May 7-8, 2018, Brooklyn and New York

Monday tends to be a dead day for galleries. Nonetheless, I  found that Urban Glass in Brooklyn would be at least partly open.

I was talking to another glass artist, Perla Segovia, at a recent opening in Tucson. I said I was getting ready to go to New York, and she mentioned that she had work at a place called Urban Glass in Brooklyn and I should go and look there.

I don’t think I was ever in Brooklyn, though I lived in New York for about five years. First, I took the train from Hicksville to Jamaica, where I planned to spend the night at the Best Western at JFK airport. I got the shuttle to the hotel and checked in, then got the shuttle and went back to the airport. The shuttle driver kindly explained two or three times to the stupid tourist how to get to Brooklyn.

Actually, it was pretty simple. I took the A Train and got off in Brooklyn. Urban Glass, on Fulton, was a little hike down the street. I didn’t take any photos in the gift gallery, which is what was open, but it was a gorgeous, light space. An interesting-looking show was in the process of being hung. I didn’t realize Perla had never been there, or I would have asked about photos….

After spending several minutes there and chatting with the artist/receptionist to find out how to participate there, I went out to look around Brooklyn a little. I found a German restaurant for lunch, took some pictures of the neighborhood, and went back to the hotel. My flight the next morning was at 6:30, so I wanted to get a little sleep.

Shops on Fulton Avenue, Brooklyn

Shops on Fulton Avenue, Brooklyn

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May 6, 2018, New York

John and I went to breakfast at a diner. Afterwards, he checked out and dropped me at the Hicksville train station.

I had arranged to meet my roommate of three years, Susan, at the restaurant of a hotel at Times Square for lunch. She looked the same…except she had a cane. She’s due for a hip replacement in a week. We lunched and chatted for a good three hours — it was as though we’d seen each other the day before. Even better, we’re both on the same page politically. I hadn’t even thought of that, but she had. So, it was a good visit, and we’ll try to stay in touch more than just at Christmas.

I was at Times Square two years ago with my French friend, Jacqueline. I didn’t remember it being so crowded, though I guess it probably was.

I caught the train back to Hicksville and had another rude taxi driver. I finally asked if that was part of the job description. The man was pretty miffed — but he was a lot nicer after that.

May 5, 2018, Brookville, NY

We started out with breakfast at the Flour Shoppe Café in Rockville Centre, recommended by the young guy at the front desk, who was back again.

After changing, we left for the WCWP event around noon. I finally met some of the people I’d been corresponding with, folks who went to Post and who worked at the radio station after we had all graduated.  I also chatted with Larry Brodsky and his wife Susan. Larry worked at the station with us.

Three people were to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Muffet Provost, the reason I went to New York, did not come after all, in preparation for a shoulder replacement. John and Hank Neimark, one of the very first station members (if not the first), had arranged to interview her on the phone.

The interview did not go too well from a technical standpoint, but they all survived. The other two honorees were present, and those inductions went well.

John LiBretto (l), me, Hank Neimark at the Tilles Center (photo by Mike Chimeri)

John LiBretto (l), me, Hank Neimark at the Tilles Center (photo by Mike Chimeri)

After the event, we walked over to the radio station and had a short tour. It didn’t look soooo different from our day, just somehow smaller. Working at the radio station — I was a (monotone) jazz announcer and board engineer for about a year and a half — was really a great experience. The station offered a community that was very special. But I’m glad I was there in the late 1960s and not now….

At the end, John, Hank and I went to dinner at Trattoria Diane in Roslyn. Afterwards, Hank left for home. John and I went back to the hotel and our respective rooms.

May 4, 2018, New York

Friday I went into Manhattan. Thanks to the young guy at the front desk — who was still on duty the next day, I headed for the High Line, a park/walkway where a railroad used to run. It’s also near Chelsea, where a friend told me I’d find lots of art galleries.

After a couple of queries, I was directed to the Heller Gallery, which had phenomenal glass pieces. I was allowed to take photos, though I can’t say my little camera / phone did particularly well with the lighting. Here are a few:

Josepha Gasch-Muche

Josepha Gasch-Muche. slightly different — not thin slices of clear glass

A different Lino Tagliapietra - fused, not blown

A different Lino Tagliapietra – fused, not blown

Steffen Dam, The Secret Life of Plants

Steffen Dam, The Secret Life of Plants

I checked out a few other places, then headed back to Penn Station and Hicksville.

In the late afternoon John arrived by car from his new home in Massachusetts. He called Hank Neimark, and we all met for dinner on the pleasant patio of Hendrick’s Tavern in Roslyn. I hadn’t seen Hank since maybe 1978 or 1979 (at a WCWP reunion I organized with Stewart Ain, another station member). I didn’t know him well, so I was happy he remembered me.

 

May 3, 2018, New York

From out of the past, a woman I had worked with in college at our radio station (WCWP, 1st on your FM dial at 88.1, from the campus of C.W. Post College of Long Island University in Brookville, New York) was to get an award from the station. I had seen her a couple of years ago in Parkersburg, where she lives, on my way to buy glass at Wissmach Glass in Paden  City, West Virginia. I thought I would go to the event. It turned out that another student from our time, John LiBretto, was going to be giving her the award.

I took advantage of the opportunity to see at least two old friends and hopped a plane for my New York adventure.

I flew into JFK airport. La Guardia might have been cheaper, but it’s under massive construction. Fortunately, someone mentioned this before I’d made my flight reservations. After a few glitches — my flight was changed to a slightly earlier one because of bad weather in Chicago, we then sat for a couple of hours on the tarmac in Dallas because of bad weather — I arrived in New York. Trying to figure out the system to get out of the airport and to Jamaica to get the Long Island Railroad was a challenge. It seems that you pay $5 to get out of the airport. You need a ticket for that, sort of like the D.C. metro tickets. Then you need a separate ticket for the LIRR, which was also confusing the first time. I did get the train to Hicksville, arriving too late to get the Enterprise Rental car I had reserved (and cancelled when I saw I wouldn’t get there before closing), only to find that the railroad station was also under renovation.

I went to the local Yellow Cab stand to get a taxi to the EconoLodge, which turned out to be just out of walking distance. The cab company offered another real “welcome” to New York — rude, rude, rude. But less than $10.

The hotel, as we approached from the back, was reminiscent of a terrible one I’d been in a few years ago in Parkersburg. However, inside it was clean and the young guy at the front desk was quite helpful. The next problem was: my room was on the second floor, no elevator. I managed — practice for a trip this summer.

 

January 2018, Indio, California

For a while I’d been wanting to take a workshop with Paul Messink, who does multilayers of glass to get a lot of dimension (www.paulmessink.com). Paul is now based in Indio, California, which is about a five-hour drive from Tucson. I finally had enough money and the time to take his workshop in Indio, the closest place and his home studio.

It turned out, though I contacted him late, that he had space. In fact, we were only two in the workshop. I mentioned at Cactus Wren Artisans that I was going. Sharon, formerly my framer and now working in painting on glass and other artistic pursuits, mentioned a friend nearby was getting ready to move. She really wanted to see him and his wife before they left. As it turned out, the week of my workshop was the last weekend they would be there. So, Sharon decided to go along to see them.

Paul mentioned beforehand a glass exhibit at the Palm Springs Art Museum. This is a little more than a half hour from Indio. I really wanted to see the exhibit and knew that once the workshop began, I wouldn’t have time. So I got Sharon to hustle and we left early, so we’d have time on Monday after we arrived to get to the museum.

The exhibit was only women artists working in glass. These included some big names and some really interesting pieces:

Debra Moore, Orchid in Vase

Debra Moore, Orchid in Vase

Ginny Ruffner, Pastich-ing Pablo

Ginny Ruffner, Pastich-ing Pablo

Anja Isphording

Anja Isphording

Karen LaMonte, cast glass

Karen LaMonte, cast glass

Detail from Karen LaMonte's cast glass dress

Detail from Karen LaMonte’s cast glass dress

Lucy Lyon, Personal Space from one side

Lucy Lyon, Personal Space from one side

Lucy Lyon, Personal Space, another view

Lucy Lyon, Personal Space, another view

Mary Van Cline, The Voyage Along the Curve of Time

Mary Van Cline, The Voyage Along the Curve of Time, a large and very different piece

Nancy Callan, Plum Eddy Droplet

Nancy Callan, Plum Eddy Droplet

There were more, but these were the ones that photographed the best and that I liked the most. This was part 1. Part 2 will come around June.

Meantime, we had full days of workshop Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and a half-day Friday.

My pieces turned out OK — Jackie, the other student’s — were, of course, nicer. She was great to work with, and Paul was an excellent instructor. We used enamels on multiple layers of glass, first fired at a low temperature individually, then put together and fired with dams.

My final project in pieces

My final project in pieces

Finished trees, based on a photo by Jan Mayer, member of the Tucson Mountains Artist Collective.

Finished trees, based on a photo by Jan Mayer, member of the Tucson Mountains Artist Collective. I liked the photo better….

Sunset piece, based on a photo by Mary Ann, in my French conversation group.

Sunset piece, based on a photo by Mary Ann, in my French conversation group. I got a lot of glare in the photo, but I liked the way the piece turned out.

We started back as soon as the workshop was finished and spent the night in Gila Bend, Arizona. We had a spectacular sunset:

Sunset near Gila Bend, Arizona

Sunset near Gila Bend, Arizona

Sharon knew of a restaurant there — with a space motif. Who would have thought, in the middle of Nowhere, Arizona, and it had Phoenix prices for the motel, so we stayed elsewhere. We enjoyed dinner at the Space Age Restaurant, however.

Space Age Restaurant, with the Best Western motel in Gila Bend, AZ

Space Age Restaurant, with the Best Western motel in Gila Bend, AZ

Monday, May 22, 2017, Home again

Breakfast was early — over by 9 instead of 10. Jacqueline was interested in seeing “Silicon Valley”. In the end, we only had time to take a quick trip to San Mateo, where we saw a giant building with Tesla on it.  We didn’t stop to take pictures, but we did wander around a shopping center briefly.

Then, gas for the car and back to the airport. Check-in at Dollar went quickly. I went with Jacqueline to the International Terminal. She got checked in, we chatted a while and then she left to go through security. The waiting area had a lot of art:

Wall of tiles in San Francisco International Airport

Wall of tiles in San Francisco International Airport, more than 5,000 tiles created over years by an artist born in Korea.

C.lose-up of wall of tiles in San Francisco International Airport

C.lose-up of wall of tiles in San Francisco International Airport

I went to my terminal for Southwest. Both of us left at least an hour late — it seems that the San Francisco airport is under construction and is using only one runway for take-offs. This situation will continue for some months. Los Angeles, where my flight originated, also has construction going on.

That said, we both got home safely. I had enough time in San Diego, where I had to change planes, that –even with the delay– I got my flight to Tucson.

Sunday, May 21, 2017, Sacramento and friends

Breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express brought a new experience: instead of the usual waffle machine, we found a pancake machine. You get two pancakes in two minutes. They were even good!

Pancake machine in the hotel

Pancake machine in the hotel

Sunday morning we’re off to Sacramento and the last of our capitals/capitols. Where we’d been cold, with rain and wind, much of the trip, we  now had sun — and temperatures that are now close to 100 degrees (after 60 degrees, a shock).

State capitol in Sacramento

State capitol in Sacramento

Detail of Capitol in Sacramento

Detail of Capitol in Sacramento

We found a few homeless folks there, too.

Another apparently homeless person, a few blocks from the capitol

Another apparently homeless person, a few blocks from the capitol

The official buildings are in the old style, but there are lots of modern buildings.

Modern building in Sacramento

Modern building in Sacramento

Another modern building in Sacramento

Another modern building in Sacramento

Yet another modern building in Sacramento

Yet another modern building in Sacramento

We saw the Tower Bridge, painted gold, ahead of us. In the process of finding a way to get closer, I ended up in a parking garage — in Old Sacramento, a National Historic Landmark District and State Historic Park. It’s quite a well developed area, with shops in the old buildings.

Building filled with shops in Old Sacramento

Building filled with shops in Old Sacramento

In one of the store windows was this LEGO bear. As my grandchildren are wild about LEGOS, I had to take this photo.

Lego bear in Old Sacramento shop window

Lego bear in Old Sacramento shop window

Then we were on the road to visit a former colleague from Bern and her husband, two space scientists, in El Cerrito. My intention was to go first to the hotel near the airport, then to their house. However, the navigation function on my phone kept saving us time by rerouting us north instead of south. I tried to ignore this, but the phone just persisted in trying to save 2 minutes here, 7 minutes there. In the end, we just went directly to El Cerrito.

I last saw Marit in October 2015 in Bern. I hadn’t seen Tai, her husband, for probably close to 20 years. I hadn’t met their two children before. Tai speaks French, so it’s helpful for Jacqueline — she can talk with someone more fluent than I am.

After a delicious dinner in an Indian restaurant, we set off to find our hotel. The phone took over the Bay Bridge and then on a tour of the airport before we landed at the Comfort Inn & Suites in San Bruno, next to the airport. I was a little concerned about finding the hotel in the dark, but Tai had given me some tips on the bridge, so the trip went quite smoothly.

I worried about not renting a highway sticker, so we wouldn’t have to worry about tolls. In checking, Oregon has no toll roads, and I was told the sticker probably wouldn’t work in Washington or Canada. As it turned out, we paid for one bridge and that was it.

Tomorrow I have to find the rental car return and then we’re off.

Saturday, May 20, 2017, a backtrack to Oroville, California

We’re aiming for Sacramento, but it’s about 8 hours from Salem, Oregon, so we’ll see how close we get.

We see some giant, snow-covered mountains — Mt. McLoughlin in Oregon and Mount Shasta in California. We found a Trader Joe’s for lunch.

Interestingly, California still has agricultural checkpoints. As we entered, we  had to stop and tell an agent whether we were bringing any fresh fruits or vegetables with us. Fortunately, we weren’t.

Mount Shasta was truly impressive, even from the distance.

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta

We got to Williams, California, only to find that several colleges and universities in the area were holding graduations. The receptionist at the Ramada Inn was exceptionally unfriendly and unhelpful. Jacqueline checked Trip Advisor while I looked at Booking.com and called a few hotels from Sacramento north. Everything was full.

By chance I ended up with IHG, the parent of Holiday Inns. The Holiday Inn Express in Oroville had two rooms. They saved one for us, and we set off. Between Jacqueline with the map and the phone, we arrived at Oroville an hour later, back where we’d come from. The receptionist there was quite nice — the exact opposite of the one in Williams.

The hotel was the most expensive we had on the trip, but at least we didn’t have to sleep in the car. When we got to Oroville — through farmland and with not a lot of gas — we found lots of little motels with “Vacancy” signs…. It was a l-o-n-g day.

Friday, May 19, via Olympia, Washington, to Salem, Oregon

Today was a real experience. Fortunately, I looked up the ferry information to see what the address was. Where we had to be at the ferry loading spot in Vancouver an hour early, here it was an hour and a half to an hour beforehand. This was for US Customs.

First, we were visited by an ICE agent who checked our passports. Then, I took them and a form to a window and was checked by more ICE agents. The trip took an hour and a half. The cars were really packed in — I almost couldn’t get out to go upstairs on deck.

Leaving Victoria

Leaving Victoria

Sailing ship en route to Port Angeles

Sailing ship en route to Port Angeles

Ship -- for research? -- en route to Port Angeles

Ship — for research? — en route to Port Angeles

When we arrived in Port Angeles, Washington, we just drove off. It looked like a nice place, but we didn’t stop, since we needed to get as far as possible. e did make a brief stop in Olympia, the capital of Washington.

Capitol building in Olympia, Washington

Capitol building in Olympia, Washington

We zipped down Route 101, the road we’d taken on the way north in much of California and part of Oregon. For the night we’re at a Best Western in Salem.

Tomorrow we need to get somewhere around Sacramento. You notice a theme here: state capitols.