My Life as a Fireman: Swearing in of the new Chiefs and Officers January 3rd, 2023

I am now in the middle of my eighteen year on the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department.

We have just sworn in the the 2023 Officers for the Department. Time has really flown by. What amazed me is this class of Officers, many of the them being members of the former Engine One Company, have really progressed in the Department over the last few years. It has been fun to see them grow and want to take a more active role in the Department.

I hope the hard work we did years earlier inspired them to move up the ladder in the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department. We wish our fellow Brothers the best of luck in the coming year!

The Officers of the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department 2023

The new Officers are:

Chief Michael Greco

First Assistant Chief Kevin Todd

Second Assistant Chief Christian Fernandez

Captain Miguel Gonzalez

Lieutenant Marc Pagan

Lieutenant Nick Lorenzo

Lieutenant Dan Wixon

Secretary Ed Mucha

Treasurer James Carlin

Our Officers being sworn in:

Chief Michael Greco with his wife and two children

First Assistant Chief Kevin Todd

Second Assistant Chief Christian Fernandez

Our Line Officers:

Captain Miguel Gonzalez, Lieutenant Marc Pagan, Treasurer James Carlin and Secretary Ed Mucha

We wish you all a very safe and healthy year and hope that you lead the Department to another productive year!

Good Luck in 2023!

Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Six Attending the Kingston, NY ‘Snowflake Festival’ and participating in the Rhinebeck, NY ‘Sinterklaas Parade’ and the ‘Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association Christmas Party’ in Boonton, NJ December 2nd-4th, 2022

Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time and something wonderful and fun happens. My weekend up in the Hudson River Valley was like that when I was on a recent business trip. It was restful and I got my mind off school and work. I had to go to the Culinary Institute of America to talk to one of my old chefs for a project I was working on for my Innovations in Tourism class at NYU.

Roth Hall during Christmas time 2022

It was a step back in time for me walking around campus and talking to students in their chef’s gear. It reminded me of when I was attending the CIA and visitors asking me what it was like to be a student there. Roth Hall where I took all my classes was decked out for Christmas which I never experienced when I was on campus because I left campus in October when it was still warm and worked in Hawaii during the holiday season.

The inside entrance of Roth Hall decorated for Christmas

The outside of Roth Hall decked out for Christmas

While on campus, I noticed in the paper that there was going to be a small Christmas celebration in Downtown Kingston, the “Snowflake Festival” from 6:00pm-8:00pm that evening so I thought I would just visit Kingston after I settled in the hotel.

My chef was not available that afternoon but it gave me a chance to walk around the campus and visit parts of campus that I had not visited since pre-COVID. It got to see some of the new buildings and renovations of the old ones. I forgot how beautiful the campus is on the Hudson River.

The campus was quiet because most of the students were in their night classes so the restaurants were preparing for evening dinner shift. Visitors were taking tours of campus so I took time to explore all the restaurants and see what they looked like. It was a step back in time to see that not too much had changed but the course levels and curriculum kept evolving.

The artwork on campus is interesting

After a long tour of the building, I walked around the grounds of the campus. I visited the new Student Center and the Recreation Building to see all the happenings. They now have more clubs than ever and a series of sports teams. We never had those things when I was on campus. I walked through the “Egg”, which is the big cafeteria for the students and then the path outside the building following the Hudson River.

I knew that it was going to be a long day so I stopped for some lunch at the Apple Pie Cafe, which had not opened until I graduated. The Apple Pie Cafe is a Panera type restaurant featuring soups, sandwiches, small entrees and desserts. It is really popular with all the tourists.

The Apple Pie Cafe on the first floor of Roth Hall

I got there near closing time so the menu was limited. I decided on the Mac & Cheese and an Apple Cider donut. Everything was delicious but then I would not have expected anything else. The Mac & Cheese was made of Cheddar, Asiana and Parmesan. It had been sitting so it was firm on the outside but still tender and cheesy on the inside and the flavor was excellent.

The Mac & Cheese is baked until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside

For dessert, I had one the Apple Cider Cake donuts and it was wonderful. The donut was freshly fried and then it was almost poached in a reduction of Apple Cider so the top was firm and the bottom was dipped in the reduction giving the bottom of the donut a sweeter taste.

The Apple Pie Cafe at 1946 Campus Drive on the Culinary Institute of America campus in Hyde Park, NY

https://www.applepiebakerycafe.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60801-d1929618-Reviews-Apple_Pie_Bakery_Cafe-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

The Apple Cider Donuts were excellent

The whole meal was delicious and they let us continue eating after the restaurant was closed. They were just cleaning up the kitchen around us. After I finished that wonderful lunch, I got back to Heinz Plaza as twilight was happening and the sun was receding along the Hudson River. The Christmas trees were lit in the plaza and it looked very festive.

The Christmas Tree in the Courtyard was lit for the evening and the site of the Tree was wonderful.

I went back outside to see the Christmas tree in the courtyard lit. The whole effect was very beautiful.

I left campus that day refreshed after a good lunch and a long walk and wanted to relax at the hotel before I left for Kingston. It was just nice to sink into the bed of the Quality Inn in Hyde Park. The rooms are so comfortable and the beds are soft and firm. I just relaxed in the room for about an hour and just took it easy. It had been a long week of classes at both colleges.

The Courtyard at night

The campus Christmas tree was fully lit when I returned to talk to Chef Zearfoss

I left for Kingston, NY across the river and got to the Stockade section of the City around 6:00pm when things were just starting up. The weather was perfect and it was around 50 degrees when I got there so the streets were really busy with people walking around to hear the bands.

The “Snowflake Festival” in Downtown Kingston, NY

The town had a lot of activities going on that night

I was greeted by this festive sign welcoming people to the festival

Downtown Kingston’s Stockard section was beautifully decorated for the holidays

I got the Stockade neighborhood in the oldest part of Kingston by 6:30pm so people were just starting to arrive when I got there to join in the festivities. The crowds were starting to grow as the evening progressed as it was a crisp but pleasant December evening. It was not too hot and not too cold. It was the perfect 48 degree evening.

People arriving in the Stockage section of the City of Kingston, NY

Snowflakes decorated the whole downtown area

The crowds kept growing through the evening

It was really a fun evening. The City of Kingston had a lot of activities planned all over the downtown and people were walking all over the decorated downtown. All the lights were on all over the streets and the main streets were lined with Christmas lights and snowflakes. The display windows of the business were decorated to the hilt for the holiday season.

Downtown merchant window display

Downtown merchant window display

My favorite window display was a home furnishing store on the main street

The merchants of Kingston really went all out for the holidays

The merchants in Kingston really got into the spirit of it all

I first wondered around the downtown on where to start first and just walked all the streets of the downtown area to see what was going on. My first stop was the Dutch Reformed Church were they were going to have a series of concerts. I had been there many times for Sinterklaas fundraisers in the past but had not been there for this event.

The church was all decked out with garlands and lights for the Christmas holiday season. I love these old churches when they are decorated for the holidays. There is such a beauty to them and so many traditions that they are a part of in the community. This church is in the center of old Kingston and always has such interesting events.

The outside of the Dutch Reformed Church of Kingston at 272 Wall Street was very festive with garland and lights

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48003-d7232701-Reviews-Old_Dutch_Church-Kingston_Catskill_Region_New_York.html

The Christmas Tree looked unusual but elegant

I had been in the church before for Sinterklaas fundraisers but never in the main part of the church where services took place. It is one of those old 19th century churches with the wooden pews, the elaborate stained glass windows and the high pulpit above the congregation.

The church was decorated with lights, bows, holly and garland all over the pews and aisles. It is amazing how secular these churches are getting for the holidays. The concert was a lot of fun and very festive. They not only performed classic hits, contemporary music but also some traditional Christmas songs. It really got everyone in the mood for the holidays.

The concerts were very lively

After visiting the church, I walked around the grounds. It is amazing how short the distance is between Halloween and Christmas but the lines are getting more blurred every year. It seems that time is flying by between the two holidays. I even see some of the Halloween merchandise still sitting on the shelves in stores.

I followed the carolers around the downtown area and took several pictures by the Kingston Christmas tree. Their tree was very impressive this year and beautifully lit for the holidays. Downtown Kingston was very beautiful that evening as I admired all the buildings that were being renovated and all the new stores opening up.

The Downtown Kingston Christmas Tree on Main Street

I walked around the streets and I came to the Kingston Volunteer Firefighters Museum that was open and decorated for the holidays. They even had an antique fire engine in the front of the museum decorated with lights.

The Volunteer Firemen’s Hall and Museum at 265 Fair Street

https://kingstonvolunteerfiremensmuseum.weebly.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48003-d3367598-Reviews-Volunteer_Fireman_s_Hall_Museum_of_Kingston-Kingston_Catskill_Region_New_York.html

The retired firefighters from the former volunteer companies really did a great job dressing the museum up for the event. In the upstairs Chief’s office, there was garland and a Christmas tree.

All the equipment was shined up for the open house and all the firemen were swapping stories with those of us in the fire service who understood what we were talking about. They had some pretty good stories to tell. What I like about visiting this museum is all the antique equipment they have on display.

I love the parade hose beds that the museum has on display. These elaborate pieces are the pride of these fire companies and were out for every parade.

Before I left though, I had the worst (I mean worst) cup of hot chocolate that I ever drank. It tasted like it was cooked in a burnt pot. I had to throw that out and find something else to drink.

After the fire museum, I turned the corner to see the horse drawn carriage rides that were available. I loved the look of the carriage with the horses decked out for the holidays and the driver in a top hat. The only problem was there was one driver and the line even towards the end of the event was fifty deep. I did not know how they were going to get through all those people before it was time to go.

My last visit for the evening was to the Senate House in the historic area of downtown. The lawn and all the trees were lit with Christmas lights and the buildings covered in garland.

The Senate House Complex at 295 Fair Street was beautifully decorated that night

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48003-d3225491-Reviews-Senate_House_State_Historic_Site-Kingston_Catskill_Region_New_York.html

The festive lights on the Senate lawn

The Senate House Museum decorated for Christmas

Here a performer was singing Christmas songs and leading sing a longs while Santa wished everyone well and listened to what everyone wanted for Christmas.

Singer Mark Rust at the Senate House lawn for the Snowflake Festival

The lines to see Santa were also fifty deep as everyone was trying to see Santa before the event ended. I just was a casual observer.

Santa was really busy that night. I don’t know how he handled the crowds

The event winded down rather quickly at 8:00pm and when I started to turn the corners of the downtown again especially on main street, they were starting to pack things up. 8:00pm meant 8:00pm! The strange part was that it looked like all the restaurants were closing at 8:00pm as well. It was as if the whole downtown was rolling up its sleeves. By 8:30pm. the downtown looked like a ghost town.

The Snowflake decorations in Downtown Kingston, NY

Street art in Downtown Kingston, NY by the Christmas tree

I tried to find a place to eat that evening but literally most every place was closed and the only Chinese restaurant that was open did not have a place to sit down so I left Kingston to cross the river again. I knew that Golden Wok in Red Hook was open late so I decided to head to Red Hook, NY for dinner.

Red Hook like the other towns in the Hudson River Valley is so picturesque during the holidays and is one town that is not geared towards tourists as opposed to the local citizens. Their restaurants are reasonable and the town is not overloaded with expensive gift shops like Rhinebeck and Woodstock are in their downtowns. It is also so beautifully decorated with garland and white lights all over the buildings downtown.

Downtown Red Hook, NY was decked out for the holidays

Downtown Red Hook, NY decked out for the holidays

Downtown Red Hook, NY

Annabelle’s Village Bake Shop really decorated to the hilt for Christmas

It was also quiet in Red Hook as well and I was the only one walking around the downtown. I walked around for a bit, admiring the lights and looking over their town Christmas tree which just a few weeks earlier had been a Fall display for Halloween.

Downtown Red Hook, NY Christmas tree

Things move fast in these towns.

I was Golden Wok’s only customer at that time so I ate in at the front table and just watched the traffic go by. The food at the restaurant is just amazing. For a small take out place, they do a wonderful job with their dishes.

Golden Wok at 7479 South Broadway in Red Hook, NY

https://goldenwokredhook.uorder.io/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48473-d821529-Reviews-Golden_Wok-Red_Hook_New_York.html?m=19905

I had the most delicious Roast Pork Lo Mein with Pork Fried Rice and an Egg Roll for dinner. Not only was the food good but the portion sizes were very generous. I just sat back and relaxed and ate realizing that I did not have to be anywhere or race to do anything. That was a nice feeling. It was just nice to eat and admire all the Christmas decorations. The restaurant got a little busier as people saw me eating in the front of the restaurant and I guess figured that it was open and started to come in. They got a bit of a rush after that

.

The Roast Pork Lo Mein and Fried Rice are delicious at Golden Wok

I headed back to my hotel to get some rest. I had to be up the next morning to help with the Sinterklaas Parade. During the Sinterklaas weekend, I always stay at the Quality Inn in Hyde Park, NY which is near the Culinary Institute of America campus. It is the halfway point between all the towns that I visit and not that far from Rhinebeck so it is a quick trip for set up the next morning.

The Quality Inn Hyde Park at 4142 Albany Post Road

https://www.choicehotels.com/new-york/hyde-park/quality-inn-hotels/ny343

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g60801-d590312-Reviews-Quality_Inn_Hyde_Park_Poughkeepsie_North-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

Since we had the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association party for the residents on Sunday morning and afternoon in Boonton, NJ, I arranged to stay for two nights. One top of the loads of homework I had for graduate school, I also was taking pictures for my blogs as well and trying to catch up the visuals on my VisitingaMuseum.com site. I had to get settled into the hotel and ended up staying up until almost one in the morning getting work done for school.

The next morning could not have been more miserable. It was cold and rainy when I got up for the Sinterklaas parade. They said it was going to rain all day and that did not make me happy. I had walked in the Sinterklaas Parade in the past in the rain and it is no fun!

I made a big mistake and got up really early and ate my breakfast early and got to the Starlight Library in Rhinebeck by 8:30am thinking I would be late. I forgot that this is when I used to leave home to get to Rhinebeck. The set up was usually at 10:00am and I forgot. So I sat there making phone calls until 10:30am wondering where everyone was that morning. I was not the only one as another volunteer did the same thing. We both ended up back downtown in Rhinebeck asking what was going on.

I ended up that the parade organizers decided to wait until 11:00am to start setting up. By that point, I was starved again and went to Peter’s Famous for an early lunch and decided to go to opening ceremonies before heading back to the library. It was there I heard that they were setting up at the library by 11:00am. I decided to stay and head up after.

I have been participating and/or attending the Sinterklaas Parade since 2010 when my dad and I went up to Rhinebeck, NY when I was interviewing Jeanne Fleming for an article I was working on for the Soup Kitchen. We loved it so much that we continued to go for years even after my father got sick. We made the best of the whole experience.

Since I was not too sure what was going on, I decided I wanted to see the opening ceremony first so I had a quick lunch at Pete’s Famous in Rhinebeck at 34 East Market Street #1. I was in the mood for one of their club sandwiches and ended up indulging in their homemade Chicken Salad Club Sandwiches ($11.99) with French Fries and a Coke.

Pete’s Famous at 34 East Market Street in Rhinebeck, NY

https://www.petesfamous.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48486-d823142-Reviews-Pete_s_Famous_Restaurant-Rhinebeck_New_York.html?m=19905

Did that sandwich hit the spot and kept me going for the rest of the afternoon. The chicken salad was delicious and the sandwich was so filling. The French Fries really warmed me up on this cool gloomy morning and the service is always so friendly.

The Chicken Salad Club at Pete’s Famous is a ‘must try’ when dining here

After lunch was over, I headed over to the Beekman Arms where in the banquet room they had the opening ceremony for Sinterklaas.

Sinterklaas Director and founder Jeanne Fleming at the opening ceremony

The Mayor of Rhinebeck, NY welcoming everyone to the event

Jeanne Fleming welcoming the Pocket Lady to the event

Jeanne Fleming welcoming Mother Holly and her story book to the event

Jeanne Fleming welcoming the evil “Gadfly” to the event

The Grove of Trees of the magic forest

The musical polar bear enters the room to bring cheer to the crowd

The meddlesome Gadfly jealous of the polar bear

Hansel and Gretel close the ceremony with a song

The Opening Ceremony was about an hour long and we got to meet all the characters of Sinterklaas. There was the Pocket Lady who shares a gift with all the good little children from her series of pockets, Mother Holly (who is always feeling jolly), the Queen Bee (Oh!), the Dancing Musical Polar Bear and the evil Gadfly. The Mayor of Rhinebeck, NY welcomed everyone to the annual event and wished everyone a happy and safe holiday season.

The Polar Bear danced down the aisle high fiving everyone much to the Gadfly’s dismay and he started to kvetch about it. Only when he was shushed by the crowd did he calm down. Then the dancing trees took their place on stage to be followed by a song by Hansel and Gretel, who closed the ceremony with a lively song. Everyone was wished a Happy Sinterklaas and some people stayed to listen to storyteller Jonathan Kruk tell the story of Sinterklaas while I went out to enjoy the festivities.

When I got outside the Beekman Arms, I saw the first musical group performing on the lawn of the Beekman Arms. I stopped for a bit to watch them perform and then I rushed to the library to see if there was anything left to do for the parade. When I got there, the last touches were being put on the puppets for the parade and there was not much left to do. The weather started to clear so it looked like the parade was on for later that evening.

The first group was performing on the lawn of the Beekman Arms

I looked over all the puppets like they were close friends seeing these puppets over the years and watching them being created by our puppet masters, Alex and Sophia, who have been running this part of the parade for years. Their ingenuity is what creates these masterpieces every year. Everything was wrapped in plastic waiting to see if the rain would clear for the evening (it did and was a clear and starry night).

Mother Holly welcoming children to her story house

With the parade set up wrapped up, I did not have to be back to help until 4:00pm, I decided to head back down the hill and join everyone else in all the celebrations around Rhinebeck. The weather was slowly clearing and I could see some blue peeking out of the clouds.

The Parade under wraps

The Owls awaiting for their parade

Getting ready for the parade

The bees are buzzing for the parade

The Dragon awaits opening

The stars are kept under wraps

When I left the library, the weather report said it was going to clear and when I reached downtown, the blue of the sky was there. More people started to show up for the activities. Not like last year but people were crowding the sidewalks and enjoying the festivities.

I decided to head to the ‘Porcupine Grove’ where a mysterious woman was doing the reading of the porcupine. It was an unusual home and place to visit but the creativity of the person who designed it was immense. We were told the story of the Porcupine, the representative of this year’s parade.

The Porcupine Grove ceiling to his home

The porcupine’s mushrooms were our seats for the talk

Here we heard the tail of “The Porcupine” by a wise woman

I was lucky that I got to the porcupines home first because as soon as I exited the line to get in was twenty deep and counting. It looked like I was the first one there with my group of visitors.

After the talk in the porcupine’s home, I walked all over Downtown Rhinebeck as the festivities were starting and decided my next stop would be at the Reformed Church to see the “Into the Light” show that I had not seen in years. The church location had changed and it was now in the Reformed Church Sanctuary. This is where I met up with my ‘cousin’ Marc Schuyler, who was working the door to control crowds. We got to catch up on the Halloween Parade that I was not able to attend because of classes that night at NYU.

Myself and Marc at the Halloween Parade a couple years ago

I had not seen the show in a couple of years and stared at the girl who was performing the lead role. She a little too developed to play the role of a young girl in the play. Come to find out this was the same girl I had seen in the show ten years earlier and she was still playing it.

The Reformed Church on Route 9

“Into the Light” is the story of a young girl’s journey throughout the world searching for the light. It features giant puppets and music. The kids did a nice job on the show.

The “Into the Light” show

The “Into the Light” show at the Reformed Church

The “Into the Light” show

The cast taking their bows

After the “Into the Light” show, I said my goodbyes to Marc and told him I would see him (if I do not have class that night) on October 31st, 2023 for the next Halloween Parade. I was off walking to my next stop, the United Methodist Church to hear the brass bands play. What was ironic was that most of these groups had been at the Dutch Reformed Church the night before in Kingston so I got to hear them perform again.

People were dancing in the aisles at the United Methodist Church to the brass bands

There were also musical groups outside the church as well

As the weather cleared during the afternoon, outside the church got lively.

I was only able to stay for two shows and then I had to head back up to the Starlight Library to help with the set up of the parade route and help get volunteers to where they needed to go. The streets got more lively as the weather got sunnier and clear. There were all sorts of musicians walking around, the Gumpuses were performing before the crowd (many of these guys I have seen over the years), angels on stilts dancing to the bands, our friend, the Polar Bear, was dancing around everyone. It really lively on the Main Street.

The Gumpuses dancing around town

The Polar Bear dances to the musical beat

The Angel’s on stilts lead the magical forest around town

Musical bands played all over the main street

Different bands were playing all over the downtown area as the weather cleared

I walked up to the library after watching all the bands perform and every one was having such a nice time. As the weather got better, the crowds really started to arrive and I guest people figured with the weather getting better and the parade night clearing up, it is a perfect time to come out and see it.

I loved how decorated the town was for the event. Downtown Rhinebeck is one of the most beautiful downtown’s during the Christmas holidays. All the merchants and home owners decorate to the hilt and the whole town is covered in garland, bows, white lights and Christmas decorations that give it a festive appearance and put you in the holiday spirit.

The homes and businesses were beautifully decorated

I always admire this house on my walk back up to the Starlight Library

When I got to the Starlight Library, all the volunteers were preparing for the rest of the parade volunteers to arrive. We got to eat some dinner provided by the Parade committee and then we had to get to work making sure everyone was where they needed to be. People wanted to test out their puppets and walk around. I have never seen an evening zoom by so fast and soon it was time to start the parade and get lined up and ready to go. It is always exciting to take that trip down the hill.

The Angels on stilts were exciting about leading the parade

As darkness came, it was time to light up the puppets and get the parade started. It is the most exciting time of the night as the puppet prepare for the lineup.

The Star Puppets lead the way each year and light the path of the parade

The Christmas Dove in the parade

The serpents leading the way both at the Halloween and Sinterklaas Parades

The Dragon lighting the way

The Bees have been lighting the way for years

The wise old owls enter the parade route

Miss Mouse enters the parade

The Star puppets lead the way down the hill to Downtown Rhinebeck, NY

The Start of the Parade at the Starlight Library. You can see me holding the banner at the end of the parade.

Because of the weather earlier in the morning, we did not have the crowds we had last year and in 2019 but still everyone lined the Main Street on the way to the community parking lot on our way to the Closing Ceremonies. People were so excited when the parade came down the hill. It is quite a event with all the lights and music and puppets dancing around the streets.

I was behind the stars and the dove and had the drummers behind me. I could not hear for most of the parade.

The parade moving down the hill towards downtown

The parade in the heart of Downtown Rhinebeck, NY is really exciting!

The parade slowed down as we entered the Community Parking lot as the puppets were being dropped off and the Closing Ceremony started. By the time I got to the parking lot, everyone had pretty much dropped off their puppets but the Stars and Bees who lingered a bit longer.

Than we started the Closing Ceremonies where all the main characters are introduced one more time before they make their exit from the parade awaiting next year. Everyone was so excited and the stage really breemed with artists having a good time.

The closing ceremony with Sinterklaas and his court of people helping him that day.

The Grumpuses perform their last dance of the day on stage.

The Polar Bear was leading the dance at the end of the parade

Hansel and Gretel singing and dancing at the parade.

The band plays on at the closing ceremonies

The flame throwers performed at the end of the Closing Ceremonies.

The stage after the performances were over. It was really creatively done.

After the Closing ceremonies, I walked around the downtown area and spent time admiring the window displays at the stores and admiring the artwork around the trees. It got very quiet in Downtown Rhinebeck. Within an hour of the parade, you would have never known there was a parade.

The merchants in Downtown Rhinebeck really decorated their stores to the hilt for the holidays

The display windows in Downtown Rhinebeck were amazing

Merchant’s window at Christmas

Merchant’s windows at Christmas

Merchant’s windows at Christmas

The night had cooled down but you could see all the beautiful stars in the sky when the weather cleared and in the background I could hear the saxophonist who always plays at night. The Christmas songs he was playing really put me in the Christmas spirit.

I ended the evening with a couple of slices of pizza at Village Pizza. I can’t tell you how good that pizza tasted at the end of the evening. I was talking with the staff there and they said they were consistent that day but not like the two previous years when they did not sit still. The rain at the beginning of the day put a damper on everything.

Village Pizza at 19 East Market Street in Rhinebeck, NY during Sinterklaas

https://www.facebook.com/RBKVP/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48486-d818463-Reviews-Village_Pizza_of_Rhinebeck-Rhinebeck_New_York.html?m=19905

The pizza is excellent at Village Pizza

After dinner, I walked around Downtown Rhinebeck, which to me outside of Cape May, NJ is one of the beautiful town’s to spend Christmas in. The whole downtown was beautifully decorated and the Christmas tree was amazing.

Downtown Rhinebeck, NY after the Sinterklaas Parade

Downtown Rhinebeck, NY at Christmas time

The Christmas tree in Downtown Rhinebeck, NY

The angels in the alleyway

The angel in the alleyway

I got back to the hotel and went right to bed. I slept so soundly that evening. Between the heat of the room and how comfortable the bed was I got one of the best night’s sleep in a long time. With all the stress of school and having to bring work with me, I just needed this evening to relax.

The view from my room the next day. It was sunny and warmer.

After breakfast the next day, it was off to Boonton, NJ to the New Jersey Firemen’s Home to volunteer for the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Christmas Party. It was the first time in three years we had had the full party with entertainment and dropping off presents. The members had time before the party to socialize with each other and I even got better acquainted with the Firemen’s Home resident dog, Wells.

Our article on the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association website:

https://wordpress.com/post/tbcfha.wordpress.com/631

The Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association Executive Board, Tom Simpson, George Heflich, Justin Watrel, John Kinner.

Vice-President Justin Watrel with resident dog, Wells.

Member Jerry Naylis’s daughter and grandchildren were part of the entertainment again this year and really charmed the residents.

The members of the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association gathered together for our annual membership picture after the party was over.

After the entertainment was over, we handed out our presents to the residents which was a beautiful red fleece jacket with the residents name on it. I could tell that all the residents were touched by the gift and it really meant something to all of them to be remembered at the holidays.

Our Christmas present to the residents

While the entertainment carried on for the next 45 minutes, some of the members stopped for dinner at the Columbia Inn in Montville, NJ and just relaxed. It had been a long day for everyone and a good meal was a nice way to end the day. I had the most wonderful Chicken Rollatini special that really warmed me up on this cool early evening. It was nice to catch up with the other members before the holidays went into full force.

The Columbia Inn at 29 Main Road in Montville, NJ

https://www.thecolumbiainn.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46639-d639843-Reviews-Columbia_Inn_Restaurant-Montville_Morris_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

It had been a long weekend and when I got home, it was getting ready for classes again, finishing my White Page for my Trends in Tourism class, my Metaverse paper for Innovations in Tourism class and our Mapping project for my Data Analytics class. This on top of all the work I had to finish in my own classes at Bergen Community College. It was going to be a long next three weeks before Christmas and both colleges would keep me busy.

Places to stay:

Quality Inn Hyde Park

4142 Albany Post Road

Hyde Park, NY 12538

(845) 407-0936

https://www.choicehotels.com/new-york/hyde-park/quality-inn-hotels/ny343

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g60801-d590312-Reviews-Quality_Inn_Hyde_Park_Poughkeepsie_North-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

Places to Visit:

The Historic Old Dutch Church

272 Wall Street

Kingston, New York  12401

(845) 338-6759

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48003-d7232701-Reviews-Old_Dutch_Church-Kingston_Catskill_Region_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/1710

The Senate House

296 Fair Street

Kingston, NY  12401

(845) 338-2786

http://www.palisadeparksconservancy.org

Home

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-5:00pm/Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm (April 15-October 31). Open by Appointment only (November 1-April 14)

Fee: Adults $4.00/Seniors (62+) $3.00/Children under 12 and under Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48003-d3225491-Reviews-Senate_House_State_Historic_Site-Kingston_Catskill_Region_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/3634

Volunteer Firemen’s Hall & Museum of Kingston

265 Fair Street

Kingston, NY  12402

(831) 331-0866

https://kingstonvolunteerfiremensmuseum.weebly.com/

Open:  The hours vary by the season so please look to the website for the openings. School groups please call for an appointment.

Fee: Free but donations accepted

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48003-d3367598-Reviews-Volunteer_Fireman_s_Hall_Museum_of_Kingston-Kingston_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/3627

Places to Eat:

Apple Pie Bakery Cafe

1946 Campus Drive

Culinary Institute of America

Hyde Park, NY 12538

(845) 908-4500

https://www.applepiebakerycafe.com/

Open: Sunday Closed/Monday-Tuesday 8:00am-4:00pm/Wednesday-Thursday Closed/Friday 8:00am-4:00pm/Saturday Closed

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60801-d1929618-Reviews-Apple_Pie_Bakery_Cafe-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

Golden Wok

7479 South Broadway

Red Hook, NY 12571

(845) 758-6868

https://goldenwokredhook.uorder.io/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-9:30pm/Monday 11:00am-9:30pm/Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Thursday 11:30am-9:30pm/Friday-Saturday 11:00am-10:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48473-d821529-Reviews-Golden_Wok-Red_Hook_New_York.html?m=19905

Pete’s Famous Restaurant

34 East Market Street

Rhinebeck, NY 12572

(845) 876-7271

https://www.petesfamous.com/

Open: Sunday 8:00am-5:00pm/Monday-Saturday 8:00am-8:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48486-d823142-Reviews-Pete_s_Famous_Restaurant-Rhinebeck_New_York.html?m=19905

Village Pizza of Rhinebeck

19 East Market Street

Rhinebeck, NY 12572

(845) 876-9676

https://www.facebook.com/RBKVP/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-9:00pm/Monday-Thursday 11:00am-9:00pm/Friday-Saturday 11:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48486-d818463-Reviews-Village_Pizza_of_Rhinebeck-Rhinebeck_New_York.html?m=19905

Columbia Inn Restaurant

29 Main Road

Montville, NJ 07045

(973) 263-1300

https://www.thecolumbiainn.com/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-8:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Thursday 11:30am-9:00pm/Friday 11:30am-10:00pm/Saturday 12:00pm-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46639-d639843-Reviews-Columbia_Inn_Restaurant-Montville_Morris_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Old Town Hall Museum/Harrison Township Historical Society Inc. P.O. Box 4 Mullica Hill, NJ 08062

Don’t miss the story of rural Southern New Jersey at the Harrison Township Historical Society.

The Old Town Hall Museum in Mullica Hill, NJ

The Harrison Township Historical Society

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

Old Town Hall Museum/Harrison Township Historical Society Inc.

P.O. Box

Mullica Hill, NJ. 08062

(856) 478-4949

https://www.harrisonhistorical.com/

https://m.facebook.com/Harrison-Township-Historical-Society-310499278053/

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday-Friday Closed/Saturday 1:00pm-4:00pm

Admission: Free but a donation would be appreciated.

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46655-d25105321-r866773005-Harrison_Township_Historical_Society-Mullica_Hill_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The Old Town Hall Museum/Harrison County Historical Society

The Harrison Township Historical Society/Old Town Hall Museum

Current Exhibition:

TORNADO 

This new exhibition commemorates the 2021 Hurricane Ida Tornado through first-person narratives, artifacts, video and photography. 

The Mission of the Old Town Hall Museum/Harrison Township Historical Society Inc.:

(from the Museum pamphlet)

Since its founding in 1971, the Harrison Township Historical Society has presented exhibitions, events, programs and publications focusing on the heritage of South Jersey in Mullica Hill’s Old Town Hall that was built in 1871.

The Stone Age in Harrison Township and Living Off the Land: Food, Farms and Families, explore the region’s Paleo-Indian heritage and our local foodway and farming traditions. The…

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Art & Design Gallery at FIT 227 West 27th Street New York City, NY 10001

Don’t miss this exciting new gallery of art featured at the Art & Design Gallery at FIT.

The new “Art & Design Gallery at FIT” offers revolving shows of contemporary art

Interesting artwork from Alumni, Faculty and Contributors from FIT

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

Art & Design Gallery at FIT

227 West 27th Street

New York City, NY 10001

(212) 217-4683/4570

https://www.fitnyc.edu/life-at-fit/campus/gallery/index.php

https://www.fitnyc.edu/academics/academic-divisions/art-and-design/index.php

Open: Sunday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm

Admission: Free Donations Accepted

My review on TripAdvisor:

The entrance to the Art & Design Gallery at FIT at 227 West 27th Street

The exhibition space showcases the work of students, faculty, and distinguished alumni, as well as invited guest artists. This new gallery space is located at the entrance of the Pomerantz main building and the back room exhibition space. This features smallers theme shows and showcases the talents of the FIT professors, professionals and Alumni. The shows are constantly rotating offering a fresh approach to contemporary art.

The Current Exhibition:

Creative Industry:
The Alumni Journey
Lobby and Gallery

Diverse in medium, this exhibition spotlights the career trajectories of several illustrious FIT alumni, highlighting their innovations and interesting journeys through the creative industries. Co-curated by Troy Richards…

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Mesier Homestead & Museum-Wappinger’s Falls Historical Society 2 Spring Street Wappinger’s Falls, NY 12590

Don’t miss the decorated mansion’s of the Hudson River Valley for Christmas.

The Mesier Homestead is located just inside the park adjacent to the downtown

The Mesier Homestead is so beautifully decorated for Christmas

The Mesier Homestead is a combination of Revolutionary And Victorian Decorations

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

The Mesier Homestead & Museum-Wappinger’s Falls Historical Society

2 Spring Street

Wappinger’s Falls, NY 12590

(845) 632-1281

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Check website for special events

Fee: Adult $10.00/Seniors $7.00/Children 7-18 $5.00/Members Free

https://www.wappingershistoricalsociety.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48799-d16919924-Reviews-Mesier_Homestead_and_Museum-Wappingers_Falls_New_York.html?m=19905

The entrance to Mesier Park where the Homestead is located

The plaque outside the home

I visited the Mesier Homestead recently and toured the home with a local docent. Home to four generations of the Mesier family, the house has been added onto since it was built in the mid-1700’s. The rooms are decorated with furnishings from the Victorian era and shows life as it may have been in the late 1880’s at the height of the Victorian era.

The Mesier Homestead in the summer months

The tour of the rooms shows how the home was added onto to meet the increased demands of a growing family and one of increasing affluence. The…

View original post 1,887 more words

My Life as a Fireman: The Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association: December Meeting and Christmas Party December 4th, 2022

It was another successful year for the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association in 2022!

Myself with members of the Executive Board of the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association

Vice-President Justin Watrel with Wells, the NJ Firemen’s Home resident dog. What a lovable guy!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

The Bergen County Firemen's Home Association

It has been a long time since we had a Christmas Party at the NJ State Firemen’s Home and it was nice to be back. We had to follow all COVID protocols and wore masks during our visit to the home.

Let the party begin!

The entertainment room was set for Christmas

We started our day with a get together of the members before the entertainment began. It was nice to just sit back and talk to the other members before the entertainment began. It gave the Executive Board a chance to talk and we took our first group shot since I joined the Board last year. We make a very impressive bunch.

The Executive Board of the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association

I even got a chance to bond with the resident dog of the NJ State Firemen’s Home, Wells, who was a former seeing eye dog that has…

View original post 484 more words

Alexis Bittar Store 125 Greenwich Avenue New York, NY 10014

Don’t miss the beauty and elegance of the Alexis Bittar stores.

The inside of the Alexis Bittar store in Greenwich Village

The elegant window displays at the store.

Little Shop on Main Street

Alexis Bittar Store

125 Greenwich Avenue

New York, NY 10014

(917) 365-5718

https://www.alexisbittar.com/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-6:00pm/Monday-Saturday 11:00am-7:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

There are just some stores that stand out when you walk by them. Whether it is the merchandise in the window, the store displays or just window display itself that draws you inside. This is how the Alexis Bittar store is 125 Greenwich Street in Greenwich Village. It is just so impressive from the elegant displays in the window, the beautiful merchandise in the displays and when you walk in the very personal service and attention you receive. You do not see this much anymore.

Alexis Bittar at 125 Greenwich Avenue

What drew me in initially was the beautiful window displays which are surprisingly hiding under the scaffolding of the building which is being renovated.

The windows at Alexis Bittar showcase all the beautiful merchandise

The elegant styles of…

View original post 296 more words

Village Pizza 65 Eighth Avenue New York City, NY 10014

Don’t miss the delicious sandwiches and wonderful pizza at Village Pizza in Greenwich Village in NYC.

The sausage pizza is excellent!

Dining on a Shoestring in the New York City area

Village Pizza

65 Eighth Avenue

New York City, NY 10014

(212) 243-4367

https://www.villagepizzanewyork.com/

Open: Sunday 11:00am-10:00pm/Monday-Wednesday 11:00am-9:00pm/Thursday-Saturday 10:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4255652-Reviews-Village_Pizza-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Village Pizza at 65 Eighth Avenue

I love exploring Greenwich Village. Here and there tucked into corners are all sorts of interesting stores and restaurants. One of the standouts is Village Pizza at 65 Eighth Avenue. This small hole in the wall pizzeria offers delicious food and excellent friendly service.

The inside of the restaurant

The first time I tried the restaurant, I stopped in for lunch before classes at NYU. I had the most wonderful Meatball Sandwich ($8.95), in which you are served four large meatballs on a soft chewy roll with fresh marinara sauce.

The Chicken and Meatball Parmesan sandwiches are really good

The meatballs I could tell were home made as well as the sauce was made from scratch. You could really taste the…

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Carolina Foods LLC for Duchess Foods for Powder and Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Don’t miss the delicious baked products from Carolina Foods LLC Duchess Baked Goods Division. They are excellent.

You have to try their Powdered and Cinnamon Donuts. They are excellent!

Add this to your Grocery List!

Carolina Foods LLC

1807 South Tryon Street

Charlotte, NC 28203

704-333-9812

https://carolinafoodsinc.com/contact-us/

Duchess Baked Goods

On a recent trip to Dollar Tree, I came across these delicious Donuts both in the Powered flavor and in the Cinnamon flavor and both were delicious. Sweet, soft and pillowy, these donuts have you eating almost the whole bag in one sitting.

These bite sized wonders are half the price of Tasty Cake and Hostess brands and the quality is excellent. They are loaded with sugar coating on each donut and the flavor of the dough is rich and sweet with a vanilla cake flavor. These are a perfect snack in the morning or an after meal treat for dessert.

I have now been looking around for their other products as they are known for their honey buns and their fruit pies. Let the search begin.

Mission Statement:

At Carolina Foods, we make all…

View original post 277 more words

Rosecrans 7 Greenwich Avenue New York City, NY 10014

Don’t miss this wonderful little shop in the heart of Greenwich Village.

Don’t miss visiting Rosecrans in Greenwich Village on a warm day for a drink and pastry and people watching.

Inside and out you can admire beautiful flowers

Little Shop on Main Street

Rosecrans

7 Greenwich Avenue

New York City, NY 10014

(646) 504-6864

https://www.facebook.com/people/Rosecrans/100063571299072/

https://www.instagram.com/rosecrans/?hl=en

Open: Sunday-Saturday 8:00am-8:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d19402656-Reviews-Rosecrans-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

The outside of Rosecran’s Florist Shop and Cafe in late October 2022

Ever since I started Graduate School at New York University, I walk to school every day from Port Authority to the Greenwich Village to get exercise and clear my head before classes start. This gives me a chance to walk around the Village and explore the shops and all the wonderful concepts that people are developing in their stores with creative merchandising and wonderful window displays. What lured me into Rosecran’s was all the beautiful floral displays in the window and the beautiful little cafe that was outside that seemed to be popular with the locals in the neighborhood.

The entire outside of the store was surrounded by flowers and plants and on a warm September or…

View original post 524 more words