Photopost: Wave Hill


On Friday, we walked off our Thanksgiving dinner with a visit to Wave Hill, a botanical garden on a former estate overlooking the Hudson River in the Bronx.

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Photopost: Bronx Park


My family and I finished up the summer with an extended long weekend visiting my mother in the Bronx.  We took the time to explore New York and have a lot of fun.

On our final day, we visited the New York Botanical Gardens and the Bronx Zoo, both in Bronx Park.

Photopost: Hall of Fame for Great Americans


The Hall of Fame for Great Americans is the nation’s first hall of fame opened in 1900 to honor prominent Americans and located on the campus of the Bronx Community College in New York.  It was originally part of New York University’s Bronx campus (NYU sold the campus to BCC in 1973) and for many years was a major New York City attraction.  Today it is off the beaten path – and there have been no inductions since 1976 – but it is nevertheless a well-maintained outdoor sculpture park in a 630-foot colonnade designed by Stanford White.  I’m aware of it because my mother grew up in the adjacent neighborhood and it was one of her favorite places, partially due to the panoramic views of the Harlem River which are now obstructed by taller trees and new construction.  Yesterday I paid a return visit with my mother and son.

 

 

As you might expect from a grouping selected primarily in the first half of the 20th-century, the Americans represented here are almost all white men, broken down into the following groups: Statesmen, Scientists, Jurists, Teachers, Musicians, Artists and Writers (I may have forgotten a category). There are more women than I expected (although still a small number) and only two African-Americans I think it would be fascinating to see who would be inducted if they continued adding to the current 102 inductees.

Off the top of my head, I put together a list of people I’d consider for induction following the rules that they be United States born or naturalized and deceased for at least 25 years.  A lot of these are no-brainers, some may make you scratch your head, and others may even be controversial.  Let me know what you think, and add your own nominees in the comments.

Pocahontas  1596 1617
Anne Hutchinson 1591 1643
Metacomet  1638 1676
Phillis Wheatley 1753 1784
Merriwether Lewis 1774 1809
Sacagawea  1788 1812
Abigail Adams 1744 1818
Nat Turner 1800 1831
William Clark 1770 1838
Sequoyah 1770 1843
Charles Bulfinch 1763 1844
John Brown 1800 1859
John Roebling 1806 1869
Crazy Horse 1842 1877
William Lloyd Garrison 1805 1879
Sojourner Truth 1797 1883
Dorothea Dix 1802 1887
Sitting Bull 1831 1890
P.T. Barnum 1810 1891
Frederick Douglass 1818 1895
Elizabeth Cady Stanton 1815 1902
Frederick Law Olmsted 1822 1903
Geronimo  1829 1909
Mary Baker Eddy 1821 1910
Harriet Tubman  1822 1913
John Muir 1838 1914
Isabella Stewart Gardner 1840 1924
Samuel Gompers 1850 1924
John Singer Sargent 1856 1925
Eugene Debs 1855 1926
Victoria Woodhull 1838 1927
Stephen Mather 1867 1930
Will Rogers 1879 1935
Huey Long 1893 1935
Bessie Smith 1894 1937
George Gershwin 1898 1937
Amelia Earhart 1897 1937
Nikola Tesla 1856 1943
Ida Tarbell 1857 1944
Fiorello LaGuardia 1882 1947
Babe Ruth 1895 1948
Edwin Hubble 1889 1953
Jim Thorpe 1887 1953
Charlie Parker 1920 1955
Mary McLeod Bethune 1875 1955
Jackson Pollock 1912 1956
Buddy Holly 1936 1959
Frank Lloyd Wright 1867 1959
Ernest Hemingway  1899 1961
William Faulkner 1897 1962
Eleanor Roosevelt  1884 1962
W.E.B. Du Bois 1868 1963
Rachel Carson 1907 1964
Flannery O’Connor 1925 1964
Malik el-Shabazz (Malcolm X) 1925 1965
Walt Disney 1901 1966
Margaret Sanger 1879 1966
Gus Grissom 1926 1967
Edward Hopper 1882 1967
Woody Guthrie  1912 1967
Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929 1968
Thomas Merton 1915 1968
John Steinbeck 1902 1968
Helen Keller  1880 1968
Jimi Hendrix 1942 1970
Louis Armstrong  1901 1971
Jackie Robinson  1919 1972
Roberto Clemente  1934 1972
Jeanette Rankin 1880 1973
Duke Ellington  1899 1974
Paul Robeson 1898 1976
Groucho Marx 1890 1977
Fannie Lou Hamer  1917 1977
Elvis Presley 1935 1977
Harvey Milk 1930 1978
Charles Mingus 1922 1979
A. Phillip Randolph 1889 1979
Dorothy Day  1897 1980
Alfred Hitchcock 1899 1980
Jesse Owens 1913 1980
Muddy Waters 1913 1983
Georgia O’Keeffe 1887 1986
Christa McAuliffe 1948 1986
Lucille Ball 1911 1986
Benny Goodman 1909 1986
Andy Warhol 1928 1987
James Baldwin 1924 1987
Bayard Rustin 1912 1987
Richard Feynman 1918 1988
Jim Henson 1936 1990
Frank Capra 1897 1991

Photopost: Bronx Zoo Redux


Since my mother’s recent move back to New York, we’ve become Bronx Zoo members and now will be visiting one of our favorite places frequently.  On a crowded Memorial Day weekend, I went to the zoo with my mother, my kids, and for the first time ever, my wife.  We visited the World of Birds, Tiger Mountain, the Bengali Express, Jungle World, and the new Children’s Zoo.  We also waited a long time for the Zoo Shuttle to ride from one side of the zoo to the other.  It was a good day.  

Photopost: Return to Bronx Zoo


Over the weekend, the family returned to visit the he Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo, a place I’ve visited dozens of times over the course of my life, and enjoyed by previous generations of my family as well.  This was a unique visit for three reasons:

  1. It was the first ever visit for my daughter Kay
  2. It was the first time we visited on two consecutive days
  3. It was the first time we visited as members!

The membership was a gift of my mother, who having moved to a new home in walking distance of the zoo is ready to visit the zoo again and again with her children and grandchildren.

Here are some of the best photos from our visit:

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Photopost: Bronx Zoo


On our last day in New York, we visited the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo.  This was a second visit for Peter, a couple of dozen visits for me, and countless more for my mother.  In short, the zoo is a place we all love.  Highlights include seeing baboons and ibex on hillside, sunning lions and giraffes, baby gorillas galore, and the flitter-flutter of the butterfly garden.

Alpaca
Feeding goats
Bathing bear
Baby baboon and mother

Baby baboon in action!

Resting giraffe
Baby gorilla
Beautiful butterfly

Photopost: A Tale of Two Ballparks


My son Peter and I were fortunate enough to take in two Boston Red Sox games in the same week. The first was a home game at Fenway Park versus the White Sox. For the second game, we ventured into enemy territory to see Red Sox take on the Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

I’ve been to Fenway Park dozens of times in the 15 years I’ve lived in Boston and my son and I have been using 4-game Sox packs the past two seasons.  I don’t have much to add to what I’ve written before other than to say that Fenway Park is a great place to see a ballgame, the improvements in fan amenities the past decade have really improved the experience, and I love going to games with my son.

This was our first visit to the third iteration of Yankee Stadium.  Growing up in Connecticut, I attended several Yankees games in the 1976-2008 version of Yankee Stadium as a child as well as one college football game between Boston University and Grambling State.  I made my last visit to Yankee Stadium II in 2006.  Despite the history that came with the building due to the Yankees many successes, I never thought it lived up to its reputation as a great ballpark.  It was kind of gloomy and felt like a 60’s/70’s concrete doughnut squashed in an urban shell.

I’m happy to report that  Yankee Stadium III is an improvement on its predecessor.  We took the D train to 161 St, and exited right outside Gate 6.  There were several lines open so we swiftly made our way inside.  We entered a long concourse with a high ceiling that felt like an airport terminal or railway station.  While the Stadium has escaped corporate naming, the corporate presence was strong here (and throughout the ballpark) with large neon signs for the Hard Rock Cafe and other amenities.  There was also a large screen and news ticker showing Yankees highlights on repeat and reminiscent of Times Square.  The whole feeling was definitely to remind you that you were in the land of the Yankees now and playing with the big boys.

To access our seats on the Grandstand Level, we had to walk up a long, looping concrete ramp.  This was one of the least appealing parts of the stadium.  At least the ramps at Shea Stadium were exposed to fresh air and sunshine with views of the Manhattan skyline.  The Yankees museum could be entered from this ramp but the line was quite long so we didn’t take it in.  The concourse on the Grandstand/Terrace level was much nicer with lots of sunlight and views of the field and lined with the usual concessions and souvenir shops.  The only one we availed ourselves to was Carvel for an ice cream cone (Peter passed on getting the ice cream in the helmet).

Our seats offered a commanding view of the field with only the left field corner obscured by the seat deck in front of us.  (This would become relevant in the game when Ichiro made a catch against the wall of a drive by David Ortiz).  The centerfield scoreboard is big and informative.  There is a secondary scoreboard behind homeplate but I was surprised that there was only advertising along the baseline.  The out-of-town scoreboard was not visible from our location.  The corporate feel was strong during the game with lots of advertisements on all the scoreboards.  Strikeouts by  Yankees pitchers were sponsored by an appliance store and walks by Yankees batters were brought to you by a brand of whisky.

Our seating area was well-populated with Red Sox fans giving us a feeling of safety in numbers.  The rivalry among fans was good-natured on this day.  Several times Red Sox fans started chanting “Lets Go Red Sox!” only to get booed by Yankees fans.  Then one guy would chant “Lets Go Yankees!” and no one else would join in.  The top of the stadium is encircled by pennant flags for every team in Major League Baseball arranged by division in the order of the standings.  Appropriately, we sat directly beneath the flag that read “BOSTON”.

The game was enjoyable, with the teams duking out to a 13-9 finale in favor of the Red Sox.   Boston took a big lead early and then New York chipped away at that lead to make the game more competitive.  Definitely not a pitcher’s duel, or a short game, but a fun one.  We left after the game and it was actually pretty easy to get to the subway, and then board a “baseball special” train which has a poetic ring to it, like something out of a W.P. Kinsella story.

Yankee Stadium proved to be an adequate place to see a game.   Like Citi Field, it is somewhat corporatized and soulless, and a city like New York should do much better for its ballparks. They don’t compare well with ballparks in San Francisco, Baltimore, or San Diego that incorporate aspects of their cities and surroundings into the stadium.  It seems like they got the idea to copy the retro-ballpark style without doing anything to make it uniquely New York.  Perhaps they just need to be lived-in a bit longer and will accrue some charm with age?

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Photopost: New York City


Ch-ch-ch-ch-cheerio!
A tugboat chugs under Brooklyn Bridge

I spent the first week of September with my 5 y.o. son Peter and my mother (later joined by my wife and daughter for the last weekend). Three generations of family explored the City which has rich family history.  My mother grew up in the Bronx and I grew up in the Connecticut suburbs and now we got to share a lot of our favorite places with Peter.  But there were also new discoveries.  Through Airbnb, we stayed in an apartment in Inwood, the neighborhood at the very northern tip of Manhattan.  Inwood is vibrant and friendly with a great park and easy connections to the rest of the city on the 1 and A trains.

Sssssssssalute.
The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge
  • Day 1 – We visited the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn, ate lunch at a deli in Brooklyn Heights, played on the spectacular playground on Brooklyn Bridge Parks’s Pier 6, and then sailed up the East River on a ferry to Midtown.
  • Day 2 – Went to the the Bronx Zoo.  We stayed all day.
  • Day 3 – Walked along the Hudson River to visit the Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge.  Read the book and attracted a crowd of toddlers. Spent the rest of the day at Central Park where we: ate ice cream, ate hot dogs, played on the swings, took a nap, played catch, rode the carousel, and sailed a model boat on the Conservatory Water (Peter got very good at controlling the wind powered boat).
  • Day 4 – Visited the USS Intrepid Sea/Air/Space Museum, the highlight of which was getting up close and personal with the space shuttle Enterprise.
  • Day 5 – Ate brunch at Kitchenette Uptown in Morningside Heights, took Peter to Yankee Stadium to see the Red Sox play the Yankees (Red Sox won), and ate supper at the wonderful dog-themed pub Fred’s.
Ahoy, captain!
Sailing a model boat on the Conservatory Water.

I’ve made a web album of my favorite photos from the trip, in addition to the ones featured in this post.

Take the A Train!
The view out the back of the A train.

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