A few months ago, this Sears Roebuck Company building in Hackensack, NJ caught my eye. It looked like it would have done way back when. I was curious to know what year it was built and how it had missed being demolished for another more modern structure.
I found the following reference to the building in the New York Times of November 17, 1931. “Sears, Roebuck & Co. buy Hackensack Site: Department Store to Cost About $500,000 Planned for Plot in Main Street.”
The Sears Roebuck Company was founded in Chicago in 1886 by Richard W. Sears and Alvah C. Roebuck. Sears, a railroad agent, received an impressive box of watches and began selling them and other jewelry by mail order. Roebuck was a watch repairman who Sears hired as his business grew. Eventually, they founded Sears, Roebuck & Co.
The first catalog was produced in 1888. Eventually, the catalog carried sewing machines, bicycles, sporting goods and automobiles. Over the years, the company became the largest retailer in the U.S., a position it held up to the mid-1980s. Though it is no longer the largest retailer, the company has evolved into a major online retailer and a trusted source for tools, appliances, affordable clothing and other goods.
Times Square is known for many things – bright lights, skyscraper billboards, store after store hawking everything from cameras to souvenirs but few people notice the statues. I’m one of them. I’ve walked through Times Square a million times and didn’t see them until one early morning a few months ago.
Although I was late for work, I had to stop and take a photo. Who knew there were these statures in Times Square? And who were these people who were influential enough to have their likenesses rendered for posterity?
George M. Cohan, the first coast to coast superstar, started out at age 8 as a child performer. He was part of the group, The Four Cohans. His parents, Helen and Jeremiah, were traveling vaudeville performers and he joined them on stage as an infant. He became a successful actor, singer, dancer, playwright, composer, librettist, producer and director, and was known once as “The Man Who Owned Broadway.” Cohan’s first big hit on Broadway was Little Johnny Jones (1904) which introduced the songs Give My Regards to Broadway and The Yankee Doodle Boy. He went on to produce over fifty musicals.
Cohan was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 3, 1878 and died on November 5, 1942.
Father Francis P. Duffy – I didn’t understand at first how or why a stature of a Catholic priest came to be in Times Square until I did a little research and made the connection to Duffy Square. The northern end of Times Square, between 45th and 47th Streets in front of the steps to the TKTS Booth, is called Duffy Square in honor of Father Francis Duffy. A chaplain for the Fighting 69th, Father Francis, a Canadian, became the most highly decorated cleric in the history of the U.S. Army.
Father Duffy was born in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada on May 2, 1871. He died in New York City on June 27, 1932. At his death, General MacArthur revealed that he had recommended Father Duffy to lead the 165th Regiment.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in New York.
Here are a few scenes from Bryant Park. I’ve always loved Bryant Park – it’s small and intimate, and very accessible especially for people who work in midtown. People stop by during lunchtime, sit at the tables and read or take advantage of their free wifi. In the summer, there are movies. In winter, ice skating.
Last Saturday, as I traveled around the city, I couldn’t help noticing that almost every guy of a certain age (and some girls) was dressed like Santa. Cars honked and people waved when they saw them. But these Santa guys and gals weren’t going to dole out gifts, they were part of the Santas-only pub crawl – a flash mob type event that brings together people dressed as Santas, elves, etc. They go from bar to bar, drinking and generally having a good time. Great way to get “into the spirit,” isn’t it?
This Santa agreed to let me take a photo but pulled on his mask just as I raised the camera.
This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out other photo and story entries on their website!
A Carnival cruise ship pulled into port this morning for its daylong stop in Montego Bay and within two hours of docking, clouds covered an anemic sun and the rain began. Immediately, I thought of the passengers who undoubtedly would be looking forward to a day of sun and fun. How would they spend their day, if the rain continued?
Call me pollyanna but I always thought the vacation gods would smile on all my trips but I know differently now. Here’s what I recommend:
* Pack Rain Gear: Since weather is unpredictable, it’s always advisable to put a small umbrella, rain slick or hat in your luggage, especially when traveling to tropical destinations.
* Check the Weather: Outside of the hurricane season (June to November), except for the occasional rainy day, the weather is usually the same from day to day. But if you happen to be traveling between June and November, there’s a chance (even though years can pass before a hurricane actually hits), a hurricane can form. If you’re concerned, plan cruise vacations outside this period. If a hurricane does form and threatens to interrupt or prolong your vacation, follow the advice of the cruise lines and stay safe.
* Indulge in Indoor Activities: Take a book or magazine to read if the weather turns nasty. If you have internet connection, catch up on email. Visit a museum or go see a play. Spend a day at the spa. Do some shopping or catch up on sleep.
* Keep a Positive Attitude: The most important thing is to keep a positive attitude. Don’t let bad weather ruin your mood or spoil your vacation.
5 Things to do in Montego Bay if it rains:
* Take a taxi to one of the Great Houses – Both Rose Hall and Greenwood Great House offer guided tours of their properties. Rose Hall was the home of Annie Palmer, also known as the White Witch of Rose Hall. Greenwood Great house belonged to the family of the English poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Both charge admission fees.
* Visit the Rastafari Indigenous Village – Catch the vibe at this indigenous village located about a 15 minute drive from the port. Listen to drumming, get a lesson in plants and herbs that are native to the island and enjoy an ital meal.
* Have a meal – Montego Bay’s “Hip Strip” a section of Gloucester Avenue populated by hotels, restaurants (Margarittaville, the Bobsled Cafe, etc.) and shops, is a great place to eat or spend a rainy day.
* Explore Jamaica’s rich ethnic and cultural heritage with a trip back in time at the Outameni Experience.
When planning a vacation, be prepared for bad weather and plan accordingly. Most importantly, enjoy yourself!
I just realized, today, that there are only twelve days to go before Christmas and I’m still don’t feel the Christmas “spirit.” I’d like to chalk it up to the various upheavals that have occurred in my life this past year, but I’m not so sure as I’ve heard several of my friends saying the same thing.
Normally, by now I would have baked my cakes and this weekend, I’d be getting ready to make cookies. But it’s twelve days till Christmas and nothing’s done. This morning, I picked up fruits. I’ll flash steam them in rum later. Maybe that’ll help change my mood as Christmas is my most favorite holiday of the year. While I try to get myself into the spirit of the season, here’s a look at some of my memories of Christmas.
In our house, Christmas was a big deal. Preparations would start early, sometimes by the end of November or early December and continue until Christmas eve. The house had to be readied, the grass cut, trees pruned and part of their trunks whitewashed. Since we didn’t have a traditional Christmas tree, we’d pick a tree — for years, it was the rice and peas plant that covered a corner of our house, like an ivy plant — and trim it and the house with lights. New curtains, sheets and bedspreads would be bought or special ones brought out and washed then put in place on Christmas eve.
Fruits that would have been soaking in rum a year or more, would be ground and folded into cakes that my cousins and I would help my mother to bake. I’ve put the recipe below.
Flowering plants play such an important part in our lives. Their color and composition have inspired artists such as Georgia O’Keefe, Van Gogh and Monet, and poets like William Wordsworth. They are accepted as a symbol of love and passion, even innocence. Some have even been recognized for their medicinal properties.
Here are a few more from the garden. Unfortunately, I’m still working on learning their names.
Jackie Mittoo was born Donat Roy Mittoo on March 3, 1948 in St. Ann. The songwriter, keyboardist and musical director was a founding member of ska band, The Skatalites. He died in December, 1990 at age 42.
Every Friday evening at 9:00 p.m. in the summer, there’s a 30 minute fireworks display at Coney Island. I just love standing on the beach and watching the fireworks rise above my head and then fade into the night sky. It never fails to bring a smile to my face.