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 dedicate this blog to great fellow Cornellian and former Giants football player, Kevin Boothe, who took time out of his busy summer schedule to come to the Hasbrouck Heights Library to visit the Junior Friends of the Hasbrouck Heights Library for the “Celebration of Books” event for the Library’s Summer Reading Program. We had over one hundred children and their parents attend the reading and reception for the event in July of 2013.
I had founded the Junior Friends of the Hasbrouck Heights Library in 2011 on the premise that there should be more for kids to enjoy at the library other than ‘kiddie things’ like “Mommie & Me” classes, teen book clubs and arts and crafts for kids. As a child I hated all that ‘baby stuff’ preferring ‘Nanny & the Professor’, ‘The Lucy Show’ and ‘That Girl’ over shows like ‘Sesame Street’ and ‘Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood’. I thought the shows were for ‘little kids’ as early as six. When it came time for movies, I enjoyed ‘On a Clear Day you can see Forever’ and ‘What’s Up Doc?’ to any of the kiddie fare they make kids watch at that age.
When Disney films like ‘Escape to Witch Mountain’ and ‘Freaky Friday’ and ‘The Bad News Bears’ came out, it really showed how kids behaved back then and the independence our parent’s generation gave us as children. They expected us not ‘little adults’ but kids to be mature, have responsibility and respect for the people around them as well as be our own person. We were the last generation to mature at our own pace and probably the last.
I wanted to share this experience with other kids who were like minded, who wanted more than just the run of the mill activities. Plus I was patterning the organization on some of the groups catering to kids in the City at the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Forum, bringing the City to the kids of Hasbrouck Heights with sophisticated programming that including classic and independent films, celebrity visits and contemporary activities. The year 2013 was the zenith for the organization with goal of innovative programming and special guests and we exceeded it in every way.
I had the goal of bringing a famous athlete to the Hasbrouck Heights Library for the Junior Friends of the Hasbrouck Heights Library’s Second Annual “Celebration of Books” event. After the successful visit from Mary Rodgers the year before in 2012, I wanted to do something to top it.
Mary Rodgers with us the year before for the ‘Freaky Friday’ event in 2012
Here’s my write up of that event in 2012 in MywalkinManhattan.com:
I had been contacting the Giants and Jets organizations for almost six months before the event trying to talk to their PR Departments and it was coming down to the wire. The Jets would not help us and stop responding to my emails and calls.
Kevin Boothe welcoming everyone
Our Library Director had left for vacation and could not be reached and our then President of the organization was at her beach house for the Summer when we got the last minute call that Kevin was available for a visit in a week. We had that one week of opportunity before Training Camp would begin. We jumped at the chance and arranged it for the next Wednesday and all had to pull together to organize the event in one week. When our Library Director arrived back from vacation that Monday, it was all hands on deck for the organization. I don’t think anyone knew how fast and hard we had to work for a one hour visit.
The Children’s Librarian at the time, Marie Joyce, jumped in and helped me out. She picked the book “Everyone can learn to Ride a Bicycle” by author Christopher Rashcka as an inspirational book for children to achieve their goals.
Author Christopher Rashcka and I in 2016 at the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library event I ran for their library “Teens, Tots & Toys”. I am holding the book “Everyone can learn to ride a Bicycle”.
Here’s my write up of that event in MywalkinManhattan.com:
It was an interesting children’s book about trying something new and accomplishing goals. It is something for kids to learn something new and be proud of it.
Our Children’s Librarian Marie Joyce with Giants player Kevin Boothe
There was a lot of excitement in the library that afternoon as the place filled with children and their parents many of the them coming from the town’s Summer Camp and a lot of them wearing Giants jersey’s. It had been a difficult afternoon as their was so much going on in the building at the time.
“Everyone can learn to ride a bicycle” by Christopher Raschka
There was a BCCLS meeting going on in the conference room that had ended by 2:00pm and the Senior’s were having their Summer picnic in the parking lot so parking was at a premium all over the building and they were also ending by 2:00pm. People were scrambling to leave the building as the air conditioning had broken down and they were trying to fix it while the event was going on. It was crazy afternoon.
Our event was at 3:00pm so things were just calming down when Kevin arrived with the Giants representatives. It has always amazed me that people don’t know what goes on behind the scenes before a visit. We had a to scramble to set up the tables for the reception, someone had to buy the food and set the tables and in the meantime someone bought jersey’s for a raffle that I knew nothing about. I was always last to know.
Kevin Boothe had a great football career when we met him. Kevin had been an All American when he played in Pine Crest Prep School in Florida. He played football at Cornell University (my Alma Mater as well), where he was a three time All Ivy League player and a member of the Quill & Dagger Society. Then in 2006 he was drafted in the sixth round by the Oakland Raiders where he played Right Guard for a year before coming to the Giants. He stayed with the Giants from 2007-2013 as a Left Guard and helped the team win Superbowl XLII and XLIV winning both times against New England. Kevin played for one more year with the Giants as a free agent and then finished his last year of play with the Oakland Raiders in 2014.
Kevin with his son at the Superbowl
I have to say that it was really stuffy in the library that afternoon with all those people and the air conditioning down. Kevin and Marie were both sweating through the reading but it all went by well. They read the book together while the books pages (which had been scanned earlier in the day) were shown to the audience. After the reading was over, we had a Q & A with the audience which all the kids were in awe.
Kevin at the Q & A with the kids in awe
For a group of small children, they asked some interesting questions especially on playing for the Giants and how he got into football. I was impressed by how he approached the kids and talking to them on their level while being engaging to everyone in the room. One thing was I was impressed with is when he said, ” Whether is its learning to ride a bicycle or playing football like me you can go after any dream in life. If your heart is in the right place, you can achieve anything.” (Patch.com). He talked about winning with the team the two Superbowl’s as the underdog team and how their coach inspired them to win.
After the Q & A, Kevin took a group shot with the kids and we had everyone join in the reception. It then got a little crazy as all the kids wanted autographs. Since Kevin was about to start Training Camp, he had to get back to the stadium as he had other work to do. I had agreed with the Giants Organization that there would be no autograph session as there would be no time but that didn’t stop the kids from banging on the office door where he and everyone else were cooling down in the only room where the air conditioning worked.
It was there that we took the picture with members of the Junior Friends of the Library for our group shot. It was a lot to track the kids down in the crowd and keep the other kids from coming in but we got the shot in which also made the Cornell Alumni Magazine.
Kevin and I with some of the members of the Junior Friends of the Hasbrouck Heights Library representing Cornell University for the Alumni Magazine
The afternoon ended a little crazy with a raffle I had to run (which I did not know about) and Kevin and the Giants Organization representatives leaving through the backdoor without me having to say goodbye and thank you. Still the reception went by well and the kids ate everything we put out. It was another great success for the Junior Friends of the Hasbrouck Heights Library and was one of the reasons why we were recognized by the BCCLS organization the next Fall for our outstanding work.
I wanted to dedicate this blog to Kevin Boothe, who made so many children and their parents happy that afternoon. You are a real gentleman and make Cornell University proud!
I have been travelling up to the Hudson River Valley much more than usual this Fall. There has been so much going on between the events up at the Dutchess County Fair Grounds since the Fair in August and all the of the ‘Mansion Hopping’ and visiting to historical sites for my blog, “VisitingaMuseum.com”, which I have been concentrating on building over the Summer and Fall. I have been visiting on most weekends between September and the end of October.
Travelling up to the Hudson River Valley in the fall is an amazing time. Because of the lack of rain over the summer, the foliage turned much earlier than it usually does and the trees starting turning yellow and red in the end of September and beginning of October as opposed to last year and the year before where it was more the end of October and middle of November.
I started my journey up to Dutchess County right after the Dutchess County Fair at the end of August and continued through the end of October for Halloween events. I had bought a small Santa from a woodcarver for a small Mother’s Day present for my mom and she absolutely loved it so I had to seek him out again at events through the next three months. He was tough to find.
My first trip Upstate was for the Cornell-Marist Football game on September 21st. Because I have to teach college on Saturday mornings I left for the game later in the afternoon and I got to Marist College during the beginning of the second quarter.
The Marist College campus off Route 9 in Poughkeepsie is one of the nicest college campuses I have been to in a while. The campus sits right on the Hudson River and the nice part is that the football stadium is located right off the highway so as I was driving in I could see what was going.
Big Red Football
Long story short it was not the greatest football game I had ever been to and we won 21-7. Cornell University has not invested in its football team the way it should and it was like watching two high school teams play. The funny part was that Marist College and Cornell University have the same school colors so it was hard to see who was rooting for who in the stadium.
The one nice thing about the stadium is that on the other side of the stands of the stadium that Marist has lawn sitting and that is the best way to watch the game. It was also about 85 degrees that afternoon so it was the perfect football weather and I got tan while watching the game.
Sitting on the lawn side of the field is the best place to sit
After the game was over, I decided to explore the campus. God, the Marist College campus is gorgeous. The campus has expanded over the years since I went to school at the Culinary Institute of America and our campus was beautiful as well. Marist College has rolling hills, lush green lawns and the most amazing view of the Hudson River. People should just visit the campus to walk around. The foliage was just starting to turn so the view of the river and the hills that surround it was spectacular.
The next weekend I was back Upstate again to the fairgrounds in Rhinebeck for Oktoberfest. This interesting event was the smaller of the two events that I attended at the Dutchess County Fair Grounds after the Annual Fair in August. This was a smaller craft event that took up one section of the fairgrounds mostly where the craft exhibition space had been during the fair and the rides were located. I had gotten this event and the Sheep & Wool event later in the month mixed up and the wood carver was not there (later when I did meet up with him at the Sheep & Wool Festival he said that he was not invited). Still I stayed and explored the fairgrounds on this warm sunny day.
Along the main path, there were all sorts of arts and crafts vendors and gourmet food vendors selling their wares and there were a few food vendors towards the back of the event but the lines were so long that I decided to eat outside the fairgrounds. So I took a trip up to Red Hook, NY which is located just north of the fair grounds and had lunch at Village Pizza III at 7594 North Broadway (see reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com) for some lunch.
The food at this Village Pizza is just excellent and so reasonable as well! I had the most delicious Calzone ($6.95) that was just loaded with mozzarella, Parmesan and Ricotta cheese and was a gooey delight with every bite. Their red sauce that I have mentioned in my of my Upstate New York blogs, is just excellent. Well spiced and loaded with flavor.
Village Pizza III at 7594 Broadway in Red Hook, NY is just excellent for lunch and dinner
I came back two weeks later for the Sheep and Wool Festival which was a whole different experience in both 2019 and 2021 (the festival like everything else was cancelled in 2020 because of COVID).
The Sheep and Wool Festival which takes place the third week of October was a much bigger festival, larger than Oktoberfest but just a little smaller then the Fair. In the back by the animal pens there were displays from people in the 4 H with their sheep, alpaca and goats showing off these amazing animals. So many of the them were friendly and let you pet them. Most looked bored and tired of people taking their picture.
It was a lot of fun walking through the rows of yarn, specialty crocheted and knitted hats, blankets and baby items plus all the handcrafted items for the upcoming holidays. These took up most of the display pens that during the Dutchess County Fair are used for the animals. There are a lot of talented crafters and artisans that come to the Fairgrounds.
The Sheep and Wool Festival in 2019
The Sheep and Wool Festival in 2021
I did find the wood carver, Joe Gleeson, on this trip and was able to buy to small Santa’s that he had in stock. It seemed that he had a good sell through at the Dutchess County Fair and there was not much left and he was just trying to keep up. I love Mr. Gleeson’s surrealist designed Santa’s. Another creative carver was Bill Kypreos from Bill-Lin Woodcarving, who I bought another Santa from in 2021.
After making that purchase, I walked all over the fairgrounds looking over the displays and all the crafts people. There were a lot of interesting vendors offering the most beautiful and interesting items.
Carapace Farm Puppetry by Susannah White
Mr. Gleeson has the most beautiful wooden carvings of Santa’s, Elf’s and Snowman. Bonnie’s Beast’s offered the most creative felt and knit play animals from felt wool. Artist Patricia McGarth created homemade all natural doggie treats that tasted like an all natural cracker. They were not bad to eat for a human. Utopia Bath Ltd. has an interesting bath line and lotions.
Artist Susannah White builds and creates puppets through her Carapace Farm Puppetry. She carries the most interesting hand and finger puppets and masks. She works with her mother, artist Amelia McIsaac who also does felt art and works on the “Star Babies” sculptures and other children’s art.
Artist JoAnn Clark is a fiber artist who specializes in Needle felted folk art. She created the most interesting animal art and figurines. Amelia McIsaac created flowering art through her Flowering Art Homestead company.
For lunch, I discovered that Janek’s, the Food Truck vendor I had eaten lunch at during the Fair was at this festival as well and I made the ‘B-Line’ to have lunch there. For $15.00, I got their special again. This was a half pound freshly ground beef patty that was juicy in the center and caramelized on the outside. Then they top it with Cheddar Cheese, Smoked Glazed Ham, Pulled Pork and homemade pickles with a side of freshly made potato-cheese porgies cooked in butter and sweet onions with a side of sour cream.
Don’t miss Janek’s Food Truck at all Dutchess County events
Okay, yes it is not for the cholesterol minded person but I eat this twice a year and do I enjoy it. I walked the Fairgrounds twice just to work it off. I had the exact same thing in 2021 and it was just as good but the price went up to $18.00.
Do not miss the Hamburger and pierogi special at Janek’s Food Truck
In 2021, I left the Fairgrounds around 2:30pm to visit the Bard Campus to visit two of the cultural sites I wanted to see on my last couple of trips to the Hudson River Valley, Montgomery Place, the home of Janet Livingston Montgomery and the Hessel Museum, Bard College’s on campus museum.
I had been to Montgomery Place at 26 Gardener Way & River Road many times before when the house was owned by the Hudson River Historical Society. They used to run tours of the house and have cocktail parties on the porch outside. The grounds were breathtaking with views down to the Hudson River and the lawns had been freshly cut. The trees were getting that yellow and orange hue to them and it was nice exercise to just walk around the grounds. The house is now closed to tours (by appointment only).
The Hessel Museum was featuring two different exhibitions: “With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in Art 1972-1985”, which was a time of growth in home decorating themed art and “Closer to Life: Drawings on Paper of the Marieluise Hessel Collection”, the founder of the Museum and Co-Founder of the College’s personal collection of works. Both exhibitions displayed the art in its own unique way. What was nice was the museum was free as well as visiting the mansion.
In 2021, I spent the night at the Courtyard by Marriott in Fishkill, NY (see TripAdvisor review below) after the Sheep & Wool Festival so that I could revisit a lot of the businesses and small towns that I had been to in the past to check out the businesses and the status of the towns during COVID. What started as a specular day with a beautiful sunrise over the Catskills from my hotel room ended in a most gloomy cold day of driving around the Hudson River Valley.
The Courtyard by Marriott at Fishkill in Fishkill, NY at 17 Westage Drive
Almost all the businesses in Red Hook, NY were closed on Monday with the exception of Little Pickles, a small toy store that I have featured many times in my blogs (see LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com), The owner and I talked for awhile about the stores being closed on Mondays and how hard that is on customers.
Little Pickles at 7505 North Broadway
Red Hook was pretty much closed for the day and was rather gloomy in the rain. On a nice day though, it is the most unique and quaint town to shop and visit.
I left Red Hook and my next stop was Downtown Wappingers Falls, NY where the Meisner Homestead was located. Everything was closed here and about six or seven stores had closed in its unique downtown. Even the Falls were dripping as there was no water coming down the river. I could not believe how much was empty since my last visit almost a year ago. This was the up and coming downtown.
Downtown Wappingers Falls, NY
My last stop on my journey was Beacon, NY where a lot more of the stores were open for the day and the weather had gotten nicer. The foliage was a little nicer here but most of the trees were pretty much still green.
I walked the whole downtown twice visiting stores that had interested me in the past. Colorant at 146 Main Street is such a unique clothing store in which all the clothes are made of all natural fibers and dies (see my review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com).
Another store that caught my attention was Flora Good Times, a very interesting flower and gift shop at 197 Main Street. They had all sorts of interesting handmade pottery and a nice selection of seasonal flowers beautifully displayed.
Before I left touring all of downtown, I stopped at my ‘go to’ pizzeria, Pizza & Stuff II which has the best pizza. The slices are really large and the sauce is so well spiced and gives it wonderful flavor. The service here is really nice (see my review on TripAdvisor below).
After touring all the towns in search of new material, I headed home on a rather chilly night. I ended up having to turn the heat on in the house. The rain really had dropped the temperature.
In 2019, after the time at the Sheep and Wool Festival, it was next to the ‘Pie and Punch Evening” at the Kearney House in the Palisades Interstate Park. I had been to the Kearney House two weeks early on a Sunday but it was closed due to a Square Dance fundraiser they were running so I saw this on the Internet and thought it sounded fun (Please see the reviews on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com). The house would all be lit by candles and fireplaces as there is no electricity in the house. What could be nicer?
Kearney House at the Alpine Landing is lit by candlelight
Well just to let all you readers know that the Palisades Interstate Park is closed after dusk and does not reopen until it is light out the next day and there are NO lights either on the roads going down the hill to the basin or in the parking lot. When I mean the park is pitch black, it is pitch black. I thought this was dangerous since the road leading to the basin is very steep, not much of a barrier along the cliff side and no lights on the signs. I had some jerk follow me at full speed racing down the hill behind me. Let’s just leave this that there was a small boulder that I did not see and it did not get out of my way. The next hour in the park was not fun!
After I calmed down and was an hour late for the event, everyone could not have been nicer to me at the get together. Once I relaxed and had some hot spiced punch and a few pieces of pie and some cheese I calmed down. The boulder aside, it was a very nice event and I had a good time.
The Kearney House is an old Revolutionary aged home that had been used by the Kearney family as Inn and resting place for sailors and shippers using the Hudson River back when it was bustling with trade. The family ended up selling it before WWI and it was bought by the parks system. The division that runs the Kearney House and fundraisers for its upkeep run these themed events.
The house was all lit up by candlelight in both rooms and both fireplaces were roaring when I got in the room. It was the pies that calmed me down. They offered three different pies, Strawberry Rhubarb, Apple and Pumpkin that were from a bakery in Closter, NJ and were ‘out of this world’ delicious. The apple pie had the sweetest filling and tasted like pears were baked into it along with the apples. The strawberry rhubarb had a tangy-tart sweet filling to it and the pumpkin had a nicely baked creamy almost custard like filling all with this amazingly buttery crust. This is the type of pie that can make you forget all of your problems.
Kearney House story telling
On the table as well were wedges of sharp cheese and accompanying breads, roasted peanuts, ice cold water and served to you by volunteers in period costume. If I had not been so shaken when I entered the house (and of course the couple who helped me with the car told everyone at the party what happened so everyone was extra nice to me) and all the volunteers who helped with the event had not been so nice, it could have been a bad night.
The house lit by candle light and by the fireplace
Still there was a tour of the house both upstairs and into the attic, a musician playing songs and then a half hour of story telling all by the glow of candle and fire light that made the evening special. I ended up having a nice time talking to the other guests and getting to eat the endless slices of pie.
I left a little better than I arrived but I will tell you two things: I am NEVER going into this park again after dark, so matter what the event is and that was the last time I set foot in the Kearny House. It was so dark in the parking lot when I left I almost tripped on the barrier on side the of it.
My next trip up to the Hudson River in 2019 that next Sunday lead me to Beacon, NY to visit Pollepel Island/Bannerman Castle Island and to visit the mysterious castle in the middle of the Hudson River (see my reviews on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum.com). I had talked about visiting Beacon, NY in my other blogs for the Third Thursday Shopping nights during the holidays and my visit to the DIA-Beacon in VisitingaMuseum.com.
When visiting Bannerman Island please remember that it is open seasonally and opens in later April and closes at the end of October so you have to plan your trip there accordingly. I got there the last Sunday it was open and please note that you do need advanced reservations to go to the island. I lucked out as there was two trips out to the island that day and there had been a cancellation that afternoon and I was able to make the boat trip.
The trip was on somewhat rough waters as it was a gloomy day with the sun peaking out only at the end of the tour. When we got to the island, we landed at the small dock and then had to walk up over 70 steps to the landing at the top of the hill. It wasn’t hard but hardly ADA compliant. We had excellent tour guide who knew the whole history of the island from when the family bought the island in 1900 to when the sons sold the island in the 1950’s.
The Bannerman Castle was actually an armory for munitions for the Bannerman company. Francis Bannerman IV bought the island to store his inventory of his military supply business and the items were stored there awaiting shipping to all over the world.
The castle itself had partially blown up in the 1920’s when the munitions caught fire and then in turn burned in 1969 and the interiors were destroyed. Recently part of the wall to the castle collapsed so the building is now being held up by metal rods to prevent further collapse.
The tour took us up the path toward the former arsenal so we could take a better look which is pretty dramatic sitting by the water with the vegetative growth around it. Mrs. Bannerman had once had the whole area landscaped with an exotic garden. Now that part is all growth and weeds.
Travelling up the path from the ‘castle’, we walked up the path that had been landscaped by the local garden clubs who have been put in charge of landscaping the old paths and gardens leading to the family mansion at the top of the hill. The mansion is going through a renovation so there is not much to see but there is a small gift shop inside and the history in the building. The outside of the mansion is being landscaped and used for theater show, movie nights and concerts. The views of the river are spectacular.
The view from the mansion on top of the hill
We exited down the back path and saw more interesting views of the Hudson River. There are more gardens on the way down and we heard more of the history of the island in that it was closed off until recently and was only visited by kayakers and adventurers. The island is now open for all sorts of activities.
On our way back, the tour guides gave us their own take on visiting the island which was pretty funny. They run these tours and can’t believe how mesmerized people are by buildings that were falling apart.
As we took the boat ride back to the dock in Beacon, I noticed that the foliage had an unusual line to it up on the hill. It was dead towards the top of the hill and the rest of the trees were combination of yellow and green. The tour guide said that an unusual early frost hit the trees and the ones at the top of the hill had already gone dormant.
It was unusual foliage in Beacon, New York
For the rest of the afternoon, I explored downtown Beacon and all the innovative stores and trendy restaurants. I ended up though eating at a Pizza and Stuff II Pizzeria at 339 Main Street. The pizza there is delicious. Those trendy restaurants prices are ridiculous and I am not too sure how the locals afford some of these places. Still it is a beautiful and quaint downtown with nice businesses set in the distance of the Hudson River mountains. The foliage around the town sets the tone.
As Halloween approaches, there will be more to do and see. Check out my blog on Halloween Again 2019.
I took some time off this weekend to be a supportive Alumni. Michigan State was playing Ohio State at home but I took the train down to Philly to go to the see the Penn vs Cornell game.
I don’t get down to Philly the number of times that I would like to and I take the train when I need my cheese steak fix. New York City is known for so many cuisines but no one I can find can make a cheesesteak like Carmine’s in the Reading Market. You just can’t seem to get a good Cheesesteak in New Jersey or New York City unless someone is from Philly. So, I made my pilgrimage to Philly for a football game and a sandwich.
In 2015, I lucked out too. The day of the game it was a beautiful warm afternoon and the last time I went to Philly for the Penn vs Cornell game it was cloudy and cold being the end of November. This year we are having a surprisingly warm Fall. In 2015, the game was a complete bust as Penn walked all over us. In 2021, both teams were pathetic but we were able to squeak by with a win of 15-12. Both games were not that good.
Cornell versus Penn in 2015
In both years, what really annoyed the Cornell Alumni was that they closed off the other half of the stadium for “construction purposes”, a fancy way of saying that they did not want to clean up the whole stadium after the game was over with so we had to sit with the Penn Alumni who we outnumbered like we did the Yale Alumni in their own stadium a few months earlier. It did not make much of a difference as our team has had a terrible season coupled with the only win over Columbia and that was with a field goal. Both years we were freezing under the awning of the stadium while the other side of the stadium was nice and sunny.
Penn was no better. Most of our Alumni went to the far reaches of the stadium as the blood-bath started and by the second half, we started to turn things around but it was too little too late. We caught up somewhat in the second half but still lost the game 34-21. So much for another Cornell season.
Before the game made up for it. It was nice to walk around Philly in the nice weather. We had an Alumni tailgate a few blocks from the stadium and we have a really good band. Like Michigan State (one of my four Alma Maters), even when the season is at its worst, Cornell Alumni are really supportive, so it was nice to listen to the music before the game. They started to march down to the stadium while I was touring around the Penn campus.
University of Pennsylvania facing downtown Philadelphia
Before the game, I got to walk around the Penn Campus which is really nice for a city campus. You would never know you were in a section of downtown Philly. The stadium itself is really nice. One of the more traditional stadiums in the Ivy League which is sadly never filled with Penn students and alumni. For a team that just shared the Ivy League title they are constantly being outnumbered by supportive Cornell Alumni who out cheer them every season. You should have seen the game two years ago, a nail biter that went down to the last play in which we upset them by one point.
Although not the game of the century, for us at Cornell it was the big game. We filled a big portion of our side of the stadium while the home team seemed to drift in when they wanted to that afternoon. Their Alumni seem to have gotten a little more supportive in the last two years.
The best part of the afternoon was not the game itself or the cheering fans, it was the food vendor located outside Franklin Field in on non-descript truck. These Greek gentleman (as they proudly told me when I asked if they were Italian) made one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten for only $4.00, compared to the highway robbery of $9.00 in the stadium.
The Chicken Philly Cheese steak and their homemade Meatball subs on a fresh chewy hoagie roll when heaven on earth. Maybe it was the quality of the meat, the freshness of the bread or just the way it all came together with their friendly personalities but that experience really made the game. The truck is located outside the stadium and I don’t know if it is there all the time but if you are in Philly, flock to this truck which is one block from the Penn Museum. The meatballs are so full of flavor and the sauce so rich the sandwich itself is a reason to go to Philly.
Even though we got our butts kicked that afternoon by thirteen points and it ended our season on a low note, it was still fun to walk around and experience Philly on a brisk Fall Day. Very different from New York but unique in its own way.
At least on the way back on the Acela, my best friend, Kris and I exchanged phone calls on the Michigan State-Ohio State game. That nail-biter ended as I exited the train in Penn Station, New York City. That game we won 17-14 on a last-minute field goal.
This was the first time I had been down for the Penn versus Cornell game since 2017 and that time it was freezing cold. I missed the 2019 game because I had to work on Saturday mornings and it was impossible to make the train or even drive down before the game was over. Since class was on Friday night this year, I made sure that all the housework was done before I left, all my class work for the students was done and all the bills were paid before I left. I had a clean conscious and could relax. Even though I was only gone barely twenty-six hours, I got such a good night’s sleep, I felt like I was gone for a week.
I took the Northeast Regional down to Philly which I have to say is a nice ride. I arrived in the City in about an hour and a half and the best part was that the hotel I was staying at downtown was fifteen minutes away walking. It was in the high 50’s when I arrived and ended up being around 63 degrees by the afternoon. It was clear and sunny for the whole day which was a pleasure. Drexel University which is located right next to Penn was having their Parent’s Weekend so both colleges were buzzing with students and parents.
Just north of the Penn campus, the Cornell Alumni had set up their tailgate and when I dropped my luggage off at the Sheraton Downtown at 201 North 17th Street, I double backed to the train station and walked behind it to College Park where both colleges are located.
Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia at 201 North 17th Street
Just as I got onto campus, the band and the cheerleaders showed up and we had a mini pep-rally in the tailgate area. This was really nice because neither had been at the Yale game a few months earlier. It was nice to have some spirit and cheer and I will tell you that the band was in the mood to play for us as well. They played our fight songs and school song and all sorts of traditional ‘pep’ music to get everyone going before the game.
The game itself was a real dud. Both teams looked worse for the wear and neither of us scored until the end of the first quarter when we scored a touchdown. We scored two touchdowns before and they were both called back so it was very frustrating. The whole game was frustrating coupled by sitting in the one section of the stadium that was so cold. The rest of the stadium was lit by the sun and we were in the same section as the Penn Alumni and it was all shade. By the second half, I stood on the other side of the stadium near the bar area they set up and finally got some sun and heat. They were much better.
In the end, we won 15-12 and I have to say that it was not much a match up. The one thing I do like about Franklin Field is the concession stands. They are loaded with all the foods that are bad for you and so good at the same time. I had a cheesesteak, a slice of pizza and a Coke and it did not break the bank and on top of that, everything was delicious. The people at the concession stand know how to make a cheesesteak with provolone.
After we won, I had about an hour after the game so I ventured over to the Penn Museum that is located across the street.
The entrance to the Penn Museum at 3269 South Street
In the three times that I have visited the museum, I never get to spend the time at this wonderful little gem that I want because there are so many great museums in Philly and it is hard to get over here except during football season.
The “What We Wear” exhibition at the Penn Museum
The museum has extensive Greek, Egyptian and Pre-Columbian Galleries to explore and on a nice day, the gardens and fountains are relaxing to sit by. I got to tour the “What We Wear” exhibition before the museum closed. The day of the game as the museum closed down for the afternoon, I got to watch our team leave the stadium. The parents were all riled up after the win.
Since it was getting late, I decided to tour parts of the Penn and Drexel campuses before it got too dark outside. I loved looking into the quads and older buildings that make up the character of these two campuses. Both campuses were still busy with groups of families but everything else was closing around them. I decided to walk over to the Reading Market for a snack before relaxing at the hotel.
The Reading Market Terminal at 501 North 12th Street
By the time I got there after 6:00pm, the market had already closed for the day. I was bummed but would come back for breakfast the next morning. I walked around Chinatown in search of a small take-out place.
I came across Asia Bakery at 115 North Street in Chinatown. It was a relief to find this place as I was not hungry and it had the most amazing baked products. The Roast Pork Buns here are delicious and the Cream filled Buns are excellent (See review on TripAdvisor). They didn’t even make it back to the hotel as I ate them on the way back to the Sheraton.
When I got back to the Sheraton, I hit the pillow that evening and I did not wake up until the 8:30am the next morning. I had one of the best night’s sleeps in ages. The beds at the Marriott are the best, so soft yet firm. You will get the best night’s sleep on these beds.
The next day I was refreshed and ready for a long day of touring. My goal was to explore Old Town Philadelphia again and I wanted to start with breakfast at the Reading Market at Pearl’s Oyster Market located right inside the Terminal.
Breakfast at Pearl’s Oyster Bar was the best. I had the most amazing Breakfast platter with French Toast, Scrambled eggs, turkey sausage from a butcher in the Market and a side of Hash Browns and everything was delicious. The portion size was not gargantuan but was enough to cover me until lunch. The French toast was nice pieces of hallah bread dipped in a flavorful cinnamon mixture and cooked until a golden brown.
After breakfast, it was off to explore Old Town Philadelphia. I had been to Philly over the summer and there were places I wanted to revisit and places on the bucket list. My first stop was the Elfreth’s Alley Association Museum at 126 Elfreth’s Alley. This unique little house shows how early merchants ran their businesses and lived.
Elfreth’s Alley Association Museum at 126 Elfreth’s Alley
This interesting little museum lets you experience what it was like to live like a merchant in the late 1700’s. The shop was in the front of the home facing the windows and you would do business with the customers in the front of the house while the family had the kitchen in the back and lived upstairs in the small bedroom. I could not believe that a family of six once lived here. In the back, there is a small garden to sit outside and relax.
My next museum on the tour of the neighborhood was the Betsey Ross House at 239 Arch Street. This is one of the last of its kind on the block and barely lasted the chopping block of the 1960’s urban renewal of the area.
What fascinated me about the tour is that Betsy Ross had been married twice and did not even own this house. She rented rooms from the owner and ran her own upholster business from the front of the store and lived in a room in the back with her husband. There were also other people living in the house at the time and it is not that big of a house. She was approached by the Patriots about creating the flag which she had never done before.
It was interesting that she was an independent businesswoman when many women did not have employment. Also, when I reached the last room of the house, the actor playing her was so convincing as Betsy Ross, I felt like I was talking to the real person.
After the tour of the Betsy Ross House, the next museum in the neighborhood I visited was the Fireman’s Hall Museum at 149 North Second Street. This museum is the perfect place for out-of-town firefighters and their families to see how the Philadelphia Fire Department was founded and operates.
I found the museum fascinating in that you have the entire history of the modern fire department from the bucket brigade to the current engines and Trucks that operate today. You can see where Benjamin Franklin organized the first departments to the days when they were run by the insurance companies.
The best part is that the museum is run by the Philadelphia Fire Department and you get to meet several of the firemen when you visit who can answer all sorts of questions about their department.
The last museum on my bucket list to visit on this trip was the Museum of the American Revolution at 101 South 3rd Street.
The Museum of the American Revolution at 101 South 3rd Street
I found this museum not only interesting but very educational. It described the entire Revolutionary War from the acts that England put on the Colonists from the Stamp Act to the Tea Taxes and not even consulting with the Colonial Administration on these decisions.
What I found fascinating about this museum is that they had George Washington’s tent that he used in battle, original weapons from the war and more interestingly is that they had pieces of the King George Statue that was pulled down by New Yorkers in Bowling Green Park. I had thought it had been destroyed and melted down. I even found out that the head had been smuggled back to England.
I was tired of all the museums that I had visited in both the July and October trips and it was time to sample the food of Philadelphia’s Old Town. There was a lot to choose from. My first stop was Big Ass Slices at 224 Market Street.
I love the logo for Big Ass Slices at 224 Market Street
The name does not do the pizza justice. The slices are oversized being the size of two slices and have a delicious pizza sauce that makes the body of the pizza ($5.30 for a Big Ass Slice). What was nice was that I was able to eat it indoors without enduring the cool afternoon.
Another stop I made on my summer trip was The Franklin Ice Cream Bar for ice cream. The other ice cream shops were either closed at the time of the night or had long lines. The Franklin Ice Cream Bar at 112 Market Street and its sister store, The Franklin Fountain at 116 Market Street were both busy that day. The ice cream is homemade and amazing but expensive ($8.50 for a medium cup). I had the Caramelized Banana and the Sea Salt Caramel and I highly recommend them.
The next on the list was Shane’s Confectionary at 110 Market Street. This over 100-year-old candy store was very interesting as it was like taking a step back in time when merchants made a statement not about their product but the way it was presented and sold.
You walk into the store and you are greeted by gas lamps and wooden cases that showcase the chocolates. I have to admit the prices are pretty high but these are homemade candies made inhouse. I bought one of their well-known Lighthouse chocolates and a Chocolate covered Truffle, another specialty they were known for that totaled $7.50 for two pieces of chocolate. Totally worth it! Both tasted so good.
I walked down some of the side streets and passed many of the boutiques that make up. One store that stood out was Claudia Mills Rugs at 133 North 3rd Street. This interesting store was a standout in that they creating the rugs right inside with the looms working as you walk in.
The finished products lined the walls in all their colorful glory. It is the perfect store for decorators and people looking to add some zing to their home decor.
With all this walking in Old Town Philadelphia, I started to get hungry again and decided instead of heading back to the Reading Market, I wanted to try a new place for a cheesesteak. I went to Campo’s Philly Cheesesteak at 214 Market Street.
I now know why this restaurant has been open since 1947. The cheesesteaks are excellent. I ordered a Cheesesteak w/o (without onions) and Wiz (Cheese Wiz), the only way I will eat a cheesesteak. The hoagie roll was so soft and chewy and the Cheese Wiz pulled the thin steaks together and the taste was amazing. It was nice to eat inside with other people again.
The Cheesesteaks were amazing!
I walked down to the Delaware River and looked at the Camden Waterfront. God has that changed but at least they are trying with the city. There are now parks, hotels and the aquarium and they look like they are building new housing. Rutgers expanded their campus in Camden so that has helped.
I passed the Independence Seaport Museum (for the next trip, it was closing for the day) and walked along the path and watched the cars and boats pass by. It must have been something for those early colonists who saw only woods and a lot of promise when they walked along the same path. I saw Philly coming back to life and that was a good thing. It had been shut down too long before I returned in July and then in November.
I walked back to the now closing Reading Market Terminal and walked through the hallways again watching tourists ordering the last of their meals and taking gifts home with them. It was such a relaxing overnight stay and it was good to revisit the museums and shops I had visited over the summer to get a new perspective on them. I was able to update a lot on MywalkinManhattan.com and LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com so it was a good working trip.
That and we beat Penn! That made the trip all worth it! I will be back to Philly soon.
Go Spartans and Go Big Red! Go Green Go White! Go Red!
There were no highlights on the Cornell versus Penn game in 2015. We lost 34-21.
Cornell versus Penn 2021: 15-12 (Won)
Michigan State versus Ohio State 2015: 17-14 (won)