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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…




Go Now: Fri/Sat/Sun – The WFMU Record Fair – Be There Or Be Square!

28 Oct

If you’re in the New York City area this weekend (Friday October 28 – Sunday October 30, 2011), and if you are a vinyl record freak lover… well, you don’t have to read this, because you already know.

It’s time for the annual WFMU Record Fair.

Their site says:

Last year over 4,000 vinyl fans attended WFMU’s 2010 Record Fair! This year’s fair takes place on Friday October 28th from 7-10pm, and on Saturday and Sunday, the 29th and 30th, from 10am to 7pm. Once again you’ll find 10,000 square feet of amazing LPs, singles, CDs, DVDs and artworks. Admission is $7; earlybirds can enter beginning at 4pm on Friday for $25, which includes re-admission all weekend.

When you’re ready to take a break from digging in the crates you can check out a wide assortment of multi-media presentations in The AV Lounge, or catch one of the live bands playing throughout the weekend.”

First of all, I’d like to say that we LOVE this radio station WFMU, here in the NY/NJ area.

It is the longest-running freeform radio station in the U.S. It began as a college radio station that first started broadcasting in April 1958 at Upsala College in East Orange, New Jersey.

Our friends at Wikipedia say it best:

WFMU has a stated commitment to unstructured-format broadcasting. All programming is created by each individual air personality, and is not restricted by any type of station-wide playlist or rotation schedule. Experimentation, spontaneity and humor are among the station’s most frequently noted distinguishing traits. Unlike most commercial broadcasting and non-commercial educational radio stations, WFMU does not offer regularly scheduled news, weather, traffic, sports, or financial information. WFMU does not belong to any existing public radio network, and nearly 100% of its programming originates at the radio station.”

This is a very good reason, in my opinion, to support the WFMU Record Fair.

May I backtrack for a moment? When I lived in Atlanta, I thought that I had a lot of records.

That was before I met Hubby.

Hubby is the Record King!

Hubby ALWAYS keeps his records and their jackets in absolute mint condition. No matter how often he plays them, they are just like brand new.


So, for quite a few years, Hubby and his great pal M. had a table every year at the WFMU Record Fair. They were some of the best-loved vendors there, due to their reputations of having the best mint and/or obscure vinyl around.

Besides selling records, Hubby loved making new friends and talking Music with the other Music-loving freaks collectors.

He met Snuffles there once, and for Hubby, that was the highlight of that year’s Fair.

Snuffles is the dancing bear-host on New York City’s public access TV show “Wild Record Collection”. They show the record cover, and then play a song or two from that record. Snuffles and his friend dance to the music – rather like a stuffed-animals-Shindig.

You can watch an episode of “Wild Record Collection” here, if you dare.

The guys who are behind Snuffles get a lot of their Wild Collection from the annual WFMU Record Fair.

You can also find fun, kicky album covers for your wall there:

And, if you’re REALLY lucky, you might see Snuffles.



P.S. Hubby no longer sells his records. He cannot BEAR to part with any more of his Wild Record Collection. (HA HA, pun intended)

Flying Kites On The Roof Of The Port Authority

18 Sep

Or, not.

Hubby and I went yesterday to partake in the annual event.

Admittedly, we arrived about 15 minutes before the scheduled end time of the event.

Admittedly, it was a rather gray and cloudy day.

Admittedly, we made a couple of aborted attempts to find the correct elevator to take us to the 7th floor.

But, we made it!

Um… where was everybody else??

When we got up there, there was no kite making.

There was no kite flying.

There were no crafts, free food, music or fun.

It was a big, (mostly) empty parking lot.

We must have gotten there too late for the “afternoon of kite-making, kite-flying, crafts, and free food, music and fun”.


We did however, get a splendid view of the new New York Times Building.

And a fun reflection of the McGraw-Hill Building.

And a good view of some lovely New York City water towers:

I actually do love the water towers. They are actually very interesting!

Did you know (and I quote my good friends at Wikipedia here):

In the 19th century, New York City required that all buildings higher than six stories be equipped with a rooftop water tower. This was necessary to prevent the need for excessively high pressures at lower elevations, which could burst pipes.

The original water tower builders were barrel makers who expanded their craft to meet a modern need as buildings in the city grew taller in height. Even today, no sealant is used to hold the water in. The wooden walls of the Water Tower are held together with cables but leak through the gaps when first filled. As the water saturates the wood it swells, the gaps close and become impermeable.”

And thanks to that Wikipedia site, I can entertain you with two very unique water towers.

This one in Minneapolis:

And, this one in South Carolina:

Those are two pretty cool water towers, don’t you think?

Sorry – just trying to distract you from the very noticeably absence of kite-flying photographs, which is probably what you wanted and expected when you clicked on the blog titled “Flying Kites On The Roof Of The Port Authority”.

This simulation photo then, will have to do the trick:

It’s all I got…

Thanks to Hubby for being such a good sport. He’s taking one for the team.



P.S. Of course, I loved being on the roof of the Port Authority. I want to go up there and have a picnic. To watch fireworks. To star gaze.

I wonder if anyone will mind?



Hubby’s Birthday: Breakfast, Music, Dinner, Daughter, Dessert (Recipe!)

5 Sep

It’s been a great holiday weekend. We kicked it off by celebrating Hubby’s birthday.

We had breakfast out at our favorite neighborhood diner.

Then, we walked to Bryant Park. It was a beautiful coolish day, and we sat outside to hear Frank Owens play piano.

The series is called “Piano In Bryant Park”. Hubby has been enjoying this free musical entertainment for years, as he works in the neighborhood and goes to the park during his lunch hour.

From 12:30 – 2:30, every Monday – Friday, from May – October, a pianist plays there on the upper terrace of the park.

GOOD pianists.

The Park’s website says this:

Some of the best pianists from all over New York come to Bryant Park to play on the Piano in Bryant Park. Tap your toes to the music of Scott Joplin, the Gershwins, James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, Eubie Blake, Jelly Roll Morton, and more every weekday.”

Hubby has been seeing Frank Owens play in Bryant Park for some years now, and they have developed a friendship. Frank says that Hubby knows more about Frank’s musical career than Frank does! (Hubby’s good that way about music and musicians.)

Here’s some info on Frank Owens:

Pianist/Conductor/Arranger/Composer/Musical Director, Frank Owens, has had a career in virtually all aspects of the music profession. His television credits include the First David Letterman Show in 1980 and It’s Showtime at the Apollo. He has also worked with an array of singers and received a gold record for his Rhythm Concert of Tony Orlando and Dawn’s Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree.”

(Hubby wants you to also know that Frank played on Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited”. “That’s HUGE” Hubby insists.)

We enjoyed 2 hours of nonstop piano delight. Before he began playing, I was able to tell Frank that it was Hubby’s birthday – so, he really surprised Hubby by playing “Happy Birthday” and getting the small crowd to sing along.

It was great!

Hubby was a bit shy, but I think deep down he loved it.

We had lunch in the park, then when the music ended, we said our goodbyes and wandered over to Grand Central, so I could get my train ticket for the following day’s Flea Market outing.

The terminal was bustling with long weekend holiday travelers.

Later that afternoon, E came over for dinner – our favorite Mexican delivery! Yum!!

Then, as if we hadn’t eaten enough all day, we had Peachy Bread Pudding for dessert.

Because we LOVE this dessert, I’ll share the recipe with you.

I originally found the recipe here. And, this recipe is really good! But the first time I made it, I wanted it to be MORE peachy.

So, I made it MORE peachy.

If you can’t eat peaches, you can probably substitute something else.

Don’t know what.

Mangos would be good!

Here’s what I used:

And here was my process:

Melt some butter, then let it cool.

Crack open some eggs – be sure to use an extra-large bowl!

Add in lots of real vanilla extract.

and some Almond extract.

Splash in some Half & Half.

And then some Peach Nectar. Try to find some that’s all peach, and not mostly apple juice or other ingredients. You want that Peachy flavor! (If you are substituting Mangos, be sure to use Mango Nectar.)

Some maple syrup – the good stuff please.

Then some cinnamon

and a pinch of salt

Add in the melted, cooled butter

Peel the peaches, and de-stone them.

The Peach Nectar was my idea, an addition to the original recipe. Also, the original recipe called for 2 cups of peaches – that’s about 2 peaches.

I used 8 peaches.

Do what you’d like – but my recipe is definitely more peachy! And, that’s a good thing, in my book!

And, I just tore the peaches with my fingers, instead of cutting them up. Bigger chunks = Love.

Mix it all together. I added just a few peaches at first, to make sure the bowl was big enough for the bread.

The original recipe calls for 1 pound of Sourdough bread. It’s really not rocket science, but since we have this food scale to weigh out Sammy’s food, I used it for the bread.

Cube it up

Then throw the bread into the bowl.

Add in the remaining peaches (torn up) and any remaining juice.

and let it all soak for about 30 minutes.

In the mean time, preheat your oven, chop pecans

and butter your baking dish

Then, when your bread has soaked up all of the liquid, add it all to that baking dish.

Top with the chopped nuts,

and bake for about 1 hour.

Don’t burn your tongue by picking that little pice out of the corner too soon!

Here’s the recipe:

3 eggs

3 Tablespoons melted butter, cooled

2 Tablespoons Vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon Almond extract

1-1/2 Cups Half & Half

1-1/2 Cups peach nectur

1/2 Cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 pound Sourdough bread, a couple of days old, cubed into 1 inch squares

8 peaches, peeled and torn into bite-sized pieces

1/2 Cup pecans, chopped, for topping

Add it all together (except for the nuts), soak for 1/2 hour. Butter 9×12 baking dish. Add nuts on top. Preheat oven to 325. Pour in and bake for 50-60 minutes.




P.S. Happy Birthday, Hubby! I hope you enjoyed Your Big Day!!




Sunday – Steve Forbert At The Turning Point, Piermont NY

8 Jul

This Sunday afternoon, 7/10/11, if you find yourself in the neighborhood of Piermont New York, give The Turning Point a call (845) 359-1089 to see if they have any tickets available for the 4:00 Steve Forbert show.

Or, call or go on-line right now and buy yourself a ticket.

If you’ve already done that, we’ll see you there.

Hubby and I love going to Piermont for the day. It’s a nice little town just north of Palisades and south of The Tappan Zee bridge, on the west side of the Hudson River. It’s a nice bus ride from the city.

When you arrive, you’ll see this:

and walk a couple of short blocks and you’ll see this:

There are lovely views, and a number of shops and restaurants, all within walking distance of the little venue (the village is just about 1 square mile large, and about half of that is water).

If you don’t know Steve Forbert, go now to check out his website. He offers free music downloads, so you can check out 3 or 4 tunes for nothing more than a click of your mouse by going here.

You’ll likely recognize the song Romeo’s Tune.

I first saw Steve Forbert perform in Atlanta in 1980, when Romeo’s Tune was on the Billboard charts, and getting heavy rotation on the radio.

He was playing with a band, including Paul Errico on keyboard and accordian.

Steve was an earnest young guitar-man with energy to burn, harmonica at the ready and songs bursting out of him. Half country boy, half city boy (Meridian, Mississippi boy transplanted as New York City man), he sang about that transition from small to big town, of yearnings, dreams and plans.

Fast forward 3+ decades.

Steve has played non-stop from then to now. He is a thoughtful guitar-man with energy to burn, harmonica at the ready and songs bursting out of him. His sense of humor, life observations and wisdom all go hand in hand as he pulls from his grab bag of tunes. Sometimes he still plays with a band, sometimes still with Paul Errico

but usually he performs solo. His audience is made up of old faithful fans, along with the newly converted. We call out requests and Steve generously plays many of them, with no set list. He plays and sings songs ranging throughout his career – anything can happen. You want to hear a cover song of Elton John, The Stones, The Kinks – it’s likely to be sung.

But Steve makes it totally his own.

We are lucky in the Northeast to have the opportunity to see Steve perform every couple of months or so.

Again, this Sunday – The Turning Point, in Piermont.

We always see our good Forbert Friends there.

For instance, we’ll see E & M.

Hi, E & M! Can’t wait to see you!

Hopefully Hubby will control himself.

Sometimes, he’s quite the animal. Piermont does that to him. Watch out, T!

Will we see you there? I hope so!

Be sure to check out Steve’s website, and take advantage of those free downloads. Check back in every so often – new songs are posted periodically.

You’ll become one of those newly converted. Promise.




The Museum Mile Festival

12 Jun

Every year about this time, New York City’s 5th Avenue (from 82nd Street to 105th Street) becomes a mile-long street festival.

It’s happening again this Tuesday evening, 6/14.

The party is called The Museum Mile Festival.

From their website:

One day a year, for the past 32 years, nine of the country’s finest museums, all ones that call Fifth Avenue home, collectively open their doors from 6pm – 9pm for free to New Yorkers and visitors for a mile-long block party and visual art celebration. This traffic-free, music-and-art-filled celebration fills the street and sidewalks of Fifth Avenue from 82nd to 105th street, the mile now officially designated as Museum Mile. Over 50,000 visitors attend the festival annually.”

Now, who can resist this party?

To get you in the mood for this FREE extravaganza, here are some pictures that I have taken at 3 of the museums: The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, The Museum Of The City Of New York, and The Guggenheim Museum Of Art.

Here’s The Met when it was having some restoration done a number of years ago:

And here’s one of the rooms, eerily empty:

Here’s another, a little more like normal (but it will be MUCH more crowded than this during the free hours of the Festival!):

and one of my favorite spaces within the museum:

Speaking of restoration, here’s the Guggenheim when it was getting a facelift:

A view of the museum after a snow shower:

and its amazing interior:

One of Hubby’s and my favorites – The Museum Of The City Of New York – which, naturally, is all about New York City.

We once went to see an exhibition on New York baseball history …

… where they displayed some very fun, lifesized murals of some NY baseball fans …

… doing “The Wave” …

… and Hubby got in on the action …

Ah, some of our fondest outings are to these glorious museums that we have here in New York City.

Be sure to take advantage of this once-a-year experience! Check out the website, and head out to The Museum Mile Festival on Tuesday evening – free to all for the taking!



Goofy Golf On Governors Island

6 Jun

I’ve gotta hand it to Hubby. Sometimes he has brilliant ideas!

Like yesterday, when he said “Let’s go play Mini Golf”.

There is a temporary Mini Golf Course on Governors Island – it’s there through September 25th.


Except, I call it Goofy Golf.

Is that a Southern expression?

I don’t know – but whichever, I was totally up for it.

We took the subway (and a shuttle bus – check the MTA website to see if your train is running full service) downtown to the Battery Maritime Building to catch the FREE ferry to Governors Island.

This building is beautiful – it was completed in 1909.

Here we are going through the back of the building to board the ferry:

and here is the view of The Brooklyn Bridge and The Manhattan Bridge as we depart The Island Of Manhattan:

and, the sparkling city herself:

Yes, it was a cloudy, gray day – but cool – and perfect for Goofy Golf!

We debark onto Governors Island, and ask for directions to the golf site.

But first, a stop at Water Taxi Beach, for lunch.

Don’t you just love this? A sand beach, with “palm trees” and picnic tables, right on the water overlooking The Big Apple.

The burgers, grilled corn and sangria were just icing on the cake!

Then, we walked across the island to the golf site.

Governors Island is about 1/2 mile from the tip of Manhattan, and the ferry ride from the Maritime Building is only about a 5-minute journey. There is also a ferry to the island from Brooklyn. The island is currently open to the public Fridays through Sundays.

According to its website, the island was officially named Governors Island in 1784. It has been a military facility for more than 200 years – used in 1776 during The Revolutionary War, and since then has been a U.S. Army post, and a U.S. Coast Guard post – up until 1996.

It is now a park and is a National Historic Landmark.

Did I mention that it is free to visit, and the ferry is also free?

And the golf, while it is there, is also FREE!

The Goofy Golf theme is Insects.

Now, that’s just Goofy!

Here’s Hubby on a giant fly swatter:

At this Ant Hole, he claims he made a hole in one.

I think I blinked, and missed the action.

Can he be trusted?

Here’s a closer view of the giant ants at this hole:

We quit keeping score, as the golfing became more and more challenging. But regardless of who won (Hubby) we had LOTS of fun!

Speaking of animals, there were polo ponies there on the island.

But, I think that’s a topic for another blog, another day…

As we departed on a return ferry, we got to say “hello” to Lady Liberty.

What a wonderful outing!

Thanks Hubby, for another great idea.



P.S. Here’s a bit of trivia for you… (thanks to my pals at Wikipedia):

“The Smothers Brothers were both born on Governors Island in New York Harbor, where their father, Thomas B. Smothers, a West Point graduate and U.S. Army officer, was stationed.”

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