Few years ago I put up this post:
I was in New York City and visited Grand Central Station, mostly to take photos of this magnificently restored building. I thought I had never been there before…but in looking around something clicked in my brain !
When my mother and I would go to MV every summer we would take a train from Pennsylvania Station in Newark, NJ to, as it turns out, Grand Central Station in NYC where we would change trains.
We would have to run from one end of the station to the other to board the New York/New Haven & Hartford’s train on the Old Colony line called the Day Cape Codder, which would take us all the way from New York City to Woods Hole, MA. That’s right, all the way to Woods Hole.
The train stopped at what is now the staging area for cars waiting to get onto the ferries. The tracks ran under the overpass in the left corner of this photograph. It was literally only steps from train to boat. A comfortable and luxurious way to travel in the days when lots of people didn’t have cars and the road system left a lot to be desired anyway. The trains had dining cars with each table dressed in fancy tablecloths and crisply ironed napkins. The waiters and conductors were always the same and seemed to remember me from year to year… made me feel special and grown up. Train service to Woods Hole ended in the 1960′s.
The ferry, the Nobska/Nantucket would take us to MV.
We’d land here in Oak Bluffs and our relatives would be there to greet us, and three glorious months on the Vineyard would begin.
Well it turns out I was wrong !!!! I don’t like being wrong, even worse I don’t like admitting it… but I have to set the record straight because I know at least one person who did these trips as well and he’ll spot the mistake.
Recently I was watching the PBS program The American Experience about the ‘The Rise and Fall of Penn Station’ and I realized it wasn’t Grand Central Station we had taken the train to Woods Hole from…. it was Penn Station !!
Pennsylvania Station was built in 1910, covered nearly 8 acres, extended 2 city blocks and was one of the largest public spaces in the world. Its 3 year demolition began in October 1963. It was replace with another Penn Station which Madison Sq Garden sits atop.
Functional but not beautiful 🙂
The person I mentioned above is my life long friend Will Jones. His parents Bill and Bertha owned the bowling alley in Oak Bluffs which was across from the Flying Horses.
You might enjoy reading about our moms who grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and our dads who grew up in Newark, NJ …
My friend Will Jones and I were always looking for things to keep us busy and out of trouble during our summers on MV. Someone showed me how to make little flowers by using yarn and forks… I immediately showed Will. We set about our tasks, me at my house, he at his.
The next morning Will’s mom called my mom asking if he was at my house ? Seems she went looking for a fork and couldn’t find any !!! A few moment later Will was at my door, and yes, he had all his mother’s forks with him and they were filled with yarn. Seems I had neglected to show him how to get the yarn off the forks to make the little flowers…
Will had carried those forks from his house way on the other side of Oak Bluffs …
up Circuit Ave …
… to my house where we freed his mother’s forks of their yarn. I have no recollection of what we did with the yarn flowers.
(Will’s mom – my mom)
Our moms were childhood friends, as were Will and I. Our moms graduated from Oak Bluffs High School together (long before the regional high school was built). Our moms moved to Newark, NJ after graduation and it was there that they met their future husbands, our dads, who were also childhood friends. (In 1907 Will’s mom, Bertha Carter, was the first girl baby born in Oak Bluffs after its name change from Cottage City.)
(my dad – Will’s dad)
Will and I spent every day of the summer together. We went swimming, rode the Flying Horses, read, drove our parents crazy and were inseparable. For many years his parents owned a bowling alley in Oak Bluffs across from the Flying Horses. Long before automation the pins had to be set by hand, I even did it from time to time myself.
Being a summer kid on the Vineyard was the best thing in the world… it still is.
Will and I live near each other in NJ and when we see each other we do a lot of talking about the Vineyard.
Ahh, memories… whether they’re right or wrong I’m not telling 🙂
February 23, 2014 at 7:19 pm
Another beautiful post! I love every part of it….the story, the photos and the memories of times past they conjure up! Will and you are lucky to have shared these wonderful times.
February 26, 2014 at 6:54 am
I wish they’d bring the trains back! My clear memory of changing trains in New York: I was 8 or 9. My brother was a year younger. My mother had taken us to Virginia to visit relatives during spring break, and we were on the way back to Boston. We had plenty of time, so my mother thought, so we were having fun pitching coins into an electric train set up in one of the wide-open areas of Penn Station. Then my mother noticed that the time on the station clocks wasn’t the same as the time on her watch. Turns out we’d been caught in a daylight-saving switch: New York and New England “sprang forward,” but Virginia, at that time (ca. 1960), didn’t. We missed our real train while playing with the electric one.
February 27, 2014 at 7:47 pm
love your stroll down memory lane….my sister-in-law and i were having a similar conversation just the other day…even though i didn’t grow up near mv, i have memories from my childhood and i miss *the good old days* when we walked uphill (both ways) to school barefoot and in the snow (not likely in phoenix,az)….aaaaahhhhhh, memories….. 😉