Reese Palley

Reese Palley (January 26, 1922 – June 03, 2015) was a flamboyant art dealer, author, sailor, environmentalist and businessman.

File:Reese Palley with totem.jpg
”I gotta be part of the action.”


  • “It’s not that I’m so exciting, it’s just that everyone else is so dull.”
  • "Always certain, often wrong."
  • “What Atlantic City needs is a bulldozer six blocks wide.”
  • "More dreams have been assassinated by guilt than ever were ended by waking up. The dream of freedom is a yearning towards growth, a need for self-knowledge, not an escape from some half seen, half felt bogeyman. We all have a need, mostly unsatisfied and rarely spoken, to measure ourselves against nature as we were meant to do. To see how far our muscles and our breath and our unaided minds can take us. In a culture that lets us do little for ourselves we have this curious and hidden need to make our way to paradise on our own two feet. Being carried to paradise on a palanquin was, I am sure, as unsatisfying as being carried there on a jet. To sleep away your passage in silk draped sloth, or to murder space in a turbine’s roar, gives us no measure of ourselves and the measure of self is the meaning of life."
    • “Unlikely Passages” 1984
  • "The single commandment of anchoring is: Thou shall create scope."
    • "There Be No Dragons" 1996
  • "Cruising sailors make lists like stagnant water makes mosquitoes."
    • "Unlikely Passages" 1984
  • "The sea is an emptiness where you see only your own reflection, with a lot of time to think about what's important."
  • "On land, companionship is thrust upon us, forcing us to be social long after we have had our fill of society. It is little wonder that we become cynics and come to hate our neighbors. And that is too bad, for beyond the companionship of our neighbors, and for some lucky few, the companionship of their God, we are quite alone in the universe. Only by seeking separation from the human herd can you become lovingly close to it. Just one more gift of paradox of which the sea is blessedly rich."
    • “Unlikely Passages” 1984
  • "It is difficult to wrench your world around to allow you freedom."
    • "There Be No Dragons" 1996
  • "Only in a small sailboat at sea are we reminded of our natural place in the universe. The sea forces upon us a natural scale. The sea limits one day’s passage to a hundred miles, not too different from the scale used by the ancient Hebrews to measure the throne of God. Small boat sailors parse the structures of the sea in days and weeks and months, not flashing minutes as the land bound do. They have recaptured nature’s pendulum."
    • “Unlikely Passages” 1984
  • "Never claim anything or anyone is the best. Always second best...leaving room to maneuver."

Quotes about person/workEdit

  • “Palley had incredible inherent charity and good will and he cared deeply for people who couldn't take care of themselves. He was always looking to take care of the little guy - while he was making money off the big guy. He was on the edge of politics, but in the middle of the economics of it, and he was always a larger than life figure. He brought a unique kind of visibility and style to it.”
    • Steven P. Perskie, former state legislator and judge.

External linksEdit

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