• Upcoming trips

    May 2 to May 14 London vacation. We will be staying in the President Hotel, 56 - 60 Guildford Street, Russell Square, London, WC1N 1DB. Telephone : 020 7388 4443. Hope to see you all then.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    February 20. At Christine’s prompting, and, offer to go to the box office for Family Circle tickets, we went to see the Met’s production of Parsifal–from 6.00 to 11.30! It is a modern production for the new generation of opera-goers (the ones that hoot and holler at slightest excuse to the detriment of all others’ listening concentration). Modern dress  clashes horribly with the ancient myth of the story line, and state-of-the art lighting and staging effects  enlighten and intrigue the semi gloom in which the action(?) of  all three acts take  place. I was pleasantly impressed with the singing cast and  thought that it compared favorably with the greats of my younger days.

    The new conductor was enthusiastically welcomed (The Levine era is now forgotten completely) but I thought the sound he produced from the orchestra did not quite evoke the agonizing pathos that I remembered.

    February 21.  Saw “Amy and the Orphans” at The Roundabout Theatre. It is a story of parents’  tussle with the agony of caring for a child with Down syndrome and the adult siblings’ efforts to atone for their parents’ weakness. Wonderfully convincing acting all round and written with great humour to counter the guilt dialalogue of the characters.

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Tunnellers’ progress – extraordinarry safety measures!

While constructing the wall around entrance number 2 on Second Avenue and 94th Street, it was discovered that the last section of the excavated  slot was not quite vertical owing to some rebar material protruding from the bottom of the massive retaining wall along Second Avenue.  A diver was required to go down and cut the extraneous material away. The slot is four feet wide, about 12 feet long and sixty or more feet deep. It is temporarily filled with a liquid chemical mixture which reacts with the earth sides to solidify them enough to  prevent any earth slides. Never-the-less, it would be too dangerous to send a diver with his cutting equipment directly into the slot.

A long steel tube about 30″ in diameter with openings cut into it was lowered into the slot and the diver worked from inside it–never leaving its protection and with no fear of being crushed by an accidental collapse of the slot. However, there were other hazards. The cutting flame reacted with the chemical liquid to give off a toxic gas. This was taken care of by a system which modified the chemicals immediately around the cutting area and allowed the gas to escape to the surface. Oxygen was pumped down to the diver but, in case the pump failed, a portable tank could be dropped down the tube immediately. And finally, if worse came to worst, equipment was  put in place by the side of the tube so that the diver could  exit the tube from the escape hatch and be pulled to the surface. Safety is taken very seriously, and MTA sent their top safety officer to supervise the operation. Click on the pictures for greater detail.

The Area Chief Safety Officer was kind enough to explain some of his concerns

The steel tube being Prepared

Lowered into the slot

All that remains above ground

All went well!. The diver being decontaminated after his work was finished


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