Pumpkin and apple picking in the Hudson Valley

Earlier this month, I think on October 5, a couple of my cousins and I drove upstate from New York City. We went to Poughkeepsie and Highland, which are on either side of the Hudson River. It was the 10th anniversary of the Walkway Over the Hudson. It was originally a train bridge during World War II and 10 years ago, it was turned into a walking bridge, which spans the Hudson River and connects Highland and Poughkeepsie. The walkway is the world’s longest pedestrian bridge.

It’s an incredible walk, the walk itself, but I mean the view. We had hoped to see fall leaves, which I believe are red and yellow now, but October 5 it was still warm and the leaves hadn’t turned yet. But it was a beautiful day. So nice, so peaceful and it’s gorgeous up there.

We had lunch at a place on the river, drove over the other bridge, the Mid-Hudson Bridge, which takes car traffic, to get there.

The best part, or maybe just as great as the walkway was a stop at DuBois Farms, where we went pumpkin and apple picking. It’s a real farm with animals and so many other features like prepared food and drinks, weekend BBQ’s, a tavern on site and so much more – so beautiful, check them out here: duboisfarms.com.

This was the same week as NY Comic Con, so we went from that hectic scene, to the serene scene of the Hudson Valley. A perfect fall week.

I visited The NY Herald last week

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The New York Herald in 1895, when it was a new building at Herald Square.

I had to go to Macy’s on Herald Square last week so as I usually do when I’m on Herald Square, I pay homage to the New York Herald. The Herald itself is not there today, it left the location in the early 1920s and a clothing store took over the location until around 1940 when one of the ugliest buildings you’ve ever seen – a square ugly box replaced it.

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Luckily there are some remnants of The Herald at the location. The large statue of Minerva & the Bell Ringers stands as a memorial to James Gordon Bennett, founder of the newspaper.  The statue originally stood right at the top of the building, front and center, you can see it in the top photo. The owls that graced the roof are there today and so is the clock. All at a small park across the triangle.

The Herald stood on the triangle at Broadway and 6th Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets. It originally was downtown on Park Row where most of the newspapers in the 19th century were, but in 1895 it moved uptown to the Herald Square location, named of course, for the newspaper.

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This disgusting building stands in The Herald location today.

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Do these people realize the hollowed ground they stand on?

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One of the clocks stands in the park today across the street from the location. Another clock is on the other side of this column.

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Owls from the original building grace different areas of the small park that holds the historic mementos.

Related photos and stories:
The New York Herald
Visiting the NY Herald again
Revisiting The New York Times
Pulitzer and The World
The Sun; it shines for all

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Madison Square; the Flatiron District

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I love this old photo. I’ve seen it many times over the years. This is my favorite area of NYC these days. I fell in love with it a couple of summers ago where I spent a few weeks. I’ve always had favorite parts of the city over the years and now it’s the Madison Square/Flatiron district. I like that it’s a few blocks from another favorite area of mine – Union Square, which you can get to by walking down Broadway a few blocks.

When I look at this photo I see almost everything that is still there today. The Victory Arch was temporary, it’s made of wood and it’s something they did at that time to commemorate things – this was a tribute to New York soldiers who fought in World War I. It was erected in 1918, over 100 years ago. It’s at 24th Street and 5th Avenue in the photo.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked on that exact spot. Broadway is to the right of the photo and 5th Avenue is to the left. That’s where they meet and form Madison Square, at the Flatiron Building, which is straight ahead. That’s Madison Square Park to the left (I recently stood there to watch a parade this summer). On the other side of the park is where the original Madison Square Garden was built in the 1800s. It’s now the site of the Met Life Building, which was built in 1909. So many times I sat across from that building on Madison Avenue, where it’s a quiet area of the park/city.

In this photo you can see the building to the right which has Eataly in part of the first floor now and to the right almost out of the photo is a place where there is a chicken restaurant that I like. I think that’s it.

What’s great about this part of Broadway is that it’s a very small street – the original Broadway and it doesn’t get much use. Traffic takes 5th Avenue instead. There’s a Starbucks on Broadway at 26th that I use a lot. And that gold dome behind the Flatiron Building at 170 5th Avenue is known as the Sohmer Piano Building because they were an original tenant there. It was built in 1897. It’s condos now.

The photo is taken from the Porcelanosa Building, which I love, too. It wasn’t there at that time, but it’s a great building now that faces the Flatiron Building. And that obelisk in the photo is still there today. It was installed in 1856. There’s a body under it! It’s General William Jenkins Worth’s mausoleum. he fought in the War of 1812.

Anyway, that one photo says so much to me. It tells so many stories.

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Daily News Sunday comics; a blast from the past

I started following a page on Facebook that is all about The New York Daily News Sunday papers. Mostly the comics and thrown in are some old images and comic from the New York Mirror.

What I like about it is that as you scroll down, you feel as if you are reading the actual comics pages at the time. Three comics stood out that I had forgotten about but when I saw them here it brought back so many childhood memories for different reasons.

louie-comicThe reason I remember Louie so well is Silly Putty! I distinctly remember picking up this comic by pushing Silly Putty onto it and then taking up the image. Like this image shows below.

I don’t know why Louie stands out, because I’m sure I did this with all the comics, but I distinctly remember picking up Louie with Silly Putty.

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I liked Pottsy because it was funny, but also it was New York. He was a NY cop and the scenes clearly depicted New York. This top comic is obviously Coney Island and the one below clearly shows City Hall in lower Manhattan. I was just there a couple of weeks ago.

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As for Super Duper, I remember drawing it as a kid. When I learned to cartoon by redrawing the Sunday comics and putting my own characters in. I can clearly remember drawing and re-drawing Super Duper.

Lots of rules at the MET Museum

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I got yelled at at The Metropolitan Museum of Art the other today for taking video. I was taking a few 10 second videos of statues for my Instagram account. When I asked the security guy out of curiosity, what the difference is between still pics and video, thinking it hurt the art in some way like flash photography, he said it was because people visiting the museum don’t like being in other people’s videos. It starts fights. I guess the still images like these below are ok with shy patrons, which makes no sense at all.

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This isn’t the guard who yelled at me. I just took the picture because I loved his look.

Another guard yelled at a lady who had an empty water bottle in her hand. He warned her about filling it at a water fountain. She explained that she could not find a trash can to dump it so she was carrying it around. Oh, and backpacks. The guy who yelled at me told me that backpacks are not appreciated either, although almost every tourist in there had one. He said when people are bumped into with a backpack it causes fights. He should try riding the subway some day. Half the space taken up in the trains is by backpacks on people’s backs.

I think the museums are fed up with tourists and crowds. I am too, but that’s what pays the bills.

By the way, I loved the Play it Loud exhibit, there until October 1. It’s musical instruments from famous rock history.

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I think the ancient Egyptian items are the best.

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Prince’s guitar, part of the Play it Loud exhibit. 

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The Beatles instruments part of the Play it Loud exhibit.

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Revisiting the NY Times

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See this Starbucks coffee and NY Times? What’s interesting is that this Starbucks is in the lobby of a building on Park Row, right next to the original NY Times which was in the building starting in 1889.

Park Row, across from City Hall, is where many NY newspapers were in the 1800s – The Times, The Sun, The Tribune, The Herald. Most buildings are gone now.

The newspapers eventually moved uptown. The Times to Times Square, The Herald to Herald Square and The Sun just a block away, into the old A.T. Stewart Dry Goods Store which moved there in 1846. The Sun took the building over in 1917.

The clocks are still on the corners of the building. It’s hard to read it all but they say, “The Sun. It shines for all.”

 

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The Times building is the light color building on the left.

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The entrance to The Sun building, still there at 280 Broadway (the building, not the newspaper).

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The Sun building today.

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Newsboys. 100 years ago.

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“The Sun. It shines for all.” These clocks are still on each corner of the building today.

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Joseph Pulitzer’s World building, The Sun (the small building), The Tribune and the Times.

Beach life

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At the Bay side on Key Biscayne

Went to the beach today. According to my car, it was 105 degrees! You know for about 25 years, I went to the beach almost daily. When I was growing up, it never got past the mid 80s. Never.

I stopped by Key Biscayne today, which is/was one of my usual spots, along with Miami Beach. Usually I would go alone on weekdays and with my friends on weekends. Sometimes for an hour, sometimes for eight hours. Sometimes I would meet my friends and we would walk or run on the boardwalk on South Beach and then go drinking at Mac’s Club Deuce or places like that. Other times I would go to Crandon on Key Biscayne alone; sometimes Matheson Hammock. I have an alligator story about Matheson hammock that I’ll tell you some time.

There was a period where I would go to Key Biscayne alone and I made myself stay on the beach until I came up with two or three comic strip ideas, then I could go home.

I would stay until it got dark many times, then come home, shower, change and go to happy hour with my friends. Most of my life I lived as if I was on vacation or retired. I didn’t work many hours in a day, most days I worked an hour or two in the morning and was free the rest of the day. So many days I was done with work by 10 am. I want to go back to living like that again. Sometimes, when I stopped going daily, I would still go for maybe an hour once in awhile. I would grab lunch somewhere and sit at at picnic table at the shore and have lunch.

I now live near the beach, it’s a quick drive. Back then I had to drive sometimes long distances, but I would make that trek daily. Summer and winter. All times of the year.

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There was a period where I would go to 16th and Collins, right on the beach in front of the St. Moritz Hotel, the Loews Hotel is part of The St. Mortiz now and 16th Street is closed and part of the Loews property. The Loews wasn’t built then and 16th Street was open, so you could park there. It was so derelict that you would put money in any one of the parking meters and it would fall out at the bottom. It was just a regular street like the South Beach side streets are today. A street that ended at the edge of the sand/beach, on either side there were parking spaces and meter. Broken meters. My car got broken into there one time. It usually was only me at that beach and a few older people from the Charles Hotel which was nearby.

This old postcard above is how I remember the St. Moritz from the back, the beach side. It was desolate at the time, closed in the mid-80s. I don’t remember the pool, but I guess it was empty and covered. For some reason I just remember the hotel. I guess it was so far back from the shore that that is all I would see, the tall hotel. If you look at this second photo below, that is the same color blue I would see. This smaller image is from the front. I would park my car to the left of the front, which was 16th Street. Today it is closed and part of the Loews Hotel.

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My best friend Franco talked about buying the St. Moritz. It was just a dream of his. When I would lay at the beach at the shore but facing up at that hotel, I would notice that the two top windows had tinfoil on them, so I would imagine laying on the beach, looking up and seeing the tinfoil sparkle in the sun. That was Franco opening and closing the jalousies so that he could get my attention – sort of like a Bat signal, we didn’t have cell phones back then. That was my cue to come in from the beach to work my shift at the front desk. This of course all in my head, Franco never bought the hotel and I would just imagine it as I lay on the sand. If you look at the larger photo above, the one on the postcard, you can see the two top center windows I was speaking about.

One time as I was leaving the beach, I was in my car, and a traffic cop came up to me and said, “Do you want to be in a movie? If you do, drive naturally when the light changes.” They were filming the opening credits on Collins Avenue to the movie, “Making Mr. Right.” The movie came out in 1987, so this may have been one of my hey day years, 1986.

There really was no traffic in South Beach, which I don’t think was even called South Beach at that time, so they could just film a movie without really disturbing anything. It was the same with Miami Vice at the time. They would just shoot the show right there, mere feet from you. Even car chases on Ocean Drive were just a few feet away, I’m not sure how they got away with it.

One time they were filming at the Hare Krishna hotel, just off the boardwalk. I walked over with my friend jak and we were watching. I was leaning on a director’s chair watching, and my friend jak says, to me, “Isn’t that Karen Black?” I asked, “Where?” He said, “You’re leaning on her chair!” And it was Karen Black. It was that small of a town and homespun at that time period. Whenever I see the rerun of that episode I think of the Karen Black incident. It was an episode called, “Victims of Circumstance.”

If you look at the opening credits of Making Mr. Right you’ll see that car scene, that very day I was asked to be part of the traffic in the opening. I didn’t make the cut, but you can see that moment in time. The whole movie takes place during that period, so I like to watch it sometimes just for that. Speaking of credits, on the Miami Vice shot, it was the closing credits they were filming that time. At the very end, the Hare Krishnas come out from behind a wall as Crockett and Tubbs walk by them. When the last image is shown on tv, they literally froze the scene at the moment the Krishnas were coming out from behind the wall. The directors/producers whomever, screwed them out of their moment in the sun!

Crandon and Key Biscayne, was another world. It was like being on a tropical island. It was never busy during weekdays and the water was gin clear. There was hundreds, possibly thousands of palm trees. Key Biscayne or parts of it were a coconut plantation around the turn of the century, so it was paradise. I used to break open coconuts and rub the coconut milk on my body. Sometimes when I’m watching the tv shows Survivor or Naked and Afraid, it reminds me so much of that time and period.

South Beach, which wasn’t South Beach yet, was run down and old, just the way I loved it. We all knew each other before all the New Yorkers and party people came and overtook it in the 90s. Back in the 80s it was a small village, rundown and all ours, no tourists or wanna bes.

I was at a party once at the Versace mansion only it was not a mansion, it was a rundown apartment building. It was long before Gianni Versaci, there was an open courtyard surrounded by apartments where people lived. As you entered, there was a wrought iron spiral staircase where the big wooden door is now. There were no gates and no big door at the entrance, you would just enter the courtyard and go to the apartment you lived in.

I can go on and on, we had the run of Miami Beach, we were all over the place, we went to every dive bar on every side street, we hung out at the beach, Flamingo Park and everywhere in between. Lincoln Road was desolate then. You wouldn’t go there after dark, but during the day we hung out there. So many memories, I’m not sure why they are all flooding back now, but I’ll tell you more next time.

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