Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chillin' in Brooklyn

Well we weren’t exactly chillin’.  We must have trekked over 15 miles by foot and many more by cab in three days.   Our hotel, located in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn just over the bridge from Queens, was part of an industrial area currently being revamped.  Interesting graffiti was everywhere.

We ate mouth-watering New York style pizza, and warm, doughy, fresh bagels which were only a short walk away.    

Propect Park was a pleasant afternoon trip where my sons played baseball with their Dad. This beautiful park was designed and built by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux after they completed Central Park in Manhattan.  People were jogging, walking dogs, playing with Frisbees, picnicking and relaxing under the cherry blossoms. 

The Greenpoint Ferry was only a few minutes from our hotel whose stops included midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the artsy area known as DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).  We walked the bridge, saw Manhattan’s City Hall and walked over to the Woolworth Building which was built and paid for in cash.  The boys rode Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park.  We explored the DUMBO neighborhood, had frozen yogurt at Pinkberry and also walked over the Williamsburg Bridge.  

And the boys enjoyed attending both a Yankees game and a Mets game. 

Brooklyn Part 2 trip hopefully in August…with a day at Coney Island!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Baseball, The All-American Pass Time

During our weekend in NY, we attended both a Yankees game and Mets game.  Yankee Stadium still had the sign up “United We Stand”.  

The stadium had a good crowd but far from being sold out as  the lower level seats seem to be quite empty.  (probably due to the insanely expensive prices for seats).  But in spite of lighter crowd, the stadium was hopping.   Fans cheering, making noise, even booing (loudly) in response to bad calls, bad pitches and missed hits!  Yankee Stadium feels like baseball. 

The vendors are in stands selling hot dogs, beer, peanuts, cotton candy.  There are  vendors on the streets getting the fans hooked up with cheap fan gear.  The fans are yelling, waving their banners, doing the wave and cheering on the Bronx Bombers.  We bought $5.00 tickets at the gate and had great seats on the 3rd base foul line.

This was in stark contrast to the Mets game in citiFIELD.  After checking out and heading home on Sunday, my husband decided we’d go to citiFIELD, check out the new stadium and see a Mets game.  Immediately we noticed that there were no vendors near the park selling Mets hats and shirts.   A fan in the parking lot said you could only buy them in the stadium ($29 and up for shirts, $18 and up for hats).  He said the owners wanted to make all the money and didn’t allow vendors outside the stadium at all. 

In order to buy a burger at one of the ‘restaurants’ scattered on different levels, you had to show your tickets to go in.  If you were on the wrong level, they wouldn’t let you in.  To buy food?  Really? 

Our seats were good, similar to where we sat at the Yankees game.  citiFIELD was a very nice, smaller stadium and it was filled up more than Yankee stadium was on Thursday.  However, we noticed right away the lack of vendors going through the stands but most strikingly the lack of enthusiasm of the fans.  Fans minimally cheered on their own and then only briefly when the organ played to get people to ‘make noise’.  

My husband feel asleep in his chair. 

I guess there is a unique pulse to every stadium.  We have been to four so far including Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park in Philly and citiFIELD.  citiFIELD is a beautiful park, but hands down the quietest we have ever visited.  Fans prefer different experiences, but I personally prefer the loud rowdiness of fans enjoying the game, doing the wave, eating hotdogs and having a nice cold beer!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Working on the Bucket List - Walking Over the Brooklyn Bridge

I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge.  And then I walked back.  Bucket list item completed. 

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the US.  It is said that approximately 27 people died while constructing the bridge and it cost approximately 15.5 million dollars to build.   And it is a true marvel to see.  Traffic flows on the lower level of the bridge while walkers, joggers and bikers occupy the top level.

There are beautiful views of the Freedom Tower which is part of the 911 Memorial.

The gorgeous Manhattan Bridge is located just to the right.  

On the left, heading into Manhattan is the majestic Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island.   

Ferries were passing by and we even saw the Athena, one of the high speed Block Island ferries (from RI), shuttling passengers up and down the East River. 

Eating in an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn was likewise crossed off my bucket list.  7 Old Fulton Restaurant was located near the Brooklyn Bridge Park.  We were so impressed with our appetizer before our hike over and back on the Bridge that we returned the next day for dinner.   

The tender veal parmesan with fresh mozzarella and home-made tiramisu were outstanding and  the cosmo with a champagne floater wasn't bad either.  The service was wonderful and this is definitely a spot to visit again on the next Brooklyn trip.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Prayers, Love & Hope for Boston

The Boston Marathon has been a Patriot's Day tradition in Massachusetts for over 100 years.  Hardcore marathon runners compete, but so do individual and group runners who run for charity and their own personal challenges.  While I live only 30 miles or so from Boston, I have only attended the Boston Marathon once with a friend and her husband as part of the cheering section.  

In utter disbelief, I began reading tweets about an explosion at the marathon and I turned on the TV to watch the horrific events that were unfolding.  My heart hurts for the Richard family.  I cannot even begin to process what that poor father is going through.  My heart aches for the families of the other deceased victims and for all the people recovering from their wounds.

I simply cannot fathom this violence.  I cannot understand how anyone could deliberately hurt so many people in such a calculated, unfeeling and evil way.  But in the wake of this horror, so many good people stepped up.  They ran to the victims and helped, without hesitation and without thought of the possibility of more explosions.  I keep trying to focus on the good. 

I guess it's just part of the world, you can't have good without evil, love without hate, life without death.  We have to have to have faith that good will defeat evil, and love will conquer hate. Unfortunately we're all going to die, but we must make the most of our life while we are still here. 

I am confident that the Boston Marathon will come back stronger than ever.  But for now, I pray for the Richard family who has a long battle ahead, dealing with the loss of their precious son, their daughter who lost a leg and may lose the other and the mom, who suffered a traumatic brain injury.  I pray for the families of Lu Lingzi, a BU Grad student and Krystal Campbell, both killed by the bombs.  I pray for the many people who lost limbs and have a long painful road of recovery ahead of them.  I pray for all those that were hurt.  But I also pray for all of us.  I pray that compassion, love and kindness will overcome the evil in this world.  I pray we are strong enough to live with tolerance and a little extra patience in our everyday life.  And I pray we all have the strength to step up and help should the opportunity present itself. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

So, what are YOUR Roots?

Today, this photo showed up on my Facebook feed.  Even though my descendants are all from Italy and are full-blooded Italians, based on the shape of my feet, I have Egyptian roots.  

This was an ah-ha moment for me!  I have always said that if there was reincarnation, I was rich in a previous life.  And this cinched it...  I must have been Cleopatra!

If there is reincarnation, who were you in a previous life?