Posts Tagged ‘Long Island’

God, I hope not!  It is still really dark outside and I hear the pitter patter of little feet approaching my room.  You know even without opening your eyes that there is someone in your presence;  Sure enough, Francesca is looking at me!  I say, “What are you doing up? Is the owl green?” She just looks at me…There is an owl light in the girl’s bedroom and all night the light is yellow but it’s set for 7am and the rule is you don’t get up until the owl is green!  (of course you can get up but you have to stay in your room till 7am) So I suggest that it’s quite possible that since it’s still dark,  Santa might be still putting presents downstairs under the tree.  Still no response just an adorable smile which is hard to see because it IS still dark.  I look at my phone and it’s 6:30. “Frankie, c’mon I’ll take you back to your room and then in a little while we can go downstairs”

I figured we had maybe another 15 minutes to rest before Christmas mayhem began.  I had been hoping to give the girls some of their presents on Christmas Eve so they wouldn’t be lost in the mound of treasures  left by Santa, but that didn’t work out.  Finley can read and we thought it would nice if she distributed gifts.  That lasted about 2 minutes and then the mad cap ripping began with me periodically shouting, “Check the name on the box first”.  That was followed with “How come she gets two books?  How come she has gel pens and I don’t ?”

Ruthie Wearing Her New Silk Pajamas

Ruthie Wearing Her New Silk Pajamas

Eventually all the Hello Kitty paraphernalia  was uncovered, the American Girl dolls now had a bed of their own along with new clothes.  Best of all Frankie and Rebecca had matching pj’s and Finley and Ruthie had matching dresses with leggings.  There were books, and more princess dresses  (Really! How many Disney princesses are there?) bean bag chairs with each girl’s name and a teepee.  Well if your tent is shaped like a teepee but it is made from pale pink striped cotton duck, is it still a teepee?  I gave Frankie a book which I thought she would enjoy and she took one look at it and said, ” I don’t like this book”.  I asked her why and her answer was, “I only like Princess books”. Francesca always speaks her mind;  Earlier, the girls emptied their stockings and discovered candy cane holders filled with M&M’s.  For days, there has been MUCH discussion about healthy eating, what’s nutritious, should we cook everything in coconut oil and on and on  So Frankie wants to open her candy and eat some before we open presents.  Justin is horrified and tells her “No, no we have to breakfast first” .  Frankie states the facts as she sees them, “I LOVE CANDY”.

At about this time, in rolled the rest of the gang.  Of course our whole entourage could not fit in one house so Chiara and Tom rented a house nearby for the overflow of guests.  We’re leaving tomorrow, some are leaving on Saturday, some are staying longer and the guest room sheets have been changed every couple of days.  First to arrive for the opening of the gifts were Dennis, Brad and Tom Sr. and Lisa.  Linda and Ed were expected shortly;  They were flying in from Long Island.  

More gifts…oh no roller blades.  And who thinks that the girls should put them on right now and try them out?  Well I’ll tell you it wasn’t any of the mothers.  It was the two bachelors and Tom!  Sometimes it’s hard to tell who the kids are and who the adults are.  We got everybody back into the house and just as I thought we might have breakfast, there was open more present to be had – the girls were ushered to the garage where they came upon not a midnight clear but rather a battery-operated  car! It seats 2 and with Finley at the wheel, the girls were tooling around the yard.  Everybody thought they were so cute until Finley stepped on the speed pedal and veered toward the pool! At least 3 of the grandparents screamed.  “BREAKFAST IS SERVED”

Egg casseroles, bagels, croissants, fruit salad, and muffins and by God we are in Florida because half the people are eating outside.  The mimosas are flowing and the adults are happy.  The kids are eating whatever they want  and sitting outside in the sunshine it surely doesn’t seem like Christmas.  We are going to take it easy for awhile before we have to be at Laura’s house for Christmas dinner.

Stay tuned for Part II.


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English: Parsnips offered for sale at a winter...

English: Parsnips offered for sale at a winter farmers’ market in Rochester, Minnesota (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey everybody, there’s only 4 more days to shop and plan your Thanksgiving Dinner.  I’m really lucky this year as we have been invited to a massive feast on Long Island.  This, of course, has given me time to wax eloquently about the beauty and creativeness you can imbue to the many side dishes of the turkey dinner.  I know everyone thinks the turkey is the star of the  meal and if we’re gauging things on size , I guess it wins.  However, don’t you think the color and texture of the myriad side dishes enhance the meal greatly?  And as you know from previous blog posts, this year I’m all about NOT serving the usual suspects unless they’re prepared in some different and innovative way.  So here is yet another interesting and tasty dish for you to consider serving.


2 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into large  match sticks

1 TBS olive oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Juice of one orange

Grated zest of one orange

Heat oven to 500 degrees.  Place parsnips in a large bowl; drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Turn parsnips into  large roasting pan and roast, shaking pan occasionally, until golden, 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven, add juice and zest, and toss to coat.  Return to oven and roast until parsnips have caramelized, 5 to 10 minutes.  Transfer to warm bowl and serve.

Serves: 6-8  –   recipe from Deborah Madison, New York Times  November 19, 2003


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A map of Governor's Island, NY, USA. Showing b...

Map of Governor's Islan

Yes there is a Governor’s Island in Manhattan and  last week it was the venue for Veuve Cliquot’s Annual Polo Classic.  This year the beneficiary of this fund-raiser was Donna Karan’s Hope, Help & Rebuild Haiti fund.  The glitterati were out in full force, Marc Jacobs among them with Hugh Jackman and Nacho Figueras co-hosting the event!  Put those two together in one place and the audience will be replete with beautiful women and fashionistas of both sexes.  Yesterday’s blog featured some of the more adventurous hats and costumes.  

Governor’s Island has a rich and interesting history, changing hands a few times and practically abandoned at others.  My husband and I had occasion to visit Governor’s Island a couple of years ago just as they were planning to re-open it to the public and allow its acreage to be used for events.  It was fascinating to clamber through the Fort Jay, visit the school house, the theater and inspect some of the numerous dwellings still intact through the care of the government but at that time not being utilized fully. Here’s brief history:

The Native Americans of the Manhattan region referred to the island as Pagganck (“Nut Island”) after the Island’s plentiful hickory, oak, and chestnut trees. Its location made the Island a perfect fishing camp for local tribes, and many residents of the area used the island seasonally. In June of 1637, Wouter Van Twiller, representative of Holland, purchased Governors Island from the Native Americans of “Manahatas” for two ax heads, a string of beads, and a handful of nails. Though he was a representative of the Dutch government, Van Twiller purchased the island for his private use. The island, thereafter known as Noten Eylant or Nutten Island, was confiscated by the Dutch government a year later.

Dutch and British Control
In 1664, the English captured New Amsterdam, renaming it New York, and took Nutten Island, which had been left unfortified by the Dutch.  The command of the island changed hands a few times, however, eventually the British retained control  of the island for “the benefit and acomodation of His Majesty’s Governors.” Although it was not officially named until 1784, it thus came to be called Governors Island.

For more than 200 years, it was used as a military facility by British and American forces. Following the British evacuation of New York in 1776, Americans fortified the island for fear of further advances by the British navy, however during an August siege, the Americans had to retreat from Long Island and Governors Island. After the revolution, the island reverted back to New York State and remained inactive for several years. In 1794, with the country in need of a system of coastal defenses, construction began on Fort Jay on high ground in the center of the island. In 1800, New York transferred the island to the U.S. government for military use. Between 1806 and 1809, the U.S. Army reconstructed Fort Jay and built Castle Williams on a rocky outcropping facing the harbor. During the War of 1812, artillery and infantry troops were concentrated on Governors Island.

The island continued to serve an important military function until the 1960s. During the American Civil War, it was used for recruitment and as a prison for captured Confederate soldiers. Throughout World War I and II, the island served as an important supply base for Army ground and air forces.

Physically, the island changed greatly during the early 20th century. Using rocks and dirt from the excavations for the Lexington Avenue Subway, the Army Corps of Engineers supervised the deposit of 4,787,000 cubic yards of fill on the south side of Governors Island, adding 103 acres of flat, treeless land by 1912 and bringing the total acreage of the island to 172. In 1918, the Army built the Governors Island Railroad, which consisted of 1-¾ miles of track and three flat cars carrying coal, machinery, and supplies from the pier to shops and warehouses. Six years later, a municipal airport was proposed for the island. Instead, Liggett Hall, a large structure designed by architecture firm McKim, Mead & White, was built and became the first Army structure to house all of the facilities for an entire regiment.

Coast Guard Era
With the consolidation of U.S. Military forces in 1966, the island was transferred to the Coast Guard. This was the Coast Guard’s largest installation, serving both as a self-contained residential community, with an on-island population of approximately 3,500, and as a base of operations for the Atlantic Area Command and Maintenance and Logistics Command as well as the captain of the Port of New York.

Over the years, Governors Island has served as the backdrop for a number of historic events. In 1986, the island was the setting for the relighting of the newly refurbished Statue of Liberty by President Ronald Reagan. In 1988, President Reagan hosted a U.S.-U.S.S.R. summit with Mikhail Gorbachev on Governors Island, and in 1993, the United Nations sponsored talks on the island to help restore democratic rule in Haiti.

In 1995, the Coast Guard closed its facilities on Governors Island and, as of September 1996, all residential personnel were relocated. President Clinton designated 22 acres of the island, including the two great forts, as the Governors Island National Monument in January 2001, and on April 1, 2002, President George W. Bush, Governor Pataki, and Mayor Bloomberg announced that the United States would sell Governors Island to the people of New York for a nominal cost, and that the island would be used for public benefit. At the time of the transfer, deed restrictions were created that prohibit permanent housing and casinos on the island. On January 31, 2003, 150 acres of Governors Island were transferred to the people of New York. The remaining 22 acres were declared the Governors Island National Monument, which is managed by the National Park Service.

Source of information: Wikipedia

Nacho Figueras (swoooooon)

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This is for all you birdlovers, Fab Foto Friday-lovers, Red Tail hawk lovers and anyone who has been following the story of the Red Tail hawk who flew into the NY Times building.  He was trying to fly out of an interior courtyard atrium and flew smack into a window twice and fell to the ground stunned.  Avian emergency!  NY Audubon was called and a falconer was dispatched to rescue the bird.   The injured hawk was brought to Wildlife in Need and Rescue and Rehabilitation in Long Island where it was confirmed the juvenile did not have a broken  wing and the prognosis was good.  TODAY on Valentine’s Day, Newshawk (as he was dubbed) was brought to Central Park and released in Tupelo Meadow in The Ramble.  The photographer in the picture is Murray Head, my Fab Foto Friday source.  Hooray!!!  Below is a link to the photo and if you cruise around there you can follow links to read the whole story.

Central Park, 1:37 P.M.

NY Times building, hawk smashes into glass atrium


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