Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Trip's Culmination. . .

So on Wednesday afternoon I took my annual trip to go see "a certain someone." On the way there, I was surprised to see something new on the Long Island Expressway, too.

Pretty neat. The Long Island WELCOME CENTER. Even has a "Long Island Walk of Fame" on the sidewalk outside of it, with brass stars emblazoned with names of famous Long Islanders like Billy Crystal, Teddy Roosevelt, and a wide assortment of characters.




Continuing on my way, I finally made it to the cemetery. My Missus is still there. No surprise there.


And so ends my journey of remembrance. I head on over to New Jersey tomorrow (Thursday) to say my goodbye to sis-in-law Liz, Rick, and niece Aimee and family. I fly out of Newark early Friday and will be back home in Alameda in time for dinner that day.  It's been a whirlwind 2 weeks and 2 days for me.  It's been fun, but I don't know that I'll be able to keep doing this every year any more.  NY and L.I. just aren't the places that they used to be. My memory of what it was like is better than my perception of what it IS now. Time will tell if I'll be making these trips every year, as I've done for the past 3 years. I'm doubting that I will.  I am a Californian now, and the lyrics to my new home state's song ring in my ears. . .  Especially the LAST VERSE:


        HIT it boys!. . . .


No matter what, tho. . .  I intend to stay in touch with all my old friends and relatives back here in New York. Facebook is an excellent way to do that, as is using Emails and picking up the phone once in awhile too!

The End


Tuesday, November 28th. . . The Today Show. . . I was there. And saw Matt Lauer in his last apperance there.

So on Tuesday morning I was up at 3:30am to hop aboard a Long Island Railroad train, along with plenty of policemen, firemen, and building maintenance people who commute daily at that ungodly hour...  But _I_ was on my way to join the crowd outside The Today Show studio in Rockefeller Center.

Little did I know that it would turn out to be Matt Lauer's last day on that show. HE knew it. NBC had given him his "walking papers" on Monday, according to the news reports that came out on Wednesday morning (Hey! Wednesday was _today_!).  But his co-stars Hoda, Savannah, and Al supposedly didn't know anything about it until minutes before today's show began.

So the looks on Matt's face in these photos might seem to show that he knew what the rest of the world didn't yet know.  Maybe?

Here's just the photos.  No explanation of who's in them is needed, I'd think. . .



I shouted out to her:  "Hey CHICO! Look where MY sign says I'M from!"
And she shouted back "Yayyyy! Another Californian! From ALAMEDA, eh?"
Not everyone else in the crowd was amused by our shout-outs, I guess. . . .







I went to The Meghyn Kelly show after this. It was "meh". . .  Enjoyable to see how these shows are 'put together' but I got antsy and wanted to get out of the studio long before it was over. I wasn't captivated.  I was a captive, tho. . . .  and even when the show was over and we were all led out of the studio single-file, row by row (in same manner as some churches get their parishioners to come up for communion, I thought) we were led out of the building via the Gift Shop. What a racket!

Today I got a haircut and beard trim at Pat's Barber Shop in Hicksville, my old barber place, then visited some old friends and co-workers at my old Civil Service job. The particular civil service agency of which I speak doesn't allow photos to be taken on the premises. Pat, at the barber shop didn't mind if I took _his_ photo tho. He's the Boss there, and has been for about 40 years now, but he still trims hair just like all the other guys. . .


Just one more posting about this trip.
Continued. . . .






OHEKA Castle and One of My Favorite Places. . . . The Fire Island Lighthouse

On Sunday we checked-out of our hotel in Saddle Brook, NJ and then spent a few hours visiting sis-in-law Liz again.  I saw Beth and Greg off for their trip back to their home in Connecticut, then drove to Hicksville to check-into my next digs, the Econo-Lodge there.  My "travelling in style" days only included the ones that involved the kids!

On Monday morning I went to OHEKA Castle (the Otto HErman KAhn mansion in Huntington, not far from where I once lived) in the morning. And Fire Island Lighthouse, where I'd been a volunteer docent in 2012 till early 2013, in the afternoon. . .




Kahn was the man whom "Mr. Monopoly" - of the Monopoly game - was modeled after. A well-to-do Wall Street Banker in the Roaring 20s.

Here's the view of some of the rooms and of some of the outdoors around the place. Our tour guide, Laura, said it is the 2nd largest - by the building's square footage - mansion in the country. According to her only Vanderbilt's Biltmore in Asheville NC is larger.






The place has 42 rooms for use as a hotel, as well as catering facilities for weddings and big events:


It is the largest privately-owned mansion in the country.  It's owner, Gary Melius, a building contractor, made it his life's ambition to restore it after it had "run into hard times" in the 1980s. He lives on the premises in a private suite there. In my opinion, he did an excellent job and performed a great service to the people in the area around the mansion.

Next up on that day's agenda was a visit to the Fire Island Lighthouse. . .
I took _this_ photo as I was _leaving_ but I've put it here first:


I'd spent a few days there during the month's between my Eleanor's parting and my decision in early 2012 to become a volunteer docent there. It is a peaceful and serene place, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life on Long Island and in NYC. . .


Dunno how so many bikes got here.  No cars are allowed on Fire Island other than in the Robert Moses State Park's parking lots. The 30 or so towns on F.I. are travelled by bike and bike only. Maybe these ones were left behind over this past summer. . .

There are herds of deer that roam the island too. . .

I felt at ease in the "job" of "keeper of the light". . .  or as _I_ used to call the Fresnel Lens, "Old Blinky."  It was fun to educate kids when they came there on school Field Trips. . .




 I'd get the kids to stand on the balcony that surrounds the contraption, and look thru the "bullseye" at the middle of the Fresnel Lens. I'd have another kid stand at the opposite side of the contraption. The two kids would laugh themselves silly when they saw their friend magnified and UPSIDE DOWN in the lens.

I visited Dave and Peggy, the bosses, in the lightkeeper's residence, and I chatted with John and Janet in the Lens building, my current "replacements."

Then I walked back to the parking lot, over the mile-or-so-long boardwalk to it. . .




It was a good visit.

Continued. . . .

Another Day in NYC - This Time to See the Michaelangelo Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

We - Beth, Greg and I only, this time - went back to the city on Saturday to see the Michaelangelo exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. . .



Amazing. . . .  Much of it was sketches of his plans for paintings. Some of it was his plans for sculptures and there were even a few actual sculptures. . .

Now WHERE have you seen that hand BEFORE?

Oh, yes. . . .

More sketches. There were over 300.  I took photos of only an infinitesimal fraction of them. Here's only a few of the ones I _took_:


I learned that Michaelangelo wasn't the guy who did the LAYOUT for the Sistine Chapel's ceiling. . .


Ummm. . .  The shadowy figure is _me_.  My selfie didn't come out too well. God punished me for being so obnoxious as to get in the way of one of His favorite works. . .
.
I thought this was interesting. The biggest of the sketches in the exhibit:


A parting photo of the place. We sat on the steps for awhile to get over our amazement and to wait for our cab ride back to Penn Station. We were highly entertained by a street musician when he - on his sax - played "If You're Happy and You Know It". . . .  He gathered up about 20 or so folks like us on the steps who stood, clapped our hands, stomped our feet, and shouted Hooray! His encore performance was to slowly play Brahm's Lullaby as a dad brought his toddler daughter - in her stroller - up to watch.  The fun never ends in NYC.
To be continued. . .