The Museum of Illusions,
opened September 2018 in New York City’s West Village. You might assume by its
name that it is a children’s museum or about magic, which depends greatly on
illusion — it is neither of these. Nor can it be considered an
“attraction, ” although many of the exhibits are interactive, as you get to
help create the illusions. The purpose of this museum is really about educating
visitors on the physical and psychological science behind illusion. With two-
and three-dimensional illusions on the walls and floors that will
mesmerize visitors of all ages, placards posted near each exhibit provide the
explanations to help you understand what you are viewing and how the illusion
is created. While the museum does not explicitly delve into magic, when
you leave, you will have a better understanding of how some magic tricks work.
We thoroughly enjoyed
this museum with its many surprises. One of our favorite exhibits was a room
with a sloped floor — a monitor shows that you appear to be growing smaller and
smaller as you walk across the floor. Another fun, interactive exhibit is where
a visitor pokes her head out of the middle of the table, but all you see is a
head on top of the table with no body.
Friendly staff are
available to give you clues about the illusions, help you figure out where to
stand to get the most effective view, explain the science behind a particular
illusion, and take your picture. In fact, the museum welcomes photography
because the digital photograph makes it easier to visualize many of the
illusions. At the front of the museum, a staff member is ready to have two of
your party pose as part of an illusion relating to perspective (check out the
photo where Marty is patting Laurie’s head — we are literally a few feet from
each other! And no — Laurie is not that small).
The museum is housed in
a bank building dating back to pre-Depression 1920s. Before you leave, be sure
to ask to see the old bank vault.
(Be advised: the only
downside of the Museum of Illusions is that it has mobility limitations – there
is no handrail on the outside steps leading up to the main door and no
alternate ramp. The second floor is only accessible by a narrow staircase with
a banister — there is no elevator. On the other hand, visitors with mobility
issues are admitted free.)
The Museum of Illusions
(77th 8th Ave, New York, NY; https://newyork.museumofillusions.us/) is open Monday – Thursday, 9am to 10pm; Friday
– Sunday 8am to 11pm. To explore with smaller crowds, try to arrive
before noon. Plan for 45 minutes to 1-½ hours to walk the entire museum, and
bring a camera to capture the illusions at their best! Tickets are $19/adult;
$17/senior, military, students with ID; and $15/kids 6-13 years of age (under 6
is free). Tickets may be purchased online with a small service fee.
From its founding in the 1930s to the end of weekly publication in the 1970s, LIFE Magazine elevated and showcased photojournalism. Instead of just being the acoutrement to reporting, the photos were the story, or as Henry R. Luce saw it, the photojournalist as essayist.
that time, only six out of 101 full-time LIFE
photographers were women. Now, for the first time, these women – who contributed
so much to the evolution of photojournalism as well as the cultural and
societal trends they spotlighted – are
featured in their own exhibit, LIFE: Six Women Photographers, at the New-York
Historical Society through October 6, 2019.
“For the editors of LIFE—the first magazine to tell stories with photographs rather than text—the camera was not merely a reporter, but also a potent commentator with the power to frame news and events for a popular audience. For decades, Americans saw the world through the lens of the magazine’s photographers. Between the late 1930s and the early 1970s, LIFE magazine retained only six women photographers as full-time staff or on a semi-permanent basis. LIFE: Six Women Photographers showcases the work of some of those women and how their work contributed to LIFE’s pursuit of American identity through photojournalism,” the curators write. The exhibition features more than 70 images showcasing the extraordinary work created by Margaret Bourke-White, Hansel Mieth, Marie Hansen, Martha Holmes, Nina Leen, and Lisa Larsen.
How were these women part of a larger editorial vision? What topics did
they cover, and how did their work reflect—and sometimes expand—the mission of
the magazine? The exhibit reveals these photographers’ important role in
creating modern photojournalism and defining what LIFE editor-in-chief Henry Luce called the
“American Century.” The level of influence that LIFE Magazine wielded was
considerable – at its height, one out of every three Americans read the
magazine each month.
We learn that of the six, three were immigrants of whom two fled Fascist
Europe. In all, they produced 3,000 stories, 325,000 images that curator Sarah
Gordon, curatorial scholar in women’s history at NYHS’ Center for Women’s
History, and Marilyn Satin Kushner, curator and head, Department of
Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, combed through to select
out the 70 images featured in the exhibit. The exhibit, interestingly,
highlights not only the photos that were selected for publication, but photos
out of the series that were not, as well as the contact sheets. There are also
displays with the magazine opened to the page, and notes from the
Asked how the six featured stories were selected out of the
photographers’ 3,000, Kushner reflects, “We thought about what we wanted to
show and say – that kept me up at night, how to tie as a thread. The first
thought was to show a woman’s point of view, but then we don’t know how a man
would have treated the same subject. What the women did was illustrate Luce’s
idea, that the photos [depict] the American story.”
Yet, except for Margaret Bourke-White’s famous series on the Fort Peck Dam – illustrative of her talent to show Industrial America and technological progress – the photo essays selected for this exhibit predominantly show women and women’s issues – wrestling with their place in society after World War II’s independence, the WACS. And even when there is a story, like the Dam, Bourke-White and others showed a great sensitivity to how ordinary people – families – lived. Bourke-White chose to show shantytowns that developed around the dam, and what Saturday night dancehall was like.
Her telegram to her editor reads, “Swell subjects especially shanty
towns. Getting good nightlife. Nobody camera shy except ladies of evening but hope conquer them
also…. May I give one picture FortPeck Publishing booklet for local sale. Would
help repay their many courtesies. Could choose pattern picture we probably wouldn’t
How did they get their assignments? “Sometimes the women wrote and
asked for an assignment, but usually were told to ‘do that’” Kushner tells me. Luce
wanted LIFE Magazine to reflect the American Century, and while Bourke-White
documented steel mills and dams – America’s technology and industrial
achievements – she also depicted new towns in the middle of no where, “FDR’s
New Wild West.”
Standing in front of one of the most controversial and substantial
photos in the exhibition – Martha Holmes’ 1949 image of singer Billy Eckstine being embraced
by a white female fan, surrounded by
other gleeful white teenagers – I meet Holmes’
daughter, Anne Holmes Waxman, and granddaughter of the photographer, Martha
Holmes., Eva Koshel Castleton.
“My mother came on when a lot of men were in the war. Born in
Louisville, Kentucky, she was working as a photographer at the Courier-Journal
when Life Magazine came to recruit her to come to New York. “She was shaking in
her boots, just 24 years old. She never went back.”
The exhibit shows the contact sheet with other images of multiracial crowds waiting for tickets and autographs, but the editors chose to publish the more controversial image. They were so concerned that they sought permission from Luce, who agreed with Holmes that the photograph reflected social progress and was appropriate for the story. “Holmes felt the photo was one of her best, claiming ‘it told just what the world should be like.’ The magazine, however, received vicious letters in response and the fallout adversely affected Eckstine’s career.”
In the weekly report of letters received for April 24 issue, “Fifty-nine readers are very much upset. ‘That picture of Billy Eckstine with a white girl clinging to him after a performance just turns my stomach. Why a teen-age white girl conducts herself in this manner over a Negro crooner is beyond me. Juvenile delinquency is bad enough in our own race without mixing it up with another.” “The most nauseating picture of the year.” “That picture qualifies as the most indecent picture ever published by LIFE.” “ That picture should have appeared in Pravda Your publication of it leads me to believe that Mr. Chambers was not the only Communist on your staff.” Eight readers cancelled their subscriptions, but nine praised the feature.
(What I notice in the magazine that is featured in the display is the
ad for new Coty eye cosmetics . “Eyes of natural glamour. Newest style in
I ask her daughter Anne whether her mother got or lost certain
assignments because of being a woman. She related that the only assignment her
mother turned down was when, she was 8 ½ months pregnant with her, in 1956, and
had to refuse an assignment to photograph Elvis Presley. “It was the one job
she couldn’t take.” But she is renowned for her photos of artist Jackson
Pollack and the House on UnAmerican Activities hearings.
A very interesting series, “The American Woman’s Dilemma” by Nina Leen, published in the July 16, 1947 issue, danced around the issue of “how are you going to get them back on the farm, after they’ve seen Par-ee” – in this case, women who worked traditionally male jobs and had independence during the war, now being shoved back into housework and child-rearing rather than pursue a career. “The essay also reflected cultural anxieties about a ‘return to normalcy’ after the Depression and war. LIFE assumed that all women desired marriage and children but voiced concern that a woman’s time was so stretched, she did not have time to pursue her husband’s interests.
“The article barely acknowledged that many women had no choice but to
find work. It did recognize women’s struggles with child care buit disparaged
separation as creating insecure children.” Only one of Leen’s photos of an unmarried
woman made the cut. “This article represented a clear attempt at setting out
women’s choices in the post-war era of societal realignment.” (The article is
opposite an ad for Singer sewing machines; LIFE Magazine clearly had an
investment in women as homemakers, wanting the latest appliances.)
is represented by her feature on “International Ladies’ Garment Workers: How a
Great Union Works Inside and Out” (August 1, 1938). She worked as a migrant
worker in California when she first emigrated to the US from Germany, and
photographed fellow migrant workers in San Francisco, the city’s neighborhoods
and cultural enclaves before LIFE hired her in 1937, publishing her socially
engaged photo essays over the next seven years.
I am left to wonder to what extent were the projects reshaped by a woman’s perspective, or how much the women photographers were directed to focus on “women’s subjects”. Even Lisa Larsen’s feature, “Tito as Soviet Hero, How Times Have Changed!” (from June 25, 1956) featured a spread, “Wives Materialize to Greet a Visitor.” We would have to see many more examples of the photographers’ assignments to make that appraisal, and hope these topics will be revealed in future exhibits NY-HS’ Women’s Center.
Based on this cursory examination, it seems Luce wasn’t being progressive in having women photographers for their point of view. He was realizing that women were the market for advertisers. And they were used to socialize women back to their pre-World War II prescribed roles – as homemakers and consumers.
The exhibit is curated by Sarah Gordon, curatorial scholar in women’s history, Center for Women’s History, and Marilyn Satin Kushner, curator and head, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections; with Erin Levitsky, Ryerson University; and William J. Simmons, Andrew Mellon Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Center for Women’s History.
NYHS brilliantly uses its space to maximize an immersion into Women’s
History. Just outside the Women Photographers of LIFE Magazine exhibit is Women’s Voices, a multimedia digital installation
where visitors can discover the hidden connections among exceptional and
unknown women who left their mark on New York and the nation, even going back
to Colonial America. Featuring interviews, profiles, and biographies, Women’s Voices unfolds across
nine oversized touchscreens to tell the story of activists, scientists,
performers, athletic champions, social change advocates, writers, and educators
through video, audio, music, text, and images.
Among the many fascinating profiles featured in Women’s Voices are those of
the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor; Nobel Prize-winning
scientist Barbara McClintock; civil rights activist and poet Audre Lorde; the
first woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S., Elizabeth Blackwell;
award-winning actress Meryl Streep; Brooklyn-born opera star Beverly Sills;
Seneca leader and artisan Caroline Parker Mountpleasant; trailblazing dancer
and principal ballerina Misty Copeland; the Manhattan Project physicist who was
snubbed by the Nobel Prize committee, Chien-Shiung Wu; Gilded Age novelist
Edith Wharton; and the teacher whose 1854 lawsuit helped desegregate public
transit in New York, Elizabeth Jennings Graham, among others.
are also displays about the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU),
Women’s Activism and Billie Jean King. And in the middle of the floor is a most
sensational gallery devoted to Tiffany, which includes a fascinating display
about Clara Driscoll, who headed the
Women’s Glass Cutting Department of some 45-55 young women (mainly 16-17
year olds who would work until they went off to be engaged). And who until this
exhibit was unheralded for her role in creating many of Tiffany’s iconic designs.
Revolutionary Summer at New-York Historical Society
Also on view:
The New-York Historical Society, the oldest museum in New York, celebrates Revolutionary Summer, a Museum-wide exploration of Revolutionary War times, Revolutionary Summerpresents outdoor events every weekend featuring characters from the era; 18th-century art and artifacts; a diorama of the Continental Army; and a host of programs for all ages, including trivia nights, a DJ evening, and a Revolutionary Drag Tea Party. On select weekends, visitors can explore a replica of George Washington’s Headquarters Tent at an outdoor Continental Army encampment, meet Living Historians portraying soldiers and spies, and learn about the many facets of camp life during the War for Independence.
so excited to welcome visitors to New-York Historical this summer with a full
line-up of fun ways to experience the Revolutionary era,” said Dr. Louise
Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “Revolutionary
Summer celebrates the outstanding, revolutionary times that
ignited the birth of our country with everything from a scavenger hunt to the
chance to meet George Washington.”
The centerpiece of Revolutionary Summer is
a replica of George Washington’s Headquarters Tent, on display in New-York
Historical’s outdoor courtyard on select weekends. The original Tent is on
display at the Museum of the American Revolution (MoAR) in Philadelphia. Often
called the “first Oval Office,” the Headquarters Tent was where Washington and
his most trusted staff plotted the strategy that ultimately won the
Revolutionary War. On loan from MoAR, this painstakingly detailed, hand-sewn
replica—made of custom woven linen and wool fabrics—was created as part of a
collaboration between MoAR and Colonial Williamsburg. The Tent is staffed by MoAR
educators, who lead visitors on an immersive tour through history. (On view July
4–7, 26–28, August
16–18, 23–25, September
A host of special installations and artifacts are on view at New-York
Historical as part of Revolutionary Summer. One of the
highlights is a recently discovered watercolor painting of the 1782 Continental
Army encampment at Verplanck’s Point, New York—the only known eyewitness image
of Washington’s Headquarters Tent during the Revolutionary War—on loan from
MoAR. Other highlights include a camp cot used by Washington at Valley Forge
during the winter of 1777; John Trumbull’s iconic painting of Washington that
he gave to Martha Washington in 1790; and a pipe tomahawk gifted by Washington
to Seneca Chief Sagoyewatha. Also on display is a diorama depicting the
Verplanck’s Point encampment and the Hudson River shoreline, providing visitors
with a 360-degree view of the scope and scale of Washington’s forces.
Revolutionary Summer also showcases historic documents
from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, including an original
1823 William J. Stone facsimile of the Declaration of Independence; a broadside
from King George III announcing the armistice and officially ending the war;
and a letter by Martha Washington detailing domestic life in the aftermath of
Independence Day Celebration: Celebrate the Fourth of July
exploring George Washington’s encampment! Enter his Headquarters Tent, meet the
man himself, and experience where the future first president strategized,
dined, and slept while MoAR staff describe his daily life. Also on tap:
singalongs with the Hudson River Ramblers; fife and drum corps music; a
one-woman play about Deborah Sampson, the woman who disguised her gender to
enlist in the Continental Army; family-friendly food for purchase; and Living
Historians portraying soldiers from the Continental Army, as well as John
Adams, who’ll read the Declaration of Independence. Free Admission for
kids age 17 and under
And this fall, the New-York Historical Society explores the life and accomplishments of Paul Revere (1734–1818), the Revolutionary War patriot immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1860 poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride.” On view September 6, 2019 – January 12, 2020, Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere separates fact from fiction, revealing Revere as a complex, multifaceted figure at the intersection of America’s social, economic, artistic, and political life in Revolutionary War-era Boston as it re-examines his life as an artisan, activist and entrepreneur. The exhibition, featuring more than 140 objects, highlights aspects of Revere’s versatile career as an artisan, including engravings, such as his well-known depiction of the Boston Massacre; glimmering silver tea services made for prominent clients; everyday objects such as thimbles, tankards, and teapots; and important public commissions, such as a bronze courthouse bell.
at the New-York Historical Society are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and
Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the New York City
Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts with
the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West (77th Street), New York, NY 10024, 212-873-3400, nyhistory.org.
So often, when reviving a theater icon like Fiddler on the Roof, there is the need to find a new, unique, creative way to make it their own, to reinterpret, re-envision to give new audiences a different entry way. And too often, that manipulation warps or distorts what made the theatrical experience so precious to begin with. But you don’t have to insert modern inventions into Fiddler for its moral, both universal and specific, to be relevant to today’s audiences. In fact, it is much more profound to be transported back to that time, 1904, for its truth to be fully realized.
Fiddler on the Roof has that most important aspect of a true classic, to touch every emotion, make you see things more insightfully, to have a real moral to the story, and leave you a better, more understanding person afterward – and be entertained.
Directed by Oscar and Tony Award-winner Joel Grey, Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish (in Yiddish, A Fidler Afn Dakh) adds new depth and dimension to this heart-wrenching story of a community struggling to balance traditions against the forces and threats of a changing world. The little town of Anatevka reverberates with the sounds of mame-loshn (ancestral language).
Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, brings you closer, more engaged, immerses you. The experience seems even more authentic, more intimate.
Partly this is because the Yiddish language, is so expressive – some of the earliest musicals in New York were in Yiddish (Yiddish theater thrived in New York between 1888 and the 1920s; there is even a Museum of Yiddish Theater, www.museumofyiddishtheater.org) – and in a surprising way even familiar. There are words we New Yorkers know very well (meshuganah comes up a lot), and it seems every so often the Yiddish word is similar to English. But you can follow along, opera-style, with titles (in English and Russian!).
But it is also because Yiddish is the mame-loshn, the ancestral
language. It gives the story more authenticity. You are there, in this
place so far away. Perhaps you even understand the challenge when the
inhabitants of this village, indeed all the Jews from all the villages, are driven
from their homes on three days notice to a strange place where they will
understand no one and no one will understand them.
One of the most
celebrated musicals of all time, Fiddler
on The Roof, based on Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye the
Dairyman stories, features the sensational music
by Jerry Bock,
meaningful lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and smart book by Joseph Stein, with original New York stage production directed and choreographed by
the greatJerome Robbins. This production, brilliantly
directed by Joel Grey, has staging and new choreography by Stas Kimec.
We noticed just small deviations from the original
book, and a new song that emerges from Pertshik’s biblical lesson, that enhance
the experience (not too smart or gimmicky), but otherwise, it is gloriously
faithful to one of the best musical theater works ever created.
The direction by Joel Grey is exquisite – just the
right timing, emphasis, emotion. These characters seem more approachable,
especially without distractions of a complicated set. The Tevye character,
played by Steven Skybell (who won the 2019 Lucille Lortel Award for Best
Lead Actor) is more sensitive, loving, nuanced than the character is
The Jews of Anatevka are clad all in grey, white and
black – as if looking back in time at old photos or film, or perhaps as letters
out of a book – only the Russians have a touch of red and Fiadkah’s outfit is
sufficiently differentiated from his erstwhile comrades.
The set is sparse, but you don’t even realize it –
long strips of what looks like parchment of Torah scrolls with one with the
only world, in Hebrew lettering, Torah that binds the community throughout the
ages and is the underpinning to tradition. That hones the message but also
focuses attention on the people.
The staging and choreography is fabulous – there are
all our favorites: the bottle dance at the wedding; the Russian dance. I loved
the way the dream sequence is staged. The voices and acting of a brilliant
company are sensational.
And most importantly, a timeless tale more important
than ever that needs to be told in these times.
Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof, which opened in 1964, was the first
musical theater production in history to surpass 3,000 performances, won
the 1965 Tony Award for Best Musical in addition to eight
other Tony Awards that year and has performed in
every metropolitan city in the world from Paris to Beijing.
translation, so artfully crafted by Israeli actor/director Shraga
Friedman, was originally performed in Israel in 1965 just one year after its Broadway debut.
Born in Warsaw, Friedman was a native Yiddish speaker who escaped war-torn Europe
with his family and made their way to Tel Aviv in 1941. “Well acquainted with
the works of Sholem Aleichem, Friedman used his translation to infuse Fiddler
with rich literary references to the original Yiddish stories.”
production, which was originally staged at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, marks
the first time the Yiddish version has been performed in the United States.
There is no
problem following what is going on – much like opera, there are supertitles in
English and Russian on both sides of the stage throughout the entire
performance that translate what is being said or sung on stage in real time.
The show is so familiar that it isn’t even necessary, but I enjoyed reading the
nuances of difference. And the great surprise is how familiar some of the words
are, either because Yiddish expressions have entered the vernacular (at least
in New York), or because of the connection to English.
The complete cast of Fiddler
on the Roof includes award-winning Steven Skybell (as
Tevye), Emmy Award nominee Jackie Hoffman (as
Yente), Jennifer Babiak (as Golde), Joanne Borts (as
Sheyndl), Lisa Fishman (as Bobe Tsatyl), Kirk Geritano (as
Avrom), Samantha Hahn (as Beylke), Cameron Johnson (as
Fyedka), Ben Liebert (as Motl Kamzoyl), Stephanie
Lynne Mason (as Hodl), Evan Mayer (as Sasha), Rosie
Jo Neddy (as Khave), Raquel Nobile (as
Shprintze), Nick Raynor (as Yosl), Bruce Sabath (as
Leyzer Volf), Drew Seigla (as Perchik), Adam B.
Shapiro (as Der Rov), Jodi Snyder (as
Frume-Sore), James Monroe Števko (as Mendl), Lauren
Jeanne Thomas (as Der Fiddler), Bobby Underwood (as
Der Gradavoy), Mikhl Yashinsky (as Nokhum / Mordkhe),
and Rachel Zatcoff (as Tsaytl).
Ensemble members include Michael
Einav, Jonathan Quigley, and Kayleen Seidl. Swings
include Abby Goldfarb and John Giesige, and Moshe
Lobel serves as understudy for the production.
The creative team for the production
features new choreography by Staś Kmieć (based on the original
choreography by Jerome Robbins), musical direction by Zalmen Mlotek, scenic
design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Ann Hould-Ward, sound
design by Dan Moses Schreier, lighting design by Peter Kaczorowski,
wig & hair design by Tom Watson, and props design by Addison
Fiddler on the Roof is produced off-Broadway by Hal Luftig and Jana
Robbins, in association withSandy Block.
This production of Fiddler on the Roof is the winner of the 2019 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical Revival, a 2019 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award Special Citation, and star Steven Skybell is the winner of the 2019 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Lead Actor in a Musical, as well as numerous nominations for Joe Grey as director, for orchestration, Lucille Lortel nominee for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Jackie Hoffman.
Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, a production of the remarkable National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF), began its life with a celebrated run at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, where it had been extended multiple times and played its final performance on December 30, 2018. This production at the Stage 42 Theater has been extended multiple times as well, and now is extended again, through January 5, 2020.
NYTF has its own remarkable history: founded in 1915 the award-winning NYTF is the longest continuously producing Yiddish theater company in the world and offers regular productions. The company is presenting a season of four mainstage productions, concerts and readings curated to accompany the exhibit Auschwitz: Not long ago. Not far away. now on view at the Museum of Jewish Heritage through Jan. 3, 2020 (https://mjhnyc.org/exhibitions/auschwitz/).
Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish is a theater
experience not to be missed.
on the Roof in Yiddish is at Stage 42, 422 West 42nd Street (between 9th and
10th Avenues), New York, NY, 10036. For the most current performance schedule
and tickets, see http://fiddlernyc.com. Tickets
are on sale for performances through Jan. 5, 2020. https://nytf.org/fiddler-on-the-roof/
Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra are hosting its
14th annual Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island this summer – as
Arenella notes, just one year shy of 100 years since the Roaring 20’s got
underway. His homage to the Jazz Age era brings out the best of New York, with
ladies donning their flappers dresses, feathers, sequins and pearls, and the
fellows their straw hats, suspenders, bow ties and white linen suits. And each
year, it seems, there are more and more kids.
Michael Arenella, an aficionado of the Jazz Age, has
compiled a song book. He transcribes by hand the music from period recordings,
and introduces them with quaint tidbits.
“For Michael, the Jazz Age never really ended, it just fell
He really gets into character, and everyone thoroughly
enjoys the trip back in time, even looking every bit Gatsby-esque when he
marches his orchestra out among the picnickers and into a vintage Rolls Royce
This year features a return of his popular entertainers:
Robert Ross as Emcee; Roddy Caravella and the incomparable Canarsie Wobblers
putting on different dance routines; the Gelber & Manning Band; Peter
Mintun on the piano; Queen Esther and her jazz trio; Gretchen Fenston; Julie
The event typically starts off with a dance lesson
instructed by Roddy Caravella – on the Saturday, it was the Charleston, and in
the afternoon a Charleston contest which was won by by 9 ½-year old Aidan
The romantic mood really takes over on the dance floor as
Max Singer surprised his sweetheart, Bryanna Doe, with a proposal of marriage.
If you missed out on this rollicking good time, you have
another chance: Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra bring another Jazz
Age Lawn Party to Governors Island on August 24 & 25, noon to 6 pm.
Purchase tickets in advance www.jazzagelawnparty.com.
The New York Philharmonic’s 2019 Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, provided a stunning introduction to conductor Jaap van Zweden, completing his first season as the Philharmonic’s Music Director, leading the orchestra in a program of Rossini’s Overture to “La gazza ladra” (The Thieving Magpie); Copland’s “Hoe-Down,” from Rodeo; and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 27. The concert also featured astonishing compositions by two 12-year olds in the Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers (VYC) program, and their opportunity to hear their works performed by the full symphony orchestra in front of 50,000 people in Central Park and thousands more in concerts in Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, Cunningham Park, Queens; and Prospect Park, Brooklyn. (For the schedule, see www.nyphil.org.)
In the 54 years that the New York Philharmonic has offered the Summer Concerts in the Parks (for the past 13 years, the series has been presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer), some 15 million people have enjoyed “priceless music absolutely free, under the stars” and with fireworks, no less. It is a vast communal picnic with music the food of love. Play on.
This is the second year that the concert has also showcased original compositions of its Very Young Composers – a program that was begun 20 years ago to give children an opportunity to learn about music in an after-school program in New York’s public schools, with the best of them being performed by members of the Philharmonic, and the very, very best by the full orchestra. There are some 200 students enrolled in schools all over the city; the Philharmonic also partners with schools around the country and the world to offer similar programs. (The director of Education and Community Outreach, Gary Padmore was on his way to Shanghai.)
Nilomi Weerakkody, a 12-year old who is a sixth grader at the Dalton School, composed “Soundscape for Orchestra,” turning the sounds of nature into a symphonic composition.
For “Ociantrose,” Mack Scocca-Ho,
a 12-year old who has been composing since he was 3, created an imaginary city,
Ociantrose, the capital of Myanolar. His composition celebrates Ociantrose’s
distinctive identity, a bustling city where order is not imposed by the
government but arises from the residents. The musical themes suggest “the
variety of people and the harmony emerging form independence.”
The Philharmonic is raising money
to subsidize its education programs – with a challenge that if it raises
$400,000 by August 31, a donor will match with $200,000 (go to www.nyphil.org).
Next season will showcase “Project
19,” marking the centennial of the 19th amendment with new works by
19 female composers – the largest commissioning program of women ever
undertaken by an orchestra, said Deborah Borda, the New York Philharmonic’s
President and Chief Executive Officer. Also, “Mahler’s New York” honors New
York’s past through two of his symphonies with an examination of the
composer-conductor’s time in the city. The “hotspots” festival focuses on three
“new” music centers – Berlin, Reykjavik and New York.
“New York is more than the
Philharmonic’s home,” Borda writes. “This city is in our blood and its high
standards fuel our planning and performances.”
Here are highlights from this
year’s Summer in the Parks concerts:
On a grand night at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Uniondale, Long Island, five of the Apollo astronauts, including three of only 12 men who have ever walked on the moon, and two flight directors who controlled the Apollo missions, reflected on their experiences. It was an epic event in a year of events at the museum marking the 50th Anniversary of the first man to walk on the moon, inspiring interest in space science, which will climax on July 20 at the exact moment when Neil Armstrong made his “giant leap for mankind.”
Cradle of Aviation Museum has special meaning to the astronauts, many of whom
have come to the museum over the years to give talks and participate in events.
Not only is it home to one of the world’s most extensive collections of Lunar
Modules,(LM-13, LTA-1), Lunar Module parts and Lunar Module photos and
documentation, but it also is home to the engineers of Grumman Aerospace
Corporation that designed, built and tested the Lunar Modules between 1961-1972
which successfully landed 12 men on the moon between 1969-1972.
Rusty Schweickartwas the first to pilot the Lunar Module, testing the craft on the Apollo 9 mission in 1969 before it was used on the moon in Apollo 11. He was one of the first astronauts to space-walk without a tether, and one of the first to transmit live TV pictures from space. He is also credited with development of the hardware and procedures which prolonged the life of the Skylab space station.
Schweickart reflected on a moment when he was essentially stranded in space. “I turned around and looked at earth, brilliant blue horizon. There was no sound – I was floating inside my suit which was floating. Just hanging out looking at earth, completely silent. My responsibility at that moment was to absorb: I’m a human being. Questions floated in: how did I get here, why was I here. I realized the answer was not simple. What does ‘I’ mean? ‘Me’ or ‘us’. Humanity – our partnership with machines allowed humankind to move out to this environment. 10,000 years from now, it will still be the moment when humanity stepped out to space. While we celebrate something we were part of, it’s one of the events in human history, , that if we don’t wipe ourselves out, we will still have this unique moment in time when life moved out to outer space.”
Fred Haise,the Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 13 mission, would have been the 6th man to walk on the moon. After the Apollo program ended in 1977, he worked on the Shuttle program, and after retiring from NASA, worked for 16 years as an executive for Northrop Grumman Corporation.
Haise reflected that when JFK made his challenge to go to the moon before the end of the decade, he thought this was mission impossible based on where the technology was. “I saw nothing at hand that would have accomplished that. By then, there was just Alan Shepherd who went up and down, the rockets were invented by Germans in World War II.”
When the disaster struck the Apollo 13 – an oxygen tank exploded, crippling the Service Module which supplied power and life support to the Command Module, he reflected, “We weren’t afraid. All of us in the program did the best we could. We were aware of the problems. Everyone was willing to pay the price to make the mission successful.”
situation was not immediately life-threatening . ”Clearly we had lost one tank. I was sick to
my stomach with disappointment that we had lost the moon. It took us almost an
hour to stop the leak in the second tank. “
The Lunar Module was pressed into service as a literally lifeboat and tugboat – a role never anticipated for it.
“The LM bought time. I was never worried. Not sure how it would operate past the two days. Nothing had been damaged in the LM, so I knew we had a homestead we could operate from, and people on the ground were losing a lot of sleep working through the challenges. We never really got to the cliff we were about the fall off.”
Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of cooling water and the critical need to make repairs to the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth. It was hailed as the most successful failure.
Charlie Duke (Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 16, the 10th person to walk on the moon and the youngest, at 36 years old), reflected “Driving over the surface of the moon, we didn’t have TV. I was the travel guide for mission control, 250,000 miles away. So I narrated, ‘Now we’re passing on the right…’ – giving a travelogue – as we drove from point A to point B, and I was taking pictures. My job was to get us A to B and describe for mission control what seeing while John was driving…
“The rover did tremendously well, it revolutionized lunar exploration. Prior, we had to walk everywhere, not the easiest thing. Thankfully the rover was a revolution to see so much. Say to all the Grumman folks here who worked on that, you guys built a great machine. We shared the moon speed record because the odometer only went to 17 mph. Three rovers are up there – if you want an $8 million car with a dead battery.”
Harrison Schmitt(Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 17) was also a former geologist, professor, US Senator from New Mexico. He was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 17, the final manned lunar landing mission. He was the first scientist and one of the last astronauts to walk on the moon – the 12th man and second youngest person to set foot on the moon.
“The thing about our valley [where the
mission explored], Apollo worked in a brilliant sun, as brilliant as any New
Mexico sun, but the sky was absolute black. That was hard to get used to. We
grow up with blue skies. I never felt comfortable with black sky. But in that
black sky was of course that seemingly small planet Earth, always hanging over
the same part of the valley. Whenever I was homesick, I would just look up –
home was only 250,000 miles away.”
Milt Windler was one of the four flight directors of Apollo 13 Mission Operations Team, all of whom were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard M. Nixon for their work in guiding the crippled spacecraft safely back to Earth. Formerly a jet fight pilot, he joined NASA in 1959 during Project Mercury. Windler also served as a flight director for Apollo 8, 10, 11, 14, 15 and all three Skylab missions. After Apollo, he worked in the Space shuttle project office on Remote Manipulator Systems Operations until 1978. He is the recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.
Reflecting on the Apollo 13 mission, he said, “It is a common misconception that flight control was one person all 15 days of a mission. But missions were divided into distinct phases – launch, lunar descent, EVA, rendezvous – and there were teams for each. Each team simulated, practiced problems. One of the things that worked well on Apollo was anticipating what would happen. After a flight, we would discuss lessons learned, to come up with improvements. By the time of Apollo 13 developed a real serious problem, we were a finely honed machine.”
Gerry Griffinjoined NASA in 1964 as flight controller in Mission Control during Project Gemini. In 1968, he was named a Mission Control flight director, for all the Apollo manned mission. Gerry’s “Gold” team conducted half of the lunar landings made during Apollo 14, 16, and 17, and would have conducted the landing of Apollo 13 but played a key role in the safe return of the astronauts. Later Griffin played several Hollywood roles in movies including “Apollo 13, “ “Contact”, Deep Space” and “From the Earth to the Moon,”, as a consultant and even an actor.
The astronauts reflected on the “perfect storm”
of forces and factors that resulted in the incomparable space program that put
a man on the moon within a decade – Griffin, quoting Neil Armstrong, said you
needed four things: threat, bold leadership, public support and resources. “He
said that most of the time, those are out of sequence with each other – you may
have the threat but not the resources. It was a perfect storm when Apollo
happened”: the threat from the Soviet Union taking mastery of space frontier; a
balanced budget not yet weighted down by national debt; bold political
leadership and public support. “You had the resources and human resources,
primarily from World War II from the aviation industry, with Grumman part of
it hadn’t been Apollo, it would have been something else. When the Soviets
launched Sputnik and then Gagarin [became the first man in space], the threat
was clear, and everything else fell into line. I think he’s right. Nowadays, we
have a threat now – China – those guys are good. There is a technological
threat now, and could be more later. Leadership? Draw your own conclusion. Resources?
We haven’t had them. Public support? … But I’m an optimistic. If we are going
to make 2024 – that’s awful tight, but I was like Fred, I didn’t think we could
land on moon in the 1960s, but we did. Maybe if things line up better, we could
do it by 2024, if not 2028.”
Asked why we haven’t been back to the moon, Schweickart said, “You need to be young, innovative, not an aging bureaucracy….
need technological, political courage. The moon was in exactly the right place.
The next steps are not quite that easy . There is a debate between going back
to the moon or on to Mars that has raged for years and still does. There’s not
the same opportunity that we had at that time. In many ways, the most important
thing in terms of a sense of challenge, moving out, moving forward is one of
age. Bureaucracy – corporation or government – where the average age increases
every year, you’re cooked.”
are much more encouraged by private enterprise taking over space exploration.
“You don’t see much about Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos, but we will. When you see
[Elon Musks’s] SpaceX launch Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and bring back two stages
that land in formation, and the cameras show all these kids, 20 years old,
hooping and hollering, they did it! That’s what it takes. NASA used to be that
way. Part of the real juice in space exploration is encouraging private
activities in space. That today is where most of the juice is, getting young
people involved is the key, giving them the opportunity. Jeff Bezos says it
well. His fundamental motivating, commitment to space is to reduce the cost so
more and more can take part and therefore dramatically increase the quality and
opportunity for innovation. As the cost of getting to space drops, the
creativity will dramatically increase. That’s where it’s at in the future.”
Walt Cunningham a fighter pilot before he became an astronaut, in 1968, he was a Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 7 mission. He’s also been a physicist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author of “The All American Boys.”
“Our society is changing,”
he reflected the next evening when he gave a lecture at the museum. “Back when
Apollo was a story of exploration and adventure – my generation – we had te opportunity
and courage to reach around the moon and to the stars. We were willing to take
risks, didn’t shy from unknown. In those days, it seemed normal to do what we
were doing – exploring the next frontier. Today, the entire world takes pride
in this greatest adventure.”
Sixty years ago, “the
main drive was beating Russians to the moon. They beat us around earth. When
that started a technological fight to finish, not a single American had been in
orbit, but Kennedy was willing to take the risk – not just technological, but
human, economic, political. He took the initiative, the leadership. Today, that
goal is history. Fifty years ago, we never thought of failing –we had fighter
pilot attitude – common dream to test limits of imagination, daring.
“That attitude enabled
us to overcome obstacles. Any project as complex as Apollo required resources,
technology, but most importantly, the will. Driven by the Cold War, all three came
together in the 1960s and we went to moon. Think of it: only three generations separated
man’s first flight off the earth and man’s first orbit around the earth. Only
ironically, on the same day as the astronauts were assembled at Cradle of
Aviation, President Donald Trump was contradicting Vice President Mike Pence
and his own policy, which said that the US would be back on the moon by 2024.
Trump called another moon mission a
waste of money which should be spent, instead to go to Mars.
Trump also has called for the creation of a
Space Force, a new branch of the armed forces, effectively undoing the spirit
of international cooperation in space exploration to advance human knowledge,
with a shift toward militarizing space.
The countdown clock in the lobby of the Cradle of Aviation Museum showed 43 days to July 20, the 50th anniversary of the first man to walk on the moon, on the night of the museum’s grand gala at which seven former astronauts and flight directors were feted – Walt Cunningham (Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 7), Rusty Schweickart(Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 9), Fred Haise(Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 13). Charlie Duke (Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 16), Harrison Schmitt(Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 17) and Apollo Flight Directors, Gerry Griffin and Milt Windler – along with Grumman employees who built the lunar module and the equipment which put them there.
Throughout this year, the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Uniondale, Long Island, not far from where the lunar module was designed and built by Grumman engineers in Bethpage and a stone’s throw from Roosevelt Field where Charles Lindbergh took off for his historic transatlantic flight to Paris, has been hosting special events to mark the anniversary, use it for STEM education and inspire a new generation eager to reach for the stars.
The events climax on July 20, when at the exact same moment as Neil Armstrong made his “giant leap for mankind”, a replica lunar module will descend from the ceiling. Museum goers also can see an actual lunar module, one of the six that Grumman built (three are still on the moon, and the other three are in the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and here at the Cradle of Aviation Museum).
One of the extraordinary exhibits on view at the museum now is“Space: A Journey to Our Future,” which is on view through August 18, 2019, an absolutely thrilling, immersive exhibit which takes you from the dawn of man’s earliest visions of space exploration to the heroic achievements of the past, the unfolding discoveries of today, and the frontiers of the universe that lie ahead. You get to touch actual rocks from the lunar surface and the red planet, explore a futuristic Lunar Base Camp while walking through a full-size space habitat and work pod, get an up-close look at a wide range of artifacts from the space program and experience the past, present and future of space through these and dozens of other displays, interactive (try your hand at landing the space shuttle!) and experiences.
Also, as part of this special celebration, the museumis showing Todd Douglas Miller’s new documentary film, “Apollo 11: First Steps Edition,” a special giant-screen edition created exclusively for science centers and museum theaters, like Cradle’s Dome Theater. With a newly-discovered trove of never-before-seen 70mm footage and audio recordings, APOLLO 11: First Steps Edition joins Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, the Mission Control team and millions of spectators around the world, during those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future.
at 50: Moon Fest,” on July 20 will be a family festival (9:30-5 pm, with
activities 12-4pm) with visits from Long Island Space Shuttle Astronauts
including Bill Shepherd (Babylon) and Charlie Carmada (Ozone Park). All day
activities include virtual reality experiences, model rocket launches, and a countdown
at 4:18 pm to collectively watch, re-experience, and honor as a community, the
historic “The Eagle has Landed” Lunar Module landing on the moon. As a special
bonus, all museum attendees will get a free showing of the new highly-acclaimed
documentary, Apollo 11 First Steps Edition in the immersive
Dome Theater. (Tickets: $20)
Then, in the evening, there will be a Countdown Celebration, a lively dinner and champagne toast with 1960s music and dancing, as the community watches and re-experiences the unforgettable first steps on the moon at 10:56 pm with a special moon landing viewing and countdown. There will also be photo opportunities in a re-created 1969 living room. (The dinner event ticket includes admission to Apollo Moon Fest events during the day; tickets: $125).
Island: The Nation’s Cradle of Aviation
Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center is home to over 75 planes and
spacecraft representing over 100 years
of aviation history, from hot air balloons to the lunar module, in eight
galleries, a planetarium and Long Island’s only Giant Screen Dome Theater.
The Cradle of Aviation Museum commemorates and
celebrates Long Island’s part in the history of aviation and space
exploration. It is set on land once part of Mitchel Air Force
Base which, together with nearby Roosevelt Field and other
airfields on the Hempstead Plains, was the site of many historic flights.
In fact, so many seminal flights occurred in the area, that by the mid-1920s
the cluster of airfields was already dubbed the “Cradle of Aviation”, the
origin of the museum’s name. The Museum was recently recognized and listed on New
York State’s National Register of Historic Places as a significant part of
The museum originally opened with just a handful of aircraft
in the un-restored hangars in 1980. A major renovation and expansion program in
the late 1990s allowed the museum to re-open in a state-of-the-art facility in
2002. The museum is undergoing a major fund-raising campaign for a future
It is remarkable to
contemplate that within a century, aviation went from the Wright Brothers to
the moon, from a dangerous sport to mass transportation and commercial
enterprise, and Long Island played a significant part.
It starts with Long Island’s geography: a natural airfield,
on the eastern edge of the United States, the western edge of the Atlantic
Ocean, adjacent to a major population center, and Hempstead Plains, the only
natural prairie east of the Allegheny Mountains, writes Joshua Stoff, Curator,
Cradle of Aviation Museum.
We trace flying back to the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, NC
in 1903, lasting 59 seconds over a distance of 852 feet but Stoff notes that the
first recorded aircraft flight took place on Long Island, in 1896 when a
Lilienthal-type glider was flown from the bluffs along Nassau County’s north
shore. By 1902 gasoline-powered airships were flown over Brooklyn (why doesn’t
Long Island get more credit?). By 1910, there were three airfields operating on
the Hempstead Plains, Long Islanders were building their own planes, and there
were several flying schools and aircraft factories that made Long Island “the
center of the aviation world.” Exhibits show artifacts of these early pursuits.
Belmont Park hosted the 1910 International Aviation Meet of
the greatest aviators from America and Europe.
“The period between 1918
and 1939 is considered the ‘Golden Age of Aviation’ when flying went from being
a dangerous sport to a major commercial industry,” Stoff writes. Most famous of
all was Charles Lindbergh’s historic solo transatlantic flight, from Roosevelt
Field to Paris, in 1927. “This single event revolutionized aviation as nothing
else before or since…
“By the early 1930s Roosevelt Field was the largest and
busiest civilian airfield in America with over 150 aviation businesses and 450
planes based there. In 1937 the first regular commercial transatlantic airline
service in America was begun at Port Washington as huge Pan American Martin and
Boeing flying boats departed and arrived regularly at Manhasset Bay.”
World War II sparked aviation and demand for aircraft. The two
biggest aircraft companies, Grumman, was founded in Long island in 1930;
Republic in 1931. They produced most of the military aircraft; other companies,
Sperry, Brewster, Ranger, and Columbia, also contributed to the war effort. By
1945, 100,000 Long Islanders were employed in the aircraft industry.
Though aircraft are no longer manufactured on Long Island
(the Grumman plant in Bethpage is now a movie and television studio), it is
surprising to realize that there are still 240 Long Island producing parts for
virtually every American aircraft that flies.
Long Island’s important
contribution to aviation is brilliant displayed in exhibits throughout the
Long Island in Space
Thomas J. Kelly, of
Cutchogue, retired president of the Grumman Space Station Integration Division
and formerly lunar module engineering director, writes that there is still some
Long Island left on the moon – six spacecraft built on Long Island remain on
Designing and building those craft, as part of the greater
challenge of beating the Russians to the moon by 1969, was a monumental
endeavor. Writing on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the
moon landing, Kelly reflected, “For some 7,000 Grumman employees, however, it
was far more intimate than an issue of national prestige. We felt personally
empowered to put Americans at the edge of a frontier that even today seems
incomprehensible. Yet not only did we succeed in meeting the mission; the
efforts of our nation’s commitment to lunar exploration also inspired people
around the world and showed the finest possibilities of human achievement and
of creating technology that now helps to power our society…
“Nobody at Grumman who worked on the LM will ever forget it.
Even the 12-and 14-hour weekdays, the frustrating paperwork and the sheer
complexity of designing, building and testing the module could not dim our
dedication. From the sweeper to the chief engineer, we all knew that we were
part of a majestic endeavor, that we were making history happen.”
At the gala, I meet Richard A. Hoffman sitting in front of the museum’s own actual lunar module, built by Grumman in Bethpage. He was a metallurgist who determined what the different parts should be made of aluminum for the struts, titanium for the propellant tanks, stainless steel propellant lines, high output silver and silver oxide batteries. He had to figure the pyrotechnics that would cause the four bolts that secured the module on the descent, to burst at just the right time with guillotine cutters for lift off from the moon. Hoffman told me he came to Grumman in the summer of 1963, and got a job there right after graduating Brooklyn Polytech in 1964. He was in just the right place at the right time, when Grumman started working on the Apollo program and he was transferred to engineering.
It’s officially the start of the summer
family vacation season! Getting out and experiencing things first hand is the
best way to cultivate learning, open minds and hearts. Travel experiences
engage children, forge bonds and build lifelong memories. Here are some “get
out there and do it” summer family vacation ideas:
Looking for adventure, for
discovery, for immersion in culture, heritage or the natural world? Many of the
most respected ecotourism and adventure operators offer special itineraries
tailored for families:
Planet Adventures has family-focused departures in
Costa Rica, Africa, Borneo, Brazil, Costa Rica, Galapagos, India, Laos, Nepal,
Panama, Peru, Thailand and Zambia. “If your kid lives for
Animal Planet, then their eyes will light up when you bring them to visit the
same world famous Sloth Sanctuary they saw on the Discovery Channel, where baby
sloths are being fed with an eye-dropper at their breakfast table. They’ll go
crazy for our hands-on wildlife rescue center in Costa Rica, our treehouses,
ziplines, tiger sanctuary and floating aqua-lodge in Thailand, the penguins and
mating and courtship rituals of the wildlife in the Galapagos, and the cowboy
adventure activities in Brazil’s Pantanal, culminating with sightings of
jaguars. The mix of wildlife and cultural experiences in India is particularly
suited to parents who want to ignite their family’s passion to make a
difference in the world. It will instill a genuine sense of gratitude and
appreciation for life, for the opportunities we have, and for the things we
take for granted.” Wild Planet customizes family departures with a minimum of 4
travelers and often puts families with similar age kids together on the same
trip which means new friends for the kids.
Austin Adventures is offering 40 family adventures across the globe, among them itineraries to the most popular national parks including Grand Canyon, Alaska-Kenai Fjords National Park, Bryce & Zion, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Yosemite, Glacier, the Black Hills of South Dakota (Mount Rushmore), and Banff to Jasper national parks (austinadventures.com, 800-575-1540). To assist in vacation planning, Austin Adventures also offers a free Insider’s Guide to Planning the Perfect Family Adventure (www.austinadventures.com/free-family-travel-guide/).
National Geographic Family Journeys, in partnership with G Adventures, is a new line of small-group trips designed for adventurous, multigenerational families in search of a meaningful way to discover the world together. Each itinerary features interactive activities inspired by National Geographic’s expertise in photography and storytelling, wildlife, culture, and history to encourage kids and adults alike to connect with the world around them. Among the destinations: Alaska, Costa Rica, National Parks, Japan, Southern Africa, Tanzania: A Serengeti Safari, France, Iceland, Italy, Morocco, Peru, Vietnam to Cambodia. (www.nationalgeographic.com/expeditions/trip-types/family-journeys)
Thomson Family Adventures, Watertown, MA, has new family itineraries in Iceland, Scotland, Morocco, Brazil, Egypt and Vietnam (familyadventures.com, 800-262-6255).
Adventures, Seattle, WA, offers specially
tailored family adventures to South America, Asia, Central America,
Mediterranean, North America, as well as Africa family safaris (www.wildland.com/travel-styles/family-travel, 800-345-4453)
Biketours.com, Chattanooga, TN which specializes in Europe, has recommended itineraries for families; I can personally recommend the Danube Bike Trail, Passau to Vienna, which I did with my sons – one of the best trips of my life. You can do it as a self-guided tour – it is very easy to follow, and that gives you more control over your schedule, as well as excellent value. BikeTours.com also offers an itinerary specially tailored for families with children (1222 Tremont Street, Chattanooga, TN 37377, 877-462-2423, 423-756-8907, email@example.com, www.biketours.com/family-friendly).
Trek Travel has family
itineraries that include biking, hiking, kayaking and ziplining in places like
Zion National Park, the San Juan Islands, Vermont and Prague-to-Vienna. (866.464.8735, https://trektravel.com/trip-type/family/)
have also recommended outstanding biketours close to home that do good
while giving everybody a fantastic experience: Parks & Trails NY offers its annual 8-day 400-mile Cycle the
Erie camping and biking adventure (400 miles and 400 years of history!) that
draws families of all configurations (grandparents with grandchildren,
multi-generations, father-daughter, mother-son) and ages, some with tiny tots
in tow, as well as self-pedalers as young as 10 years old. A major highlight is
camping out at Fort Stanwix, Rome NY, an 18th century living-history
experience. This year’s trip is July 7-14 (518-434-1583, www.ptny.org/cycle-the-erie-canal/annual-bike-tour)
Camping has really changed over time, frequently offering a range of experiences from rustic adventures to resort-style all in the same venue. Kampgrounds of America, with 485 locations in North America, makes it easy to find camping resorts by destination, amenities and programming (www.koa.com/Campgrounds). We have a personal favorite: the Herkimer Diamond Mines KOA is a true camping resort, set along a creek (tubing, fishing) and close by the Erie Canal (cruises, biking), and most unique of all, a chance to mine for Herkimer diamonds! The Herkimer KOA offers unbelievably delightful themed cabins (would you believe a cabin with its own star observatory?), fabulous activities. Choose a cabin, cottage or RV or tent site. (Herkimer Diamond KOA, 4626 State Route 28, Herkimer, NY 13350, 315-891-7355, www.herkimerdiamond.com.)
The most intriguing in my book is the full-service Lion Country Safari’s award winning KOA campground located adjacent to the 320 acre drive through wild animal preserve and theme park, yet secluded enough for a restful campout (though you are apt to hear the lions roaring), offering RV sites, tent sites and rustic cabins (www.lioncountrysafari.com/koa/, 561-793-1084).
One of the best family experiences (a nonstop giggle) is on a dude ranch. New York State actually has several of them, such as Rocking Horse Ranch Resort, Highland, Hudson Valley, (845-691-2927, www.rockinghorseranch.com), which has been delighting generations of families with its all-inclusive fun (meals, entertainment, activities and riding). Pine Ridge Dude Ranch (the new owners of the venerable Pinegrove Ranch), 30 Cherrytown Rd, Kerhonkson, NY 12446-2148, 866-600-0859, www.pineridgeduderanch.com). Ridin’ Hy, an absolutely delightful guest ranch in the Adirondack State Park, near Lake George, Warrensburg, NY, Warrensburg, NY 12885, 518-494-2742, www.ridinhy.com.
Check out the Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association members (www.coloradoranch.com, 866-942-3472), like the luxurious C Lazy U Ranch which since 1919 has provided highest level of personalized service, professional horsemanship programs, first-class amenities, enriching children’s programs, gourmet meals and upscale accommodations; or the Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch, which opened in 1912 and considered the oldest continuously operating guest ranch in Colorado, is also ideally located just southwest of Rocky Mountain National Park and nestled in a peaceful valley along the Colorado River.
with a Twist
Harbor Resort, Mid-Coast, Maine: This resort
(“Pure Maine”) manages to be a delightful cross between fine resort and a camp,
with plenty of opportunity to be outdoors, while still enjoying such
refinements as golf, full-service waterfront Fairwinds Spa, plus marvelous activities
like kayaking (do the moonlight kayak trip, it is beyond fabulous), boating.
Actually, you can imagine Sebasco being the kind of “camp” that the Gilded Age
moguls would have for one of their holiday homes. Nestled among whispering
pines on the rugged coast Sebasco spans 550 acres with breathtaking views and a
wealth of activities the entire family can enjoy. We stayed in the converted
Lighthouse for the most magical experience. Check out special deals. (Sebasco
Harbor Resort, 29 Kenyon Rd., Sebasco Estates, ME, 04565, 877-389-1161, www.sebasco.com).
Among our favorite grand, historic
resorts for families for facilities, activities programs, destination, sense of
heritage and “place,” and overall aahhh experience:
Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont on 700 acres of
Lake Champlain shoreline is about the best family-friendly luxury resort you
can imagine. Just about every activity you would want is on hand: golf, hiking,
biking, kayaking, cruises on Lake Champlain, fishing, watersports, tennis,
outdoor pool children’s activities program (4800 Basin Harbor Road Vergennes,
VT 05491 firstname.lastname@example.org, 800.622.4000 or 802.475.2311, www.basinharbor.com).
Top Inn & Resort, tucked in a Courier & Ives
landscape in Chittenden, Vermont, near Killington, has all the charm, the
warmth, the cozy, intimate hospitality of a country inn, and all the luxury,
amenities, activities and quality dining of a resort. It offers just about
every outdoors activity you can imagine, even an equestrian center, private
lakeside beach, children’s adventure camp, tennis, disc golf, clay-bird
shooting, and hiking, biking, golf nearby. (195 Mountain Top Road, Chittenden,
Vermont 05737, 802-483-2311, www.MountainTopInn.com)
A real novelty in historic hotels (and a fantastic city to visit) is the Choo Choo Train Hotel in Chattanooga, TN, where you actually stay in a historic train car (motel rooms also available), and the station is the restaurant and lobby. So fun! (1400 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402, 423-266-5000, 800-Track29, choochoo.com)
Other favorites: Mohonk Mountain House (gorgeous setting, water sports, horseback riding, fantastic hiking, climbing, Victorian elegance); Equinox, Manchester, Vt. (all sports including falcon training, world-class spa,); The Sagamore, Bolton Landing on Lake George NY (Gilded Age ambiance); The Hotel Hershey, Hershey, Pennsylvania (added benefit: proximity to Hershey theme park); Cranwell Resorts, Spa and Golf Club, Lenox, MA (proximity to all the culture of Lenox, including Tanglewood, plus historic sites like Melville’s home, Arrowwood);The Boulders, Colorado Springs, Colorado; Skytop Lodge, Skytop, Pennsylvania. (Many more ideas at historichotels.org, 800-678-8946.)
Also, many of the mountain resorts known for skiing transform into summer destinations with mountain biking, hiking, ziplines, children’s activity programs and scores of outdoor pursuits, and significantly, typically offer great rates and package deals for summer: Smugglers Notch is renowned for having the best children and family activities program anywhere, smuggs.com); Stowe, Vt. (stowe.com), famous for its Topnotch Resort (find specials at www.topnotchresort.com/packages-specials); Hunter Mountain (huntermtn.com); the Vail resorts (www.snow.com/info/lodging-sale.aspx).
you lucky enough to be visiting Yosemite National Park? You couldn’t ask for a
more spectacular accommodation than Tenaya Lodge,
a full-service luxury resort hotel, closest to entrance to the park, now
offering guests to receive a
free 7-Day Yosemite Park Pass and up to 25% off select activities at the time
of booking. (My Yosemite Offer
valid through Sept. 21, 2019, based on
availability, 866-467-0874, use Promo
Code: MYYOSEMITE, TenayaLodge.com).
Cruising is always a great choice
for families – a way to see lots of different places with minimal hassle. Best
itineraries (and cruiselines that have best family programs) are to Alaska, the
Galapagos (really a favorite for grandparents to take their grandkids). I would
also suggest Bermuda as a fantastic cruising destination, easy to reach from
the New York metro area, that is so rich in culture, history and nature
(beaches!) (Royal Caribbean sails from Bayonne; Norwegian from New York)
For those who want a floating resort with rock walls, ropes course, ziplines, glitzy Broadway and Las Vegas-style entertainment and great supervised children’s activity programs, the most acclaimed lines are Royal Caribbean; Norwegian Cruise Line; Carnival Cruise Line; Disney Cruise Line and Princess Cruises. (See more at www.cruisecritic.com; booking help at cruisecompete.com).
But here is a novel choice: Maine Windjammer Cruises – these are
historic sailing vessels repurposed for passengers, that ply the waters around
Rockland and Camden, Maine in the Penobscot Bay. The experience is more rustic
(part of the fun!), where passengers can help raise and lower sails, even
steer, help serve and gather plates for meals served in the galley or on deck.
You can even choose to sleep out under the stars instead of in the cabin, which
is outfitted more like you would expect of summer camp, with bunk beds and
shared bathroom facilities (hot showers are available). All the cruises
typically include a lobster bake on a secluded beach.
Many of the cruises have
special-interest themes, and some are very dramatic that include a Schooner
Gam, where all the historic schooners gather in one place and tie up and
passengers can go and visit; there is also an annual Schooner Race which is
tremendous fun. Visit the Maine Windjammer Association for a list of the eight
ships in the fleet and description of age-appropriate sailings (usually 10
years old) and themed cruises (music, storytelling, whaling, wellness,
seamanship, among them). In the past, we have sailed on the Victory Chimes (the
largest in the fleet) and the American Eagle (www.sailmainecoast.com, 800-807-9463).
Another novel experience is renting a canalboat on the Erie Canal (like a floating RV), tying up where whimsy takes you and exploring the canaltowns on foot and by bike on the tow-path that has been turned into a bikeway. It’s an amazing way to immerse yourself in history, and terrific fun to go through the locks, and have the bridges lift just for you. Mid-Lakes Navigation, Skaneateles, has these specially designed Lockmaster canalboats that are easy to maneuver, very comfortable, and oh so charming. (800-545-4318, email@example.com, midlakesnav.com).
with Living History, Immersive Experiences
And what about immersing in today’s headlines? One of the best family destinations in the world is the nation’s capital, Washington DC, where you can visit the Capital, the National Archives, Museums of the Smithsonian Institution (19 of them) including the National Air & Space Museum, Museum of American History, National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, National Portrait Gallery, National Postal Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution Building (the castle), the National Zoological Park (National Zoo); as well as private museums including the Newseum and International Spy Museum. Plan a visit at Washington.org.
Summer is a magical time in New York City, with a burst of the finest cultural institutions opening their doors, coming outdoors and letting all the world in.
Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park
The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis;
Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) has begun performances of the 2019 Free
Shakespeare in the Park production of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING at the Delacorte
Theater, continuing a 57-year tradition of free theater in Central Park. Directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon, the
all-black staging of this beloved comedy will run through Sunday, June 23.
Then, for the first
time since 1979, Free Shakespeare in the Park will present CORIOLANUS, the Bard’s blistering drama about a general voted into
power by a populace hungry for change, and the unraveling that follows. Tony
Award winner Daniel Sullivan (Proof, Shakespeare In
The Park’s Troilus and Cressida) directs a
modern-day version of this riveting epic of democracy and demagoguery, July
This year, there will be voucher or ticket distributions
over the course of the summer in all five boroughs for almost every public
performance of Free Shakespeare in the Park, continuing The Public’s mission of
making great theater accessible to all. This summer’s distributions at
libraries, recreation centers, and community partners throughout New York City,
will have more locations and dates than ever to provide New Yorkers even more
opportunities to obtain free tickets. To see a complete borough distribution
schedule, visit publictheater.org/borough.
Kenny Leon directs a bold new take on Shakespeare’s
cherished comedy of romantic retribution and miscommunication, MUCH ADO ABOUT
NOTHING. In this modern production, we find the community of Messina
celebrating a break from an ongoing war. But not all is peaceful amid the
revelry, as old rivals engage in a battle of wits, unexpected foes plot
revenge, and young lovers are caught in a tumultuous courtship – until love
proves the ultimate trickster, and undoes them all.
The all-black cast of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
includes Jamar Brathwaite (Ensemble), Danielle Brooks (Beatrice), Grantham
Coleman (Benedick), Chuck Cooper (Leonato), Javen K. Crosby (Ensemble), Denzel
DeAngelo Fields (Ensemble), Jeremie Harris (Claudio), Tayler Harris (Ensemble),
Erik Laray Harvey (Antonio/Verges), Kai Heath (Messenger), Daniel Croix
Henderson (Balthasar), Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (Friar Francis/Sexton),
Tiffany Denise Hobbs (Ursula), Lateefah Holder (Dogberry), LaWanda Hopkins
(Dancer), Billy Eugene Jones (Don Pedro), Margaret Odette (Hero), Hubert
Point-Du Jour (Don John), William Roberson (Ensemble), Jaime Lincoln Smith
(Borachio), Jazmine Stewart (Ensemble), Khiry Walker (Conrade/Ensemble), Olivia
Washington (Margaret), and Latra A. Wilson (Dancer).
To enable as many New Yorkers as possible the
opportunity to experience Free Shakespeare in the Park there will be an open
caption performance of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING on Friday, June 14; an ASL
performance on Saturday, June 15; and an ADA audio described performance on
Thursday, June 13.
Since 1962, over five million people have enjoyed
more than 150 free productions of Shakespeare and other classical works and
musicals at the Delacorte Theater. Conceived by founder Joseph Papp as a way to
make great theater accessible to all, The Public’s Free Shakespeare in the Park
continues to be the bedrock of the Company’s mission to increase access and
engage the community.
This season, The Public proudly welcomes the return
of Jerome L. Greene Foundation and Bank of America as season sponsors.
The Public continues the work of its visionary
founder Joe Papp as a civic institution engaging, both on-stage and off, with
some of the most important ideas and social issues of today. Conceived over 60
years ago as one of the nation’s first nonprofit theaters, The Public has long
operated on the principles that theater is an essential cultural force and that
art and culture belong to everyone. Under the leadership of Artistic Director
Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, The Public’s wide
breadth of programming includes an annual season of new work at its landmark
home at Astor Place, Free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in
Central Park, The Mobile Unit touring throughout New York City’s five boroughs,
Public Forum, Under the Radar, Public Studio, Public Works, Public Shakespeare
Initiative, and Joe’s Pub. Since premiering HAIR in 1967, The Public continues
to create the canon of American Theater and is currently represented on
Broadway by the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Their programs and productions can also be seen regionally across the country
and around the world. The Public has received 59 Tony Awards, 170 Obie Awards,
53 Drama Desk Awards, 56 Lortel Awards, 34 Outer Critic Circle Awards, 13 New
York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards, and 6 Pulitzer Prizes.
Tickets to The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in
the Park are distributed in a number of ways. On the day of each public
performance, free tickets may be acquired in person at The Delacorte Theater,
through a digital lottery via the TodayTix website or mobile app, in person at
a borough distribution site, and via an in person lottery in the lobby of The
Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street. All tickets are subject to
availability. A performance calendar and complete ticket distribution details
can be found at PublicTheater.org. A limited number of tickets are also
available via advance reservation by making a contribution in support of Free
Shakespeare in the Park. To learn more, or to make a contribution, call
212.967.7555, or visit PublicTheater.org. The Delacorte Theater in Central Park
is accessible by entering at 81st Street and Central Park West or at 79th
Street and Fifth Avenue (publictheater.org).
Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series
Features 6 Free Concerts
The Metropolitan Opera’s 2019 Summer
Recital Series once again brings free outdoor recitals, featuring established
artists and young talents of the opera world, to New Yorkers in all five
boroughs. The series, now in its 11th year, features six free concerts
embracing all five boroughs, and has become an operatic summer tradition.
Presented in collaboration with City
Parks Foundation’s SummerStage Festival, the first two concerts, on Monday,
June 10 at 8 p.m. at Central Park SummerStage (Manhattan) and Wednesday, June
12 at 7 p.m. at Brooklyn Bridge Park (Brooklyn), will feature soprano Ying
Fang,who sang a featured role in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito this
season,and tenor Ben Bliss and baritone Nathan Gunn,who sang
together this season in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. They will be joined by
Met pianist Dan Saunders.
Four additional recitals feature soprano Leah Hawkins and tenor Mario Bahg, current members of
the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, and baritone Joseph Lim, a winner of the Met’s
National Council Auditions. They will be accompanied by Met pianist Dimitri Dover. Their concerts will
take place on Thursday, June 13 at 7 p.m. in Jackie Robinson Park (Manhattan);
Saturday, June 15 at 4 p.m. in Williamsbridge Oval (Bronx); Monday, June 17 at
7 p.m. in Socrates Sculpture Park (Queens); and Wednesday, June 19 at 7 p.m. in
Clove Lakes Park (Staten Island).
The Met’s Summer Recital Series will
feature arias and duets, as well as Broadway standards and other classical
Met’s Summer Recital Series is supported, in part, by public funds from the New
York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council,
and in collaboration with the Department of Parks and Recreation. Major funding
has also been provided by The Elizabeth B. McGraw Foundation, in honor of Mrs.
The New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks,
Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, have become an iconic New York summer
experience since they began in 1965, transforming parks throughout the city
into a patchwork of picnickers and providing music lovers with an opportunity
to hear the best classical music under the stars.
The concerts will take place Tuesday June 11 in Van
Cortlandt Park, Bronx; Wednesday, June
12 in Central Park, Manhattan, Thursday, June 13 in Cunningham Park in Queens,
Friday, June 14 in Prospect Park, Brooklyn and Sunday, June 16 in Staten
All performances begin at 8 PM except the Free Indoor Concert in Staten Island,
which begins at 4 PM.
The scheduled program includes Rossini, Overture
to La Gazza Ladra; Works by Very Young Composers of New York City; and Copland’s
Hoe-Down, from Rodeo.
There will be fireworks by Volt Live following the
performances in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.
Now celebrating its
41st year, the annual Museum Mile Festival takes place rain or shine on
Tuesday, June 11, from 6 to 9 pm. Walk the Mile on Fifth Avenue between 82nd
Street and 110th Street while visiting some of New York City’s finest cultural
institutions, which are open free to the public throughout the evening. Special
exhibitions and works from permanent collections are on view inside the
museums’ galleries, with live music and art-making workshops on Fifth Avenue at
stretch of Fifth Avenue is home to seven participating institutions—El Museo
del Barrio, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the Jewish Museum, Neue Galerie
and the Museum of the City of New York. In addition to all the art to see
inside, there are plenty of outdoor festivities: face painting, chalk drawing,
live music and other block-party-type events. (http://museummilefestival.org/)
Age Lawn Party, Governors Island
Nostalgia doesn’t begin to describe the feeling that
permeates Governors Island for the two weekends (June 15 & 16, August 24 & 25) each
summer that thousands of people, many decked out in 1920s regalia, elaborate
picnic baskets in hand, disembark from ferries from lower Manhattan and
This, the 14th year of the festival, is
especially poignant because it is also the 100th anniversary of
Prohibition and all that the counter-culture (women’s rights!) Jazz Age
It is also one of New York City’s
most glamorous and entertaining events of the summer.
Jazz Age Lawn Party started in 2005 as a small gathering on NYC’s Governors
Island, and has since grown into one of New York City’s most beloved events.
This historically sold out event attracts thousands of time travelers each
year, who come together to discover the music and zeitgeist of the 1920s.
Consistently selected by the New York Times as one of the year’s most memorable
events, Jazz Age Lawn Party offers a unique, interactive opportunity to relive
one of the most colorful and formative epochs in American history.
The event is held rain or shine; food is available
for sale but people love to bring their own picnics (outside alcohol is prohibited, but
there is alcohol, including Prohibition-era inspired cocktails, for sale).
Though enjoying Governor’s Island is free (and there
are fascinating historic sites as well as art and cultural and recreational
activities on the island, and you can hear the music, admission to the
festivities is by ticket (which cost up to $175). Purchase tickets in advance https://www.eventbrite.com/o/jazz-age-lawn-party-18523813336
(no charge for children 12 and under).
The US Air Force Thunderbirds headlined the 16th Annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, flying the thrilling red, white and blue F-16s. The event over Memorial Day Weekend draws almost 400,000 in the course of three days.
Most thrilling at this year’s Memorial Day weekend
Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, Long Island, were the number of women doing
the most daring feats: US Air Force Thunderbirds pilot Michelle Curran,
commanding the “Opposing Solo”; Jessy Panzer, the only civilian woman aerobatic pilot in the
country, mimicking the astonishing stunts of Sean D. Tucker, a “living legend”
of aerobatics; Golden Knights parachutist Maj. Marissa Chierichella and the Red
Bull Air Force sky diving team had Amy Chmelecki.
This was the 16th
annual Jones Beach air show – I’ve seen almost all of them – and though many of
the performances repeat year after year, or follow a two-year cycle, this show
was particularly exciting with the infusion of new energy.
The headliners, the US Air Force
Thunderbirds, are a team of
six F-16 Fighting Falcons that roar through the skies, to demonstrate the power
and dexterity of these fighting crafts. Most thrilling is when the two opposing
solos race at each other at combined speed of 1000 mph.
We were treated to the final appearance of Sean D. Tucker’s specially-engineered plane that enables him to do feats never before imagined, the Oracle Challenger 3, will be donated to the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum in Washington, where it will be part of a new Thomas W. Haas We All Fly gallery, opening in 2021.
This year, for the first time, Tucker flew in tandem
with Jessy Panzer, the only female civilian air show pilot in the USA. Together,
Team Oracle performed the most
exquisite, thrilling pas de deux in flight, with incredible precision at 200
miles mph, at bone-crushing G-forces, with Panzer magnificently following the
smoke trails of Tucker. Her skill is all the more apparent since she is flying
a different plane from the Oracle Challenger 3 biplane. And the back-story –
that each were afraid of flying initially, he because his father was an
aviation lawyer who knew all too well the risks, and she because her father
died in an airplane crash.
GEICO Skytypers, a team of advanced training aircraft used in World War II, are
fascinating because they demonstrate actual fighting techniques – an implosion
run where they evade the enemy by actually flying into each other to create
confusion, missing each other by mere feet; opposing craft which come at each
other at incredible speed.
traditionally kicks off with a ceremonial parachute drop by a representative of
the US Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights, delivering the
American flag to a tiny target on Jones Beach. The whole team then returns for
a demonstration performance. They barrel out of their plane from an altitude of
12,500 ft, at a speed of 120 mph before pulling the cord to release their
parachute; in one demonstration we see what happens when a chute fails at just
5,000 ft. (they have a spare chute). We learn that the parachutes they use, use
the same aeronautical techniques as the original Wright Brothers plane in 1903.
Red Bull Air
Force launch out of a plane from 13,000 feet, speeding like
a cannon ball at almost 200 mph, crossing in flight, before releasing the
parachute, and sailing down at 60 mph to the target. The helicopter is the only
aerobatic helicopter in the US.
The F-18 Super
Hornet, traveling at 700 mph, nearly breaking the sound
barrier, where the pilot experiences bone-crushing Gs. The fighter is flown by the United States Navy and Marines
flying for Embry Riddle, performs maneuvers in which he experiences as much as
9 positive Gs and 6 negative Gs.
John Klatt Airshows
and Jack Link’s Beef Jerky teamed up to create a one-of-a-kind plane, the Screamin’
Sasquatch, powered by dual powerplants: a Pratt & Whitney 985 Radial
Engine and a General Electric CJ610 (J85) Jet Engine with 3,000 lbs of thrust.
This system allows the plane to achieve feats other stunt planes are unable to
do. During his performance, Ret. USAF Lt Colonel John Klatt experiences forces
of plus and minus 4Gs, which means a 200 lb. man would weigh 800 lbs. He
travels at 250 mph. Considering the ridiculous aerobatics Klatt performs in the
plane, it is astonishing to learn that the plane is a Taperwing Waco made
famous by the barnstormers of the 1920s and 1930s, and is based on a 1929 Waco,
modified and “beefed up” big time.
Windmiller, Long Island’s
hometown hero (from Melville), thrills spectators in his Zivko Edge 540
aircraft, built especially for aerobatics, with seemingly impossible feats at
speeds of up to 220 mph that keep his peers and his fans in awe. Windmiller has
been flying since 14 year old, soloed at 16 year old and started aerobatic
flying before he got his license and has accumulated 18,000 flight hours,
including 8,000 doing aerobatics. He performs snap rolls, inverted flat spin
(where the plane falls from the sky), 4 knife edge tumblers, inside-outside
US Coast Guard demonstrated a rescue by helicopter into churning seas – on a typical
day, the Coast Guard, with fewer members than can fit in Yankee Stadium, save
15 lives, patrol some 96,000 miles of coastline through the US, as well as
South China Seas, Pacific, Persian Gulf and wherever the US has forces.The air
show also pays homage to aviation’s heritage.
Bayport Aerodrome Society, formed
in 1972 ands composed of aviation professionals, recreational pilots, and
people interested in preserving aviation history, flies aircraft from the 1920s.
As a “living museum” they have a variety of antique aircraft flying on the
field including Bi-Planes, Champs, and Cubs. One of their pilots, is 92-year
old pilot who served in World War II, who flew with his grandson.
World War II vintage aircraft from the American Air Power
Museum, at Republic Airport (flights available over Memorial
Day weekend) were flown, including the B-25 Mitchell Bomber used in the “Catch
22” series on Hulu.