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NYC – Pumpkins, Kids and Fresh- Air

This is an update about Fun Activities for the family.

Do you feel the cool air around you? Are you noticing the changing colors of the trees? Are you enjoying getting outside and watching_MG_7253 children (and adults) picking out their special pumpkin?

Lately, New York City Parks have been holding Harvest Fairs. It is fun to watch how fascinated  children and their parents become during these events. It would be a good time for you to find a “Pumpkin Patch” in your neighborhood.

Here is a sample of this coming weekend’s family activity in Carl Schurz Park.

Decorating pumpkins and face masks



While not a hay wagon, It sure looked like fun just the same._MG_7238


It looked like many of the children had trouble finding their special pumpkin

View album
View album View album

Wishing you some Fun Fall Weekends…

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NYC – More than Tourist Sites – Street Fairs and Festivals


I happened to be going through the upper east side and stopped at a street fair on East 116th Street. It had children rides, not often seen in the city, as well as food and some novelty items for sale.I was reminded that over the past few years I have written about street fairs. Here are links to my past articles. I hope they encourage you, while visiting NYC, to get out an enjoy at least one street experience.


NYC- Summer – Food, Faces and Fairs – Faces and Food

NYC – Street Fairs – Information -Memo –  Where to find street fairs

NYC – What do you like about Street Fairs? – Mostly pics of food

NYC – Enjoy a NYC Street Festival – Ukraine Festival. Links festival  to info sites

NYC – UnFair Art Show – Example of Pop=Up fairs

OMG – another NYC Street Fair? – Challenge

New York City – Street Fair – Saturday and Sunday best days


NYC – Visitors Check List – things to do – must see places -don’t miss

Updated July 2016

Visiting a city for the first time can be confusing but one of the benefits can also be exciting. Imagine yourself exploring parts of the city and finding the unexpected.  This Blog will give you some of the highlights of NYC. However, the city is best experienced if you wander past the main landmarks and sample the feel, smell and look of each neighborhood. 

belvedere cstle wide

Central Park One of many places in NYC to visit


Here are a few of the most visited attractions. I will not add too much description but will give you an idea as to their location in the city.

Lower Manhattan 


  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
  • 9/11 Memorial
  • Wall Street
  • South Street Seaport
  • The High Line – just a little higher than lower (west 12th st)


Note on the High Line: At the south end, you’ll be by Chelsea Market, an indoor shopping plaza (Old Nabisco Plant)and  if you keep walking south a bit, you’re in the West Village. A really neat  neighborhood to walk around, shop, people watch, drink.Under the highline between 15th and 16th Streets is Chelsea market, is an indoor avenue of shops and cafes that would be a place to get lunch.

get out on the harbor: Visit Ellis Island and/or the Statue of Liberty. If that’s not your thing, just take a FREE ride to Staten Island and back on the Ferry,

A guided tour of the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side for history buffs.

the New Museum on the Lower East Side

The Strand. If you have any time leftover (which is doubtful if you’re into books)

Mid Town

P1160475_Times Square_south

  • Times Square
  • – Rockefeller Center
  • – Top of the Rock (May be better view than ESB but doesn’t have the history)
  • Empire State Building
  • Grand Central Station – (whispering Gallery)- Museum of Modern Art
  • you might be interested in touring the UN, then having lunch at theDelegates’ Dining Room (which even many natives don’t know about).

Central Park

central park_dog statute area_jan14_ 2014 (1)

  • Strawberry Field
  • The Pond
  • The Bow Bridge
  • It may not be your thing, but I like to suggest seeing Cleopatra’s Needle to visitors. Red granite, 70 feet tall, it’s inscribed with Egyptian hieroglyphs. It’s 3400+ years old, and the oldest outdoor man-made object in New York. (I think they are cleaning it now)
  • Central Park is just plain fun, not to mention great people-watching, whatever the season. The park’s grandly named Wildlife Center (formerly Children’s Zoo) is fun for, as they used to say, “children of all ages.”

Upper West Side

uws_nov_2013 (90)_sharp_vignette

  • New-York Historical Society’s Free Fridays:
  • American Folk Art Museum.
  • New York Public Library, Library for the Performing Arts, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza.
  • American Museum of Natural History. Central Park West at 79th Street
  • Saint John the Divine    SECRET . nearby and not to be missed
  • Lincoln Center
  • – American Museum of Natural History
  • Grant’s Tomb
  • Joan of Arc Statue SECRET small art museum
  • Soldiers and Sailors Monument
  • Riverside Park

Upper East Side

nyc_met_front steps (1)

-the Asia Society Museum and eat at their Garden Court Cafe

The Metropolitan Museum of Art – you could spend days here though

a little bit of a ride, but I think the Cloisters is not to be missed.


This  list might appeal to a visitor who hasn’t been for a long time.

-Macy’s in Herald Square – original escalator
– Take the 6 train to City Hall and stay on as it turns around inside the old City Hall station (it might also be worth becoming an MTA museum member just to take the old City Hall station tour)

– Spend some time just people watching at Union Square.

– Take a Central Park tour
– Walk the Brooklyn Promenade and visit the new Brooklyn Bridge Park
– Tour the cheese caves at Murray’s Cheeses in the West Village

– Eat your weight in “only in NY” type foods: bagels and smoked salmon, pastrami on rye, hot dogs & papaya juice, black and white cookies, cheesecake, egg creams, pickles, halal carts

For Economy Candy: The address is 108 Rivington)

LES pastrami sandwich at Katz’s, and maybe sit at the famous table from When Harry Met Sally?

– Stand in line at a Shake Shack.


-The next logical step after the touristy things already mentioned is a walking tour of the Village, Little Italy and Chinatown. If you had to choose one it would be the Village.


Since I like to walk in the city here are a few random suggestions:


–Walk west across 42nd St. to New York Public Library and go to Bryant Park for a coffee. (If it’s raining, take your coffee at Grand Central Station.)

–Walk farther west to 8th Avenue and go to the madness in Times Square.


Go online at Yelp or Trip Advisor for other charming, affordable restaurants in the West Village and other places .

Wear decent walking shoes–many cobblestone streets.

The districts you want to read about before you come are Meatpacking District (many designers have boutiques there), High Line, West Village, Chelsea and Central park.

With a couple of weeks and a good feet, go for some good walks. For example, start at Lincoln Center and walk down to Greenwich Village, seeing much of city along the way. (Weather permitting.)


If you have teen with you check the following:



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NYC – East Village_ St Mark’s Place – Theatre 80 – Original Hollywood Theater?


sign theatre 80_pse

As I was looking at the Mosaic Lampposts on 8th Street and St Marks Place, I tried to remember what the street looked like back in the late 60’s. I was not part of the culture but simply a tourist looking at the strange goings-on in the East Village. The street was crowded and wild with activity. All kinds of shops were filled with drug stuff, clothing and skull head jewelry along with a “nice” smell floating through the air.

Beginning during Prohibition, 80 Saint Marks Place was a vital destination for performers of all kinds. It was a speakeasy where Jazz greats such as Thelonious Monk, Harry “Sweets” Edison, John Coltrane and Frank Sinatra performed here before Theatre 80 was established.

outside 80

At Theatre 80 the careers of many famous performers were launched. Some of the famous names are Gary Burghoff, and Billy Crystal. During the 1970s and 80s as a film revival house, people were able to see vintage films on a movie theatre screen in an audience setting in Theatre 80.

inside 80

It was also visited by a host of great names in theater, many of whom left their names, foot and hand prints in the cement of the sidewalk. A partial list includes Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford, Myrna Loy, Ruby Keeler, Joan Blondell, Kitty Carlisle and Joan Rivers.

theater 80 actors no names-pse

If you want to guess



NEW GANGSTERIn 2007, Theatre 80 was restored. As part of this restoration, the Museum of the American Gangster and William Barnacle Tavern was opened.( William Barnacle Tavern is named after William “Barnacle Bill” Scott, a merchant sailor who was often called the “mayor” of Tompkins Square Park.)



The theater still presents a range of productions from traditional forms such as Shakespearean theater and flamenco dance, to the cutting edge avant-garde and works from new authors.

My impression

St Marks Place still attracts hordes of young people throughout the day and night to its bars, restaurants, karaoke spots, clothing stores, tattoo parlours, and e-cigarette shops. The street on Friday and Saturday nights thrums with laughter, conversation and music until the early hours. “Walking on St Marks Place on a weekend night, you become aware of a rhythm,It is still a countercultural magnet, and as a resident myself, I can attest to the fact that “crusty punks” with pit bulls and the odd group of cannabis-smoking teenagers can at times still provide a bracingly antisocial air. The street has not been completely sanitised yet,”

“The street today is safer and more pleasant than at any point in the last fifty years,”

Keep going








old actors-1

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An Old Tavern – Summer Touring – Maine

Now that summer is upon us, it is time to start thinking about visiting places outside of New York City While in Southern Maine, I missed a road and the GPS gave me directions to get back on track., Following the new route, I came across an old Tavern that certainly I would have missed had I stayed on course. (Just shows that unexpected things can happen by chance.)

 Barnard Tavern main door

Located in Kennebunk, Barnard’s Tavern is one of the town’s oldest houses with a diverse and rich history of its own. The picturesque Maine town is home to several other historic buildings including the 1799 Kennebunk Inn and many shipbuilders’ homes. Along with its several beautiful beaches, it has acres and acres of Blueberry Barrens, and is near the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge.

sign Barnard Tavern


The main building was built prior to the American Revolution with the connecting ell and barn dating to somewhere around 1830 – 1840. The tavern was named after its original owner, Joseph Barnard, who operated a hostelry until his death in 1817. Barnard drove the first mail and passenger coach from Portsmouth to Portland in 1787 and went on to become Kennebunk’s second postmaster.

His wife continued to run the tavern until it was sold in 1823 to Timothy Frost who ran the tavern until 1853. The next family to occupy the property was the Curtis’s who managed a farm during the Civil War. It later became a rooming house and in the 20th century, an orphanage for 14 – 20 children. The historic Tavern has seen quite its share of distinguished guests; Marquis de Lafayette in 1825 and William Jennings Bryant.

As the house was restored over the years, several architectural fragments and accessories came from other buildings in the area. The clock tower, designed by Kennebunk architect William Barry, was originally part of the Wells Town Hall and is now all that remains of the building.


front doora Barnard Tavern



The red raised panel door came from Hammond Farm in North Berwick and the windmill, another relic of North Berwick, came from Perkins Farm and dates to 1902.





I am not sure it is for sale but as it stands now, the building features 5,062± SF of space ready for rehab or possible conversion. It has 5 former bedrooms and 2.5 baths, 8 fireplaces, front to back formal dining room and several other rooms of varying sizes. A walk-up attic makes up the third floor of the building.

I am just glad it is still standing…hopefully it will get a new life.

Extra Notes

Just coming into Kennebunk, on route 1, you can’t miss seeing Wallingford Hall and barns. They were built in 1804. It is now a garden center as well as a reception hall. It is quite fancy compared to the Barnard Tavern. However it is historic and the barn and gardens are  open to the public for free

Old Farm

Here is a photo of an old barn. These can be spotted along some of the back roads

red barn

Lastly, I didn’t mean for this to be a travelogue but the facts are the facts..

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NYC – Homes on Shaded Street – Open House

Homes on Shaded Street – Open House


It seems that a builder has erected 17 colorful houses of different shapes and sizes on  East 83rd Street between York and East End Avenues. Many of them are still empty and awaiting new arrivals. I should probably mention that these homes are attached to trees and poles along the street.

Figured it out? Yes, they are birdhouses.

Some of the birdhouses have specific addresses on them, corresponding to the building it sits across from. Others have words like “peace,” “home” and “good times” etched into the solid wood homes or into pieces of scrap wood seemingly picked up off the ground and nailed into the tiny structures.

Some are red, others are yellow and some are multi-colored.

Some of the houses bear words like “repose” or “peace,” while others carry more personal messages.

It just goes to show that along with well-recognized neighborhoods like Chelsea, China Town and Mid town there many streets in within them that have just a one-block character. There may be some in your neighborhood, so take a walk and find them.


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NYC – St Mark’s Place – Unique Lampposts



On many walks you may find yourself just wandering around. Hopefully, you might stumble onto something that in unusual, different or never seen before. (By you!)

The East Village is always a great place to wander. I was standing on the corner of St Marks and 2nd Avenue and noticed that the lamppost was covered with mosaic pieces. Wow, how may time have I been at the exact same spot and never noticed the lamppost! Curiosity took over, as I walked along 8th St (St Mark’s) I found a few others. Took a few photos and later, when home, did a little research.

Lara Ehavan wrote, “one of the East Village’s claims to New York fame is this: the neighborhood’s lamp posts. In certain areas of the East Village, they’re adorned with tiny mosaic tiles, painted tiles, fragments of dishes and pottery, tiny mirrors, coins, jewel tones, and small sculptures, adding unimaginable color and character to an already colorful neighborhood.”

 A newspaper reported that he has decorated around 60 or 70 poles since then. From what I can gather, A man that started this project is Jim Power decorated his first pole In the 80’s. Returning from military service in Vietnam with undiagnosed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and become homeless.he is in poor health.

The sad part is that many of the mosaic art posts are gone today. During the Giuliani administration his art was removed by the Ant-Graffiti Task Force. The Bloomberg administration thanked Power with a 2004 Proclamation that allowed him to continue his work. However, some articles have written that only about a quarter of the lamp posts on the original trail have survived through the years.


Most of Power’s works are concentrated on 8th Street, which transitions into St. Mark’s Place. The stretch of the street between Avenue A and Broadway is known as the “Mosaic Trail.” One Saturday I took the walk along the Trail, sad to say there are not many lampposts left. Astor Square is undergoing a redesign and most the lamppost in this area  have been removed. Walking east on 8th Street you find only a few on the Avenue corners and hardly any between the blocks. For some only the bottoms are still visible.



East Village – previous blog


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