I’m saddened beyond words at the passing of my friend Steve. Here we are together on our way to the “Exhibitionism” interactive exhibit about the Rolling Stones, back in February of 2017.
I miss you, Steve!
Coney Island is a neighborhood at the far southern tip of Brooklyn featuring an amusement park, a boardwalk and a beach. It’s where a famous Mermaid Parade takes place every June, where Nathan’s holds a hot dog eating contest each year on the Fourth of July, and where the Polar Bear Club invites civilians to jump in the ocean on New Year’s Day, no matter how cold the weather. During the summer months, there are lifeguards here, and bodybuilders take turns showing off at a pull-up bar on the sand. There are tattoo parlors and stands offering frozen alcoholic beverages, and more than a few unsavory characters. The New York Aquarium is also located here. From Manhattan, it takes an hour and fifteen minutes to get here on the Subway. From where I live now in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood, it is six subway stops away or a 45-minute walk. Since I moved here, all the rides, events and attractions have been closed or canceled because of the pandemic, but it is still an interesting place to walk around.
This fabulous book of historical photographs, a gift from my dear friend Garrett Glaser, is filled with all sorts of fascinating information about the rich and colorful history of this unique spot. There have been a number of different amusement parks located here, including Astroland, Feltmans, Luna Park and Steeplechase Park, sometimes operating adjacent to one another in a spirit of friendly competition. Attractions over the years have included hotels, resorts, water rides, a parachute jump, a Ferris wheel, and even a hotel shaped like a giant elephant! Many of these novelties no longer exist, but the Cyclone, pictured on the book’s cover, is still there. I have ridden the Cyclone a number of times over the years, and in my opinion it is one of our country’s best roller coasters. It’s a wooden ride, very fast and steep, similar to the Blue Streak at Cedar Point, but more compact. Also pictured on the cover is the “Astroland Moon Rocket,” which people could climb around inside, and a “Skyride,” in which passengers floated overhead in spherical capsules.
Here are a few more notes about Coney Island:
Coney Island has evolved considerably over the past 150-plus years, and this book does a nice job of documenting much of this history. One thing that strikes me is seeing the very large crowds in many of the historical pictures. Thanks for this wonderful book, Garrett!
I attended the opening of NASDAQ today, at the TV studio in Times Square. The president of the American Dental Association and principals of Henry Schein Inc. rang the opening buzzer, to commemorate the 18th annual Give Kids A Smile effort to treat and educate underserved children.
Article on the Dental Tribune website here.
Every year I write a “travel story” for our at-show newspaper, Dental Tribune Today, which we publish on-site at the Greater New York Dental Meeting. The article is meant for those who might be coming to the event from out of town and offers some sightseeing ideas.
Click below to see the article in a larger window. You can also read the article on the Dental Tribune website, by clicking here.
Kehinde Wiley’s “Rumors of War” sculpture, on temporary display in Times Square. According to the description posted nearby, the work is a response to the many Confederate monuments displayed throughout the country. After being on display in New York until Dec. 1, the description says, the sculpture will go to Richmond, Va., where it will be permanently installed at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Wiley is the same artist who painted President Obama for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
Today after work I visited the New York Public Library, where an original manuscript of the Declaration of Independence was on display. This is a rare, handwritten copy in Thomas Jefferson’s own hand, one of only four in existence. Congress had removed passages from the original proposed text condemning the slave trade, and Jefferson wanted to preserve his original version. So, after the Declaration was adopted on July 4, 1776, Jefferson hand wrote several copies to send to some of his friends. These documents, part of the library’s permanent collection, are so priceless that they are only on display two days each year. I waited in line for two hours to just view and to take these pictures — which I color-corrected in Photoshop, as the lighting inside was dimmed.
Click the pictures to see them bigger:
I recently visited the Guggenheim museum with my cousin Tori, and we saw “Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future,” the current exhibit. “Her paintings, which sometimes resemble diagrams, were a visual representation of complex spiritual ideas,” says the Wikipedia page for this Swedish artist. Other articles about the artist and the exhibit are here and here.
Over the holiday break I caught a number of shows, starting with “Lifespan of a Fact” just after Christmas at Studio 54 on Broadway, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones and Bobby Cannavale, which I saw with my friend Franklyn.
Then New Year’s weekend, I attended a trifecta of shows, starting with “Sandra Bernhard: Quick Sand” at Joe’s Pub with my friend Bob; “Hamilton” also with Bob; and “To Kill a Mockingbird” starring Jeff Daniels, which I attended alone. It was my second time seeing “Hamilton,” which was a last-minute miracle. I won front row tickets for 10 dollars each on the official Hamilton app.
Then last Friday I caught “Network” starring Bryan Cranston at the Belasco with my friend Jay.
On Sunday night, Dec. 30, after seeing the new play “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Shubert Theater, I walked through Times Square — which was the calm before the storm of the New Year’s Eve festivities! Normally I would not go near Times Square around New Year’s Eve, but after the theater got out on “New Year’s Eve Eve,” the crowds were small and there was almost no pushing and shoving.
It was a great opportunity to take a few pictures.
I was out and about on Christmas Eve. First stop was Gramercy Park — which is open to the public for ONE HOUR ONLY every year on Christmas Eve, for Christmas carols! I have been intending to go every year for many years, but this was the first time I got around to it! And probably the last, as well, because it was crowded, dark and cold! But at least I can say I have been inside Gramercy Park!
Next stop was Grand Central Terminal, on the way to Radio City Music Hall, for the Christmas Spectacular, which I attended with friends Jay and Franklyn.