Tag Archives: Professor Warren Watrel

Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Two Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. presents “Springfest 2023” at Bergen Community College November 16th, 2022

I constantly try to come up with innovative ideas to promote Bergen Community College with engaging ideas to get students involved the way the four year colleges get their students involved. The courtyard by the main building was just finished being renovated and it is a really nice place for students to gather. There are a lots of places to sit and for people to talk. We have been using it for smaller events when the weather is nice but not in the way to get the whole college involved. I was thinking of ideas of how to get my Introduction to Business students engaged this semester and I had a big group of students (32) to get motivated. Things have changed since COVID started.

In my live classes, I open my consulting company, “Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc.”, for business and the whole class bands together and we have one big project. In the era of post-COVID and online learning, I was lucky that I was able to teach one of the live classes on the Bergen Community College, Paramus Campus. It was such a pleasure welcoming students back to campus with live lectures and conversing with them.

The Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. corporate logo of the six trees

https://bcpccom.wordpress.com/contact/

In the past, I have created these projects under the Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. banner, the main consulting company, the Orion Malls banner, a Mall design company and the Buscomonzefi.com banner, my Tech Division. Each business does its best to be creative, forward thinking and have a thought producing presentations. I also challenge the students to top on another in their presentations and build on what they have seen others do in the past.

Professor Justin Watrel, CEO & Co-Founder of Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc.

I came up with “Springfest” when I was looking for names of college events and it sounded like a fun name. I thought back to “Dragon Days” at Cornell and how much fun the students had during that week. At Michigan State, we did not have too many of these campus wide when I was there and we created our own when I lived at Wilson Hall. Welcome Week, Winter Carnival, State is Great Week, and Spring Fling were on their way to becoming traditions at our hall.

At Bergen Community College, we don’t have any big traditional events like these since we are commuter campus. I wanted to change that and I challenged the students to come up with ideas that would involve the whole college. In the past semesters we have created an Student Ambassador Program, Welcome Week for new students, Homecoming for students and Alumni and Springfest would be another big student/alumni event. It would be a series of concerts, dinners, a pep rally and an alumni breakfast that students could join in. It would also be a community event and introduce new students to campus.

Springfest would bridge that gap and a way to show off the campus and all its attributes. I also challenged the students to write a school song. This is the third time that I have done this and the students always do a different take on it. I like the different versions of the song that come from each group.

Like my other two classes, my Marketing class was creating “It’s Wonderful in Westwood, NJ-Be a Tourist in your own Town” and my other Introduction to Business class was creating “Caribe Cafe-A Taste of the Caribbean”, I used the Hierarchy system and created an Executive Team with a President, SVP of Operations, Vice-Presidents, Team Leaders and Team Members. Like my other classes, I had a lot of drama with this group.

“Springfest 2023” was to be a three day Spring Festival with concerts every night, a pep rally for all the sports teams, a barbecue, a student organization introduction, welcome to new students, a carnival with games and actors walking around, food trucks and an alumni breakfast. The students made all of this come to life with creative and innovative ideas in their proposal. I was impressed by the ingenuity that the student consultants showed that evening. My President and Senior Vice-President of Operations showed a cool and calm front and the utmost professionals that evening, leading their Team to success in the presentation.

The project was not without its share of problems and it is all things we see in the real world in the workforce. I had Team members I had to constantly talk to about their performances, their lack of input and not communicating with the Vice-President. I swear I had not done this much discipline since I worked at Macy’s. So this is what the modern CEO is going through. I know that cellphones are going to the bain of our society and our modern business world.

Even through all the drama that I had to endure and what challenges I put the Executive Team through, the student executives overcame it and put together one hell of a presentation. In the end though I had to fire three students from the project and I never did that before but again the modern CEO has a company to run and people who will not do the work can’t be part of the results. They need to find another place to work.

Still, I was proud of the students and here is the project “Springfest 2023”:

The proposed Logo for “Springfest”:

The new logo for “Springfest”:

The website for “Springfest”:

https://sites.google.com/me.bergen.edu/springfestbergeccoparc/home

Here is the PowerPoint Presentation of the Project:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1spmWeccPcqw8CHehN5Eb8lBnmOFwhBq8bJyPnplWN1o/edit?usp=sharing

The Talent Team’s Office Presentation:

The Marketing Team’s ‘Springfest’ commercial:

The Marketing Team’s “Welcome to Bergen Community College” Video:

The Marketing Team’s Instagram Account:

The Entertainment Team’s video on the new school song:

See the presentation below

The Presentation of the Paramus Team Project “Springfest 2023”:

In lieu of giving a forth quiz, I gave the Teams the scenario that my Corporate partner, Susan Gonzales Honan, was impressed by the Team’s performance on the project and challenged the four Teams to come up with ideas for the New Brunswick Corporate Christmas Party. The project included creating an invitation, a menu with an appetizer, main dish, dessert and a signature Christmas drink. The Entertainment Team was asked to create an original Christmas song for the company. They came up with a very interesting rap song. Here are the results from each Team.

The Corporate Christmas Party Project-Quiz Four:

The Corporate Christmas Party ideas from the Paramus, NJ Teams:

The Powerpoint Presentation:

The Executive Team’s Ideas for the party:

Merry Christmas from Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc.!

Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Three Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. presents “Caribe Cafe” at Bergen Community College-Lyndhurst Campus November 17th, 2022

It is amazing how a small conversation about importing gourmet products from the Dominican Republic can lead to such a detailed and interesting project. Every semester these students amaze me and this group of Business 101 students really ‘knocked it out of the ballpark”. I was really impressed by the results of each group as well as all the parents and invited guests were as well.

In my live classes, I open my consulting company, “Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc.”, for business and the whole class bands together and we have one big project. In the era of post-COVID and online learning, I was lucky that I was able to teach one of the live classes on the Bergen Community College, Paramus Campus. It was such a pleasure welcoming students back to campus with live lectures and conversing with them.

The Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. corporate logo of the six trees

https://bcpccom.wordpress.com/contact/

In the past, I have created these projects under the Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. banner, the main consulting company, the Orion Malls banner, a Mall design company and the Buscomonzefi.com banner, my Tech Division. Each business does its best to be creative, forward thinking and have a thought producing presentations. I also challenge the students to top on another in their presentations and build on what they have seen others do in the past.

Professor Justin Watrel, CEO & Co-Founder of Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc.

How this project was created was when the class was having a discussion importing and exporting. I asked some of the students whose families have either lived or are from the Dominican Republic about food products that manufactured in their country. Could they sell here to non-Dominican customers, or should these vendors cater exclusively to one type of customer? What was the class thoughts on it? I have to say that the class as a whole did not have much of an opinion on this, but it got me thinking.

I had to put together a group project for the students and since one of my classes was already out in the field with the “It’s Wonderful in Westwood” project, I did not want to take any more students out of the classroom. So, we would have to do an in-class project. I approached a group of the students who I had had a discussion with that week on their thoughts on importing products into the country and how they would sell. Again, not many opinions but they thought it might work if it was done in conjunction with either a grocery store or a restaurant. Also, it might be better to use the whole Caribbean as a market.

So, I went home and thought about ideas for a restaurant/gourmet foods Panera type Spanish restaurant concept that might work in the suburbs and “Caribe Cafe” was created under the Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. banner.

The Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. “Caribe Cafe” proposal project:

The project was to create the “Caribe Cafe” concept from ground up. The students would be serving as consultants for the company pitching their concepts to future investors. I broke the students up into four groups and they had to create:

*The Floor Plan

*The Menu with a Caribbean theme

*A Gourmet Department with food items from Spanish/Caribbean vendors

*Have a music soundtrack of Spanish/Caribbean artist

*Create design of the restaurant with Spanish/ Caribbean art work from /well-known and. or local artists.

*Design the restaurant with ideas on the color scheme and furniture for the interior

*Set up a Marketing campaign that included Restaurant Opening ideas, a Membership Program, a Coupon Program and Advertising.

*Film a commercial to promote their Restaurant concept

From there, things that they added like staffing, prices, menu breakdown etc. that it takes to open a restaurant would be considered extra credit. How far they wanted to take the project and in-depth they wanted to be in the presentation was up to the individual teams. Then I put the students into their groups and left the last forty-five minutes of each class for them to meet. Then I dangled the prize for the best team, a half grade bump up in their final grade for the class. That got everyone motivated.

For the next five weeks I saw the enthusiasm of the project build and everyone come up with ideas and brainstorm their projects. I also saw by two weeks before the project was due was the grumbling many Team members whose partners were not stepping up the plate and not doing their jobs. The Team Leaders also complained to me of members who would not listen and not meet deadlines. I told everyone that this is why “they were the boss” and that we would have two more meetings before the project was due. Every week we had Board Meetings to check on progress and I reminded everyone that we would be presenting this project on November 17th right before Thanksgiving. They needed to be finished and ready to go the week before.

The Teams presented these ideas for logos to Corporate:

The day of the Presentation, I got in early to set up with the AV representative and set up for the reception. Each of the Teams got there early to set up their Team displays of foods that they would be featuring and getting their Dress Code grades.

The day of the presentation was not without its drama with some students still arguing with one another on the project and the kids who did not want meet the Dress Code standard. Then there were the students who did not show up or did not present that evening. Being the CEO of a company does come with its pitfalls. Still the presentations were excellent and the Food Displays were fantastic. I saw so much creativity with the food selections.

The presentations were all done in English and Spanish and with the amount of visitors including family members and friends who do not speak English well, this project makes them feel more comfortable and part of the business equation. I reminded the students that not every investor would be a English speaker. We are ‘pitching’ this idea to an International crowd of investors.

This is the Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. website for the “Caribe Cafe” project:

These videos represent the students ideas and presentations by Team groupings. It also includes their proposals for the Company Corporate Christmas party.

The Project “Caribe Cafe”: A taste of the Islands commercials to promote the restaurant.

Group One’s Commercial for “Caribe Cafe”:

Group Two’s Commercial for “Caribe Cafe”

Team Three’s Commercial for “Caribe Cafe”:

Team Four’s Commercial for “Caribe Cafe”

Team Commercial for “Caribe Cafe”

These are the Team Presentations that were filmed by our AV Department for the class. Each Team presented their proposals to the audience of International investors in English and Spanish. I could tell the students were nervous but watching these videos again even I did not know these were a group of students. They became the Consultants that they were trained to be. I could not have been prouder of them.

The Group Presentations:

Group One:

Group Two:

Group Three:

Group Four:

The Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. Corporate Christmas Project:

I was tired of giving traditional quizzes by this point of class, I decided to do something different for the class. I was so impressed by the competition between the student groups that I created this project where the students had to create a Corporate Christmas Party idea for a Partner who was impressed by their Team project. They had to create a Invitation, a menu with an appetizer, main dish, dessert and signature Christmas drink. They also had to create a greeting for Corporate in English and Spanish. These are their ideas:

The Corporate Christmas Party Project:

Group One: Not Available

Group Two:

Group Three: Not Available

Group Four:

I swear you could not tell these were students. Their professionalism that night was excellent.

Merry Christmas from Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc!

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

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

Getting ready for the game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The start of the game

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

Going in for our first touchdown Columbia 21-Cornell 7

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

Going in for our third touchdown Columbia 38-Cornell 22

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

The last play of the game

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

Our teams are civil even after a loss

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

The end of the game

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

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

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

The Cornell Marching Band preparing for the parade from Vanderbilt Avenue

Cornell Alumni marching in the parade

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

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

Cornell School Song

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

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

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

Someone shot this at the parade in 2022

The Parade in 2018 pre-COVID

Our mascot also sang and danced at the parade

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

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

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

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

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

The desserts at the club are always wonderful

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

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

I’m the dedicated Alumni! Go Red!!!!!

J’s Pizza 96 Seventh Avenue New York, NY 10011

Don’t miss the wonderful lunch and dinner specials at J’s Pizza.

Don’t miss the pizzeria on the corner of Seventh Avenue

The wonderful selection at J’s Pizzeria

Dining on a Shoestring in the New York City area

J’s Pizza

96 Seventh Avenue

New York, NY 10011

(646) 760-8120

https://www.jspizzamenu.com/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 11:00am-8:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4432818-Reviews-J_s_Pizza-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

J’s Pizza at 96 Seventh Avenue

I have been coming to J’s Pizza for many years and had eaten here in the past after viewing the Halloween Parade in October. I just rediscovered it again when I started grad school in the neighborhood and forgot how good the food was when I dined here. The pizza slices are generous in size and their marinara and pizza sauces you can tell are freshly made and not from a can.

The sauces for all the meals here from the pizza, to the spaghetti and meatballs to the sauce that is the side to the many rolls and calzones is well spiced and has so much flavor to it. It really makes the dishes.

J’s Pizza counter is lined with pizzas and calzones

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

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

I love you Dad!

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

Pane Pasta 58 West 8th Street New York, NY 10011

Don’t miss the delicious pizzas and pastries at Pane Pasta. Just walking in and looking at the cases will make you hungry.

Pane Pasta at 58 West 8th Street

Little Shop on Main Street

Pane Pasta

58 West 8th Street

New York, NY 10011

(646) 891-0006

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d20021095-Reviews-Pane_Pasta-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Pane Pasta at 58 West 8th Street

I found this wonderful combination bakery and gourmet shop when walking home from school one afternoon and exploring Greenwich Village. All the delicious pizzas and pastries in the window lured me in.

I had just eaten my lunch, so I was not that hungry and just wanted a snack. I saw the small doughnuts in the windows called Bombolones, which are yeast doughnuts filled with chocolate or vanilla cream fillings and then rolled in granulated sugar. The small one is $2.15 and the large one was $5.00. Don’t let the price deter you as it is a sweet and filling little dessert. The fresh vanilla cream played beautifully off the sweet dough and sugary topping. Each bite was wonderful, and it was…

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Lucky Wang NYC 82 7th Avenue New York, NY 10011

There are a lot of wonderful gift items and a place to stock your child’s closet with quality clothing.

Lucky Wang at 82 7th Avenue (Lucky Wang website)

Little Shop on Main Street

Lucky Wang NYC

82 Seventh Avenue

New York, NY 10011

(212) 229-2900

https://www.luckywang.com/

https://www.facebook.com/luckywang88

My review on TripAdvisor:

Lucky Wang at 82 Seventh Avenue (Lucky Wang website)

I saw this unusual, patterned dress in the window of Lucky Wang, a delightful children’s store in Greenwich Village and I had to stop in and see it up close. This little dress is just one of the many beautiful and unique pieces of clothing that the store carries. Many of the clothing items have such vibrant colors and patterns.

I love walking around the store and wishing I was still a kid getting to pick out my own clothes for school. This is such a special little shop that dresses children so beautifully and prepares them for their first day at school or for a special holiday. There are so many interesting items to choose from the various tables and shelves.

Along…

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The Donut Pub 203 West 14th Street New York, NY 10011

Don’t miss the delicious treats at The Donut Pub. Their Maple Bacon Donut is mind-blowing!

The Donut Pub at 203 West 14th Street

Little Shop on Main Street

Donut Pub

203 West 14th Street

New York, NY 10011

(646) 398-7007

Open: Sunday-Saturday 24 hours

https://www.donutpub.com/

https://www.restaurantji.com/ny/new-york/the-donut-pub-/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4052101-Reviews-The_Donut_Pub-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

The Donut Pub at 203 West 14th Street

The colorful and mouthwatering selection of donuts is what lured me into this popular and very special dessert shop in Greenwich Village. Just one look in the window wanted to make me walk inside.

The unique logo

Walking into The Donut Pub is like walking into the donut version of “Willy Wonka’s”. There are just so many choices and all those delicious donuts scream “Buy me”! I have only been in The Donut Pub a few times, but I am hooked already. Just looking in the window makes me hungry.

The first time I passed the shop I was just taking a look at what was on display to see what they carried and this delicious and mouthwatering large…

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Blackwell House 500 Main Street New York, NY 10044

Don’t miss a tour of Roosevelt Island! The Tram ride is a lot of fun.

Take time to tour the whole island and see what it has to offer!

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

Blackwell House

500 Main Street

New York, NY 10044

(212) 832-4540

https://rioc.ny.gov/176/Blackwell-House

Open: Sunday 11:00am-2:00pm/3:00pm-5:00pm/Monday-Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Saturday 11:00am-2:00pm/3:00pm-5:00pm

Free: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

The Blackwell House on 500 Main Street on Roosevelt Island

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

The Blackwell House on Roosevelt Island finally opened for tours after a major renovation of the house. When I had visited Roosevelt Island the last time in 2017, the house was corded off and was not open for touring. It had looked like it was falling apart from the inside out.

The home has now gone through a major renovation. The grounds outside were beautifully landscaped and gave the house a very warm and welcoming entrance to the property. In the middle of the summer, the flowers and trees were all in bloom and it was a nice view from the street. The house is conveniently located in the middle of the island, so…

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Day Two Hundred and Forty-Five Exploring the Historical sites of Fishkill, NY- A Local Journey August 7th and 14th and December 9th, 2022

I love visiting the Hudson River Valley so any event or tour that I can go on is an excuse to come up here. I had visited all the sites that I wanted to see on a trip two weeks earlier but wanted to see them in more detail plus I wanted to take some pictures. The weather finally broke, and it was a much more pleasant 83 degrees as opposed to the 96 degrees the trip before. That makes the trip much nicer.

I asked my aunt along so that we could share in the experience, and I could use her phone to take pictures of the all the sites. It is a much nicer trip when you have someone along who enjoys these things. The one nice thing about traveling to the Fishkill, New York area is that it is only an hour away and a straight run up the New York Thruway to Route 84 and then to Route 9. Just a couple of quick back streets and you will be there.

On my first trip up, I got there so early that no one was at the first site, The Brinckerhoff Homestead Historical site, the home of the East Fishkill Historical Society at 68 North Kensington Drive in Hopewell Junction, NY. I double back and stopped for a quick snack at G & R Deli Cafe, a small deli at 2003 Route 52 in a strip mall near the old IBM campus. I needed a snack. This was my go to place both in the summer and when I came back for Christmas. The owners are really nice and the food is excellent.

G &R Deli Cafe at 2003 Route 52

https://www.gnrdelicafe.com/

https://www.facebook.com/grdelicafe/

Since I already had dinner plans, I ordered a Sausage, Egg and Cheese on a roll ($5.95) which was a bit more expensive than in the City but it was delicious. The sausage had a nice taste of sage and gave it a lot of flavor. I just relaxed outside in the parking lot and ate breakfast. Another time that I visited, I had the same version with bacon and both times the sandwiches were excellent.

The breakfast sandwiches at G & R Deli are excellent

After my snack, I got back to the Brinckerhoff Homestead at 12:00pm when it was supposed to open but around 12:30pm there was still no one there and I kept knocking on the door. That’s when one of the county members let me know that they did not open until 1:00pm. Since I had a list of places to visit that day and the time had been posted all over the internet, I asked if we could please start early. He agreed and I got a personal tour of the house. When I came back two weeks later, I better timed it for the 1:00pm opening to take pictures.

The Brinckerhoff Homestead at 68 Kensington Drive

https://kk-kz.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057186982344

The Brinckerhoff family is prominent in the Fishkill area and family members still visit the homestead so the house’s history is ongoing. The house is broken down into three sections as you can see by the picture. The original part of the home was built by John G. Brinckerhoff in 1755 and it consisted of the “Everything Room” on the lower floor with the hearth for cooking, a beehive oven and the large room upstairs for family living.

As John Brinckerhoff’s family grew, they moved out of the house and his brother, George G. Brinckerhoff moved into the home with his family. After the Revolutionary War was over and George G.’s assignment was over in the army, he returned to the house and in 1785 added the middle main addition of the house with four additional rooms. The larger rooms and high ceilings showed the family affluence in that they could heat the home.

When George died in 1812, his brother John and his family moved back into the house. In 1814, the family sold the house to the Purdy family. They lived in the house for the next 60 years and added the final addition onto the house to the left with a summer kitchen and an outdoor oven. It remained in the family until 1875 when it was sold to the Palen family who used it again as a farm. It was then again sold to the Moore family in 1926 and lastly sold to East Fishkill Historical Society in 1974 by developer Gustav Fink who was a developer in the area (East Fishkill Historical Society).

The rooms are decorated in period furnishings and when we started the tour, you begin in the oldest section of the home with the original kitchen area.

The “Everything Room” in the Brinckerhoff Homestead

This is where the family would cook, eat, do their work on farm affairs and socialize. There was also a small general store on the property as well. The upstairs was closed to the public.

You next moved into the main rooms of the 1785 addition which brought it the into then modern era with high ceilings and larger rooms so that the family had more living space and could entertain.

The Main Dining Room of the home which was set for Hot Chocolate service which again showed the family’s affluence as chocolate was very expensive then

We also toured the Living Room which was set for socializing and work women did for the home with needlepoint, weaving, and clothes making. There was still room for people to gather and entertain.

The Living Room of the 1785 addition to the home

Along the main corridor of the home in the addition was all sorts of artifacts from the Revolutionary War period and items from the time.

Our last part of the tour was the latest addition by the Purdy family when we toured the ‘Summer Kitchen”, which showed how the home had progressed over the years. Little by little each family brought it into the next ‘modern era’.

Both times I got to tour the grounds and the beautiful gardens that the volunteers maintained. Rock gardens and flower beds line the three acres of land around the house. Along with the flower beds, several historical buildings have been moved to the property including the one room schoolhouse from District 9 in East Fishkill that was built in 1826, the 1870 Icehouse which once supplied another home with its ice for the home to keep food fresh before the advent of refrigeration.

The Schoolhouse and the Icehouse and gardens

Another building that is still in use and is open when the house is open for touring is the John Hyatt Blacksmith shop from 1880. It still has some of the original tools and the blacksmith on duty still works the fire and performs tasks in the building.

The last building on the property is the Van Wyck Carriage Barn from 1845. It had been built by Judge Theodorus Van Wyck for his home that was built in East Fishkill that was torn down by the development of the IBM Campus in 1984. IBM paid to have the carriage house dismantled and moved to this property.

The East Fishkill Historical Society with the Brinckerhoff home in the center, the schoolhouse to the right and the blacksmith shop and the carriage house to the left

We took our time to tour the house and the grounds and on my initial visit I got to tour the schoolhouse, the ice house and the blacksmith shop to see the inner workings of these buildings and how they operated.

The docents had told me that they had recently held a ‘Strawberry Festival’ recently promoting the local fruit crops and serving complimentary strawberry shortcake that everyone enjoyed and was gone quickly. There are also Revolutionary War reenactments done on the property and for the holiday season the home will be decorated for the period Christmas holidays with an open house, so there will be things to do and see in the future.

When I returned in December, the curator invited me back to see the house decorated for Christmas. So while I was up seeing the decorated mansions of the Hudson River Valley the first, second and third weekends of December (read my blog on visiting the Hudson River Valley-Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Five-Christmas Again?):

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/27296

The whole Brinkerhoff Homestead site was decorated for a Revolutionary era Christmas and the tables were set for an Afternoon Tea Fundraiser. The displays showed both a Revolutionary War and Victorian theme. With the fire places blazing, it made the whole house smell of oak and pine.

The Brinckerhoff Homestead decorated for Christmas

The Brinckerhoff Homestead Christmas tree

The Christmas display case at the Brinckerhoff House of Victorian toys

Santa does visit the first weekend of December

Our next stop on the tour of homes was the Van Wyck Homestead Museum at 504 Route 9, the old Albany Post Road. The house had stood on the main transportation line during the Revolutionary War period and it had served as General George Washington’s northern supply depot during the war because of this location.

Van Wyck Homestead Museum at 504 Route 9 (the Old Albany Post Road)

http://www.fishkillhistoricalsociety.org/

In 1732, Cornelius Van Wyck bought 959 acres of land from the original Rombout Patent and built the smaller section of the home to the right in 1732. As the family gained affluence in farming and trade, the larger section of the home to the left was built in 1757 with larger rooms and higher ceilings again to show a family’s wealth.

Because of the location of the house in Fishkill on the main road of transportation and the strategic location near the mountains to the south, General George Washington requisitioned the home as the northern supply depot for the Continental Army in October of 1776. Here supplies were run through, army regiments passed and people were buried who died during the war. The house was also used as the headquarters and court marshals and punishments took place on the property (Van Wyck Homestead Museum pamphlet). After the war was over, the house and farm was returned to the family.

The historical marker of the original home

The way the house was furnished was slightly different from the Brinckerhoff Homestead that looked more like you were walking into someone’s actual home. The old Living Room of the Van Wyck Homestead is being used as a meeting room and a place to display items from the Revolutionary War.

The Living Room and Meeting Room at the Van Wyck Homestead

The Revolutionary War Collection at the Van Wyck Homestead

Towards the back of the home is a Library/Research area and we were able to see all the old books and records that are part of the home’s collection. This is where most people do their genealogy work and family research.

The Research Library at the Van Wyck Homestead

What both my aunt and I thought was interesting was when we entered the older part of the house and the old Dining Room area. Many of the artifacts were old Van Wyck family heirlooms that had been donated over the years.

The Dining Room of the Van Wyck Homestead

Some of the recent additions were the crib which had been in the family for five generations and had just been donated to the home as well as the painting over the fireplace had just been collected by the home. Like the Brinckerhoff Homestead, there are many members of the Van Wyck family who come back to visit and still live in the area.

The Colonial kitchen and hearth are in the oldest section of the home from 1732. This is where the “Everything Room” was located. Back when this was the only section of the home, this is where all the cooking, dining, family business and social activities were located. All sorts of kitchen equipment lined the walls and shelves to show life in colonial times. It was funny that much of it has not changed over the years, just modernized.

The original family kitchen in the 1732 section of the Van Wyck Homestead

Outside the home, the organization planted the outside gardens and there is a recreation of the old beehive oven aside the home. It gave you a glimpse of how food came about for these large families before supermarkets.

The Van Wyck Gardens showed how the house was self-sufficient at one time

After touring the grounds, we walked back to see the displays one more time. On my initial trip, the tour guide let me see the upstairs rooms. In the newer part of the home, they had been turned into storage and offices for the docents. In the older part of the home, the old loft area was used for storage, and it was pretty dusty. The house was closed for Christmas but will reopen in the Spring.

After touring these two homes, we were off to Wappinger’s Falls further up Route 9 to visit the Mesier Homestead in Mesier Park just off the beginning of Downtown Wappinger’s Falls. There was a concert going on in the park and my aunt said she needed a break from visiting these old homes. Too many arrowheads and Revolutionary War furniture so she stayed and listened to the concert while I toured the home.

The Mesier Homestead in Mesier Park

https://www.wappingershistoricalsociety.org/mesier-homestead

The Mesier Homestead is the home of the Wappinger Falls Historical Society, who maintains the home. The Mesier home is much like the other homes in that it had been added onto as the family grew and became more affluent. The original part of the home is currently going through a renovation and the President of the Wappinger Falls Historical Society explained that they just discovered the old hearth and oven and are currently restoring the historic windows.

The original part of the home is currently under renovation

Starting the tour at the front entrance of the home that leads to the formal Living Room that is decorated with Victorian decor. Again the large rooms and high ceilings showed the family affluence by showing how they could afford to heat their home.

The Living Room at the Mesier Homestead

The copies of the Mesier family portraits in the Mesier Living Room

The Living Room leads to the back Library where many additions of older books are held and where visitors can do research on their family history in the Wappinger Falls. Many are trying to trace their family’s history.

The Mesier Homestead Library and Research Room

The back area of the house is closed for renovations, but you can climb the stairs to the old bedrooms on the second floor. Here is where both the family and the family slaves then servants lived on the same floor.

The Adult’s Bedroom set during Victorian times

A woman’s boudoir during Victorian times

The rooms also showed a child’s place in the family where during Victorian times were treated like ‘little adults’ being trained for their future lives. Toys not just sparked the imagination but also prepared children for domestic life

Children’s playthings during Victorian times spurred imagination

On top of the recreations of the family life in both Colonial and Victorian times that the family lived through, there was an extensive collection of Native American items showing the original settlers of the region when the Lenape Indians lived, fished and hunted in this area before the arrival of the Dutch in the late 1600’s.

The Native American collection on the second floor of the Mesier Homestead

The last part of the tour ended in the formal Dining Room where the entertainment was done and the family took their meals. When I asked why these homes seemed so much smaller than homes like the Vanderbilts and Mills families, it was explained that these families were older more established and did not have to show off their wealth. Since these were God fearing individuals, it was not acceptable to be ‘showy’. People knew they were affluent so they could show off but not flaunt it.

The formal Dining Room at the Mesier Homestead set for dinner

During the Christmas holiday season, the house is beautifully decorated for a Victorian Christmas with garlands and bows and period decorations. Most of these old homes are elegantly decorated as the families once had done during the holidays.

The Living Room at the Mesier Homestead at Christmas

During Colonial times, Christmas meant church services in the morning or afternoon and then a formal dinner in the afternoon. You might have pine, garland and berries decorate the house whereas during Victorian times, it was a much more elaborate affair. There would be a Christmas tree, garland and pine all over the home and gift giving. Christmas cards would have also decorated the home as well.

The Mesier Homestead foyer decked at Christmas time

The Dining Room table was decorated for Christmas lunch

After the tour, I took a quick walk into downtown Wappinger Falls which has a great downtown with terrific restaurants and a great view of the river and falls.

Downtown Wappinger Falls has such a unique look to it.

During Christmas time, the downtown had a quaint look to it with garland and wreaths decorating people’s homes.

Downtown Wappingers Falls during Christmas

The Christmas tree in the Wappingers Falls square downtown

The Bandstand decorated at night

Our last part of the tour was visiting the First Reformed Church of Fishkill at 717 Route 9 at the beginning of Downtown Fishkill, NY. This elegant old church with its historic cemetery was built in 1732 on land that had been set aside for the church.

The Fishkill First Reformed Dutch Church at 717 Route 9 with the DuBois House next door

The church was closed for the afternoon as services are at 10:00am on Sundays so I toured around the church and the cemetery. What was interesting about the cemetery is all the family plots and who was intermarried into whose families.

The cemetery behind the church is full of family plots including the Brinckerhoff and Van Wyck families

After touring the church and the cemetery grounds, I took my time and walked Downtown Fishkill which is lined with small but interesting restaurants and stores. The street had been lively the two times that I visited with people enjoying the outdoor dining and the perfect 80-degree weather.

Historic Downtown Fishkill, NY

https://shopdowntown.org/pages/shop-downtown-Fishkill-New%20York

The Van Wyck family vault is located in the church’s cemetery

During Christmas time, the church was tastefully decorated for Christmas and for holiday services.

The church was decked with wreaths and garland

The church doorway looked like something out of a Christmas Card

Downtown Fishkill, NY decorated for Christmas

CIty Hall decorated for Christmas

I searched that entire downtown from one end to another and I could not find the Fishkill Town Christmas tree.

While walking around Downtown Fishkill, I came across the Fishkill Creamery at 1042 Main Street and needed a quick snack on a hot afternoon. The store was really busy with people eating outside on the benches and tables. I stopped in and had a scoop of Strawberry Cheesecake and a scoop of Birthday Cake ice cream. Did it hit the spot! The Strawberry Cheesecake was especially good with chunks of fresh strawberries in it.

The Fishkill Creamery at 1042 Main Street in Downtown Fishkill

https://www.facebook.com/FishkillCreamery/

After the ice cream, it was time for dinner (I always believe in saving room for dessert). Both times I tried Antonella’s Pizzeria & Restaurant at 738 Route 9 in Fishkill. You really have to search for the restaurant as it is located in the strip mall in the Shoprite Mall.

Antonella’s Pizzeria & Restaurant at 738 Route 9

The food here is really good. When I came up on my own, I just wanted something small, and I ordered the Cheese Calzone ($8.95). The thing was huge! The Calzone was so large that it could have fed two people easily. It was loaded with Ricotta, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and they make a terrific marinara sauce that accompanied it. By the time I finished devouring the thing, I was stuffed. This after all that ice cream.

We returned to Antonella’s when my aunt and I returned to Fishkill for the touring since I was so impressed with the food and service. My aunt had the Sausage, Pepper & Onion Roll ($8.50) and I had the Stromboli Roll ($8.50) which had ham, salami, pepperoni, Ricotta and Mozzarella cheeses wrapped in a perfectly baked pizza dough. Both were served with their flavorful marinara sauce. After a long day of touring, it was just what we needed. We also took plenty of time to relax and digest on this trip.

The Cheese Calzone’s at Antonella’s are excellent

It was really a nice day and there is so much to see and do in this part of the Hudson River Valley. I had not really explored Fishkill, NY so it was fascinating to see all these old homes and historic sites and know their place in history. Take the time to tour these homes and hear the family stories. Remember to head back during the Christmas holiday season and explore these homes and the downtowns when they are decorated for the season. There is a special magic in the Hudson River Valley during the holiday season. Check their websites for more activities during the year.

(Please read the accompanying reviews on VisitingaMuseum.com to see a full description on these homes).

Places to Visit:

Brinckerhoff House Historic Site/East Fishkill Historical Society

68 North Kensington Drive

Hopewell Junction, NY 12524

(845) 227-4136

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057186982344

Admission: Free

Open: Sundays 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday-Saturday Closed/June-August

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47922-d24829233-Reviews-Brinckerhoff_House_Historical_Site-Hopewell_Junction_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/8327

Van Wyck Homestead Museum

504 U.S. 9

Fishkill, NY 12524

(845) 896-0560

https://www.hudsonrivervalley.com/sites/Van-Wyck-Homestead-Museum-/details

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

Admission: Free

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47724-d263982-Reviews-Van_Wyck_Homestead_Museum-Fishkill_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/8339

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

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/4173

First Reformed Dutch Church of Fishkill

1153 Main Street

Fishkill, NY 12524

(845) 896-4546

Open: Church Services are on Sundays at 10:00am

https://www.facebook.com/FirstReformedChurchofFishkill/

Home Page

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47724-d263921-Reviews-First_Reformed_Church_of_Fishkill-Fishkill_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/8333

Where to Eat:

G &R Deli Café

2003 NY Route 52

Hopewell Junction, NY 12533

(845) 202-7669

https://www.gnrdelicafe.com/

https://www.facebook.com/grdelicafe/

Open: Sunday 7:00am-2:00pm/Monday-Friday 6:00am-4:00pm/Saturday 7:00am-3:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g47922-d24829555-r851173564-G_R_Deli_Cafe-Hopewell_Junction_New_York.html?m=19905

Antonella’s Italian Restaurant

738 Route 9 Suite 13

Fishkill, NY 12524

(845) 896-9191

https://www.antonellasrestaurant.com/fishkill-menu

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

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g47724-d5112543-r851247421-Antonella_s_Italian_Restaurant_Pizza-Fishkill_New_York.html?m=19905

Fishkill Creamery

1042 Main Street

Fishkill, NY 12524

(845) 214-5544

https://www.fishkillcreamery.com/

https://www.facebook.com/FishkillCreamery/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-9:30pm/Monday-Thursday 12:00pm-9:30pm/Friday-Saturday 12:00pm-10:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g47724-d23864092-Reviews-Fishkill_Creamery-Fishkill_New_York.html?m=19905