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It's been a crazy five days, recuperating a bit today from all the activity.

Tuesday night we were up until about 1:30 getting ready for this trip, and began the day on a sleep deficit as we had to get up at 4:00 to get to the airport. We drove to Bountiful where we left our car in the driveway of a cousin, all praise to his hospitality, may the hair on his toes ever grow longer! The shuttle came for us at 6:15, and we got through security and to our flight with a minimum of hassle.

Frontier runs a good service, I appreciate their efforts. We had no seats assigned for the outbound flight, and the lady at the desk upgraded us to stretch seats for no cost. We were able to sit together on the flight to Denver, but were on separate sides of the aisle (in the middle) from Denver to LGA. The extra legroom, however, made sitting in a middle seat much less painful.

Tornado Shelter. In Denver. Topeka or Omaha I could understand, but Denver? Wonder which lawyer got billable hours to come up with this bit of nonsense?

Denver airport. Look out below!

At Laguardia we picked up our car, and were given a Ford Fusion. Nice vehicle, a bit rough on the acceleration and the turn signal is really loud, but it drives smoothly. We had reserved a compact to save gas, but they didn't have any on hand. This one only gets about 28 MPG. But as Scott Adams noted,


this seems to be industry-standard practice.

We drove around to the West of Manhattan from LGA and over the Verezzano Narrows bridge - traffic was pretty heavy and it took us a couple of hours to get to our motel in Piscataway. I opted to stay outside of the city, which effectively offset the cost of the car rental over the five days - lodging costs in Manhattan are, to put it charitably, holy ! We dumped our stuff at the hotel and went out to Red Lobster, where I dined on fish and fries (ToniAnne was careful to point out that they were definitely not "chips", but the fish was very nice). This outlet was a bit of a skinflint when it came to their biscuits - after two baskets we somehow never managed to get any more.

Thursday we headed into the City (that's New York, for you folks who don't live in this area - there's only one City, really) and tried to make the 2:00 session at the Manhattan temple, but because of traffic and parking we didn't quite make it. Participated in a sealing session instead, and then went and sat in the Celestial Room for a while. It's a very pretty temple and everyone was very friendly.

Coming out of the temple, we stopped into a little folk art museum for a few minutes,

Noah's Ark

where we also saw a beautiful tribute quilt to the victims of 9/11:


The MIL of one of my first wife's college buddies was represented there, and I took a couple of pictures of her panel and sent them along, in case they had never seen it.


Afterwards, we went down and dined at my most favorite restaurant in all the world, Piccolo Angolo, run by family members.


- if you're ever in the City (remember, that's New York, if you don't live in the area - there's only one City, really), you must eat here - you won't get better Italian cuisine anywhere. We were supposed to be joined by my brother David, who had hurt his leg and couldn't come, and my dear friend Katrin Belenky and her partner Sam Peck, but they had to rush for their tickets to the Book of Mormon musical and couldn't come either.

So we had a lovely dinner, visited with our cousins,

Pauline, ToniAnne and Maria

One sees the strangest things in New York windows

and then headed up to the Marquis Theatre (in the Marriott Hotel) to see Evita, to which tickets had been generously gifted us by said wonderful Katrin and Sam.

Why anyone would pay for a picture in front of an outlandish Liberty with sunglasses on Times Square is beyond me, but hey...

People watching a wrestling match in the middle of Times Square.

Evita: Marquee

About 1/4 of a display inside the Marriott, just outside the theatre entrance.

Inside the Marriott, looking toward the theatre entrance.

Evita: Stage Curtain

Evita was interesting. It's not the most detailed story: Showgirl sleeps her way to the top and then dies - but some of the music was very pretty, and the performances were great. Ricky Martin as Che, Elena Roger as Evita, and Michael Cerveris as Juan Perón all did a phenomenal job.


If you were used to seeing Michael Cerveris as "September" in Fringe, it was quite a contrast to see him onstage, with hair, and emotions, and singing in a very nice voice.

Tip: Never try to get out of the City (that's New York, for you folks who don't live in this area - there's only one City, really) through the Lincoln Tunnel as the shows get out. Add to that the fact that they were doing construction on the Jersey Turnpike and narrowed three lanes down to one, and it took us two hours to get back to the hotel. Tired, tired, tired, and still running on sleep deficit.

Friday morning we were up and at'em again, drove into the City (do I need to remind you?) and parked on the upper east side, arriving at the New Hunter College Elementary campus at 10:00 AM for a wonderful tour of the new school, courtesy of the amazing Francesca Bacon.

HCES Security
The security desk at the entrance of the school.

A kindergarten classroom at the new school

School library, very modern and bright. Nary a card catalog in sight...

Old Library
For comparison: A shot of our old library in 1955. I chuckled at the "modern librarian's desk." Seen here from front to back, Dee Jarrett Dow, myself, Andrea Josephy, Ron Malaya and Richard Gelber. There's a partial face in there I don't recognize, I'll tag it later if one of my HCES buddies can help.

Some of us talking with a 2nd-grade teacher, with our gracious host and coordinator on the right.

Modern computer lab. We had slideshows and 16MM movies for AV, and that's about it.

Coming out of Hunter, our tour guide told ToniAnne about a couple of good knit shops in the area, one of which was just around the corner:

Annie & Company: Madison between 93rd and 94th.

Incidentally, the new school is about 2 blocks from the home my parents were living in when I was born:

1391 Madison Avenue
1391 Madison Avenue, where I lived until I was three. To the right of the door was a butcher shop run by Sol Bock, who always gave me free bits of liverwurst - I praise his name.

After Annie & Company had been duly plundered, I walked ToniAnne down to 85th and Lex and showed her the building I lived in for most of the time I attended Hunter Elementary. It's now covered by scaffolding and they're re-doing the outside, but it looks like this:

132 East 85th Street
132 East 85th Street.

It looked like this back then:

132 East 85th Street, ~1955

My room was on the top floor, right in the front corner. I once amused myself by dumping cans of water out the window onto passersby... The buildings to the right, including a D'Agostino Brothers market, have since been replaced; just to the right of our entrance was a lovely old European tailor, who once took me out to his country home along with his granddaughter.

1955 - Tailor on 85th Street
Wish I could remember his name... I loved visiting his shop, which included old treadle-powered Singers...

d'agostino bros 1959
Groceries outside D'Agostino Bros. waiting for delivery. Sliced bacon, 69¢ a pound.

From my window looking north, my father took this picture:
85th Street 3
Looking north up Lexington from 85th street, around 1955.

Today that view looks like this, although from street level (I would have loved to get the view from the same vantage point, but it didn't seem kosher in this paranoid day and age). The whole block to the right has been replaced by a massive glass and brass complex:


The last activity of the day was to take a train out to Queens so ToniAnne could visit Smiley's, a discount yarn shop on Jamaica avenue. It was an interesting ride and she got to see another part of the City (rememeber what I said?)

Smiley's inside

Smiley's outside

That brought us up to the end of Friday, and we trundled home (we left inbetween the rush hour and the theatre hour, and the traffic was much better - it only took us an hour to get back to the hotel.) We dined at a Red Robin close by, and returned to reture.

Saturday we rose and got out the door later than I wanted - lousy planning on my part, but it was still frustrating. We were again blessed with good traffic, and we arrived at the old campus of HCES right at noon, when I was supposed to meet the group for a tour of the old school campus. My wife joined the group while I parked the car, and we were then treated to another trip down memory lane.

Our wonderful hostess Francesca took us up into the school to see where our classes had existed in the 50's and 60s. Back then, the elevators were large and hand-operated.

Not much has changed in this building in some areas.

The auditorium was very dark, and this is the best my little phone camera could do, but it captures the area - here we had assemblies, put on plays, and had our graduation ceremony.

Our rooftop playground. We had no rubber mats, and there were monkey bars (the real ones), teeter-totters, and a merry-go-round.

Our old science laboratory. The desks are a bit different, but the room was similar enough to evoke some powerful memories.

Manuel Pantazonis - 1955
Here is our old science teacher, Manuel Pantazonis, in about 1949. Same room.

The time travelers.

After the tour, we dined at a local eatery. Depending on your world view, it was either mid-range or pretentious. The food was good, though.

Hunter Subway
We took the subway to another knit shop on the west side.

Only in New York.

Knitty City
Knitty City.

Saturday evening, our group gathered at Pangea, a restaurant on the lower east side, where one of our group had arranged for a room and some food.

Bob, Steve, Arthur
Bob, Steve, and Arthur

Sam, Katrin, Ellen, Liz
Sam, Katrin, Ellen and Liz.

More pictures are coming, but this was an amazing gathering. Memories were shared, stories exchanged, lives updated, and bonds re-forged.

To us, who have survived 50 years of life since graduation, a toast: To old friendships renewed, to the joy of living, and to making a difference in the world.

On to the next 50 years!

(more to come)

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Jun. 11th, 2012 12:19 am (UTC)
Sounds like a great trip! I've only been to NYC once, and I was in a workshop most of the time I was there. I want to go back....

re: tornado shelters at DIA ... yes, we get tornadoes here. We had an EF3 tear through four years ago. And yes, DIA is periodically shut down due to funnel clouds in the area. So not surprising (to this Colorado native, anyway.) ;-)
Jun. 12th, 2012 04:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the weather update!
Jun. 11th, 2012 04:47 pm (UTC)
More coming? This is probably the most photo-heavy LJ post I've ever seen!

Fifty years since graduation makes you older than I thought. Yes, even with all your age emphasis.

"Seinfeld" also covered the incompetence/dishonesty of car reservations. Not as cleverly.
Jun. 12th, 2012 04:27 pm (UTC)
Super, it's always nice to create a new record!

Yes, I am old, chronologically - but you're only as old as you feel so I'm still 24.
Jun. 12th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC)
Mum always said she thought I was 28 (long gone)

It was a different world. Not always better, not always worse....

Fancy a cup of tea and a madeleine bikkie?


The Old Wolf

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