Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11, 2014

13 years ago I was waking up, ready to cover the NYC democratic primary. Instead my plans changed along with the world.

However, one thing that hasn't changed about my Manhattan are my walks. Even the first song I wrote that I also wrote music on a guitar has the line, "I long for lost walks, where will I end up? Park turns into 4th Ave. Of course I knew..."

So prior to moving to NYC when I still lived in Utica, luckily I took some pictures of the World Trade Center. These don't have date stamps on the back, but according to the placement in my photo album, it was late 2000.


It was a gray day, though of course my favorite color. It was even misting a bit. The clouds were heavy, and from angles, you couldn't see WTC.


In this angle below, from the Statue of Liberty, you have to almost know where the towers are supposed to be to see them.

This is one of my favorite pictures. It's up in my walk-in-closet converted to a home office that I call "The Map Room."

The skyline has since changed. The Twin Towers might be gone, but there isn't a hole it it's place anymore. From the end of 2001 to 2010 I jogged along the Hudson from the Upper West Side and watched the progress. It wasn't necessarily a skyline view from there, just the surrounding area.

One World Trade Center is nearly completed. It stands 1,776 feet over Ground Zero. By this anniversary next year, it should be occupied.

It's time for another long walk.


I've written a few 9/11 posts over the years. Here are two.
A look back.
An inspiring blurred image.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Inside the State Education Building





Sometimes it does pay off to talk crazily about obsessions.

How often do you randomly speak of wanting to write historical markers for the State Education Department and go on and on and on about the State Education Building to a stranger?

Funny when it turns out that stranger works at the State Education Building and says, "the building is closed to the public, but I can give you a tour."

I might have been without words for a few seconds. But finally when I could I speak I said to her, "let's go."

Once you step inside the 36-column building, there are more columns inside on the second floor, but the murals are the eye catchers.
VERITAS, THE GODDESS OF TRUTH, fixes her eyes  on the words of the Roman philosopher Marcus Aurelius, "If thou workest... with heroic truth in every word thou utterest, thou wilt live happily."
In the foreground, the poppy, hourglass, and head of Medusa represent aspects of temptation and error. The Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt looms in the background. 
They're all by the same person, Will H. Low.

This one is VERITAS, THE ETERNAL.
1917. Oil on Canvas.







With all the paintings it took me quite a bit to look up.
Once you do, you see the dome and this gold light fixture.


Up a few flights you'll see that the inside columns are double.



There are too many details to  mention. Here to the right you see an old elevator, no longer in service.


Look up again around the corner at the descent of a spiral staircase.

This bring us to where you would either begin or end. The Regents Room is on the first floor.

This is what a sign says in the room that is lined with oil paintings of Chancellors. 

"Founded in 1784, the New York State Board of Regents is the oldest policy making educational body in the nation. The Regents is the only state board of education that has oversight of educational society of all levels, including public schools and colleges, and cultural institutions.
Officially known as the Regents Room, this is the meeting space for the Regents when they are in Albany. This room is walled with Indiana limestone and an elaborate ornamental ceiling with a carved oak cornice. Portraits of past Chancellors hang on the walls.
Seventeen Regents are elected by the Legislature for terms lasting five years."




NY State Education Building

Walking or driving through Downtown Albany, it's difficult to not stop and stare at the State Education building.

It's the 36 column building that dominates Washington Avenue across the street from the State Capitol.

It's columns are quite impressive.
Several sources say it forms the longest colonnade in the US.


According to the Albany Visitors Center, it's where crews shot the HBO Muhammad Ali movie. If you watch, the scenes shot here are labeled Washington, DC.




Click on the pictures for detail on this sculpture. I was taking angles of the boy playing what looks like to me a fiddle or guitar.  You can see standing on the steps, you are facing the NY State Capitol.

It was built between 1908 and 1911 and used to be open to the public.  It used to house the state library and museum. They've moved the historical marker inside.
The architect is Henry Hornbostel, who is also responsible for the Williamsburg Bridge in New York City.

We go inside next post....



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mena's Story- on National Dog Day

I started this blog in 2006. You can read past posts of adventures of Mena and me in Manhattan if you click through the screen right column. However, prior to blogging and moving to New York City, Mena took some pretty fabulous pictures of her times upstate New York.

Our home in Corning
Since Mena passed in November of 2013, It's been too difficult to revive this blog. However, with it's history, as well as CT Press Club Award, it must continue. I've just been waiting for the right revival time. So Happy National Dog Day, Mena!

Park in Corning
We moved to Upstate New York from Dallas summer 1998. Already Dallas had hit 100 every day for three months. Upstate, specifically Elmira, was like early fall upon arrival.  My station was in Horseheads, NY, we lived in Corning. Mena learned to love the local cheese.


She ate my entire purchase when I left her out with it in my convertible to go in and buy local wine and apples.  She also enjoyed Buttermilk Falls park in Ithaca and hiking the gorges.

Utica
Hiking
We only lived there three months before we moved to Utica, New York where we called home for three years. Mena loved the snow and hiking the Adirondacks and Catskills. Then after nine months in Kingston, NY, we moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan in 2001. Until 2010 Central Park and Riverside Parks were Mena's backyards.



Mena in the Catskills
Moving back upstate, this time without Mena, has brought back so many pre-NYC memories that weren't captured in this blog. Mena would have loved it here, all of the 400-year-old architecture to pose in front of, as well as the state parks and bars.

I couldn't decide whether to start yet another blog, or continue on this one. With Mena's spirit in mind, and some file photos "never seen online," watch this space.
Watching St. Patrick's Day parade from Kingston window
Daily walk around Kingston rondout

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Baby Mena when we first moved to Upstate New York. In the drive half-way across country from Dallas, Texas she learned how to climb steps up to motel rooms. She also learned she loved toilet water.

This picture is about six years later on the streets of New York City. She loved long cold walks, as well as all the smells on the sidewalk.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I am grateful to be home this Mother's Day. Too many over the past 20 years have been spent miles away from my mom.
Together with my dad, we had nice hamburger by the lake today. Then we came home and my mom made brownies. 
What's better than that?
In searching for pictures I've posted on previous blog posts, I came across writing from one Mother's Day we did spend together back in 2006. Mom and dad came to visit in New York City and I took her to see Jersey Boys. 

Read that post here. Read Part 1 here.
This is a picture of me and my mom.
This picture is my mom and her mom.
Here is a picture of the three of us in Crystal Beach before my grandmother lost her home to Hurricane Ike. My Momo has since died. Her name was Jeanette but was lovingly referred to as "Grandma cajun" by some of my friends.
Here are four generations! (I'm the one in yellow.) Jeanette, Lucille, Heather and Wanda.
My other grandmother, whom I called Na, has also passed. Here she is with my grandfather.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Austin

Whether in New York or London, when people find out I was born in Texas, the most common response recently has been “I like Austin.”
 I say, “Oh, you’ve been?”
“No. But I’ve heard.”

Up to this point I haven’t been able to properly gush about Austin like I guess they expect. I almost attended the University of Texas at Austin. I think it was the weekend we put a deposit down on my dorm I had a “meet the professors” journalism event. I broke out in hives. The doctor said I was allergic to mold. That day I received a letter from SMU offering more financial aid- so it was back to Austin to demand my deposit.

I was born in Houston, went to high school in an area basically in the back yard of Texas A&M. Texas A&M is basically the University of Texas at Austin’s biggest rival. I went to college in Dallas- began my on-air career there then moved to New York. So no great Austin stories other than the occasional visit to see my Aunt and eat at Chuy’s.

 The one exception is the year 2000 when I flew into Austin to see my parents and my decided I hadn’t seen the Capital building in a while. My dad agreed to make a drive-by… good thing I had worn a suit and makeup and did my hair because live and satellite trucks lined the capital.
 It was the day Al Gore conceded. I ran into my old buddies from KXAS in Dallas and since I worked at an NBC station in upstate New York, they scheduled live shots for me. One thing I didn’t have was my IFB. No problem. I borrowed Jim Schiutto’s.

And that’s not the story most people want to hear when they say what great things they’ve heard about Austin. I can tell.

But recently I’ve spent some time in the great capital city and am ready to discuss what I’ve seen. I some great pictures of all the historical markers and architecture. Really, it’s good stuff. I also attended the now famous South by Southwest Music festival (SXSW.) The music was great.

 However, I stick by my statement, “The best thing about SXSW is the architecture.”
Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day

Over my more than 14 years in New York, I grew accustomed to hearing bagpipes on St. Patrick's Day.

Spending the holiday in Austin, Texas this year at the South By Southwest Music festival, I made the statement, "the difference between New York and SXSW on St. Patrick's day is the music.

NO BAGPIPES!

But then I saw a man out of the corner of my eye... (actually my cousin Tammy pointed him out.) We chased after him because we thought he was carrying bagpipes- but oops.
Look- it was a fold up chair masquerading as pipes.


Willamena is in Texas as well. For now she has traded in Central Park for Central Texas.

Here you see her looking for a four-leaf clover. She actually found some pollen and spent the night sneezing.

Back in NYC over the years, McMena sniffed out some nice Irish bars for St. Patrick's Day. Here is a look back at some of her work. There are three tours. Click below.

Upper West Side Irish Tour
McMena's Upper East Side Irish Tour
McMena's Blackrock, CT Tour from 2007


Actually this St. Patrick's Day, a viewer sent me a picture he took of me in the Greenwich parade three years ago! Here I am with morning Weather man Paul Piorek. We had such a good time. However, I think my favorite Greenwich parade memory is from one year riding with co-anchor David Smith. "Connecticut" was spelled wrong on the side of the car.  The printers left out the middle C.
Maybe the bagpipes stole our note.