Where else would you find countless branches than at Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jersey. And where else would you find countless branches filled with cherry blossoms every April than at the Cherry Blossom festival in Branch Brook Park.
Here’s a little known fact: Branch Brook Park has more cherry trees than Washington D.C. and has more than 2,700 Japanese cherry blossom trees. Branch Brook Park also holds the distinction of being the first county park in the United States opened to the public.
A few pictures from 2010 and 2018. I really kind of like the lion one best 🙂
The rails of the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey train terminal at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Taken from their website: ‘From 1892 through 1954, the CRRNJ Terminal stood with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to unfold one of this nation’s most dramatic stories: the immigration of northern, southern and eastern Europeans, among others, into the United States. After being greeted by the Statue of Liberty and processed at Ellis Island, these immigrants purchased tickets and boarded trains at the Terminal that took them to their new homes throughout the United States. Learn more about the CRRNJ’s history, visit the Historic CRRNJ Train Terminal site. ‘
Clockwise from upper right: tree sculpture in PA – easels in windows – statues and metal cows at the Field Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard – sidewalk art – mural in NJ – piano in Greenwich Village, NYC.
My daughter and I are deeply into our genealogy and have been visiting cemeteries where our ancestor are buried. I’ve always found cemeteries to be interesting places, especially the older ones where grave stones and markers are indeed works of art. We have several ancestors buried in Mt Pleasant Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey, which is Newark’s oldest cemetery and in my opinion the most beautiful and interesting one. The cemetery has a special section for the firemen of Newark and that is where my great, great grandfather is buried. The unexpected art connection to me are the fire hydrants that surround this section.
My daughter Deb and I go out for coffee every Saturday, we’ve been doing this for almost 20 years. Sometimes we stay local, sometimes travel to different state to meet a friend like in the upper right hand corner picture or choose a place in NJ where we can enjoy the NYC skyline. Sometimes Deb takes her writing along and I bring a crossword puzzle book or a small coloring book with me. Even though we live together these Saturday morning outings are a special time for us.
From piano keys on top row right, to telephone poles 3rd row right, to NYC brownstones 4th row right, to seats and sunlight and post office boxes on the bottom row… these are my choices for ‘In A Row’.
What’s it like to finally meet someone you’ve admired for years, someone you have come close to meeting through mutual friends but didn’t for one reason or another, and so you resigned yourself to the fact that it would never happen! Carly Simon has always been an inspiration to me through her song lyrics and through her written words, and to meet her, although for only a few minutes…. well, it was down right awesome, nerve wracking and surreal and all I hoped it would be.
After 40 years of being a fan and admirer of Carly Simon – 5 concerts (MV with Harry Connick Jr, NJ art center, Lincoln Center, the Apollo and Joe’s Pub in NYC)…
After a lifetime of both of us having a connection to Martha’s Vineyard and never ever meeting each other it finally happened on Oct 24th here in NJ at Carly’s book signing for her new book ‘Touched By The Sun’ about her long time friend ship with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
How did this come to be after all these years? Carly has done signings of CD’s and books over the years in NYC but I’ve never been able to make them, but when it was announced she was going to be on this side of the Hudson River in New Jersey and not far from where I live, and an early evening appearance… we knew it had to be now or possibly never.
My daughter got off from work early and we left around 3 for the 6 o’clock signing. We got to Bookends in Ridgewood, NJ around 4. There were already maybe 7 people in line outside, we went into the book store to purchase our reserved copies of the book which were our tickets into the event, got a refreshment and then got in line which had swelled to about 12 people by then. I was so relieved to be near the front, and my daughter could relax knowing she had delivered me bright and early to the event. I tend to get anxious sometimes and this was absolutely one of those times. The final estimate was between 250-300 people. Around 5 they led us into the bookstore and downstairs into a large room where they had a sort of roped off maze of lanes which led up to the front of the room where there was a desk. My description is horrible but the concept was great as it kept everyone orderly and in order of how you first got in line. As in most cases when you’re in a line for awhile for something you begin chatting with those around you, some were sitting on the floor already reading Carly’s book, my daughter was knitting socks, everyone was friendly, happy and anxious for 6pm to roll around.
A little after 6 we were all led back upstairs where Carly was seated behind a desk waiting for her eager fans.
Carly looked gorgeous, she was charming, gracious and warm, she didn’t rush anyone and spoke to you like the two of you were the only ones in the room. I was afraid I would turn out to be one of those ‘gushy’ fans that says the same things she’s heard a zillion times so I practiced in my head what I wanted to say in the short amount of time I had. I did not gush, I did not blather, I did not forget my name, or hers, I was my version of cool.
I wonder if we were both thinking the same thing…
If you’re wondering why the pictures show the back of the jacket I have on, it’s from Carly’s tour in 1978 when her ‘Boys In The Trees’ album came out. I came into possession of the jacket through two mutual friends of mine and Carly’s and thought she might get a kick out of seeing it. She did.
Thank you Carly for all the years of your incredible music,your heart felt lyrics (there’s a Carly song for every emotion), and for books, you are truly an inspiration.
It all began with this little snippet in the Vineyard Gazette 29 years ago in September of 1990. My daughter Deb liked Harry Connick Jr and I’m a huge fan of Carly Simon, I have been even before I knew of her Vineyard connection. This seemed like a perfect weekend getaway for us but how could I manage to get tickets when I live in NJ and they were only on sale on the Vineyard !
I did it. I was determined and when it involves the Vineyard my determination is un-stoppable. So off we went. There were a few glitches along the way concerning MV accommodations and ferry reservations so we decided to stay in Falmouth on the mainland and just go to the Vineyard for the day of the concert.
It was a spectacular September Sunday afternoon on the Vineyard, the Campground was filled with happy concertgoers bustling around..
Before the concert began we were talking with a woman sitting next to us who was going on and on about how excited she was to be seeing Carly Simon. She said she had chatted about it with her seat mate on the small plane she had flown over to MV on that afternoon. She told him she had no idea who Harry Connick Jr was but that she was mainly there to see Carly.
When Harry stepped onto the stage she gasped and said ‘oh my god, that’s the young man I was talking to on the plane.’
At 3pm the concert began. Harry’s band was fantastic and Harry’s voice velvety smooth. After about an hour or so of great music the lights were turned off. The only illumination was the sun shining through the stained glass windows around the perimeter of the Tabernacle. And then… out stepped Carly.
I was beside myself, in actuality though the person beside me was Carly’s mother. I have seen Carly in concert several times since then but seeing her on the Vineyard and at the Tabernacle was something special for me.
Harry and Carly sang a few songs together, their voices meshed beautifully. Carly did a few songs alone and then way too soon it was over. What a fantastic day, one we’ll never forget.
The reviews of the concert were glowing, much like the talents of Carly Simon and Harry Connick Jr as they stood side by side on the stage of the Tabernacle.
After the concert we had ‘drinks’ with the band at the Oyster Bar in Oak Bluffs.. us and about 100 other people. Afterwards we headed to Edgartown for dinner.
Too quickly our lovely day on the Vineyard was coming to an end. We drove back to Oak Bluffs for one last look at the now darkened Tabernacle.
We had booked a late ferry and it’s one of the few times I’ve sailed at night. The sky was star filled, a cool breeze was blowing and a young man on board was strumming his guitar and singing softly. Perfect day.
I’ve seen Carly 6 or 7 times but this was the first time and there couldn’t have been a more perfect place.
My interest in the Mayflower is more than historical, it’s personal as well.
My ancestors, William and Susanna White and their baby Peregrine White were on the first voyage of the Mayflower in 1620. Baby Peregrine was born on the Mayflower while it was moored in the harbor, he was the first English baby born in New England.
Four years ago in 2015 I visited the Mayflower II in Plymouth, MA before it began it’s journey to be restored. Please CLICK HERE to read that post. https://mvobsession.com/2015/10/18/plymouth-ma-the-mayflower/
This ship, the Mayflower II set sail from Plymouth, England on April 20, 1957, with a crew of 33 men. On June 13, after 55 days at sea, the ship arrived in Plymouth, USA, to the cheers of 25,000 spectators. Since then, more than 20 million people have boarded the iconic ship, and millions more have viewed her from the shore. Today, even as Mayflower II undergoes a necessary restoration to fulfill her educational mission for years to come, she has lost none of her luster. (CLICK HERE to read the article how this replica came to be.)
Two months after I was there in Oct 2015 in December 2015 the Mayflower II left Plymouth, MA to sail to Mystic, CT for restoration, to replace timbers, planking, structural frames and beams that have deteriorated from saltwater and exposure over the past six decades. You can read the full article by CLICKING HERE.
On Saturday, September 7, 2019 The official launch and recommissioning of the restored Mayflower II took place. The Mayflower II was lowered into the Mystic River where it will float while refitting work is finished.
It will leave Mystic Seaport in the Spring of 2020 making its way north to Boston for a 6-day maritime festival (May 14-19). The replica of the ship in which the Pilgrims sailed to the New World is scheduled to arrive in Plymouth Harbor on May 21 – in time for the town’s 400th anniversary commemoration of the original landing, a homecoming celebration is planned with a series of events and activities.
So off I went to Mystic, CT on Saturday, Sep 7, with my daughter Deb, honorary daughter Dawn and our friend Sam to see the launching, the rechristening, hear the speeches and enjoy the festivities.
The Mayflower II
It was an absolutely gorgeous day, mid 70’s, light winds and sun and some clouds. There were hundreds of people there and since we didn’t buy seats we would have to stand in the area behind them to watch everything. The ceremony was to start at 2pm sharp and we were advised to get good spots early… which we started to do.. and then we noticed that at the very back of the standing area there were some huge cement blocks that people were starting to sit on. Ah ha, great idea so we scurried over there around 12:30 to stake out our spots. While sitting there I was spotted by a BBC TV reporter who saw my shirt that said ‘Mayflower Descendant’ and asked if she could interview me on camera. I was a bit nervous but it was fun doing it. That’s the first and second pictures below.
The third picture is my daughter Deb, Dawn, me and our friend Sam on our concrete perch.
The fourth picture is not mine as it’s taken from the Mayflower II but it does show the seating area, the standing area and then at the very back on the right side by the red building is where we were sitting, with, I might add, a great view.
The ceremony started exactly and 2pm and it was really very nice, or at least what I saw of it ! Only about 20 minutes into it I sort of um, wound up in an ambulance for about an hour! Sitting in the sun for 2 1/2 hours with not enough water caused me to pass out. So I missed the actual launching into the water of the Mayflower II which was mostly our reason for going to the event. But on the other hand I met some terrific EMT’s who took great care of me.
All in all it was a really nice day with people I care about, and celebrating the Mayflower II which holds a special place in my heart and in my heritage.
Every few years I post about my favorite summer event on Martha’s Vineyard…
Illumination Night this year is Wednesday, August 14, 2019
It has always been my favorite event of the summer… going to Illumination Night is a thrill for me no matter what my age.
I think I was 2 and 1/2 the first time I went to Illumination Night. I’m embarrassed to say that even with my annoyingly good memory, I don’t remember it. My first memory of Illumination Night involves wearing a particularly pretty dress so I’m thinking I was around three or four, which would have been around 1946.
My dad, mom, god-mother and I would have an early supper and then walk to the Campground. My dad and I would stroll around looking at all the beautifully decorated gingerbread houses while my mother and god-mother would chat with friends and relatives.
At 8 o’clock the Vineyard Haven Band would begin playing and the always fun community sing would start. Patriotic songs like, America The Beautiful, Yankee Doodle, Battle Hymn of the Republic are always stirring and emotional. It took me a couple of years to learn the words to all the songs and I still get messed up on a couple of the rounds like John Brown’s Baby. The band playing the Star Spangled Banner and the rousing Stars and Stripes Forever are always a crowd pleaser.
But as much fun as that was it was only a precursor to the main event. The Tabernacle and Campground go dark… the crowd cheers. The lighting of the first lantern and then all the gingerbread houses are simultaneously aglow with Japanese lanterns.
Everyone oohs and ahhs and stream out of the Tabernacle to walk through the magical fairyland the Campground has become. My dad would carry me on his shoulders so I could see everything… I felt like I could touch the stars.
After seeing all there was to see we’d head out onto Circuit Ave to either the Frosty Cottage for ice cream or Darling’s for popcorn, a tasty ending to a perfectly enchanting night.
No matter your age, Illumination Night is fun for everyone, I myself morph into an 8 year old.