• Upcoming trips

    September 7 to 15 Tony and Jo will visit us from the UK

    13-23 January, 2018 Cruise out of New York around the Caribbean on the Norwegian Gem

  • theatre and Concerrts

    August 2  I lined up on the geriatrics bench to get tickets for Christine and me at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park last week. I set out early and reached the bench  before 9.30 in the morning thinking that I would be among the first–I did not want a repeat of the great disappointment of the previous week when the last ticket to be given out at noon went to the man immediately in front of Susan and myself! But I was wrong again; the bench was already two thirds full of aggressive oldies and I was once again on tenterhooks until the noon distribution. I was joined by Christine’s friend, Barbara, who , with her husband, were to make a foursome for the event. Both couples brought a bottle of wine to enhance the evening.

    And what an evening it was! Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Nights Dream” has never been done better in my view. Absolutely suited to the outdoor theatre. The set included a fairy forest with changing colored lights which added mystery to the actors who passed in and out of it. The cast included a nightclub singer. The costumes, not confined to one era, included a modern suit and gown.

    The mechanicals were a child’s delight. Part fairy tale, part pantomime the action was played at a spanking pace and was continuously amusing. What is more, Shakespeare’s words came across wonderfully well.

             

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Sunday Afternoon with Julia and Roger at the Rockefeller Preserve.

Having read of our adventures in the Westchester parks, Julia and Roger, who love to hike in the woods themselves, suggested that we visit their house in Pleasantville, and, from there, they would take us for a ramble on the easier paths of the Rockefeller State Preserve. We, of course, jumped at the chance to spend  a sunny afternoon in their company. We took a Third Avenue bus to the garage where Christine keeps her car and drove for less than an hour to the Crawford’s landmark house which was built in the 1700’s and, of which, they are justifiably proud. Here are some pictures contributed by our various cameras. Enlarge them for detail: 

The Two Ben’s – my namesake, Roger and Julia’s son – now towers head and shoulders above me!

 

Relaxing with Roger in his backyard . . .

 

Julia, lovely as ever . . .

 

. . . into the woods . . .

 

Tranquil afternoon at the beach

 

Not lost . . . .

 

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Julia and Christine planning the next trip . . . .

 

Time to rest up and contemplate . . .

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Susan does windows – 400 feet up!

As part of my ongoing campaign to re-sanitize my apartment, Susan came to do the preparation needed before the furniture-moving crew could do its job. This entailed taking out, and safe-guarding, all the myriad books, drinking glasses and knick-knacks I had accumulated over the years, from shelves and cupboards. It also inspired her to wash the curtains (three times) and clean the windows.

Four days later when the finish on my, now pristine, wood-floor had properly hardened, Susan returned with Craig to attack the heavy layer of sanding dust that filled every cranny and covered everything but the floor itself. This, they did with great gusto. I could never have managed it  myself and counted my lucky stars that I have such caring daughters. Craig did a meticulous job on the glass doors and shelves and also sanded a small piece of the floor which had been inadvertently  covered by furniture. Great thanks to them both.

Here are a few pictures of Susan at work:

Window-cleaner at work . . . .

 

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Window-cleaner observer – Hand knitted by the window-cleaner herself!

 

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Babes in the Woods

In order to escape the 97 degree, humid, city, we consulted our “Walks & Rambles in Westchester County”  and decided to motor up to the parks of Westchester. Our aim was to enjoy the cooler, oxygenated, air of the woods. On the Saturday, this worked out perfectly. We took our sandwich lunch in a cooler, and drove to Cranberry Lake Park in Harrison. This park is very well maintained with clearly marked trails of various lengths, made more interesting by  plaques explaining the flora and possible fauna to be seen along the way. Excellent line-maps of the trails are provided at the entrance to the park. And, By-the-way, the lake does, in fact, have  cranberry tufts  rising up from it’s shallow waters!

The next day, our choice was disastrous. We drove to Silver Lake just north of White Plains. The “Google” directions led us to a remote entrance where there was nothing but a board displaying the name of the park and it’s illustrious sponsors. As we were wondering what best to do, a younger French couple drove in to take the mile-and-a-half trail which they had walked once before and found the terrain well suited to their physical challenge needs.  They were fully back-packed and equipped for the fray. Before they set off, however, they warned us that the trail was quite rugged; steep rocky slopes and downed trees abounded.

We determined that we would take the trail for half-an-hour and then return to the car park for a picnic lunch. The trail started off with a fairly gentle slope downwards with which my breathing equipment and legs had no trouble what-so-ever. As we progressed, the slope got steeper and we had to negotiate three or four downed trees–some we had to clamber over  (which Christine found somewhat difficult on account of her replacement hip), and some we had to crawl under on our hands and knees (which I found difficult on account of my having to get up afterwards).

When we reached the lowest point and the trail began to rise again, I looked behind me and saw, to my horror (which I was very careful to hide from Christine), that access to our lunch was now barred by a great  mountain of impassable, rock-strewn and slippery scree! After a short review of my resources, I concluded that only the most determined team of stretcher-bearers would get me back up to lunch that way, so I persuaded Christine that we should  stay on the trail and perhaps find a shortcut home. The trail, at this point, did have some spasmodic marking–white or cream patches painted on trees at lengthening intervals, but these led us to more mountainous climbs and in one place, seven downed trees in a row obstructing what was left of the trail. The trail marking became more and more spasmodic and, eventually, utterly confusing. The few markers we searched out, pointed in every direction.

Three-and-a half hours later, we were completely lost. We contemplated trying to find the way back but quickly gave up the idea as impracticable. Christine thought she might call 911 or something but her phone battery was dead as was mine. At this point I thought I had better bring my Boy Scout expertise into play–I scrambled to the top of a berm, on the other side of which, I thought I could hear voices across the lake. I did, in fact, hear the voices coming loud and clear from the other side of the lake but there was no path through the undergrowth. As I was scrambling down to the path where I had left Christine, I heard her voice; she appeared to be talking to herself out loud? But, no–a couple of  practiced hikers had entered the woods from another direction and were refining their trail skills for a longer trip they were about to embark upon in Wisconsin. They took pity on our plight, gave us some of the water from their flasks and decided to take us back to the carpark where they had entered. One of them ran ahead to move his car into a better position while the lady led our slow progression out of the woods. Half-an-hour later we were met with bottles of cold water, towel-wipes and a bench to rest on! What a relief! Our Good Samaritans then drove us to our car which was a mile-and-a-half to two miles away. We didn’t bother with lunch but drove straight home!

Pictures taken on Christine’s smart phone before the battery went dead . . .

 

. . . .

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Odd-Mod at the Whitney

Thanks to my good friend, Barbara, we were able to  see the Whitney museum’s exhibit for the “Whitney Biennial 2017”. It is a vast exhibit which would take several visits to do it justice. In our case, we spent valuable time having a leisurely lunch on the Whitney’s top balcony in between art-gazing. Modern art seems to me to be taking a new direction; it is getting away from geometrical shapes and minimalist placement of objects at strange angles and trending towards complicated tangles of stuff which the layman’s’ mind’s eye has to work hard in order to  unravel. Click on the picture for detail :

start unravelling . . .

 

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. . .where does it begin? . . .

 

. . . tiled closet . . .

 

.  . .  display shelves . . .

 

. . . a right tangle, this . . .

 

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back to strategic placement . . .

 

 . . . anatomical . . .

 

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Multi-mirrored view down to the first floor . . .

 

tangle of figures and electronic screen on a turn-table. . . .

 

?

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Ukraine in New York

Following a tip Christine received from one of her Ukrainian  customers, we bussed down to 7th Street and Second Avenue to see the Ukrainian Festival which was in progress. A very pleasant surprise for me was that we came upon a resuscitated McSoreleys Ale Bar which I was sure had gone out business decades earlier. It was one of the world-renowned places I was determined to see when I first came to the USA–at that time, women were not allowed in and substantial bar-top snacks were free for drinking customers. Today they serve two very good craft ales, one light and one dark and you get a mug of each when you order. It was impressive to see the bustling waiters carrying eight mugs in one hand without spilling a precious drop! The Festival food offerings were not the usual Street fare. Christine selected a couple of native dishes: Varenyk (a crescent shaped potato dumpling) and  Holubets ( stuffed cabbage with meat and rice).  She said they were alright but not as good as her mothers’. The entertainment was provided by a number of practiced and energetic dance groups and was exciting to watch.

Click on the pictures for the best detail:

Centre of the Ukraine community in New York

 

Christine dressed for the occasion . . .

Ukrainian accessories . . . .

Street shopper . . .

Native dresses on sale . . .

 

. . . another shopper . . .

This tiny Ukrainian-American is getting his first selfie . . .

 

The dance commences . . .

 

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The exuberance was contagious . . .

 

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The young troupes were serious about their role . .  .

 

. . . and so were the very young ones . . .

 

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Gymnastic leaps . . .

 

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Very talented 11-year-old . . .

 

Principal dancer . . . .

 

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Finale . . .

 

Ukrainian symbols . . .

 

After lunch we went back into McSorleys and savoured two more ales apiece!

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Q line bonus

Spring has uncovered a special treat  for we Waterford dwellers! The restoration of Second Avenue after the subway construction included the replacement of ordinary Sweet Locust trees with three spectacular Eastern Redbuds. Here are pictures of them with their blossoms glued to the branches as is their nature (no leaves yet). New York City bees are having a field day!

Eastern Redbud . . . .

 

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Great New York Day! – The Second Avenue Subway opens!

The trains will not be running until New Year’s eve but the Stations are open for viewing. Yesterday the MTA held an open day at the 96th Street station. I missed the dignitaries at the opening but I did get a souvenir tee shirt and a cookie! I was able to walk around at leisure on the mezzanine and track levels and also try out the 94th Street escalators. Click on the pictures for detail:

All come to the party!

All come to the party!

 

The main entrance

The main entrance

 

The crowd was well guarded

The crowd was well guarded

 

Descending the Main entrance escalators for the first time . . . .

Descending the Main entrance escalators for the first time . . . .

 

Looking back up . . . .

Looking back up . . . .

 

SONY DSC . . . . . .

View of the track level from the mezzanine . .

View of the track level from the mezzanine . .

 

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Down to the track level . . .

Down to the track level . . .

 

The track - Nobody kept away from the yellow stripe today!

The track – Nobody kept away from the yellow stripe today!

 

The new subway map . . .

The new subway map . . .

 

SONY DSC

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The artists involved . . . . .

The artists involved . . . . .

 

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94th Street exit, sw corner . .

94th Street exit, sw corner . .

 

94th Streer exit, NE corner

94th Street exit, NE corner

 

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We salute them all - but, after six years of devastated streets, uprooted trees and treacherous sidewalks, we are glad thteir task is finished!

We salute them all – but, after six years of devastated streets, uprooted trees and treacherous sidewalks, we are glad their task is finished!

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