Archive | February, 2012

Froggy Goes To DC

25 Feb

Froggy wants to tell you about his trip to Washington DC.

He LOVED it there!!

He only spent a long weekend, and he jam-packed it with monuments, museums and mouth-watering good eats!

He felt great patriotic pride, and he was in awe of the history and splendor.

One of the first places he headed to was the International Spy Museum.

It was AWESOME.

He was duly impressed by the miniature weapons, cameras and other concealable spy devices – just the right size for a frog.

He ate at Ben’s Chili Bowl – YUM!

It was a little messy, but he managed to not drip a drop of chili on his clothes.

He tells me not to forget to mention The National Gallery of Art.

And – here’s a little quiz for you – who can guess where Froggy is in this picture??

Froggy had one heck of a time! In fact, he wants to go back real soon…

xoxo,

SAllan (and Froggy!)

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Visiting The Brooklyn Navy Yard – And A Bit Of Hubby’s Family Lore.

20 Feb

A few weeks ago, Hubby and I visited The Brooklyn Navy Yard. It was decommissioned in 1966, and has been closed to the public since then. It has recently been turned into private business spaces and just a few months ago opened a museum on the grounds.

Wikipedia says:

The Yard has become an area of private manufacturing and commercial activity. Today, more than 200 businesses operate at the Yard and employee approximately 5,000 people. Steiner Studios is one of the yard’s more prominent tenants with one of the largest production studios outside of Los Angeles. Many artists also lease space and have established an association called Brooklyn Navy Yard Arts. In November 2011, Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, a museum dedicated to the yard’s history and future, opened its doors.”

Some history, as told on the museum’s website:

Established in 1801 as one of the nation’s first five naval shipyards, over 165 years the Yard developed into the nation’s premiere naval industrial facility.”

Wikipedia tells us:

At its peak, during World War II, the yard employed 70,000 people, 24 hours a day.”

Hubby has been eager to visit. His Father worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for 20 years – from after World War II to when it closed.

We took the subway to Brooklyn, and walked to The Yard. We passed what was known as Admiral’s Row (where the Admirals lived) – now a row of falling down, ramshackle, overgrown shells of buildings

and then entered the museum area – Building 92.

The museum is FREE (open Wednesday – Sunday: 12 pm – 6 pm) and they have a nice little cafe (we had the BEST tomato soup and grilled cheese paninis) and we also had made reservations to take the bus tour of the grounds – highly recommended!

Here’s a view of some of the grounds from the cafe balcony:

and here is a view of a drydock and the East River:

Here’s a drydock:

We learned on the tour how the ships came into the drydocks for repairs, and how – as ships became larger – the Navy Yard started to become unusable as the ships could no longer pass under the Brooklyn Bridge (!).

We had a GREAT time, and learned a lot! The 1-hour tour cost $18/per person – next time we want to take the 2-hour tour!!

If you want to go to The Brooklyn Navy Yard via subway, here are the directions from their website:

Take A or C train to High Street/Brooklyn Bridge:

Exit on Adams Street. Either transfer to the B69 to Cumberland Street and Flushing Avenue or  walk down Sands Street to Navy Street and make a right on Navy Street. Take Navy Street to Flushing Avenue and make a left. Continue on Flushing and you will arrive at Building 92 on your left hand side. Total walk is about 20 minutes.

A week or so after our visit to the Navy Yard, we visited Hubby’s Mom. She showed us about 60 photographs and other paperwork from the Navy Yard that Hubby’s Father had accumulated during his 20 years there.

Here’s a shot from 1952, of a ship being built:

And here is Hubby’s Father in 1955 (in the center) getting a check reward for outstanding attendance:

Hubby’s Father worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for 20 years. He almost never took any vacation time (hence the reward) – his plan was to accrue his vacation time and then retire – getting a year’s worth of vacation time in additional pay.

But there was a problem.

The Yard was decommissioned before he retired.  😦

Hubby is thinking of donating the batch of photos to the museum.

Maybe they’ll name a wing of the museum after Hubby’s Father!

Hubby’s Father deserves no less!! No vacation time in 20 years warrants a wing, in my mind!

We’ll let you know what happens…

xoxo,

SAllan

Quiz Time – Mad Men & Downton Abbey!

11 Feb

Are you simply gaga over Mad Men?

Are you totally addicted to Downton Abbey?

Don’t you just love the characters in both shows? They are so well-written, and so well-cast!

They are all so identifiable…

So…

Do you see yourself as Matthew?

Or Pete?

Are you Mary?

Or Peggy?

Maybe you’re more like Thomas?

Or perhaps Don.

Do you identify with Betty?

Or do you empathize with Daisy?

Take these two quizzes to find out for certain!

Which Mad Men character are you?

Which Downton Abbey character are you?

Let me know!

Turns out, I’m a mix of Anna

and Joan!

xoxo,

SAllan

Sweet And Low

5 Feb

Yesterday Hubby and I went on a tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which is another post for another day.

Our tour guide was David from Urban Oyster, and he really knows his stuff! We learned many interesting things, but here’s one story that really stayed with me.

It’s all about Sweet’n Low.

There was this fellow, named Benjamin Eisenstadt. (You can read his obituary from the April 10, 1966 New York Times here.) And our tour guide David told us Ben’s story, as such:

Ben owned a cafeteria that was located across the street from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The cafeteria did quite well until the Yard slowed production after World War II ended.

Always thinking, Ben began to puzzle over his messy sugar bowls. “Why” he thought, “doesn’t someone invent individual sugar packets?” So, he proceeded to do just that. He used tea bag filling machinery and converted it to sugar packet filling machinery.

Very pleased with his results, he went to the Bigwigs at Domino Sugar, and presented his idea. They told him they needed a couple of weeks to think it over, before buying into his idea.

When Ben met with them a couple of weeks later, the Bigwigs at Domino Sugar told him they did not need to buy his invention, because they had just produced their own sugar packing machine.

Ben hadn’t patented his idea, so Domino stole his idea and ran with it.

Ben was pissed! So, to retaliate against Domino, he invented the powdered saccharin sweetener which he named Sweet’n Low, named after a popular song. (That’s why there are musical references on the packaging.)

The New York Times doesn’t mention the rivalry between Benjamin Eisenstadt and Domino Sugar; neither does the Wikipedia entry.

So, maybe I’m telling you an Urban Legend.

But I don’t think so.

Ben’s distribution company, Cumberland Packing Corporation, is still located across the street from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in the same building that used to be the cafeteria. I took this picture of the building’s sign.

The New York Times obituary says “With sales of about $100 million a year, the company, which employs 400 people, turns out 50 million Sweet ‘N Low packets a day in what used to be a cafeteria.”

SWEET!

The moral of this story?

Well, you decide.

xoxo,

SAllan

Where To Go Next Time You Have To Go? The American Folk Art Museum!

4 Feb

Around New York City, it’s always a good idea to know of free, clean, accessible public restrooms – you never know when you’ll have the need.

Here’s a website to help!

And I have an app on my phone that has the rather unfortunate name of “Sit Or Squat” – crude perhaps, but useful. It claims to be “The best way to find a toilet anywhere in the world; on the web, iPhone and BlackBerry!”

And, a basic knowledge of available locations by neighborhood – based on past experience – is eventually built into every New Yorker’s DNA…

The bookstores Barnes & Noble used to be my go-to free, clean, accessible public restrooms in New York City. They used to be in just about every neighborhood, plus they offered the added benefit of book browsing on the way to and from.

Sad to say, many of the B&N stores have disappeared.

Where’s that Brick & Mortar when you need it???

The other day, I was in the Lincoln Center neighborhood, and nature called. Lincoln Center? Last time I tried that, the restroom was closed. Barnes And Noble? It’s now a clothing store. What’s the best Sure Thing?

The I remembered – The American Folk Art Museum.

At Columbus Circle and 66th Street, it couldn’t have been more convenient. And, it has a few added benefits of its own!

I wandered in (for FREE) and first browsed their gift shop. Inconspicuous, naturally!

Actually, I adore these signs. If we had the free wall space, I’d purchase one or two. Alas, a photograph will have to do.

There’s a new exhibit at the museum; it’s called “Jubilation|Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined” – and once I exited the shop area and entered the exhibition space – I was immediately enchanted.

I actually wandered around admiring the art before I “borrowed” the restroom. And then, wandered some more.

I love this little museum! Plus, they kindly allow photographs (no flash please!).

Here’s some of what you can see when you visit – this exhibit is on display through September 2, 2012.

These artists are no Grandma Moses or Howard Finster – from what I could gather they are basically unknown artists, unappreciated during their time.

I believe that the husband and wife team who made these bottle cap creations were saddened by the lack of interest in their “art”; they stored these away in a barn as bits of junk.

Other items which were more utilitarian were seen and used – such as this giant Indian windmill. As luck has it, there also exists  the photograph which shows the windmill in its original location, up on top of the general store.

Here is a folk artist’s interpretation of The Duke and Duchess Of Windsor:

I loved this snake charmer:

and of course, who wouldn’t adore this lovely lady with her little orange kitty!

I love this museum! They also have some pretty great events there – FREE or low-cost.

Check out their “Guitar Wednesdays”

Enjoy free live music performed by jazz guitarist Bill Wurtzel and guest musicians each Wednesday from 2 to 3 pm.”

Their “Make It Thursdays”

Come to the museum each Thursday for hands-on workshops and discussions with leaders in the DIY community. Enjoy a glass of wine, meet fellow craft enthusiasts, and spend a creative evening with us!”

This sounds GREAT! I’d love to make a habit of this crafts class, if I can make it at 6:00…

6 to 7:30 pm
Free for museum members
$10 for non-members
Includes refreshments

(Check out the museum’s website for information on reserving space by purchasing tickets online.)

And their “Free Music Fridays”

Enjoy live music each Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Admission is always free.”

Please check out this little gem of a museum. You’ll be so glad that you did.

Plus, they have a very clean, accessible restroom!

Tuesday–Saturday noon–7:30 pm
Sunday noon–6:00 pm
Monday closed

xoxo,

SAllan

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