Monday, June 30, 2008

George Washington's Farewell Address, Lower Manhattan

(All photos click to enlarge)

I wrote about Fraunces Tavern, once before here. Located at 54 Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan, it is New York's oldest surviving building, and has witnesses three centuries of American history.
George Washington and other American leaders gathered at this tavern to celebrate the evacuation of the British from New York on November 25, 1783. Washington visited again on December 4th for a farewell banquet with his officers. After Washington became president, the tavern's owner, Samuel Fraunces, served as his chief steward in New York.

Today Fraunces Tavern houses a museum as well as a restaurant.

I revisited it recently to explore the exhibits in the museum on it's upper floors. I am a great admirer of George Washington, and if I am asked which historical figures I'd most like to meet I know he would be very high on my list.

The following two photos are of " The Long Room" on the second floor of the tavern where George Washington bid farewell to his officers upon retiring his command on December 4. 1783.

The only known eyewitness account of Washington's farewell to his officers is Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge memoir, which is part of the museum collection.

From the original Tallmadge manuscript:

"The time now drew near when General Washington intended to leave this part of the country for his beloved retreat at Mt. Vernon. On Tuesday the 4th of December it was made known to the officers then in New York that General Washington intended to commence his journey on that day. At 12 o'clock the officers repaired to Fraunces Tavern in Pearl Street where General Washington had appointed to meet them and to take his final leave of them. We had been assembled but a few moments when his excellency entered the room. His emotions were too strong to be concealed which seemed to be reciprocated by every officer present. After partaking of a slight refreshment in almost breathless silence the Gen. filled his glass with wine and turning to the officers said, 'With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.' After the officers had taken a glass of wine the Gen. said, 'I cannot come to each of you, but shall feel obliged if each of you will come and take me by the hand.'
Gen. Knox being nearest to him turned to the Commander In Chief Who suffused in tears was incapable of utterance but grasped his hand when they embraced each other in silence. In the same affectionate manner every officer in the room marched up, kissed and parted with his general in chief. Such a scene of sorrow and weeping I had never before witnessed and fondly hope I may never be called to witness again."

The officers escorted Washington from the tavern to the Whitehall wharf, where he boarded a barge that took him to New Jersey. Washington continued to Annapolis, where the Continental Congress was meeting, and resigned his commission

Reading that account in Tallmadge's journal brought tears to my eyes, for both the emotional eloquence of George Washington, and for the love and respect shown for the man who was to become our nation's first president.

Unfortunately, I was not able to take any more photographs in the museum, as I was told it was not allowed. The exhibits were comprised of artifacts, paintings, drawings and documents related to the colonial, revolutionary, and early federal periods of American history, a George Washington Portrait Gallery, paintings of other Revolutionary war heroes such as Molly Pitcher, and John Ward Dunsmore paintings which illustrate important events of the Revolutionary War, including Valley Forge, the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Surrender at Yorktown.

One interesting fact I was surprised to learn at the museum was that on 9/11, during the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York City, the original bible that George Washington used to swear the oath of President of the United States had been on loan for an exhibit in the Faunces Tavern Museum, just a few blocks from the horrific event. Two days later, while the city was still in great turmoil Brother Tom Savini, Director of the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library and Museum was taken under special police escort to Faunces Tavern Museum where he was able to recover the Washington Bible for safe keeping.

The ground level of Fraunces Tavern is still an active and attractive restaurant. It is comprised of a few attractive rooms with colonial period decorations.

My husband and I went for lunch, and you can see by the photos below it was of excellent gourmet quality, and dining here is a wonderful treat if you visit New York City. Be sure to offer a toast to George Washington!

My French Onion Soup, above.

My husband's crab cakes appetizer.

My husband had broiled game hen with roasted potatoes and spinach.

I had a medium rib steak with Yorkshire pudding and creamed spinach. We did not have dessert, but there were some nice selections available.

I hope you enjoyed this visit to Fraunces Tavern and a little look back into American history!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oh, The Dilemma!

I love to read magazines, and I subscribe to many that I can not find at my local library. After a year or two I sometimes do not renew my subscription, as there are always so many to choose from, and I like to try something new. There are just so many magazines that one can read in a month, and as it is my pile of those partially unread is growing ever taller.

So, what do you think happened when the new July issues of a few magazines that I was ready to allow to lapse were delivered to my house today?

They were wonderful!

They were the best issues they released in a long time, full of the people, places, recipes and information I enjoy!

"Food & Wine," was almost 300 pages thick, and full of even more tempting recipes and articles about new chefs and wine basics.

"Ireland of The Welcomes," is under a new publishing group, and although it retained it's wonderful array of photos and information about Ireland, it also added more features about current famous Irish people such as author Maeve Binchy and actor Colin Farrell.

"Yankee" magazine was chock full of a seaside themes, such as hosting a clambake to gardening by the sea and an article about Thoreau's Walden Pond.

Oh, the dilemma! To renew, or not renew -- that is the question!

I'd love to know what your favorite magazines are, and why. Happy reading!

Last Lines......

I often come upon a poem and I am suddenly excited to find a few lines in it that I am familiar with as a quote. I am wondering, how many of you are familiar with this poem and its last lines?


~ Mary Oliver

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Surprise From Across The Pond!

As all bloggers do, I sometimes wander from blog to blog through a link on a sidebar or a name link in a comment box, and last week I visited Melanie's JellyBeanAngel's blog for the first time. I enjoyed looking at her beautiful handcrafted quilt and scarf , and told her so in a comment.
Later in the day she e-mailed me that she was having an unannounced first year blogaversary, and that I won a prize for being the third person to comment on her blog that day, and that she would be sending a parcel to me! What a surprise!

The parcel arrived yesterday, and after I admired her beautiful penmanship and the wonderful stamps on the envelope -- I love to collect unusual stamps -- I opened the envelope to find a postcard from Melanie which was a photo of her beautiful hometown in Southport, England, and a lovely large cotton tea towel of scenes from her town, a box of assorted toffees and fudge, and two absolutely gorgeous sachets filled with some of the most aromatic lavender I have ever smelled. Melanie told me she made the sachets out of antique silk and filled it with lavender she grew in her garden!

She called her give away "A Taste of Southport, England," and I am so very touched and grateful to have been it's recipient!

Thank you so much Melanie! Your kindness and generosity are exceptional! I am thrilled to have a new friend from "across the pond," and I will always think of you when I use the towel and smell the delicious lavender and feel the softness of those beautiful sachets.

“The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another's, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.” ~ Leo F. Buscaglia

Blueberry Tart

One of the treasures of summer are fresh berries -- raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, gooseberries, currents, and my personal favorite, blueberries!

I have fond memories of going blueberry picking with my parents on a hilly region of Pennsylvania, near the town where my grandmother lived. We'd bring along our little tin buckets to fill to the top with the bluest and biggest berries so we could bring them back to my grandmother's house so that she could make blueberry pies.
I think my method of picking the berries was one for my mouth, one for the bucket, enjoying them all until I was full of their sweet and slightly tart flavor.
Since then I am always happy when blueberries come into season, and I love to use them in baking.
The July 8 issue of Women's Day arrived in my mailbox yesterday with the most delicious recipe for blueberry tart!
Here is how it looked when I made it today, and it was absolutely delicious!



Active Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut up

1 Tbsp white vinegar

5 cups blueberries

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp almond extract

Confectioners' sugar

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Coat a 9-in. square or round tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick spray.

2. Pulse 1 cup flour, 2 Tbsp sugar and the salt in food processor until blended. Add butter; pulse just until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle with vinegar; pulse just until blended. Turn out dough and bring together with fingers.

3. Press dough into bottom of tart pan. Top with 3 cups berries. Mix remaining 2 Tbsp flour, 2/3 cup sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl. Evenly sprinkle over berries; drizzle with almond extract.

4. Bake tart 50 to 60 minutes until bubbly. Remove from oven and top with remaining 2 cups blueberries. Let cool in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tip: The tart can be made a day ahead. Once cooled, loosen it from the pan so it won't stick when you're ready to serve.

From Woman's Day July 8, 2008

The magazine called it "the quintessential summer dessert recipe" and that they "guarantee it will be a family favorite." I think they are right!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

And The Winner Is.....

It's time to pick the winner of my 100 post give away! Drum roll please....

All 49 names of those who commented on my "give away" post, and wished to participate, were written out by my husband and placed in one of his hats.

He folded the paper slips very small and tight, mixed them all up, and then picked out one slip!

Ta Dah! Here is the winning name! Susie Q of Rabbit Run Cottage !

Congratulations Sue! Please e-mail your address to me and I'll send my little package of treats from Ireland to you right away.

Thank you to everyone who entered! I wish I had something for each and every one of you!

I do enjoy ALL of your blogs so much. I learn new things from all of you, and I enjoy sharing a slice of your life.

Some of you live around the world, and Nihal's blog Cross Roads , had a beautiful and interesting post today about Cambodia that was a pleasure to read.
Nihal lives in Istanbul, Turkey, and I met her through M. Kate's blog LA VIE EST BELLE
M. Kate lives in Malaysia, and had sent post cards recently to Nihal, and myself, from her vacation in Cambodia. Thanks so much M. Kate! After visiting both of your blogs I feel as if I took a trip around the world!

I am always flattered when someone tells me that my blog takes them to a place they wish they could visit. It makes me appreciate my little life in Brooklyn, New York. It is not a rich and glamorous one, but I am very grateful for all of my life's blessings.

When I see so many of your beautiful homes and gardens on your blogs, and your beautiful locations, be it the West, the South, the South West, New England, the Mid West, Canada, Australia and South America; I am in awe of you, just as much as many of you are of my living in New York City!

When I see your crafts and recipes, hear about your community, read about your children and grand children's activities, and discover new and interesting information from your blog, I feel enriched.

Thanks so much, all of you, for being my blog friends!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mermaid Parade in Coney Island, Brooklyn NY

Every summer, the first Saturday after the summer solstice, Coney Island, in Brooklyn, New York welcomes the summer with a Mermaid Parade along Surf Avenue. This year was the 25 annual year of the event.

From the Coney Island web site:

"The Mermaid Parade celebrates the sand, the sea, the salt air and the beginning of summer, as well as the history and mythology of Coney Island, Coney Island pride, and artistic self-expression. The Parade is characterized by participants dressed in hand-made costumes as Mermaids, Neptunes, various sea creatures, the occasional wandering lighthouse, Coney Island post card or amusement ride, as well as antique cars, marching bands, drill teams, and the odd yacht pulled on flatbed. "

As you can see below even the New York City Police are geared for the parade riding their Segway to do crowd control.

The participants of the parade range in age from babies to seniors, but the mermaids are predominately the young and the beautiful, and often very scantily dressed!

Mermaids and sea creatures of every shape and size are represented, and the audience, which numbers in the hundreds of thousands, is festive and appreciative.

Anyone can march in the parade, as long as they register in advance. It is a wild and raucous "free for all" art parade that will truly make you say: "Only in New York!"

It's fabulous, flamboyant, and anything goes!

People come from all over the world to participate in, and watch the parade.

The parade is followed by the Mermaid Parade Ball, a post parade gathering where costumed parade participants can get together with each other, and parade spectators, to listen to live music, purchase raffle tickets, and watch burlesque and sideshow acts. It's very Coney Island!

The parade begins in the afternoon and lasts around three hours, so many people spend the rest of the day walking along the boardwalk, or enjoying the beach and the Atlantic Ocean,

There is some concern over what will happen to the parade next year, as the area is expected to undergo a large new development, and many of the amusement rides will be closed, and Surf Avenue may have areas closed for construction.

Hopefully, this wonderfully fun Coney Island tradition will go on for many more years!

Tonight the winner of my 100 post give away will be randomly chosen, and I'll announce the winner on my blog tomorrow! There is still time to enter if you haven't already. Good Luck!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy Summer!

From Blossoms

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the joy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

~ Li-Young Lee

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tasha Tudor 1915 - 2008

I was very sad to read in the New York Times this morning that child's book illustrator and author, Tasha Tudor died, at age 92, died at her home in Marlboro, Vermont.

Her first book, Pumpkin Moonshine was published in 1938. Her last book, Corgiville Christmas, which was published in 2002, brought the number of books written and/or illustrated by Tasha to nearly 100. A short biography of this very unique and fascinating woman can be read here.

A Memorial web site was set up by her family, many of whom are talented artisans themselves. There are plans to open a Tasha Tudor Museum to preserve and promote her works for future generations of children.

Tasha Tudor was one of my favorite children's illustrators. Her soft watercolors and delicate drawings were full of detail and childhood innocence. Some examples of her illustrations can be seen below:

She has received many awards and honors, including Caldecott Honors for Mother Goose in 1945 and 1 is One in 1957. She received the Regina Medal in 1971 for her contributions to children's literature.

This quote is from her website:

“Einstein said that time is like a river, it flows in bends. If we could only step back around the turns, we could travel in either direction. I’m sure it’s possible. When I die, I’m going right back to the 1830s. I’m not even afraid of dying. I think it must be quite exciting.” ~Tasha Tudor

I hope you are there, Tasha!

PS There is still time to enter my 100 blog post give away --see details here! Thanks!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tag: 6 "Unimportant" Things About Me

I've been chosen by Gina, of the blog "Gingerbread," to participate in a tag called "6 Unimportant Things About Me"
Gina lives in Tasmania, Australia, and is the married mum of 2 gorgeous girls. She lives in a little country house and enjoys cooking, gardening, crafting, traveling and beach combing -- plus she takes the most fantastic photographs! Please visit her blog and say hello!

The rules for this game are to link back to the person who tagged you, include the rules in your post, write six unimportant things about yourself then tag six other people at the end of your entry.

OK , here goes:

1) I can't type! I'm one of those who squints at the computer and does the two finger "hunt and peck" clicky clacky typing thing, all the while misspelling everything. That is why it takes me so long to reply to your comments.

2) I've been to many of this guy's concerts since he appeared on season 4 American Idol! Can you guess who he is? I think the hair might give it away.

3) I love lighthouses, and I have to take photos of them where ever I go! Seeing Maine's Portland Head Lighthouse once, in person, was a thrill beyond words for me!

4) I love love love sushi! Wasabi, soy sauce, ginger .....YUM!
5) I've lived in Brooklyn, New York, my entire life! Same block, in the same neighborhood, just in a different house. I think this actual road sign put up by our Brooklyn Borough President says it all about me:

6) My married last name is the same name as a town in Southern Italy! The photo below shows this town which overlooks the Ionian Sea. Just beautiful!

I tag:

Cori of Gingerbread Crumbs and Company, Sherry of Edie Marie's Attic , Lavinia of The Birdbath Chronicles, Lisa of Lisa's Retro Style, Mrs. B of Mrs B, Tara of Days Missed On A Hammock ... and, of course, any one else who would like to join in! Please participate only if you wish!

Thanks, Gina! This was fun!

PS There is still time to enter my 100 blog post give away. See details here. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Battery Park, Lower Manhattan, New York City


All photos click to enlarge

Battery Park is a 25 acre public park located at the Battery, the southern tip of the New York City borough of Manhattan, facing New York Harbor. The Battery is named for the artillery battery that was stationed there at various times by the Dutch and British in order to protect the harbor.

The Battery remains one of the oldest public open spaces in continuous use in New York City.

Near this point, the colonists of the Dutch West India Company began the settlement of New Amsterdam in 1625. As the colony grew and its commerce expanded, piers, wharves, and slips rose along the coastline. The Dutch constructed Fort Amsterdam as early as 1626, and around 1683, the first of a series of gun batteries was constructed around the shore.

In Battery Park, is a now-damaged sculpture called "The Sphere" It once stood in the center of the fountain of the World Trade Center Tobin Plaza. The Sphere was pulled from underneath the collapsed towers. It was inaugurated at a ceremony marking the six month anniversary of the attack as a temporary memorial to all those who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center.

Created in 1971 by artist Fritz Koenig, The Sphere was described as "a monument fostering world peace." The 45,000-pound sculpture is 15 feet in diameter and is made of steel and bronze. It sustained a gash through its center, but remains structurally intact.

Visitors to Battery Park are immersed into a fun and fantastic cityscape collage -- complete with ferry boats, souvenir vendors, fast food carts, seagulls, business workers dining al fresco on the park benches, schoolchildren or camps on outings, performance artists, and walking paths through beautiful flower beds. At night, you can stroll the promenade and take in views of New Jersey lights across the water, and breathtaking views of some of lower Manhattan's skyline, Governors Island, Staten Island, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Have your photo taken with a Statue of Liberty!

A view of downtown Manhattan from the park.
Castle Clinton ( below) was built in anticipation of the War of 1812. A decade later it was renamed Castle Garden and was transformed into the City's premier cultural center. By 1855, successive landfills had enlarged the Park to encompass Castle Garden and the structure became America's first immigrant receiving center, welcoming 8.5 million people before it was succeeded by Ellis Island. In 1896, the Castle was transformed into the beloved New York Aquarium, one of the nation's first public aquariums.
Following its near-total demolition in 1941 and a major preservation battle, the original fort walls were declared a National Monument by an Act of Congress in 1946. Restored to its fortification appearance by the National Park Service in 1975, the Castle currently houses a small interpretive display and the ticket office for the Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island ferry.
A slide show about Castle Clinton's history can be viewed at this link.

Battery Park contains many monuments honoring soldiers, explorers, inventors, and immigrants. I'd like to show you a few of them, and hopefully I'll be able to display more in a future post.

The sculpture below is located at the south end of Battery Park near Castle Clinton. The piece was donated by Samuel Rudin (1896-1975) one of New York City's largest property owners, who commissioned the sculpture in the early 1970s, intending it to be installed near Castle Clinton as a memorial to his parents, who immigrated to the United States in the late-19th century. Although Rudin died in 1975, Rudin's family took up the campaign to install the sculpture at the park, and it eventually was dedicated on May 4, 1983. It is by sculptor Luis Sanguino.

On the eastern side of the plaza is a monumental bronze eagle, sculpted by Albino Manca (1898-1976) and set on a pedestal of polished black granite, grips a laurel wreath over a wave — signifying the act of mourning at the watery grave. This monument was commissioned by the American Battle Monuments Commission, a small independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government, and was dedicated by President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) on May 23, 1963.

It was restored in 1997, and was originally dedicated in 1963 to our servicemen and women who lost their lives in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. A total of 4,067 lives were lost, and their names, rank and home state are inscribed on the eight 19-foot-high granite walls.

Along the waterfront, ferries depart for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The terminal for The Staten Island Ferry is nearby, which you can ride for free! The 5 mile, 25 minute ride also provides view of the Statue of Liberty in the harbor, and the Manhattan skyline. It is NYC's best bargain!

A full Statue Cruises ferry (below) waiting to depart for Liberty Island.

A view of the Statue Of Liberty on a misty, foggy day from Battery Park.

Located on a 12 acre island, the "Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World," was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.

I hope you enjoyed this quick trip through Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, New York City.

Please leave a comment on this post, if you haven't already, to have a chance to win my 100th blog post give away. A random drawing from all the names who comment will be picked on Monday, June 23, 2008. Thanks!