• Upcoming trips

    13-23 January, 2018 Cruise out of New York around the Caribbean on the Norwegian Gem. Note : this trip has been cancelled altogether because of the damage caused by the hurricanes to the Caribbean islands.

    October 31st - 11 November. Caribbean cruise to break up the winter. Note: The itinerary has not yet been determined owing to the havoc wreaked by the hurricanes.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    October 8 Went to BAM, for the first time since Ethel died, to hear a wonderful modern opera composed and written by Matthew Aucoin called “Crossing”. It is based on Walt Whitman’s experience and the libretto is largely taken from his poetry.

    The story is multi-themed, as modern plays tend to be; the first is a harrowing anti war depiction of the suffering wounded seen through Whitman’s eyes when he volunteered as a nurse during the American civil war; the second is Slavery and its effect upon a run-away slave who fights on the Union side; the third is treachery portrayed by a guilt-laden deserter who spies for the South. And forth, inevitably these days, is the (entirely fictional) homosexual one.

    The powerful music fits the story perfectly and the voices of the lead singers and the chorus is magnificent; Rod Gilfry, bass-baritone, sings the part of Walt Whitman, Alexander Lewis plays John Wormley, the deserter, and Davone Tines, whose baritone reminded me, distinctly, of the sound of the legendary Paul Robeson.  Both Christine and I were extremely moved by the work. We newly discovered Walt Whitman’s poetry, too.

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Joining the “Sandhogs”

I entered my e-mail address in the MTA raffle and won a place in a group visit underground to see the progress in construction of the Second Avenue Subway.  On November 22, Kiowa and I joined a group of 36 and descended by a miners’ elevator about 100 feet to the  floor of the 86th Street cavern and walked in mud and water through the tunnels to 68th Street.

On the way we passed the 79th and 72nd Street caverns and viewed the progress at each. A great disappointment was that no cameras were allowed underground. There was so much of interest that  I could have recorded, but only the professional photographer accompanying the group was authorized.

The following image is the official group picture, compliments of the MTA. Kiowa managed to take some grab shots with his I-phone and I have added the best of these below:

100 feet down. I am second from the right and Kiowa is just behind me to my right

100 feet down. I am second from the right and Kiowa is just behind me to my right. The Groundhog-in-Chief is in the yellow vest.

Awe-inspiring hole in the ground!

Awe-inspiring hole in the ground!

Dressed for the part

Dressed for the part

Grandson and Grandfather messing about in the mud'

Grandson and Grandfather messing about in the mud’


2 Responses

  1. Ben, how interesting! And, how fitting that your name was selected for this very select viewing. After all, you have documented this massive undertaking from the beginning. It seems as if it’s been going on forever. I’m wondering if this very different perspective gave you any hope that it will someday actually be completed!

    • Bonnie. It was thrilling to be walking along tunnels which, in two years or so will see two hundred thousand people hustling through them each day! I would like to have seen the 96th Street cavern which is much nearer completion and may be showing the work above ground by the end of this year. Ben

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