Our Sunday Magazine Section

19 Aug
Jillaine Schock gets into the act with New York City’s street art.

(Winthrop, Massachusetts, August 19, 2012) The Mirror is happy to publish photographs from our second intergenerational learning adventure in Manhattan, with hearty appreciation for the Road Scholars of all ages who made this program such a joy.

The Chrysler Building, everyone’s favorite, from outside Grand Central Station

Alec, Dylan, and Patsy Shiveley at Central Park West

The saxophonist of Tin Pan entertaining at Bethesda Fountain

John, Joanne, and Mason Street with Matthew Decker and some old friends

Bo Wheeler and Lucy Smith taking in New York’s skyline from the harbor

Road Scholars enjoying the quickest way to get around Manhattan

A schooner sails by us near Liberty Island

Grace Christie and Barbara Pelzel share a bus stop under the watchful eye of Yayoi Kusama


Mikayla and Kathy Peterson at Elllis Island

A Sri Lankan Devil Dancing Mask, to protect against evil spirits, at the Museum of Natural History

Lady Liberty enjoying the best weather of the week in New York Harbor



Being Here was All the Fun

18 Aug

Bo Wheeler, Joyce Bowen, Lucy Smith, and Jan Green with one of the stars of the Hall of Dinosaurs, New York Museum of Natural History, August 3, 2012

Jillaine Schock takes a break with grandparents Judy and Chuck Riden on the C Train

(Winthrop, Massachusetts, August 18, 2012) Exploring New York with Road Scholars of all ages is a great experience – we hope these pictures hint at how much fun it was. Our destinations were top-notch, from the Statue of Liberty to the United Nations, and even the Museum of Natural History. Each day, we navigated the subways and sidewalks of the City that Never Sleeps like native New Yorkers. We had a blast; there’s no other way to describe it.

Kayla and Kathy Peterson enjoying Times Square

Thanks to Road Scholar and the care with which they arranged our daily schedules, we also learned while we traveled. And not just in the museums. Our guides know the city like the back of their hands and even used that knowledge to design Sunday’s scavenger hunt in Central Park. Plus, they made sure to add experts at the UN to answer questions, and even the waiters at Paesano’s in Little Italy, who were more than willing to help with special orders. Now that’s the way to see New York.

John Moore and Lucy Szrama in the General Assembly at the United Nations

Most of all, we had fun with each other. The kids bonded quickly and shared laughs and stories with each other. Grandparents spent time talking about their travel adventures and plans for more in the future. We each have our own life’s journey. And there’s nothing like the way they all came together on this program.

Douglas Reeves in command of the Central Park Scavenger Hunt, August 5, 2012

A Monumental Monday in Manhattan

6 Aug

Louis Pratt under the clock at Grand Central Station.

(New York City, August 6, 2012) Today we answered the question, “how many New York landmarks can Road Scholars visit in a day?” The answer is six: The United Nations, Grand Central Station, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and the Brooklyn Bridge. And we still fit in three meals, a little shopping, and more than a few laughs.

Matt Decker in the General Assembly of the United Nations.

At the United Nations, we started our morning with an inspiring tour, spending time in both the General Assembly and Security Council Chamber. Our guide focused her introduction on the UN’s multiple missions, and how low the costs of waging peace are than any alternative.

Grand Central Station: Come for the transportation, stay for the food.

Grand Central Station bustles no matter the time of day, including lunchtime, when we stopped by to try out the food and watch thousands of people coming and going to the city for work or pleasure. We were clearly in the latter category as we enjoyed one of the program’s more memorable meals.

Tabitha Lamberg, John Moore, and Mya Kirke at Rockefeller Center.

Rockefeller Center boasts one of the most spectacular views of any city in the world. Three observation platforms with 360 degree views are one thing. Put them in the middle of Manhattan, and you really have something. And, like Saturday in the harbor, the haze and humidity cleared just in time for our ride to the top.

If you don’t like the views of New York City from the Top of the Rock, just wait for them to put up a new building.

Central Park: The Place to Be on a Sunday Afternoon

5 Aug

Dylan Shiveley discovers one of the clues along the way on our scavenger hunt.

Mason Street at Belvedere Castle, the start of our hunt.

(New York, August 5, 2012) Today’s schedule called for a scavenger hunt in Central Park. We divided into two teams, each looking for a specific landmark, equipped with a map and Road Scholar guide. Our team, led by Eagle Scout John Moore, left Belvedere Castle heading generally south along the Rambles.

Louis Pratt and Holley Tate-Wheeler trailside on the Rambles.

Getting there, like they say, is half the fun. Well, maybe more than half. We passed a number of well-known landmarks like the Boathouse and statues of Christopher Columbus and William Shakespeare. We also discovered some lesser-known natural rock formations – Manhattan Schist, we learned – that were left behind by glaciers.

The lively blues of Tin Pan jazzed up Bethesda Fountain.

We also walked past other sights along the way – a wedding, musicians, and a fashion photo shoot. It seemed like everyone was out in the Park this afternoon, looking for fun or sharing their fun with others. We were tempted to linger and listen, or people-watch, but we were on a mission.

For a short time, we Road Scholars were not the most glamorous people in Central Park.

Finally, we found the landmark at the end of our quest – another secret we cannot reveal. You’ll just have to sign up for this program, along with your grandchild or grandparent, and see for yourself. So, with another successful afternoon under our belts, along with more terrific New York City food, we headed off to an evening in Manhattan on our own.

Joyce Bowen, Lucy Smith, Jan Green, and Bo Wheeler enjoy an Italian Ice at on the Mall at the end of our Central Park scavenger hunt.

A Sparkling Saturday Afternoon on the Harbor

4 Aug

Grace Christie and Barbara Pelzel enjoy an afternoon on Ellis Island.

(New York City, August 4, 2012) Today started hot and humid, much like yesterday. Even a cruise on the Miss Ellis Island to the Statue of Liberty didn’t offer the relief we expected. But suddenly, around lunchtime, the haze cleared, the temperature dropped just a bit, and we enjoyed views of the harbor in all directions that would make Mayor Bloomberg proud.

Judy Maifield, Mya Kirke, Tabitha Lamberg, and Judy Lamberg with New York’s Leading Lady.

“Liberty Enlightening the World,” which we learned last night is the proper name the French gave to the Statue of Liberty when they gave it to America in 1876, never looked better as she nears a re-opening in October. And, as a matter of fact, we looked pretty good ourselves, in case anyone is asking.

Twenty-first century visitors enter the Main Building at Ellis Island via a covered walkway.

Soon it was time for the short cruise to Ellis Island and its inspiring chronicle of America’s – and so many of our families’ – history. How differently immigrants came to the United States then – by ship, to a single building in New York – than now – by airplane to cities throughout the country, processed in advance in American embassies before their flights.

Doug Reeves and Rob Thomas on Mulberry Street, just before dinner.

Later in the afternoon, we headed back to Manhattan and Battery Park, where we took in some street theater, and a few  young Road Scholars actually got into the act. It was unexpected fun, and we were able to share it with other New Yorkers as well. After the “show,” we continued to Chinatown and eventually Little Italy, for a dinner at Paesano’s Restaurant and dessert at the legendary Ferrara’s Bakery. What a great way to start the weekend!

Lower Manhattan sparkles as we return from Liberty and Ellis Islands.

A Day at the Museum

3 Aug

John, Kayla, and Kathy Peterson in the Hall of Dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History.

(Manhattan, August 3, 2012) The day dawned hot and humid. What day in August in New York City doesn’t? But our first day would be spent inside the spectacular Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side. Five hours gave us barely enough time to scratch the surface of all this place has to offer, but it was cool, in every sense of the word.

Holley Tate-Wheeler and Donna Trumbo waiting for the C Train.

We took the subway like native New Yorkers to the museum’s front door. Road Scholar had arranged for admission, plus two special exhibits – Beyond Planet Earth, a look at space travel; and Creatures of the Night, about animals that glow in the dark. We also saw movies at the Hayden Planetarium and Imax Theater. It was a full day.

Lucy Szrama and John Moore in the Hall of the Universe.

Our guide, Ray Riordan, had prepared us by showing A Night at the Museum last night. It was a great introduction and kept us busy looking for Teddy Roosevelt, Dexter, and other characters – instant nostalgia, both for those of us who have been here before as schoolchildren, and those who had never been here before.

An old friend is waiting for you at the museum, but we won’t tell you where.

It was fun roaming around the museum’s four floors – some unchanged for many years, others brand-new, teaching us new lessons in science and history that show how much we still have to  learn. Our grandchildren did what young people do in places like this – they just enjoyed it, and told us where to find the best things to see and do.

Finally, it was time to go, and head back to Times Square for a well-deserved dinner, followed by a lecture on Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty by Tom Bernardin, a man with over forty years of experience as a park ranger, author, and historian. We’ll go to both places tomorrow, with his words and enthusiasm leading the way.

Road Scholars walking along the entrance to the Museum of Natural History

The Mirror Resumes Publication!

2 Aug

Today’s question for our readers: Should the Mirror publish in different languages?

(New York City, August 2, 2012) The Manhattan Mirror resumes publication today with the launch of a new Road Scholar Program. Thirty two grandparents and grandchildren from throughout the United States will explore Manhattan with Group Leader Ray Riordan, visiting museums, historic landmarks, and international institutions through Tuesday, August 7.

We will visit many different sites than the Parker Family toured when we were here last in mid-June. But after all, the Greatest City in the World promises much to enjoy, and we’re looking forward to all of it.

See you tomorrow!

An urban garden on an old elevated railroad line is just one of New York’s wonders.

New York City – The Parker Family’s Second Home

22 Jun

New York’s Number One Family on the #1 Train

(New York City, June 22, 2012) Manhattan got hotter and hotter throughout the week. On the first day of summer, thousands of New Yorkers closed down Broadway for blocks on either side of Times Square for a gigantic yoga fest. The Yankees were back in town, playing the Atlanta Braves. And someone put Salvador Dali’s “Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio” in a brown paper bag and walked out of an East Side art gallery with it. Another typical week in the big city…

Andre Parker and his grandmother Pauline walk along 34th Street, with parents Patrick and Amy in the background

But if you paid very close attention, there was a small bubble of joy moving north, south, east, and west, both on and just offshore from the island, showing up in all the best places. It was the Parker Family, on their Road Scholar Charter Program, sharing the fun with each other, and those lucky enough to be traveling with them. Count us as members of this elite group.

Jim Parker talks about his family’s charter program looking west from the Empire State Building

Selecting their own destinations and taking everyone along for a fantastic ride were Jim and Pauline Parker. “In other years, we’d rent a big beach house and have everyone there for a week. But this was so much more special. We decided where we wanted to go, matching the places we’d visit with what we knew our family would enjoy. Tim was in the military, so we picked the Intrepid Museum. Andre studies musical theater, so we arranged a behind-the scenes tour of the New Amsterdam Theater. Stefanie is an architect, which is why we booked the cruise around Manhattan. And we all love boats,” explains Pauline. “The best part was that Road Scholar made all the arrangements and took care of all the details. We just showed up and had a great time.”

The fun we all had on the Parker Family Charter Program needs no explanation. You had to be there. Thankfully, we were.

An Island of Joy, Overlooking Manhattan

All Around the Town

20 Jun

Ships and Buildings of All Descriptions in Lower Manhattan.

The Conning Tower of the USS Intrepid

(New York City, June 19, 2012) The Parkers have an enormous love affair with boats, as it turns out. Today began with a visit to the Intrepid Museum on New York’s West Side, with its dozens of aircraft and three huge decks to wander. We’re one month early for the Space Shuttle Enterprise’s debut. It’s there, under a huge tarpaulin, with one wing peeking out – a great reason to come back, along with all the other exhibits and the British Airways Concorde waiting to be explored. But we did ride the virtual roller coaster and piloted a jet fighter simulator before lunch.

Laurida Reesman and Nathan Parker on the Flight Deck of the Intrepid

After lunch, Jim and Pauline arranged for an architectural tour of Manhattan by boat. We boarded the SS Manhattan, a beautiful old yacht, with a great name, of course, and began a three-hour cruise around the entire island. Heading south, we learned about every building the architect could find the time to describe, and he never stopped talking for the entire journey. His enthusiasm was engaging, and many of his stories were unforgettable. For example, the Broadway Bridge from Manhattan to the Bronx was recycled. When the City decided to extend the Broadway Subway line over the East River, the old bridge became too small, so they built a new one. Instead of dismantling the original, they disengaged it, floated it down the river a few blocks, and set it up on a new street.

Stefanie Baker, Pauline Parker, Laurida Reesman, Shannon Baker, and Emily Parker enjoy the art of New York City.

Then there’s the Chrysler Building, and how it became the world’s tallest in 1931. Its chief rival, the Bank of Manhattan Building, opened a week earlier and, at 927 feet, claimed this valued status. But the architects of the Chrysler Building constructed its tall spire in secret, inside the building, and added it to the top from within, surprising everyone and reaching a world-record height of 1,045 feet.

There are few ways to spend a better three hours than this tour. And, for the third day in a row, we can honestly report that there are also very few ways to have a better time in New York than traveling with Road Scholar and the amazing Parker Family.

The Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridges on New York’s Lower East River

A Harbor Full of History

19 Jun

The Hall of Records at Ellis Island, New York Harbor

(New York City, June 18, 2012) We met Molly Goodrich, our New York Road Scholar Program Coordinator, at breakfast, and all eighteen of us took the #1 Train to Battery Park and South Ferry, where we set sail for Liberty Island, home of the Statue of Liberty, and then Ellis Island, where 12 million immigrants first set foot in America from 1892 through 1924. Getting there, as always, was half the fun, including the ferry rides to these tiny but spectacular landmarks in New York Harbor.

Jim & Hannah Parker, Laurida Reesman, and Mary Parker in Battery Park

For the second day in a row, the Parker Family took Manhattan, if not the Bronx and Staten Island. Later, we established a foothold in Brooklyn, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves on the story of a very busy day.

The Statue of Liberty, June 18, 2012

Lady Liberty greeted us with the same arms she held open for so many other travelers, even if she was undergoing renovations and was not the hostess she has been, and will be again. Still, there are few views like her, and if she needs a little respite after 126 years of standing tall in the Hudson River, well, she deserves it. All of us, from youngest to oldest, were in awe of her presence. How many destinations can compare for the American family?

The Parker family enjoying the Statue of Liberty.

From Liberty Island, we took a short hop to Ellis Island, and even more history. The Hall of Records, beautifully restored, is inspiring. Exhibits record the experiences of people from all over the world who came here, and became Americans. It’s a magnificent story, beautifully told.

The day continued with a visit to the September 11 Memorial in lower Manhattan and St. Paul’s Chapel, places selected by the Parkers for their family to see first-hand the events that have shaped our 21st Century so far. It is an experience our reporters did not cover, in respect of the Parkers and so many American families.

Shannon Baker, Emily Parker, and Laurida Reesman on the Brooklyn Bridge

Finally, we ended the day with dinner at Teresa’s Restaurant, a culinary gem in Brooklyn Heights, followed by a well-deserved promenade across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan. Well deserved rest was next on our itinerary for a happy and historic day that taught us many truths about what it means to be a New Yorker.

The Brooklyn Bridge, approaching Manhattan