Monthly Archives: October 2015

Day Twenty: ‘Celebrating Books’-The 150th Anniversary of the novel “Alice in Wonderland” with invited guest, Miss New Jersey 2015, Lindsey Giannini, with the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library October 22, 2017.

Alice II

The Executive Board of the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library honoring Miss New Jersey, Lindsey Giannini with an Honorary Membership to the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library.

You have probably wondered why I have not been as active on my walking project. I joined the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library back in early September and immediately started a project (on top of many others) an event called “Celebrating Books: 150th Anniversary of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Below is the press release from the event. Check out our pictures and videos on YouTube shortly. It was a great event that many people including many of us ‘big kids’ enjoyed:

Miss New Jersey 2015 Lindsey Giannini visits Lodi Memorial Library

On October 22, 2015 Miss New Jersey 2015 Miss Lindsey Giannini visited the Lodi Memorial Library in Lodi, New Jersey. Miss Giannini was invited by the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library and the Lodi Memorial Library as part of the special event “Celebrating Books: 150th Anniversary of “Alice in Wonderland” in honoring this classic novel.

alice-wonderland-08

Miss Giannini read an excerpt from the first chapter of the novel as Alice discovers the white rabbit and chases him down the rabbit hole. This was followed by a Question & Answer discussion on the novel by Lewis Carroll with the audience made up of many elementary and junior high students from Lodi. Miss Giannini discussed her love of the novel as a child and the influence it had on her growing up. She then engaged the crowd on how she became Miss New Jersey and her path to the Miss America competition this summer. The audience was fascinated on what it took in pageant competition to become Miss New Jersey.

After the Q & A, Miss Giannini asked for participation from the audience on a series of magic tricks (Miss Giannini is an amateur magician) and had the children and the adults performing magic tricks for the audience. She even had one parent participate on the time it takes to get distracted while driving and texting. Even the parents understood after the program how difficult it is to do two things at once.

Alice VIIII

 

Miss Giannini’s platform for the competition is “The Dangers of Distractive Driving” and her participation in advocating in the hearings as part of People Against Distracted Driving became “Nikki’s Law” and was signed by the Governor in 2013. “Nikki’s Law” requires signage and variable message signs to warn against distractive driving. These signs are available in 17 states and 3 countries. Miss Giannini is a Junior at Rowan University with a 3.9 GPA in Broadcast Journalism and has received the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Scholarship, the Rowen University Trustee Scholarship and the President’s Education Award for Academic Excellence. In 2014, she was recognized by the Miss America Organization with a National Community Award. In 2015, she was named “Children’s Miracle Maker” by the Miss New Jersey Organization for being the contestant who raised the most money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, one of her passions.

Alice in Wonderland II

After the Q & A and the magic tricks, Miss Giannini joined the crowd in picture taking with none other than Alice herself joining in with the fun. One of the Lodi teachers joined in the fun by dressing up as Alice to entertain and take photos with the audience. Miss New Jersey was presented with a proclamation from the Borough of Lodi by Deputy Mayor Patricia Ann Licata and an Honorary Membership to the Friends of the Library by President Judy Schroeder. An autograph session followed as the Friends of the Lodi Library sold copies of “Alice in Wonderland: to raise money for the library. Even the Lodi Women’s Tennis Team took a break from their match with Hawthorne High School to join in the fun. After that, everyone joined in a special “Tea Party” with foods from the book including cookies, fresh fruit tarts, freshly sliced fruits (lots of pineapple), fruit juice and water.

Alice III

Refreshments were continued upstairs as the crowd settled in to watch a double feature of the 1903 Silent version of “Alice in Wonderland”, the original film that was set to music. Most of the patrons had never seen a silent film so it was a treat and the second film was Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” starring Katherine Beaumont. It was a wonderland afternoon for those who were there of great food, engaging conversation, enjoyable movie watching and the excitement to meet Miss New Jersey 2015 Lindsey Giannini, who set by example the true meaning of community spirit through service. The Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library and the Lodi Memorial Library want to thank everyone who attended.

Enjoy this two part video of Lindsey’s visit to the Lodi Memorial Library!

Part Two of Lindsey Giannini’s visit to the Lodi Memorial Library.

After Lindsey’s visit, we showed the original 1903 version of “Alice in Wonderland” followed by the Disney version of “Alice in Wonderland”.

 

The Disney version of “Alice in Wonderland”

 

The original 1903 silent version of “Alice in Wonderland”

We got recognition from Web Junction in 2015 for the event through Facebook:

https://www.webjunction.org/news/webjunction/the-social-library-volume-thirtysix.html

Articles on the event from the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library:

http://lodi.bccls.org/friends-of-the-library.html

Lindsey Giannnini, Miss New Jersey 2015, made a wonderful presentation at the Lodi Memorial Library on Thursday, October…

Posted by Lodi Memorial Library, NJ on Thursday, October 22, 2015

 

https://dailyvoice.com/new-jersey/garfield/events/miss-new-jersey-to-read-from-alice-in-wonderland-in-lodi/596197/

http://lodi-nj.org/filestorage/173/2006/2008/3380/3398/2015-10-20-Council-Minutes.pdf

 

https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/499959985/

https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/499944553/

http://www.the-gazette-newspaper.com/images/gazette/jul16.pdf

Day Nineteen: Walking the West Side of Broadway Washington Heights October 19th, 2015

I never realized that walking around Washington Heights would take so long but there is a little secret to the neighborhood. It isn’t flat! I have never walked up and down so many hills. This part of the island reminds you that hills and rock formations still exist on the island of Manhattan. You just don’t see them that much in Midtown.

I started my day just getting into New York City. The buses run so funny in the morning. Then it was a grueling day at the Soup Kitchen that I volunteer at some mornings when I am in the city. Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen was buzzing away today with a chicken curry entrée that had people coming back for thirds and fourths and we did not close until almost 12:40pm. Then it was the trip uptown. It does take a while to get to that part of Manhattan and as usual there were a lot of surprises that awaited.

When you get out of the A Train at 190th Street, the tunnel leading to the street on both sides has the most colorful street art on all the walls. Really take your time to look at the ‘tag’ work. This is now considered an art form in the city (as long as it does not disrupt or damage property) and you really have to look at the fringe neighborhoods, like Red Hook and Bushwick, for the inspirations. This tunnel shows a colorful display of street art that is actually allowed in the station and look to both walls and ceiling for the creative juices of many of these artists. The work is just amazing with colorful symbols and letter adorning the entire tunnel on the way out.

191th Subway Station.jpg

191st Subway Station is ever changing.

My walk today consisted of the entire lengths of the avenues in eastern Washington Heights. I walked the entire lengths of both Audubon Avenue and St. Nicholas Avenue and covered almost all of Amsterdam Avenue having to finally stop at 181 Street because it was getting dark and my feet were killing me. I walked both sides of the avenues from the tip of the neighborhood at 192nd Street to the border of the neighborhood at 155th Street. Needless to say, it was a long trip.

190th Subway

190th Street Subway Station

Audubon Avenue is more residential with many pre-war buildings that are in the middle of renovations or have already been renovation. St. Nicolas Avenue is more commercial with small businesses and street vendors filling up most of the storefronts along the avenue.

My first stop was Esmeraldo Bakery at 538 West 181st Street, a small hole in the wall bakery that offers an array of sweets and hot snacks. I enjoyed a beef and rice croquet, which are well-known in many of the Dominican bakeries I have visited in Washington Heights and a large twisted cinnamon sugar doughnut, which was a messy, sugary delight. For the price of $2.00, this gem of a bakery is a reasonable place to fill up on carbs for the long walk around the neighborhood. The service is super friendly and they speak both English and Spanish. Their selection is really good and take a few extras along the way.

Audubon Avenue offers some beautiful pre-war apartment buildings, many of which like the rest of the neighborhood are in the process of renovation. A lot of this neighborhood is under scaffolding. There are unique brownstones and townhouses to view on the way down the street in between the buildings. Yeshiva University sits in the low 180’s and this area during the day is dominated by college students and professors, who are milling around between classes and a lot of the businesses in the area cater to this population with many nice restaurants and stores. When classes let out in the evening, you are on a very business campus and would not know that you are still in Washington Heights.

Audubon Avenue stops at 165th Street to merge into St. Nicholas Avenue and a very busy shopping area. At the merger of St. Nicholas and Amsterdam Avenues, you walk past the C-Town grocery store to find the Sylvan Terrace, which is 20 identical homes that were once part of the entrance to the Morris-Jumel Mansion, once home to Aaron Burr’s second wife, Eliza Jumel.

Sylvan Terrace was built in 1882 and was once part of the original Old Post Road from New York to Boston. The homes that now surround the street were built by James E. Ray between 1890 and 1902. The architect was influenced by the Queen Anne, Romanesque and Renaissance Revival influences and the homes are built with the Queen Ann style in mind (IloveWashingtonHeights.com).

These homes have been painfully restored back to their true glory and rumored to be going for about a million each. Their uniform painting and beautiful cobblestone streets leading to the mansion seem totally out-of-place with the rest of the neighborhood. So climb the stairs and enjoy the walk down the street. This pathway was once part of the East Post Road that lead to Boston.

Sylvan Terrace and Morris-Jumel Mansion

Sylvan Terrace

At the end of the block is the Morris-Jumel Mansion (see review on TripAdvisor & VisitingaMuseum.com), which was unfortunately closed the day I was there but I got to walk the ground and sit in the mansion’s colorful garden that had yet to give way to the fall season. There was still a bit of summer left in that afternoon and it was nice to enjoy it walking the flowery paths and stone benches. It has a great view of the river and the neighborhood below as this area was once the summer and weekend homes of the wealthy downtown when upper Manhattan was still considered the ‘wilderness’. Another version of this you can see at the Gracie Mansion in the 90’s which I will also see in the future.

morris-jumel mansion

Morris-Jumel Mansion

Take some time to stroll these paths and then walk around the Jumel Terrace Historical District, which is lined with turn of the last century apartment buildings and classic brownstones that are starting to be decorated for Halloween. They have a classic Edith Wharton look to them. This neighborhood is an oasis for the rest of the area and is tucked into this small three block radius. I took some time to really see how everyone had renovated their homes.

Morris-Jumel Historic District

Morris-Jumel Historic District

As you walk out of the Historical district, at 157th Street, you end up in a dead-end street with the picturesque Bushman Steps, a staircase that leads to Edgecombe Avenue and the very edge of High Bridge Park. On a sunny afternoon, this little park offers much refuge to the warm afternoon and a beautiful view to boot. This pocket park really makes the street pop and gives it a feel of ‘Old New York’, lined with trees and flowers.

At the end of 155th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, there is a series of unique brownstones at various stages of renovation. This row of brownstones are in various stages of renovation but like the rest of the area will be highly desirable in the future. These homes really stick out amongst the more modern buildings. My goal to 155th Street was complete as another more modern building is on the other side of 155th Street showing that many changes are happening in this area.

On the way back up St. Nicholas Avenue to the other side of Audubon Avenue, the schools were letting out and students and parents alike to converging to the bakeries and fast food restaurants that line the area. My next stop was at El Manantial Bakery at 325 St. Nicholas Avenue (see review on TripAdvisor) for pastilitos  and a guava empanada. The pastilitos were filled with both chicken and beef and the guava empanada was filled with a guava jelly that all were really good. The pastilitos had just been fried and they had that juicy greasiness that something gets right out of the fryer. Make sure to order the beef ones. You will need a snack by this point. I only spend about $3.25 for two pastilitos, one pastry and a coke. Quite a steal!

The walk up and down St. Nicholas you will see one of the most active shopping districts that will compare to 207th and 181st Streets. So many things can be bought and sold on this avenue. Some of the most interesting street vendors are located between 180th to 187th Streets selling ices, pastilitos, fried pork, fried pastries, dolls, books, household appliances and even Christmas ornaments. People were out in droves when school let out and many children were begging their parents for a snack. This can be a very active Avenue with many interesting restaurants to try in the future. St. Nicholas Avenue buzzed with activity from one end of the avenue to the other, especially as you arrived back at the hospital point by 168th Street. Columbia Presbyterian is taking over all the blocks at this location, changing the demographics and buildings.

My last part of the walk took me up and down the Amsterdam Avenue, which as it gets dark can get quite gloomy with its industrial feel to it. Parts of the it by High Bridge Park both by Fort George Avenue and between 181st and 170th Streets can be pretty, for the most part gentrification has left this part of the neighborhood alone.

By the time I rounded 155th Street and arrived at 181st, it was starting to get dark and my feet and legs were ready to give out. Even the snacks did not help as I started to get hungry and with the dark started to come the fall cold nights. I have a lot more to walk in this neighborhood but just as much to explore.

Places to Visit”

High Bridge Park

Washington Heights, NYC

 

Sylvan Terrace Houses

Washington Heights, NYC

 

Morris-Jumel Mansion & Historic District

65 Jumel Terrace

Washington Heights, NY 10033

(212) 923-8008

http://www.morrisjumel.org/

http://www.morrisjumel.org/briefhistory/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d103500-Reviews-Morris_Jumel_Mansion-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/252

 

Places to Eat:

 

Esmeraldo Bakery

538 West 181 Street

New York, NY  10033

(212) 543-2250

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d5098947-Reviews-Esmeraldo_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

 

El Manantial Bakery

1220 Saint Nichols Avenue

New York, NY  10033

(212) 795-0055

Open: Sunday-Saturday 5:30am-9:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4987781-Reviews-El_Manantial_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Day Eighteen: West Side of Broadway Washington Heights October 9th, 2015

I’m back in Washington Heights again traveling on the West side of Broadway and exploring all the side streets. I started my day walking along the length of 187th Street. I swear I find some great bakeries and restaurants in the neighborhood.

I started with a snack at the Grullon Bakery II at 575 West 187th Street. This local bakery has a wonderful selection of Dominican pastries and meat pies. The pastilitos here are really good. The chicken filling is spiced well and fried crisp. Their cubanos stuffed pastries are wonderful as well. They are similar to the pastilitos but a different dough and a sweeten outside. All of their meat pastries run around $1.00 so it makes a nice travelling snack. Also check out some of their sweetened pastries as well. I have to say one thing, the staff   seemed very amused by me eating there. I figured they don’t see too many customers who are not Dominican.

I was able to walk the whole distance of Wadsworth Avenue before nightfall. Now that the days are getting shorter, its harder to walk the distance before it gets too dark. Wadsworth is lined with many beautiful pre-war apartments but one section that is really nice is by Fairview Avenue with buildings that are shaped by the curvature of the road. Take a good look up and really look at this building. Its design is really unique and the look of the apartments inside must be interesting.

Walking down Fort George Avenue it seemed to me that everyone is obsessed with washing their cars. All up and down the street, everyone was power washing their cars and trucks so be on the look out for streams of water. This is quite a walk up and down the hill passing the upper part of High Bridge Park which is loaded with trash in this part of the park. Even though this part of the park is loaded with interesting rock formation, it isn’t well taken care of and loaded with weeds.

I walked through Gorman Park off Wadsworth Avenue, which is unusual as the park starts on Broadway and you walk up the steps to the sitting area up above. It offers a nice view the surrounding area and the parks on the other side of the island. When you walk up the many flights of stairs, you will notice this park is also filled with weeds. The sitting area at the top of the park offers many benches and just as many nice views.

The park is dedicated to Gertie Amelia Gorman, a real estate investor at the request of her family. It is a nice place to relax after a long day of walking. Her daughter, Gertie Emily Webb gave the City Parks system $25,000 for the establishment of the park and a $50,000 trust to maintain it (NYCParks.com).

Gorman Park II

Gorman Park

I walked the whole length of Wadsworth Avenue and back and then I started the length of St. Nicholas Avenue when night fell. I just walked one side of the road on the way back to the subway station. There is a lot of hustle on the avenue with street vendors hawking their wares and small food vendors selling ices, juices, pastilitos and fresh fruit. The stores that line this section of the block are loaded with life as everyone is rushing around either looking or buying.

For dinner that evening, I stopped at El Malecon Restaurant at 4141 Broadway. I passed the restaurant many times on the walk up and down Broadway and it offers a very interesting menu of Dominican, Caribbean and Spanish dishes. I had their chicken quesadilla there was served with fresh guacamole, which were freshly fried and bursting with flavor and then had the Shrimp with Garlic Sauce with a mound of rice and a side of beans.

The portion sizes are very big so come prepared with a big appetite. The service can be a little rough if you don’t speak Spanish that well but they will try to help you with the menu. The place should not be missed when travelling up this way.On the way back to the subway, I noticed that people are still outside in the cool night air playing dominoes and cards. Even in the cool weather, the island way of life still rings true in this neighborhood and it feels a whole lot safer.

Places to Visit:

High Bridge Park

Washington Heights, NYC

Gorman Park

Washington Heights, NYC

 

Places to Eat:

El Malecon Restaurant

4141 Broadway

New York, NY 10033

(212) 927-3812

http://maleconrestaurants.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d479178-Reviews-El_Malecon_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Grullon Bakery 1#

575 West 187th Street

New York, NY 10033

(212) 740-1190

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d10424741-Reviews-Grullon_1_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905