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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

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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

Bryant Park – A Very Happening Holiday Hangout!

23 Dec

If you have some last minute holiday shopping to do, or if you want to get in some FREE ice skating, or if you want to check out the short lived Pop-Up Dylan’s Candy Bar store – head to the Bryant Park area of Midtown – 42nd Street and 6th Avenue.

Dylan’s Candy Bar Pop-Up store is there only through the first week of January 2012.

Inside there’s a life sized Gingerbread House that needs to be seen by all!

The front:

The back:

One side:

If you ate this whole house, here are your Nutrition Facts:

Maybe you’d best share this house with a friend or two!

This picture is for my Dad – he’s always said that he wants to put up their Christmas tree one year with the short branches on the bottom and the long branches on the top.

Dad, looks like you and Dylan Lauren think the same way! Here’s what your tree would look like:

When you’re done here, head east across 6th Avenue into the park, to catch up on your shopping. I *thought* I was all finished until I saw these wonderful soaps (Hubby, shut your eyes!):

While you’re here, you can ice skate for FREE through February 26, 2012.

A few people liked this idea!

And while you’re out and about, you might just run into Santa!

Happy Christmas, everyone! It’s almost here!

xoxo,

SAllan

Visiting Santa – The Days Are Suddenly Very Limited!

19 Dec

How did it come to be less than a week before Christmas??!!

I realized that I hadn’t visited Santa yet!

I wanted to try to see Santa at Macy’s at Herald Square.

But the line was about 2 hours I was told, and I couldn’t even see Santa while I waited.

All I could see at the end of the line was this sign:

Since I was there to wave and snap a pic or two, I thought that perhaps my time was better spent elsewhere. Even though I greatly admire this Santa’s daily 12-hour dedication!

(Santaland at Macy’s in New York City is open from the Friday after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve. During the holiday season, Santaland is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can enter Macy’s on 34th Street at either Broadway or 7th Avenue.)

I headed downtown to ABC Carpet & Home. I was lucky to see Santa on his last day there.

This Santa was sitting in the front of the store, and the line was outside of the store. Anyone within the store could wave to Santa and take all the pictures they wanted.

My kind of place!

This Santa is lush and old-timey.

Some of the babies cried.

Others did not.

Some of the older children were excitedly telling Santa what they wanted.

This pup was somewhat indifferent. Pup’s Mom was ecstatic!

I love ABC Carpet & Home. If you’re in New York City, you must visit – Holiday season or not.

The store is just what you’d expect from seeing their Santa room.

It’s lush, extravagant and magical. It’s been in Manhattan since 1897. From their website:

Ten floors offering an inspired collection of rugs, furniture, antiques, home textiles, accessories and sustainable furnishings.

ABC Home is a portal into collective creativity, integrating healing, education, sanctuary, theater, art, and interconnectivity to create the experience of a three-dimensional living magazine and interactive museum.”

888 & 881 Broadway
at East 19th Street
New York, NY 10003
212-473-3000

When I’m in the neighborhood (Union Square/Flatiron area) I like to go in to wander, and take pictures.

Happy Holidays, everyone! We love you, Santa!!

xoxo,

SAllan

A Swingin’ Vintage Tea Party On The Vintage NYC Subway Trains

18 Dec

Each holiday season, New York City’s Metro Transit Authority puts into use some of their vintage subway cars, much to the delight of the riders.

Regarding these vintage cars, I had also read in TimeOut New York about this themed party which took place yesterday:

A Swingin’ Vintage Tea Party on the Vintage NYC Subway Trains
Join the folks from tour company Levys’ Unique New York and the New York Balboa Club (a swing-dancing group) as they boogie down in an old-timey subway car. Afterward, enjoy a tea party that will travel from Manhattan to Queens and back. Meet on the uptown track at the Lower East Side–Second Ave subway station, E Houston St between First and Second Aves (levysuniqueny.com). Sat 17 noon–4pm; free.

I loved the concept and wanted to attend, but didn’t think I could.

But things changed – and I ended up at the right place at the right time.

Have I said how much I love New York City?

For only the cost of a subway ride – $2.25 – I got to experience this:

Meeting new friends.

Seeing exquisite outfits.

Being transported in time.

Yes, the subway platform was filled with people dressed in vintage clothing, waiting for the vintage subway cars.

It was a Swingin’ Vintage Tea Party on the Vintage NYC Subway Trains.

There were bands on the platform and people were dancing.

This lovely lady told me that she dresses like this all the time.

And, then the vintage cars arrived – to much fanfare!

The car that I entered was built in 1931, and was in service until the 1970s.

My view from the train window:

I felt as if I was watching a movie!

We rode on the vintage cars to Queens Plaza. We then deboarded while the train turned around, and then rode back to where we began at 2nd Avenue.

There were fabulous, original, vintage subway signs on the cars. Here’s a sample of one:

Personally, I did not partake in tea, but on the return ride I was right next to this wonderful band – which I enjoyed VERY much – so I didn’t try to get to another car where the tea party was taking place.

All too soon, we were back at 2nd Avenue where a whole new crowd was eager to board the cars to take the ride.

I snapped a few more photos

Then I was on my way – my time traveling over – back again in 2011.

But this movie-like image haunts my mind:

Who IS this mysterious woman?

And, I’m sure there’s a private detective involved!

xoxo,

SAllan

The Blessing Of The Animals

12 Dec

Today I witnessed The Blessing Of The Animals (for FREE!)

at Christ Church, on Park Avenue @ 60th Street, here in Manhattan.

Before I went in, I stopped to pet a police horse – he was waiting out front to be blessed after the service inside.

Yes, people brought their pets into the church, and they proceeded up the aisle to be personally and individually blessed by a Reverend or a Rabbi.

Of course, the largest animal representatives were dogs

followed by cats

And let us not forget our feathered friends – chickens

and a pigeon.

It was a full house!

The Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy sang a few carols

and this prayer was read:

Almighty and everlasting God, Creator of all things, bless and keep the animals gathered today.

Thank you for the ways in which they bring happiness and companionship to our lives.

May our relationships with them mirror your love, and our care for them be an example of your bountiful mercy.

Embolden us to care for our planet and protect the habitat of all species, that we may be joyful stewards of your creation.

Amen.

The Police Department K9 Unit dogs were blessed

as were the ASPCA Shelter dogs and cats.

This woman brought her stuffed dog for a blessing.

Truth be told, I had Froggy with me (who happens to love all animals)

but I became shy and did not approach the altar with him.

Forgive me, Froggy.

Next time?

It was a wonderful experience. If you ever have the opportunity to go to a Blessing Of The Animals, don’t miss it!

xoxo,

SAllan

Yesterday’s Santa Con 2011

11 Dec

There were two locations for the Santas to meet at the start of yesterday’s NYC Santa Con 2011 – one in lower Manhattan and one in The Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn.

It was such a lovely morning I decided to go to Brooklyn. (Grimaldi’s Pizza, anyone?)

When I got off the subway, I looked around, and decided it would be a safe bet to follow these couple of red-dressed individuals.

When I arrived at the waterfront, I noticed a few more.

*SMILE*

There’s no cheerier site than Santas under The Brooklyn Bridge!

Before I could say “HO HO HO”, there were many, many Santas.

Of course, Mr & Mrs Santa were there:

Here are 2 other Santas (or maybe Santa’s Helpers?):

I saw a mother and her young child hurry past – the mother was covering her child’s eyes with her hands. I couldn’t tell if the Santas were being somewhat too rowdy for the child to witness, or if the mother simply did not want to answer the inevitable questions about so many Santas.

This Santa had his Naughty List handy:

as well as his Nice List:

Here are three other Santas:

And The Bling Santas:

Some unique girl Santas:

and some unique boy Santas:

After I took a break from photographing Santas, and I rode Jane’s Carousel for only 2$

Ate pizza at Grimaldi’s (YUM!)

and walked across The Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan.

I stopped by City Hall, where there was a MASSIVE congregation of Santas.

There were even a couple of Santa Protesters.

As well as The Easter Bunny!

And The Gingersnap Man with The Cookie Monster.

Everyone was feeling the love!

I’d say it was a very successful Santa Con 2011.

I got home very happy, very full and very exhausted!

xoxo,

SAllan

 

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