Mostly for family, here are some pictures of our old home.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Mostly for family, here are some pictures of our old home.
Friday, November 2, 2012
We had called our son, Brian, and told him we had changed our plans and we would be arriving in GJ the next day. We did not hear back. We were not concerned, since he is busy and his wife, Julia, was very pregnant, so he would be very busy.
When we arrived at the airport we tried to reach him again, just to know if he was coming or if we should fend for ourselves, but no answer. So we got a hotel that picked us up. Just as we were waiting for the pick up, Brian called to say that he was on the way to the hospital and, no, he had not gotten our first message.
So, right after midnight, Clara was born.
Needless to say, we spent some time at the hospital visiting our newest granddaughter. Since Julia’s family was coming to help her with her family, we decided we should vacate the area for a while, so we left and drove to Laughlin, Nevada.
Not much to say about our stay at the Edgewater Hotel, but we got a rest. There is a lot to do in Laughlin, besides gambling, but besides sitting at the pool in 90 degree weather (pretty nice) we slept a lot.
I did spend a day in the hospital, where they made sure I was not having a stroke, since I had been dizzy since the last cruise. I checked out OK, but still was dizzy. Our son, David, told us about the Epley maneuver, which we checked out on the internet. We tried it and I feel a lot better. I wish the doctors had told me about it.
So after almost a month, we left, and drove to Las Vegas. We will stay for 4 nights, drive to Grand Junction to see Clara and stay over since Duane has a follow up appointment at the hospital there, before heading, finally, home.
Our first views of New York
We arrived in Brooklyn, not Manhattan. For those of you who are not very familiar with New York, it is made up of 5 boroughs. When people speak of New York, they generally mean the island of Manhattan. That is where the Empire State building is and where the Trade Center buildings were. Then there are the boroughs of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. First, I have no idea why the Bronx has “the” in front of it when no other borough does.
I grew up in Brooklyn, though I was born in the Bronx. Brooklyn is so big that it would be a major city just by itself, something like the 6th largest.
We took a transfer offered by the ship and went to Grand Central Station. I expected it to be grander than it is. You can go to all the suburbs from GCS, but to leave the city area you go to Penn Station. We didn’t go there. Our hotel was just 7 blocks from GCS, so we walked with our stuff to the Soldiers, Sailors and Marine Hotel. It seemed the thing to do when I made the reservations, since it was for veterans and less expensive than other hotels in Manhattan and we expected it to be nice, since it was for our veterans. Well, it is in a great location: near GCS, near my friend Marian’s apartment and Central Park and the subway. What it isn’t, is nice. It is very old and not kept up very well. No air conditioning, which is very necessary, uncomfortable beds and shared bathrooms down the hall. Also, the second night we noticed, OK, I noticed, a mouse running across the room. Our room was on the 3rd floor, walk up and carry up, of course, and I made it down to the front desk in nothing flat. (I don’t think I touched half the steps)
We were moved to another room, the Presidential Suite, which was the same size as our original room, but it had a tiny refrigerator and there was a breeze from the window. Not very presidential. Anyway, all in all, not what we expected.
Once we were settled in our room, we decided to go see where I grew up. We took the train to Brooklyn and got a very pleasant surprise…..the subways have been greatly improved. No graffiti at all, clean trains and stations, and modern trains with electronic information maps that showed where you are and what is coming next and the announcements were understandable. That was neat.
I got us to the subway stop nearest my old apartment house and we walked the 6 blocks to my street. We walked down Church Avenue, the shopping street, which I remember had a grocery store (A & P) and a butcher and bakery and shoemaker. You get the idea. Well now, it is populated by one small discount store after another. Discount store is not the right thing to call these places, they are the kind of store where stuff is out on the sidewalk, and things are hung from the ceiling and all over the place and everything is cheap, both in price and in quality. Very sad to see.
The neighborhood, which used to be mostly Jewish with a lesser amount of Italians, is now mostly black, Hasidic (which is a very strict orthodox Jewish sect ) and Islamic, with women in burkes.
When we got to the actual house, (pictures to follow after we get home, since I need to download that camera) it has deteriorated badly. Back in the early 1900’s the house was a lovely thing. The stoop that lead to the front door was covered by a cloth archway, with gardens on both sides. The front door was glass and there were bells in the little entryway so you could call the person and they could ring you in (unlock the inner door). Then you would enter into a tiled hallway that lead to the stairs. The stairs were on the left, but on your right was a sitting room with a fireplace. Each apartment had a room for the maid and a “dumbwaiter” to send you trash down to the basement, so you didn’t have to deal with carrying your trash.
Well, no, I did not live there then, (I’m old, but not that old), so when I lived there in the 1950’s and 60’s it was not that nice. The maids room was my brother’s room and the dumbwaiter was closed and none of the bells in the entry way worked.
But now……it is a dump. Outside the main door sits a refrigerator. The sitting room is full of junk. The front gardens are dead.
We did not stay long. We took a bus down Church Avenue to Flatbush Avenue, where I went to high school, Erasmus Hall High School. It looks like a castle….hey maybe that is why I love castles….nah.
We then took the bus all the way to Coney Island, the home of Nathans. Coney Island looked very much the same, but they fixed Nathans up to look like all the franchises out there. What I remember was a dirty place where the hot dogs sat on the rotating rollers so long that the outside got really hard, but the inside was hot and juicy. Now the dogs are kept hot in a warming drawer. Not quite the same. It was fun to see, though. The beach was nice and clean, which was nice to see. The summer is over, so not many people there.
this area is on the side of the library. That guy, feeding the squirrel, was feeding them gourmet almonds. Expensive, he said, but better for the squirrels. See New Yorkers are nice. We got lots of help getting around. No mean New Yorkers did we see.
Then we went back to our hotel.
We walked around the city for the rest of the day. We walked by, and decided to visit, the main branch of the New York Public Library. It is amazing, like visiting one of the palaces we saw throughout Europe
They store most of their valuable books and research material, underground, under the building and neighboring park, right, under a park.
The next day we went to the 9/11 Memorial.
To get to see the area, you must have a ticket. There is no cost, but you have to have the ticket which you can order by phone or download and print it off the internet. Then you go through a lot of security, not surprisingly.
This flag, which we saw while on line, contains the names names of all the victims.
It had rained the night before and even though it was dry today, everything was wet, as with tears. Very moving, of course.
We did some more walking around….
Lots of interesting buildings:
We walked around Battery Park, where we could see the Statue of Liberty.
We met with my friend from college for dinner at a New York deli, with Dr. Brown’s diet crème soda. Then we walked around Central Park.
Did you notice the castle like building. That is Hunter College here in Manhattan. I wonder if there is a theme.
Then we went back to the hotel and the discovery of the mouse. So we decided we had had enough of NY. Duane had been there before, and so had I. I had forgotten how NOISY the city is. We booked a flight for the next day and left for Grand Junction.
We didn’t know it at the time, but we may have felt like we had to leave so we could get to Grand Junction when we did.
Monday, October 15, 2012
It is a lovely day here in Saint John. Did you notice the difference between St. John’s and Saint John, right Saint is spelled out here in New Brunswick.
There is not a lot of things to see here and since we were not scheduled to come here, not much to learn from the ship’s excursions, since there weren’t many. So we walked around the town and visited the park and the local churches and learned that there was a Jewish Museum, so we went there.
This church is part of the United Church of Canada, which is an association of different churches that use the same facilities. A combination of Presbyterian, Methodist and Anglican denominations. When we entered the church we got a guided tour by a church member. It was very nice.
One of the distinguishing things about Saint John is that it is on the Bay of Fundy, which has the greatest tidal changes in the world. Because of these tides, a series of rapids on the St. John river reverse and flow backwards, called the Reversing Rapids. Due to the short time we had here we were unable to see this phenomenon. Maybe another time.
We saw donations of items to the museum by a lady named Marcia Friedman. My middle name is Marcia. We tried to contact her to see if maybe we are related, but she was traveling.
The oldest Synagogue in Canada is this building. It is now used as a church, and the Synagogue is now in the new Museum (there are not a lot of Jews in Saint John. As you can see from the sign, it has been a place of worship for over 100 years.
Now on to New York and our return to the US after more than 4 months.