Category Archives: MywalkinManhattan Experiences

Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Five Unloading, Tagging and Selling Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Christmas Tree Sale November 25th, 2022

Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association members at the Christmas Tree set up November 25th, 2022

Christmas is here!

At 8:00am (actually 7:45am), the truck from Canada arrived in Hasbrouck Heights to deliver the 400 Christmas trees we ordered for the Annual Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Christmas Tree Sale starting the day after Thanksgiving.

The truck arrived early

I was in the middle of eating breakfast when I got the text that the truck arrived a half hour early (after being over an hour late the previous year) and gobbled down my meal and rushed over to help onload trees. Most of the other guys must have done the same as we all trickled in as a small group of us started the take the trees off one by one.

Our President, Steve Palladino, helping onload the trees

One by one we unloaded all 400 trees

The previous weekend (when I was at the Cornell vs Columbia game), the members of the Men’s Association set the Christmas Tree Stand up so that it was ready for delivery this weekend. On top of set up, the guys also had to rebuild part of the shed that we do business in. I think we can another year out of it.

The stands we have been using for years

Keeping every section organized

Each tree as it was unloaded had to be counted, sorted, organized by pile, and then placed on the racks by size, type (Balsam or Frazier), price point and then had to be tagged for sale. We have had the same routine for over twenty years so we are pretty organized. We work in teams with our more seasoned members keeping things organized.

Our Treasurer, Lou Verdi, keeping the piles and racks organized

Tagging and sorting the trees takes time. Thank God it was 55 degrees today

All the Christmas unloaded, organized and ready for selling

We got the racks filled with some of the beautiful and nicely smelling trees. Each tree had to tagged according to its tree type and size and then double checked again. We managed to empty the truck by 9:00am and tagged most of the trees by 10:00am. We had our first two customers by 10:30am and sold two trees before we were even finished unloading and tagging. This broke last year’s record of 11:00am.

The Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Christmas Tree stand ready for business

The truck left by 9:15am for its next stop with us having taken the trees off the truck in an hour. Talk about team work!

The truck left on time

After we got the lot organized, sorted, tagged and priced, most of the guys left for the morning ready to arrive on their next shift while a group of us stayed back to make sure that everything was done. There are always a lot of last minute things to do. The press arrived to take pictures of the lot and then we took our annual group shot for the organization.

The men of the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association proudly opening the sale in November of 2022

We are at the lot on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Terrace Avenue in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ until the last tree sells. Last year, we finished the sale in eleven days. We are hoping for just as good of a sale this year as well.

Last year, we gave over $16,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ.

The Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association open for business on November 25th, 2022 at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Terrace Avenue in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ.

The commercial that I shot for the Christmas Tree Sale in 2015. It must be working as we are getting more people from Manhattan and Brooklyn.

These clips are from the brillant independent film on Christmas Tree selling and relationships from 2015 “Christmas, Again”:

The trailer for the film “Christmas Again”:

The Director talking about the film “Christmas, Again”

Listening to Taylor Swift when selling Christmas Trees:

Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Four Attending the Cornell vs Columbia Football game and then the Sy Katz Parade to the Cornell Club “Hail, All Hail, Cornell” November 19th, 2022

Do you know how horrible it is to lose to Columbia University in football? It’s when you lose to them by over twenty points. Both of our teams were 5-4 and the team that won not only won the Empire State Award (big deal) but had a winning record. I knew that we were in trouble when we fell behind 21-0.

Getting ready for the game

It was finally jubilant when we scored a touchdown and then it was 21-7. It was just meant to be as we fell behind again and again. The worst was toward the end of the game when we were at 38-22 and we kicked an onside kick. That is always a big mistake because it always ends with the other team getting a touchdown. Columbia got a touchdown immediately and the final score was 45-22. That was embarrassing.

The end of the game Columbia 45-Cornell 22 not our best game

It had been a nice afternoon in the stadium with clear blue skies and the weather was cool and crisp at between 48 to 50 degrees. I could not believe the crowd of alumni at the game. Even though Columbia is considered our rival I never took it much as a rivalry.

Cornell Alumni filling the stands at Columbia; we always outnumber them

Both of our teams in all the years that I have been coming to the game have not been that good. It’s just nice to go to a game and cheer someone on. It amazes me how every year no matter who wins we have more people in the stands than Columbia does.

It was beautiful in the stadium as long as the sun was out (then we got cold as darkness came)

Preparing to enter the stadium with great hopes of a blowout against Columbia

We came out so enthusiastic and ready to play ball, but it just did not look good when we could not score on the first play. We just did not look like we have a game plan. Then Columbia just kept scoring on us.

The start of the game

Even at half time, our band could not play on the field because one of the alumni said that they had a hazing problem at the Columbia band (which is so small I do not know what type of problems that they could have) and they banned them from campus. Then they banned other Ivy League teams from playing on their field as well. Let me put it this way, it was not the most exciting game. If it had not been for the group of alumni behind me cracking jokes and having fun, I would have been bored. The game became subdued when they left at the beginning of fourth quarter.

Going in for our first touchdown Columbia 21-Cornell 7

What also got to me was that it got dark in the stadium early. By the end of third quarter, the sun really moved across the sky, and it not only got dark, but it started to get cold in the stadium as well. For most of the game, it was clear, sunny and crisp and was pleasant in the stadium.

Going in for our third touchdown Columbia 38-Cornell 22

Then I noticed how fast the sun was moving in the sky and you could feel the evening chill. It must have dropped fifteen degrees by the time we left the stadium at the end of the game.

The last play of the game

After the game was over, I headed down to the Cornell Club on West 44th Street for the Annual Sy Katz Parade. In previous years, I had seen complete subway cars filled with alumni leaving the game. This time around there were only a handful of us on the Number One downtown. I thought that was strange.

Our teams are civil even after a loss

When I got to Rockefeller Center where the parade traditionally begins there was no one there. The two couples I came downtown with were there but then they disappeared. After waiting for about a half hour, I headed down to the Cornell Club on East 44th Street to see what was going on.

The end of the game

When I got to the club, I found out that they had to change the route of the parade due to permit problems and we started in front of One Vanderbilt Avenue between Grand Central Terminal and the office building in the plaza. It was funny to hear that somehow the two busses of band members and alumni heading back to campus got lost somewhere in New Jersey and had to head back into Manhattan. So, the rest of the alumni had to wait in Vanderbilt Plaza in the cold until they arrived about a half hour later. Then the fun began.

Preparing for the Sy Katz Parade in Vanderbilt plaza on Vanderbilt Avenue outside Grand Central Terminal

The Cornell Marching Band really got everyone revved up and the Cornell Cheerleaders and Dance Team really got everyone in the spirit (even though we got our asses kicked earlier in the day) and we had a good time as we made our way up Vanderbilt Avenue. We ended at the entrance of the Cornell Club on East 44th Street.

The Cornell Marching Band preparing for the parade from Vanderbilt Avenue

Cornell Alumni marching in the parade

Alumni marching to the Cornell Club where the pep rally is held every other year

The Band played all the school fight songs, the Alumna Mater and then traditional fight songs from the games. Since I was not an undergraduate at Cornell (I went for the PDP Graduate Program), I never learned the songs. I have to watch the YouTube videos on “On the Shores of Lake Cayuga” to learn the words. It has taken years to perfect it. Not like the Spartan songs from Michigan State (we were also having a bad football year) and I will do not know all the words to “MSU Shadows”.

Cornell School Song

‘Give my Regards to Davey’ (I never got this song)

The alumni were all excited and joined in the singing of the songs, watching the band hold their own traditions with marches and songs and then Sy Katz’s daughter, Alice, gave a speech in front of the club to wish everyone well. Her and her family were so happy that so many people came out to the parade. She and her family greeted the crowd so warmly that the alumni cheered her on as well. It was a nice crowd of enthusiastic people who sang and cheered.

Alice Katz welcoming the crowds at the Cornell Club on East 44th Street

Someone shot this at the parade in 2022

The Parade in 2018 pre-COVID

Our mascot also sang and danced at the parade

After the parade was over and most of the Alumni left for the evening, I joined everyone else in the Cayuga Room for a post-Alumni Tailgate dinner. It was really nice but I have to admit that the food tasted like it had been sitting for a bit.

The Hot Chicken Wings and the fresh salads were the best part of the tailgate

The Hamburger Sliders were hard and the buns crunched when you bit into them. The Chicken Fingers were good but tepid. The rest of the food was wonderful. They had two green salads, a Chili Bar with sides, a Meatball dish with a sweet sauce, a vegetarian sandwich and the best were the Hot Chicken Wings which were the best I have tasted in a while. We ended up going through two trays of those while I was in the room eating.

The sliders had been under the heat lamp or the warmer too long

For dessert, they had assorted cookies and brownies with tea, coffee and hot chocolate which was perfect when I was trying to warm up after it being so cool outside.

The desserts at the club are always wonderful

As I talked with other Alumni, I was amazed that I was the only one at my side of the table who went to the game. Everyone else had come in for the parade and tailgate. The one thing everyone said to me at the table when I discussed us getting our asses kicked was “You went to the Game?” I then replied, “Didn’t you?” and it was the same answer, “No, I do not go to that.” I took it as the alumni that went to the game were not the same ones that went to the parade. Oh well!

I had a wonderful time and it was so nice to have this event since the last time in 2018. So it will be until 2024 the next time I go again. I could not believe that I have been coming to this for over a decade.

I’m the dedicated Alumni! Go Red!!!!!

My Life as a Fireman: The Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association: The Annual Breakfast Meeting at the Wyckoff Fire Department November 20th, 2022

Thank you to the Wyckoff Fire Department Company One for hosting us again for breakfast. We look forward to this every year. Thank you fellow brothers!

The Members of the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association at the Wyckoff Fire Department Company One breakfast.

The delicious breakfast cooked by our hosts for us that morning.

Members of the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association digging in for breakfast

Thank you to our Brothers at the Wyckoff Fire Department Company One for hosting us again!

The Bergen County Firemen's Home Association

The members of the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association at their Annual Breakfast Meeting at the Wyckoff Fire House in Wyckoff, NJ.

The members of the Bergen County Firemen’s Home met for their Annual Breakfast Meeting at the Wyckoff Fire Department in Wyckoff, NJ on November 2oth, 2022. After our flag salute and Fireman’s Prayer, we sat down to true tradition in the fire service, a fireman’s breakfast.

A Fire Department breakfast is the best way to start the day

The members of the Wyckoff Fire Department very generously cooked a wonderful breakfast for our members that included scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, steak, hash browns and rolls.

Members digging in for breakfast at the Wyckoff Fire House

Members of the BCFHA wives took time to bake for us as well. We had a selection of cakes and muffins to enjoy during and after the meeting. Our host’s wife always makes…

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Pinesgrove-Woodstown Historical Society 42 North Main Street Woodstown, NJ 08098

Don’t miss this little gem of a historical society in Downtown Woodstown, NJ.

The Samuel Dickeson House is home to the Pinesgrove-Woodstown Historical Society at 42 North Main Street in Woodstown, NJ.

The Research Library

Visiting a Museum: The Unique, Unusual, Obscure and Historical

Pinesgrove-Woodstown Historical Society

42 North Main Street

Woodstown, NJ. 08098

(856) 769-1886

https://www.facebook.com/people/Pilesgrove-Woodstown-Historical-Society-Museum/100057781264630/?ref=py_c

Open: Sunday-Friday Closed/Saturday 10:00am-1:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

The Mission of the Pilesgrove-Woodstown Historical Society:

To preserve and advance interest in and awareness of the history and heritage of the Borough of Woodstown and Pilesgrove Township by properly procuring, preserving and maintaining the art, artifacts and documents that relate to the cultural, archaeological, civil, literary, genealogical and ecclesiastical history of the local community. We welcome researchers and provide them with any available material.

On the site is the 1840’s one room schoolhouse that was moved from Eldridge’s Hill in the 1970’s and is open for touring during museum hours. The organization hosts quarterly presentations and participates with the Candlelight Tour on the first Friday of December.

Touring the house is a wonderful experience and I got an excellent tour from a member of the Board of…

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Day Two Hundred and Fifty-The Second Annual Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Halloween House Decorating Contest October 30th, 2022

Haunted Hasbrouck Heights returns with the Second Annual Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Halloween Decorated House Contest 2022

It was a series of long drives around town, late nights looking at spooky lights, figures of fright and things that go bump in the night but the members of the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Halloween Decorating Contest made a decision who had the best decorated house and downtown business in Hasbrouck Heights.

Decorations at 85 Woodside Avenue

Like last year the decision was tough but we chose 85 Woodside Avenue, the home of Matt and Lisa Fiduccia, last year’s runners up. The house was decorated to the hilt with ghosts, ghouls and figures that frightened the passersby. “We learned more from last year,” Matt Fiduccia said when they found out they won this year’s contest. “We added more to it.”

85 Woodside Avenue in Hasbrouck Heights Halloween 2022-Winner

The zombies and ghouls of 85 Woodside Avenue

The committee liked the theme of the property, the organization of the props and decorations of the doorway and the lighting of the house the night before Halloween which really showcased their creativity. The family was really excited about winning this year and the whole Fiduccia family joined Chairman Justin Watrel and Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association President Steve Palladino for the presentation of the plaque and official sign from the organization declaring them winner. It was an award well deserved.

Chairman Justin Watrel with the Fiduccia family at 85 Woodside Avenue

Winners Matt and Lisa Fiduccia with their children and the official sign from the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association

It was a tough decision to make this year as last year’s winner, Scott Vicario and runners up last year Frank and Mary Rose Blunda also created wonderful displays that would dazzle and delight trick or treaters the next night for Halloween.

253 Henry Street-The Runner-up this year

This is the second year Scott Vicario created a moving cemetery and ghoul fest all over his front lawn starting with a possessed woman climbing a tree outside the property and a variety of ghouls and zombies climbing popping and walking around the yard. “I keep finding new things to add to the display,” Scott told the committee when he was presented his award. “I look for professionally made displays.” Mr. Vicario who lives at 253 Henry Street said he “has more planned for next year” to win the award back.

Last year’s winner, Scott Vicario, was runner up this year

Some of the decorations were truly frightening

Ghosts and ghouls at 253 Henry Street

Scott Varicario in front of 253 Henry Street

253 Henry Street was full of zombies and ghosts

The other runners up last year, Frank and Mary Rose Blunda, keep creating frightening but friendly displays that dazzle their Halloween visitors. Trick or Treaters keep coming back for the displays of vampires and pumpkin headed beasts.

510 Henry Street

“We really love Halloween and we do this for the kids,” Frank Blunda said. “The families get such a kick out of visiting our house every year.” The Blunda’s love that families take a special trip to see their home.

The Ghosts, Ghouls and Pumpkin Heads of 510 Henry Street

Mary Rose and Frank Blunda of 510 Henry Street were runners-up again this year

Chairman Justin Watrel with Mary Rose and Frank Blunda at 510 Henry Street

The House Decorating Committee added a Merchant Division this year and we were dazzled by Heights Flower Shoppe, who always displays their holiday merchandise so nicely. Ray Vorisek, the owner of Heights Flower Shoppe was very thankful to the committee for the award. “We always like decorating the store to the hilt for the holidays.

Heights Flower Shoppe at 209 Boulevard in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

People come from all over to visit us.” Both inside and outside, the store was full of all sorts of merchandise to decorate the house and for creative Halloween parties. Ghosts and witches flowed all over the store.

The decorations of the windows at Heights Flower Shoppe

With winner and owner, Ray Virosek

Chairman Justin Watrel with owner Ray Viroske outside the store with the official Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association sign

The Runner-up was Spindler’s Bakery, owned by Bob and Ginny Spindler, whose family business has been in Hasbrouck Heights for over fifty years.

Spindler’s Bake Shop at 247 Boulevard was this year’s runner up

“We have a creative team that works together here,” Mrs. Spindler said as she accepted her framed award. “It is a team effort that got the store ready for the holiday.” Spindler’s Bakery not only decorated the windows with pumpkins and bears ready for Trick or Treating but the store had all sorts of delicious looking decorated pastries and cookies, perfect for any Halloween Party.

The inside of Spindler’s Bake Shop with decorations and Halloween treats

Chairman Justin Watrel with runner-up winner, Ginny Spindler and her co-worker

We also wanted to mention the Honorary mentions, whose decorated home made the first and second round cut of the contest and we wish you luck next year. These are 110 Central Avenue, 458 Jefferson Avenue, 415 Madison Avenue, 115 Ottawa Avenue and 310 Bell Avenue. Good luck and have a wonderful and safe holiday season from the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association.

Honorary Mentions:

110 Central Avenue

458 Jefferson Avenue

458 Jefferson Avenue

115 Ottawa Avenue

115 Ottawa Avenue

310 Bell Avenue

310 Bell Avenue

415 Madison Avenue

We will see everyone when Santa arrives when we start Christmas Tree sales the day after Thanksgiving. We sell out fast!

The link to the article on Tapinto:

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/hasbrouck-heights-slash-wood-ridge-slash-teterboro/sections/in-the-community/articles/the-hasbrouck-heights-men-s-association-s-halloween-decorating-contest-returns-for-2022

Fotografiska Museum 281 Park Avenue South New York, NY 10010

Don’t miss this engaging museum that shows it’s patrons a different perspective on museum going.

The Fotografiska at 281 Park Avenue South

Warhol inspired art by artist David LaChapelle

Visiting a Museum: The Unique, Unusual, Obscure and Historical

Fotografiska Museum

281 Park Avenue South

New York, NY 10010

(201) 433-3686

https://www.fotografiska.com/nyc/

https://www.facebook.com/FotografiskaNY/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fotografiska_New_York

Open: Sunday-Saturday 9:00am-9:00pm

Admission: Adults $30.00/Senior-Student-Veteran $20.00/Children under 6 Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d19786381-Reviews-Fotografiska_New_York-New_York_City_New_York.html

The Fotografiska Museum at 281 Park Avenue South

I am taking a class in Trends in Tourism for my graduation program in Global Hospitality Management and this included a recent trip to the Fotografiska Museum at 281 Park Avenue South. We had a meeting with a member of the Marketing Team at the museum and he explained how the museum functioned and the direction that they want to go to promote the museum.

After the talk, we were able to tour the museum. The exhibition that we saw as a class at NYU for my graduate program was the David LaChapelle exhibition. This was a unique blend of art with works in many different forms and ideas. The artist was…

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Day Two Hundred and Forty-Nine: This is dedicated to my father, Warren Watrel October 14th, 2022

I dedicate this blog to the man who inspired this walk around Manhattan and beyond. Whose sense of adventure and love of New York City always showed with each trip we made into New York City.

I love you Dad!

(My father and I at the Union Square Café Restaurant in 2009).

Hudock’s Custard Stand 544 Salem Quinton Road Salem, NJ 08079

For a step back in time to a slower time and relaxing during the summer, Hudock’s Custard Stand is for you.

Going to Hudock’s is a step back in time to long warm summers and enjoying nature that surrounds us.

The hamburgers and fries are amazing! Especially when dining outside on the picnic tables.

Hudock’s Custard Stand menu in 2022-Their prices are so reasonable for their customers. It’s nice to see a restaurant be fair with their prices in this economy. Kudos to them!

Dining on a Shoestring in the New York City area

Hudock’s Custard Stand

544 Salem Quinton Road

Salem, NJ 08079

(856) 935-5224

https://www.facebook.com/people/Hudocks-Custard-Stand/100064101820444/

https://www.menupix.com/menudirectory/menu.php?id=3000080

Open: (Seasonal) Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-10:00pm (will close in October)

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46799-d5555493-Reviews-Hudock_s_Frozen_Custard_Stand-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I love this classic little Jersey food stand! Talk about character!

The one thing about Hudock’s Custard Stand is that it is a piece of New Jersey nostalgia to a time when things were just a little slower and when you visit, they still are. When people come here to dine, there is not a cellphone in site and people sit in the chairs or at the picnic tables and just talk to one another. Or admire the beautiful views of the surrounding farms. On a warm sunny day, there is nothing like a cup of ice cream or a footlong hot dog to make you forget your troubles.

Where you order food at Hudock’s

Hudock’s keeps things simple and friendly when you…

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Dennis Township Old School House Museum 681 Petersburg Road Woodbine, NJ 08270

Don’t miss this charming little museum in Woodbine, NJ with its look into a small farming community over the last 300 years.

The Dennis Township Old School House Museum at 681 Petersburg Road in downtown Woodbine, NJ

Visiting a Museum: The Unique, Unusual, Obscure and Historical

Dennis Township Old School House Museum

681 Petersburg Road

Woodbine, NJ 08270

(609) 861-1899

http://www.dennismuseumfriends.org/

https://www.facebook.com/people/Friends-of-dennis-township-old-school-house-museum/100066513017935/

Open: Every First and Third Saturday of the Month (Please check with the website on weather conditions)

Admission: Free but donations accepted

My review on TripAdvisor:

I have been wanting this charming little museum for several months. This is one of the featured historical museums in Southern New Jersey. The museum is representing the local farming and manufacturing industries as well as life in a farming community at the turn of the last century.

The museum was started in 1994 in a partnership with the town of Woodbine, NJ and houses the history of Dennis Township. It is an all-volunteer museum, and the docents were really helpful describing all the displays that surround this small former schoolhouse. Their Friends of the Dennis Township Museum group does a nice job walking you around the museum…

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My Life as a Fireman: The Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association: August Meeting & Barbecue August 21st. 2022

It was a wonderful day for a barbecue and the members of the NJ State Firemen’s Home had a wonderful time.

The members of the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association at the NJ State Firemen’s Home.

The Bergen County Firemen's Home Association

The Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association sponsors two barbecues at the NJ State Firemen’s Home in July and August

It was a spectacular day for a barbecue!

After having to cancel our June Barbecue because of bad weather (there was a rain storm all day on our date in June), we lucked out on our first barbecue on July 10th, when we had the most spectacular sunny and warm day with no humidity. It was the same for our second barbecue on August 21st. Clear sunny skies and low 80-degree weather had the residents of the NJ State Firemen’s Home coming out in droves to enjoy good music and delicious food.

The August barbecue was especially special. The crowd included a large contingent from the Maywood Fire Department to help celebrate the 99th birthday of Maywood’s own George Steger, a guest at the firemen’s home…

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