth. Because who doesn’t want to live their best possible life. Now available in audiobook.

Have an awesome day everyone, and get your workout in. Peace – R

Start Strong and Set Your Sights

Just like it’s always best to finish the year strong, the same goes for starting strong, also know as ‘like a bat outta hell’, as the rock legend Meatloaf once sang. At the very least be sure to set your sights, aka your specific goals for 2021 – or the first six months like I do – and make sure to respect your temple along the way. Every single day that is, because who doesn’t want to stay healthy, vibrant and young while drinking from the Fountain of Youth?

In the New Year we also lowered our prices to make it easier for anyone to get motivated by my old-school “everlasting youth” advice that’s very practical and doable and most importantly, effective. Because the proof is in the pudding. Always. Not to mention a little fun and fast-paced inspiration from the plethora of wild and witty stories recounted throughout my life’s colorful journey.

Rich Tola’s books on Amazon, Kindle and Audible (Fountain of Youth coming soon!)

How to Drink from the Fountain of Youth: 30 Steps to Everlasting Youth is now $11.99 and my memoir, Simply Between Millions: From Wall Street to Hollywood is now $14.99. Thanks to everyone who has already purchased them on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.

Have an awesome day everyone…and get your workout in! Peace – R

Getting ready for Monday talking Tola Talks w/ Sam & Wren

Had a great time on LATalkRadio’s “Sam in the Morning” show this past Wednesday with Sam & Wren. You can isten to the show below by clicking the play button…I’m introduced at 11:07mins.

Thanks again Sam & Wren…it was fun talking Hollywood, pumpkin patches, Wall Street and the Oct 2nd re-launch of Tola TalksPeace – R

Build a Strong Foundation with Tola Yoga

Everybody knows the answer to that infamous question, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall”, right? Of course, it’s “practice, practice, practice”. And if you believe best-selling author and pop psych writer, Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers), you’ll say it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become world-class in any field.

But what happens when the foundation you’ve set for all your practicing is not that sturdy, or better yet, it’s built on quicksand? 

That’s why anyone looking to build a strong yoga practice should learn the proper fundamentals before spending hours upon hours in the yoga studio. Just like I say in Chapter 68 of my memoir, Simply Between Millions: From Wall Street to Hollywood, it’s always best to Learn from the Best. Or at the very least, learn from someone who has learned from the best.

That’s also why if you’re in Los Angeles you should treat yourself to a Tola Yoga class or private lesson to help you build that strong foundation. There’s something for everyone…from beginner-to-advanced as well as pregnant women…with my five distinct classes:

  1. Tola Yoga Fundamentals  – for beginners or anyone looking to re-learn the basics
  2. Tola Yoga Prime – for intermediate students and strong beginners
  3. Tola Yoga Power – for advanced students and strong intermediates
  4. Tola Yoga Prenatal – for women in all stages of pregnancy
  5. Tola Yoga Stretch & Restore – for all students from beginner-to-advanced

Feel free to email me your questions and to schedule your Tola Yoga private lesson today: info@richtola.com

Peace – R

Be a Rockstar in Everything You Do!

Simply put, do the very best you can in everything you do and let the Universe decide what happens next. And if your heart and your mind are really not into it, then reconsider the task at hand and make another choice. Because making good choices is easier than you think!

And always remember to break all the rules except this one:  Another day, Another workout

RichtolaRockstarPose_Oct16

New Reality TV Series to Illuminate the World with Yoga

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/01/16

YogaStyles of RICH and the Almost Famous

Chicago, IL: Yoga expert and former Wall Street executive, Rich Tola, aims to bring his unique workout style of Tola Yoga to the world with his new Reality TV series, YogaStyles of RICH and the Almost Famous. After 10 years of teaching Yoga to more than 25,000 students from the ages 3-to-93 in over 2,000 classes throughout the United States, Tola’s mission is to inspire audiences everywhere with his one simple mantra: Yoga…Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere.

“YogaStyles of RICH and the Almost Famous will take you on a wild and witty ride throughout the streets of Chicago before traveling to capitol cities around the globe”, says Tola. “Our mission is to creatively demonstrate the ability for everyone on the planet to reap the benefits of the 6,000 year-old mind-body-spirit practice of Yoga, as well as highlight National Landmarks and popular destinations of each metropolis while teaching Yoga to its “Almost Famous” business leaders and owners, designers, politicians, musicians and athletes”. Plus, anyone else Tola happens to meet along the way.

And who else better to inspire anyone who has ever asked, “What is Yoga and can I do it?”, than someone whose life was transformed by the powers of Yoga.

Since becoming a Certified Yoga Teacher in 2006, Tola has produced more than 20 hours of instructional Fitness & Yoga videos including his three DVDs; Yoga-to-Go, Rich Tola’s Yoga Survival Guide and Rich Tola’s 15 Minute Fat Burning Workouts, plus his two Web Series; Stay Zen with Rich Tola and Rich Tola’s 5 Minute Fat Burning Workouts.

Upon completion of his Yoga-inspired film, Boulevard Zen (2009), Tola founded a charity to teach the benefits of Yoga to women and children survivors of domestic violence, The Boulevard Zen Foundation. Tola’s passion for Yoga is complimented by his lifelong passion for fitness…more than 50 years to be exact, combining his 40 years of weight training in gyms and health clubs around the world with his 11 years of practicing Yoga.

Tola received his MBA from The Kellogg School at Northwestern University, and looks forward to “showcasing the truly unique landmarks and neighborhoods the Windy City has to offer”.

Inquiries: Angie Lee Chastain | producers@yogastyles.tv

Flappers on July 23rd & the Burbank Comedy Festival

Great show last week and I’m now getting ready for this Thursday’s show at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank, 10p in the Main Room.

And here’s some more exciting news…I was accepted into the 2nd Annual Burbank Comedy Festival the week of August 16th – 22nd! Performance dates are 8/20 at 4p and 8/21 at 7:30p.

burbankcomedyfestival

With each performance a Stand-up comedian experiences an epiphany, i.e., a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something. Pretty heavy stuff, I know, but each time I learn something different about myself and my material. And what’s great about performing is that there are no bad performances, just enlightening ones. Whether I bomb or kill-it, it’s a win-win all around.

Kinda like practicing Yoga…every time you hit the mat you evolve your mind, body and soul. At the very least you make progress with your practice, or as I like to call, move up another rung on the ladder of life. Because no matter what you’re trying to master, the overall journey is more important than the individual occurrences along the way.

Have an awesome week everyone and hope to see you Thursday at Flappers! Peace – R