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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

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

A Photographer’s Rights

29 Jan

Here’s a sign that I really HATE to see:

“No Smoking.”

I get that.

Cancer, second-hand smoke, etc. Okay – I get that.

“No Photography.”

Not so much…

“No Flash During Performance” – yes, I get that. “No Disruptions During Performance” – check.

But, this sign makes it look that that’s a “Bad Camera“. Sigh.

Here’s another sign that I despise:

“No Photos Of Photos.”

What the heck?!

Post this sign – and then you just try to stop me!

I’ll take the photo – if you ask me I’ll answer:

“I’m taking a picture of your stupid sign – not your precious photos.”

Oh, I’m on a roll.

The other day I was walking past a fabric store, and I had to stop and gaze admiringly at this bolt of fabric which was in the window:

I mean, it’s so GREAT on so many levels!

It’s dangerously cheesy.

How would you utilize this fabric? Would you make curtains? Sheets? A table cloth? A shirt?

I HAD to take a photo of this great fabric!

I pulled out my trusty camera and snapped a quick shot. Then, through the window I saw the shop owner coming towards me through the door.

As he opened the door and came towards me telling me “No Photos!” I turned my back and kept on walking.

One day I’ll get into an altercation, if I don’t watch myself.

I used to be sweet.

Not so much, anymore.

Here’s an interesting, informative article about Photographers’ Rights. From USA Today, in part it reads:

Last week I received a note from a reader:

“Today I was stopped by a security guard with the North County Transit District in Solana Beach, California, and prevented from taking photos of a great new train station they have,” he wrote. “The guard said they don’t allow it since 9/11.”

Note to security guard: Just because you or your boss “don’t allow” something doesn’t mean it’s not legal. I can post a sign on my lawn, “Hopping on one foot in front of this house is prohibited,” but I’ll have a tough time enforcing it.

The law in the United States of America is pretty simple. You are allowed to photograph anything with the following exceptions:

• Certain military installations or operations.

• People who have a reasonable expectation of privacy. That is, people who are some place that’s not easily visible to the general public, e.g., if you shoot through someone’s window with a telephoto lens.

That’s it.

There are a few more restrictions on publishing photos or video, though.

You can’t show private facts — things a reasonable person wouldn’t want made public — unless those facts were revealed publicly. So no long-lens shots of your neighbors’ odd habits.

You also can’t show someone in a negative false light by, for example, using Photoshop tricks or a nasty, untrue caption.

And you can’t put someone else’s likeness to commercial use without their permission. This is usually mentioned in terms of celebrities, but it applies to making money from anyone’s likeness.”

SO THERE, YOU STORE OWNER!

What is in your window is apt to be photographed when an admiring photographer is outside on the sidewalk.

And that’s legal.

If you don’t want your fabulous fabric to be photographed, then don’t display it in your window.

Photographers – go to this site and read about your rights here in the United States. The author suggests that you download the PDF – print it out and keep it with you. The author is an attorney; here is the “about him” from his site:

Bert Krages is an attorney who concentrates on intellectual property and environmental law. He is recognized nationally as an advocate of the right to take photographs in public places, having appeared in media such as National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Popular Photography, Shutterbug, and Wired.”

The beginning of the article says: “The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place… Examples of places that are traditionally considered public are streets, sidewalks, and public parks.”

Okay. I feel better now.

: )

xoxo,

SAllan

A Sad Day For Photographers (And Advertising Lovers) – Kodak Files Chapter 11

19 Jan

Kodak was founded by George Eastman in 1880. The company made photography a household word.

From cameras, to film, chemicals, paper – and up to the digital age – Who could ever have guessed that Kodak could fail?

According to Wikipedia, : “As late as 1976, Kodak commanded 90% of film sales and 85% of camera sales in the U.S.

Kodak failed to anticipate how fast digital cameras would become commodities, with low profit margins, as more companies entered the market in the mid-2000s. Also, an ever-smaller percentage of digital pictures were being taken on digital cameras, being gradually displaced in the late 2000s by cellphones and tablets’ cameras.”

According to Kodak’s website:

On January 19, 2012, Eastman Kodak Company and its U.S. subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 business reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The business reorganization will enable Kodak to bolster liquidity in the U.S. and abroad, monetize non-strategic intellectual property, fairly resolve legacy liabilities, and enable the Company to focus on its most valuable business lines.

Kodak and its U.S. subsidiaries intend to continue normal business operations during the reorganization…Kodak aims to build company that will be successful in the marketplace – and a positive force in the communities we call home.”

I grew up with Kodak, and I always loved the Kodak advertising.

Vintage Kodak ads had a warm feel – family, friends, fun! And of course, travel.

Here are some Kodak ads throughout the century. 100 years of Kodak!

No date, but obviously a very early ad:

From 1917:

1922 (from Canada):

1926:

1937:

During WWII in the 1940’s:

After the war, in 1949:

1950:

1962:

1965:

And in the 70’s, with spokesmen like Michael Landon:

and Dick Van Dyke:

Up to current times, with Rihanna in 2010:

Good luck, Kodak!

Wikipedia says: “From the $90 range in 1997, Kodak shares closed at 76 cents on January 3, 2012.”

It’s an uphill climb!!!

xoxo,

SAllan

Spare Change?

14 Jan

I posted not too long ago about my spare change.

The value of a penny.

Well, according to this news article, travelers passing through United States airports have A LOT of spare change.

It’s reported that in 2011, $409,085.56 was collected by the TSA – money that travelers drop into the bins at airport security, and then dash to their planes without recollecting their money.

Here are the amounts that were collected at the nation’s “top spots”:

New York’s JFK Airport: $46,918.06

Los Angeles International Airport: $19,110.83

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport: $16,523.83

San Francisco International Airport: $15,908.02

Miami International Airport: $15,844.83

Washington’s Dulles International Airport: $13,945.18

Wow!

I stop for a penny!

I’d be curious to know how much is left behind by International travelers who just don’t want to bother exchanging currency.

Currently, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) pockets the money that is left behind at the security checkpoints.

I’ll bet that’s about to CHANGE!

xoxo,

SAllan

 

The 1940 Census Release – 80 Days And Counting!

12 Jan

Are you into family history? Old family photos? Are you a real “Nancy Drew” sleuth when it comes to solving the mysteries that are hidden in your family closets?

Then you and I are both counting the days to the release of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census.

It is being made public on April 2, 2012.

The United States conducts a nation wide census every 10 years. Most of us just filled out the recent 2010 census – er, two years ago (how time flies!)

The very first U.S. Census was taken after the Revolutionary War in 1790, and it has been taken every 10 years since then. The results of the Census are used to determine such things as Congressional seats and electoral votes.

Genealogists LOVE accessing the census records to track down information on ancestors. Because of privacy laws, the census records are made public after 72 years.

So, for instance – that 2010 Census that you remember filling out? Its results will be made public on April 1, 2082.

This April, the 1940 Census is being made public. Of course, it will take some time for the records to be digitized and made available for public scrutiny at your local library, The National Archives, and such websites such as Ancestry.com.

What was going on in 1940?

My Dad was 9 years old, living in Miami and in Band – here he is, front row, 2nd from the right:

And my Mom started kindergarden in Chicago – she was 5 years old. Here she is, front row, 3rd from right:

Isn’t it strange, how the  mysteries of life would bring them together – and 19 years from then – welcome me into the world?

I can not WAIT to access the 1940 Census! Who knows what mysteries may be solved, what clues will be revealed?

Will you be sleuthing through the records, too?

xoxo,

SAllan

P.S. – readers, please see the additional and CORRECT information about the availability of the 1940 Census from the National Archives – posted in the comments section. I’m happy to be told that if you know your ancestors’ locations, you can find them in the census results as soon as they are released – only the name index will take a while to be digitized by Ancerstry.com, etc…

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