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NASA Meets The Big Apple – Space Shuttles – Facts, Falsehoods & Trivia

28 Apr

FACT: The Space Shuttle Enterprise is now in NYC.

She flew along The North River (aka The Hudson River) yesterday morning, which I witnessed with my very own eyes.

FACT: Pier 84 was crowded with excited spectators.

FACT: We eagerly stared down river, watching for first sight.

FALSEHOOD: Someone yelled “You’re all looking the wrong way!” and everyone turned and gazed to the North.

FACT: We had Twitter. We knew Enterprise was coming from the South, from the Statue of Liberty.

FACT: We were right! Here’s my first sighting! What did those birds think?

TRIVIA: One of my favorite books as a itty bitty girl was “Are You My Mother?” – where a baby bird thought all things were its mother.

FALSEHOOD: Maybe those birds thought Enterprise was their mother – nah!

FACT: Somehow mounted onto a giant 747 jumbo jet, the Enterprise got closer and closer – flying low and slow.

Overhead the two crafts were a truly awesome sight.

FACT: the amazing duo headed North

towards the George Washington Bridge, then finally out of sight.

FACT: Until they flew back south past us again, then on their way to JFK Airport.

“Welcome to New York, and thanks for the show.”

TRIVIA: Completed in 1976, Enterprise was designed as a prototype test vehicle. Test pilots demonstrated that it could fly and land in the atmosphere like airplanes, but the Enterprise never flew in space.

TRIVIA: The shuttle was originally to be named the Constitution, but a write-in campaign by fans of the television series “Star Trek” persuaded officials to rename it in honor of the show’s main starship.

TRIVIA: There have been 6 Shuttles:

1976 – Enterprise – now to be displayed in NYC at the Intrepid Museum.

1981 – Columbia – disintegrated during re-entry 2003; all 7 crew members died.

1983 – Challenger – disintegrated 73 seconds after launch 1986; all 7 crew members died.

1984 – Discovery – now to be displayed at the The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM)’s annex at Washington Dulles International Airport).

1985 – Atlantis – now to be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex near Cape Canaveral, Florida.

1992 – Endeavour – now to be displayed at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California.

TRIVIA: NASA announced it would transfer space-worthy orbiters to education institutions or museums at the conclusion of the Space Shuttle program. Each museum or institution is responsible for covering theUS$28.8 million cost of preparing and transporting each vehicle for display. Twenty museums from across the country submitted proposals for receiving one of the retired orbiters.

TRIVIA: NASA retired the Space Shuttle in 2011, after 30 years of service.

What a thrill it’s been. I can’t wait until The Enterprise is floated by barge on the Hudson River and lifted by cranes onto the Intrepid.

From the Intrepid website:

In June, Enterprise will then be craned onto the flight deck and our new Space Shuttle Pavilion will be built around her, with an expected public opening in mid July.”

Welcome to New York, and thanks for the show!!

xoxo,

SAllan

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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!)

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

Today Elvis would have been 77 – A Remembrance By Froggy

8 Jan

Elvis was born on this day – 77 years ago – in 1935.

Happy birthday, Elvis!

Froggy, here. I took over today’s blog, because I LOVE Elvis!

I had the great pleasure of visiting Graceland. I’ll show you some photographic proof, I will!

Here’s The King’s living room.

and here I am in his living room!

Elvis had this wonderful playroom – just imagine! THREE TVs!!

I could have stayed here all day…

Elvis’s room with walls and walls of gold records was mesmerizing!

After this swell visit to Graceland, I also went to Sun Studio, where Elvis made his great first recordings.

I even got to pose in front of a couple of his guitars!

To celebrate Elvis Presley’s birthday today, my friend Steve Forbert is offering a FREE download of his band performing live a ROCKING version of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ – just by going here.

It’s FREE and it’s GREAT and it’s a WONDERFUL tribute to Elvis by my friend Steve Forbert.

“This is the rockabilly version of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ that Elvis never recorded,” says Steve.

Yay for Elvis , Yay for Steve!

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programing.

I’m going to go listen to ‘Heartbreak Hotel’!

xoxo,

Froggy

The Grid That Became New York City – At The Museum Of The City Of New York

4 Jan

The Museum Of The City Of New York currently has yet another fascinating exhibit about the history of this great city.

The exhibit is called The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011 and it celebrates the 200th anniversary of the planning of the street grid of Manhattan.

From their website:

Featuring an original hand-drawn map of New York’s planned streets and avenues prepared by the Commission in 1811, as well as other rare historic maps, photographs and prints of the evolution of the city’s streets, and original manuscripts and publications that document the city’s physical growth, the exhibition examines the grid’s initial design, implementation, and evolution.”

The exhibit runs from Dec 6, 2011 through Apr 15, 2012.

Today’s New York Times ran an article about the exhibit, and also published a few fabulous, vintage photographs of the city during it’s younger days.

Here, from the New York Times, and from the Museum Of The City Of New York, I’d like to share a few of the images.

This etching – quite early on – is looking north on 2nd Avenue from 42nd Street – 1861(!):

This one is looking south on Park Avenue from 94th Street – in 1882:

Here is Riverside Drive and 94th Street, in 1890:

And this photo is of Madison Square in 1894:

The New York Times article says in part:

The show celebrates the anniversary of what remains not just a landmark in urban history but in many ways the defining feature of the city.

After all, before it could rise into the sky, Manhattan had to create the streets, avenues and blocks that support the skyscrapers. The grid was big government in action.

Simeon De Witt, Gouverneur Morris and John Rutherfurd were entrusted with planning the city back in 1811. New York huddled mostly south of Canal Street, but it was booming, its population having tripled to 96,373 since 1790 thanks to the growing port. Civic boosters predicted that 400,000 people would live in the city by 1860. They turned out to be half-right. New York topped 800,000 before the Civil War.

The planners proposed a grid for this future city stretching northward from roughly Houston Street to 155th Street in the faraway heights of Harlem. It was in many respects a heartless plan. There were virtually no parks or plazas. The presumption was that people would gravitate east and west along the numbered streets to the rivers when they wanted open space and fresh air, and not spend lots of time moving north or south. That partly explains why there were only a dozen avenues.

First, Manhattan had to be surveyed, a task that took years. Property lines had to be redrawn, government mobilized for decades on end to enforce, open, grade and pave streets. Some 60 years passed before the grid arrived at 155th Street. Streets were still “rough and ragged” tracks for a long while, as one diarist observed in 1867, describing a recently opened stretch around 40th Street and Madison Avenue as a mess of “mud holes, goats, pigs and geese.”

New York’s grid had its virtues. For one thing, it proved flexible enough to adapt when the city’s orientation did shift north-south, flexible enough to accommodate Central Park.”

I can’t wait to check out this exhibit! Hubby and I love this museum of New York City.

Here is its visitor info:

Museum of the City of New York

1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street

New York, NY 10029

212-534-1672 Phone

The Museum is open seven days a week: 10:00 am–6:00 pm

The Museum is closed on the following holidays:

Thanksgiving

Christmas Day

New Year’s Day

Suggested Admission (this means that you pay what you want! You can pay more or less than the suggested amount.)

Adults: $10

Seniors, students: $6

Families: $20 (max. 2 adults)

Children 12 and under: free

Members: free

Also, their website says: If you live or work in East Harlem above 103rd Street, visit the Museum free of charge. Mention  “I’m a neighbor,” and the suggested admission charge will be waived.

This museum always has great exhibits – all New York City-themed all the time (and be sure to check out their superb gift shop, as well.)

But to see these vintage photos and maps in person will be an extra special treat!

xoxo,

SAllan

Art At Rockefeller Center – For Example – “News” By Isamu Noguchi

28 Dec

Art is everywhere you look.

But often, I am overwhelmed at the art in New York City.

Much of it is FREE for the viewing.

Consider Rockefeller Center.

I love this  piece by Isamu Noguchi entitled “News” (Commissioned 1938-1940. Low-relief panel of stainless steel – 22 feet high, 17 feet wide – located above the main entrance to 50 Rockefeller Plaza.)

From their website:

Soaring above the entrance to 50 Rockefeller Plaza, this dynamic plaque symbolizes the business of the building’s former tenant, the Associated Press. One of the major Art Deco works in the Center, it depicts five journalists focused on getting a scoop. AP’s worldwide network is symbolized by diagonal radiating lines extending across the plaque. Intense angles and smooth planes create the fast-paced rhythm and energy of a newsroom. News is the first heroic-sized sculpture ever cast in stainless steel and the only time Noguchi employed stainless steel as an artistic medium.”

I have read that News was Isamu Noguchi’s first major architectural commission.

From The Noguchi Museum’s website:

Noguchi’s work was not recognized in the United States until 1938, when he completed a large-scale sculpture symbolizing the freedom of the press, which was commissioned for the Associated Press building in Rockefeller Center, New York City.”

I’d say that he got off to a mighty fine start!

You can take a tour of Rockefeller Center, and learn all about its buildings and its art.

Here’s a review of the tour, and in part it says:

Opened in 1933, Rockefeller Center was one of the first building complexes to incorporate artwork throughout, all reflecting the progress of man and new frontiers. The most significant urban complex of the 20th century, Rockefeller Center’s innovations included heated buildings and the first indoor parking complex. Rockefeller Center was an important employer during the Great Depression — its construction provided 75,000 jobs during the early 1930s. Built with a facade of Indiana limestone, Rockefeller Center reflects the Art Deco style of elegance without ornamentation.

Participants on the Rockefeller Center Tour will come to discover the extensive artwork and architectural nuances throughout this 14 building complex, as well as understand the important innovations that made Rockefeller Center revolutionary when it was built in the 1930s.”

From the Rockefeller Center website:

Join us for a look into the history and artistry of Rockefeller Center. Your tour touches upon great works of art and architecture as an historian will guide you through the Center’s buildings and gardens. Follow along with a headset enjoying a closed circuit connection. Tours are hourly beginning at 10AM each morning, 7 days a week.

You can order tickets here for $15/ each.

You can also visit The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City – but that’s another blog for another day!

xoxo,

SAllan

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