November 25 - December 15, 2008: Europe and Barcelona-Miami Cruise
November 23, 2008: A Visit With Chris Young in Sherman
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November 24-25, 2008:
A Trip to New York City

 

Fred and I have a big vacation trip coming up, and this visit to New York City might be thought of as part of it. On November 25, we will be flying to Copenhagen, Denmark, which will be the first stop on a two-city European vacation prior to our cruise from Barcelona to Miami. Our flight to Denmark leaves from Newark International, so Fred and I are going to take the opportunity to fly to New York the day before and, on the 25th before we leave, visit with my aunt Natalie DiFalco and also pick up Greg in New York City (he will have already flown there).

Since this first day of our trip is not actually part of the vacation, I'll describe it separately on this album page, and on the next page (reachable via the links at the top and bottom of this page) we'll begin the photo album for the vacation/cruise itself.


 

Flying to New York City/Driving to Long Island

Part of the arrangements for the trip required that Fred and I get ourselves to Newark International Airport in time for the 6PM departure of our SAS flight to Copenhagen on November 25th. I decided to use airline miles for the flight to Newark and for the flight home from Fort Lauderdale, but there were no flights available to Newark on the 25th. That's when I thought we might just as well leave the night before and spend some time on the 25th visiting my aunt on Long Island and also seeing a bit of New York City.

Steve and Mario took us to the airport Monday evening. We had dinner at Chili's out by the airport, and they dropped us off in plenty of time for our early evening flight. We arrived at La Guardia airport about eleven in the evening, picked up a rental car, and drove to our hotel near my aunt's house.


When we picked up our rental car, we just drove east on I-495, which becomes the Long Island Expressway, and we got off at the town of Huntington to head north to the Jericho Turnpike and our hotel.

We stayed at a small motel called the Huntington Inn. It was OK, although the room was a bit odd in that the tub/jacuzzi was in the room rather than in the bathroom. I'd not seen that arrangement before!


 

Visiting Aunt Natalie and Uncle Sal


I'd made arrangements with my Aunt Natalie to come visit her around nine-thirty in the morning. Getting to her house, which I have not been to in over twenty years, just involved going south on the big street near our hotel until we got to Farmingdale, and then turning west to find her development.

Once I got to Nancy Drive, I remembered what the house looked like. My aunt and uncle and one of their sons, Mike, were home to greet us.


Both my uncle and aunt are retired; my uncle was in the printing business in Manhattan, and he doesn't miss the daily commute on the train. Their son, Mike, works with local hospitals and treatment centers in drug and alcohol rehabilitation and support. He's a sponsor for a number of individuals seeking to eliminate a dependency; this is important work, but it is sad that there is no shortage of it to be done.

My aunt had a simple breakfast all laid out, so we sat down to eat and talk. Since I have not seen them in so long, there was a lot of catching up to do. When we were done, Sal took Fred and I downstairs to see his art studio and some of the paintings he has done. He makes no bones about being an amateur, but I thought his drawings, pastels and paintings to be a step above that. He has done very many of them, sold a few, and given quite a few to friends. But he does it for the enjoyment and relaxation of it- not as a business. Here is Sal and some of his artwork.

When Natalie had put stuff away, she joined us downstairs, and we had a chance to learn more about what's been happening in their lives and with their children in the many years since I was last here. Of course, one of the topics we covered was my Mom's (Natalie's sister) death, and I tried to describe how my Mom had been since Natalie last saw her and talked with her. I wanted to capture by aunt and uncle on film (pictures never seeming to be quite enough somehow) and so I made a film of them in which I encouraged them to talk directly to their niece Judy (my sister). You can watch the resulting movie using the player below:

My Aunt and Uncle

 

Towards the end of our visit, I asked Mike and Natalie and Sal to have a seat in their living room so I could snap a couple of pictures for my album. One of them is the inset picture above, and you can see the other, similar, picture of Mike, Natalie and Sal here.

All too soon our visit had to come to an end, since we had to allow time to drive into Manhattan, pick up Greg, and get to Newark airport 90 minutes before our flight. It was a pleasant visit, and I hope to be able to see them again in 2009 or 2010.


 

Picking Up Greg in Manhattan


We got back to I-495 from my aunt's house, and then headed west towards the city. We took some pictures and movies as we approached Manhattan, but it was raining and the skies were cloudy, so none of them were worth including here. However, as we approached the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, Fred, who had his camera out the whole time and was snapping away, took this picture just as we entered the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.

I've been through this tunnel (and through the other New York tunnels and on the various bridges) innumerable times in the forty years that I'd been traveling for business. I can't count the number of times I've come to New York City or its environs since the first time in 1974. But I've become very familiar with the area, and most times don't need a map to find my way around. Coming through this and the other tunnels into Manhattan is always interesting, and on our way into the city, I did take a movie of our progress through the tunnel. I'll admit its a one-minute movie of not much but the tunnel going by, but I did capture our exit from the tunnel on the island.

 

As soon as you come out of the tunnel, there are some very familiar signs directing you to various parts of the island. We are planning on heading pretty much directly across town to 8th Avenue, the street that Greg's hotel is on. As you can see from the map I've included, our progress was not quite the direct route I'd planned in my head. I had to negotiate around some stalled traffic, and when we got to 8th Avenue we happened to be at a "no turns" intersection, so I had to go over to 10th (the avenues alternate one-way north or south, and 8th is one-way north) go north a ways, double back on 9th and finally head back north again on 8th to arrive at the front of Greg's hotel.

On our circuitous route over to Greg's hotel, Fred took a number of pictures out the car window. Most of them were fuzzy because we were moving, but some turned out fine, and I thought I'd include a selection of them here (with some labels for the ones I can identify). If you will click on the thumbnail images below, you can look at some of the pictures that Fred took:



We picked up Greg at his hotel about two, and since we had a bit of time, we drove north along 8th Avenue to the park, and then up the west side a ways. Then we cut across Central Park on one of the park roads, and turned south on Fifth Avenue. We took that all the way south to the intersection with Broadway, and then followed Broadway all the way south to the financial district. At Canal Street, we headed west to the newly-rebuilt West Side Drive and turned north. Then we followed the signs for the Lincoln Tunnel.

Again, along this part of our drive, Fred took some more illustrative pictures out the car window, including a very nice one of the Empire State Building. Again, I have included some of the best of these pictures here. I've tried to label the ones I recognize, but since I was driving, I have little idea just where we were when some of them were taken. In any event, you can click on the thumbnail images below to view these pictures:



The Lincoln Tunnel took us over to New Jersey and on to the New Jersey Turnpike. This we took south a few exits until we came to the exit for Newark International Airport.We filled the car with gas on Route 1/9 south of the airport, and then doubled back to enter the airport and drop off the car at the rental station.

From there, we took the monorail over to the main terminal. I made a movie while we were on the monorail.

 

So, this was actually the beginning of our winter vacation and cruise, so I'll save a description of the flight for the first page of description for that trip.


You can use the links below to move elsewhere through the photograph album.


November 25 - December 15, 2008: Europe and Barcelona-Miami Cruise
November 23, 2008: A Visit With Chris Young in Sherman
Return to Index for 2008