Birthday blowout!

Birthday blowout!

Birthdays, ah, we love them, but do we? They’re inevitable, some are good, some are weird, and some are long-awaited. We can’t wait to reach thirteen.

WOW, finally—I’m a teenager!

A teenager at thirteen doesn’t seem to make much difference except we begin to feel grown-up, and start to notice our parents are becoming disagreeable.
Then there’s that sweet-sixteen party for the girls, leaving the boys out in the cold unless they get invited. Well, that’s a piece of cake to figure out, we can dance with them. If they don’t know how we can teach them.

But wait, isn’t eighteen grown up? We get to drive. That’s the driving age in Brooklyn and New York City—and vote. Both driving and voting are huge responsibilities. The day my driver’s license arrived in the mail—I couldn’t wait to open the envelope—’PASSED.’

Dad danced with me when I showed him my shiny new license. “Good job, now I want you to pick up your mother at work, she gets off at 5:00 pm.” She worked on 47th and Broadway in New York at a place they make dungarees, Blue Bell. I did it! I took the Belt Parkway to the Gowanus Expressway and over the Manhattan Bridge, and I drove back the same way with my Mom in the car. “Good Job,” she said.

The other biggie, voting. We choose all kinds of governmental people, like the President of the United States. You’ve almost forgotten all the fun you had at your sweet sixteen, dancing with the boys, eating goodies and blowing candles out on your cake–and now you can vote? Have you been following the presidential candidates and the promises to their country, their philosophy, and their skills to make appropriate decisions that will affect the people and you?

Are you busy graduating from high school, and choosing a college, be it virtual or not? I don’t know—the responsibilities of an eighteen-year-olds’ are daunting, aren’t they?

Should I go on? What happens at twenty-one, turning thirty, or even forty, supposedly over-the-hill? I don’t think there’s an over-the-hill anymore. We are healthier than ever. We exercise, make our hearts more robust, and our lungs better to fight off dangerous viruses.

In this house, we’ve seen fifty, sixty, seventy, and even eighty. Life has gotten better and busier, and okeydokey as daddy used to say. We win contests for writing, for dancing, for fashion. We promote healthy products for Beautycounter, the most innovative and forward-thinking company in the USA!

Where will it all end? In heaven, I guess. I’m just too busy. Heaven can wait.

My current books

 

Tenacious . . . Who Me? Why Not?

Tenacious . . . Who Me? Why Not?

This blog is a revision and a reminder that The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be published a few days from today. I’m preparing a letter with the link to the Amazon review page that will post just after midnight for my ARC readers. There’s no point in posting the link here as it will only be active on the 10th at publication.

Launch day! Tuesday, September 10, 2019

 

My heroine, Allie Baldwin, in my historical romance, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, launching Tuesday, September 10th, has a passion – to help win the vote for women.

That’s not news, thirty-four years later women got the vote. But in 1886, a battle that had been going on for almost fifty years was denied over and over and over again.

As a reporter for the New York Sentinel, the newspaper her father owns, Allie is determined to do her part and attend a rally. Not any old rally, but one for suffrage, featuring many notable women speakers. She is willing to forego marriage to do her part securing votes for women. But her father not only disapproves of her going he also threatens not to print anything Allie writes pertaining to the rally. Her father’s objections don’t stop her. She concocts a disguise and makes her way to New York City Hall where more than a hundred women and men have gathered to listen to the suffragettes.

I would have done the same, but it would have been my mother arguing with me. She would have told me to stop this behavior, to grow up, and don’t think of hiding behind a cloak. “If you go,” she would have said, “I’ll find out and you’ll reap the consequences.”

My father, unlike Allie’s, was a dearheart, I could do no wrong in his eyes, and most of the time he couldn’t figure out why my mother was so strict with me. By the time I was born, the 19th Amendment had passed only fifteen years before, and women’s lives had indeed changed. I had a working mother, she was a jobber and bookkeeper. She wouldn’t have allowed me to go to a rally yet she benefited from women like Allie.

This is why we shouldn’t take the vote for granted. It is one of our most important rights, don’t you think so?

Votes for Women

Recently, tennis trailblazer, Billy Jean King spoke at the United States Tennis Open on opening night at the Billy Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadow, Corona Park, NY. She said, “In 1920, women got the right to vote, and while we’ve come a long way, there is still so much more to be done until we truly have equality for all.”

I hope there are many more Allie Baldwins’ out there, willing to keep working for equality in all arenas. I was lucky enough to have watched the original tennis match between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs on TV, along with a million others. We all cheered for Billy Jean, She changed the women’s world and gave us all new life. What’s really interesting about a story that takes place in 1973 is that all those issues have suddenly bubbled up again: “Equal pay, sexism, gender equality, sexual equality—all these things are live debates again,” screenwriter Simon Beaufoy told TheWrap’s Steve Pond in a video interview at the Toronto Film Festival.

My pin! Billie Jean changed scads of things, she’s like my Allie. 

With the approach of the 100th  Anniversary of Woman Suffrage – there will be many events around the country to celebrate and educate. Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk, CT is planning several, including Women in Office and the 19th Amendment celebration and talk by Connecticut’s Secretary of State, Denise W. Merrill on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, 2-4pm. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here. Secretary Merrill’s talk will be followed by a self-guided tour of the museum’s featured exhibition, From Corsets to Suffrage: Victorian Women Trailblazers, as well as tea and light refreshments.

Coincidently, I just had the most delightful visit from Sharon Pistilli, who is running with three other candidates to make the town where I live, Fairfield, even better. I will remember to vote on Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019, from 6am-8pm. It’s my right and my privilege.

The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin is available for pre-order on Amazon and iBooks, Kobo, Banes and Noble Nook. Order now and the book will appear in your e-reading device on launch day, Tuesday, Sept 10, 2019.

Read about the passionate, tenacious Allie Baldwin:

Opposites attract in this gilded age historical romance when a young American suffragette eschews marriage until a handsome detective is hired to protect her from a dangerous stalker.

Beating Heart of the City

Beating Heart of the City

New York City Hall, a beauty in classicism with its touch of Palladio! I studied interior design and architecture many moons ago, but my passion has not wained. New York City Hall is featured prominently in my upcoming book The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin. The cornerstone of City Hall was laid in 1803. Construction was delayed after the City Council objected that the design was too extravagant. In response, architects, McComb and Mangin reduced the size of the building and used brownstone at the rear of the building to lower costs. Labor disputes and an outbreak of yellow fever further slowed construction. The building was not dedicated until 1811 and opened officially in 1812. The original skin of the building, Massachusetts marble facade, quarried from Alford, Massachusetts, deteriorated and was replaced with Alabama limestone in 1954 to 1956.

City Hall, Park Row and City Hall Park, 1911. The structure on the right is the Manhattan station for the cable cars which ran across the Brooklyn Bridge

Steps of City Hall

The steps of City Hall frequently provide a backdrop for political demonstrations and press conferences concerning city politics. The heroine in my book meets the hero on the grounds of those steps while attending a women’s suffrage rally in 1886.

Rotunda

On the inside, the rotunda is a soaring space with a grand marble stairway rising up to the second floor, where ten fluted Corinthian columns support the coffered dome, which was added in a 1912 restoration by Grosvenor Atterbury. The rotunda has been the site of municipal as well as national events. Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant lay in state there in 1865, attracting enormous crowds to pay their respects. City Hall is a designated New York City landmark. It is listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places.

The area around City Hall is commonly referred to as the Civic Center. Most of the neighborhood consists of government offices (city, state and federal), as well as an increasing number of upscale residential dwellings being converted from older commercial structures. Architectural landmarks such as St. Paul’s Chapel, St. Peters Church, the Woolworth Building, Tweed Courthouse, the Manhattan Municipal Building, the Park Row Building, One Police Plaza, and the Brooklyn Bridge surround City Hall. If you’ve ever watched an episode of Law and Order, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Until next time, Gail.

Thank you, Wikipedia for the facts and links.

City Hall Park

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released when she’s done revising, I’ll keep you in the know. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on Amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

 

 

Beating Heart of the City

Beating Heart of the City

New York City Hall, a beauty in classicism with its touch of Palladio! I studied interior design and architecture many moons ago, but my passion has not wained. New York City Hall is featured prominently in my upcoming book The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin. The cornerstone of City Hall was laid in 1803. Construction was delayed after the City Council objected that the design was too extravagant. Imagine something like that today. In response, architects, McComb and Mangin reduced the size of the building and used brownstone at the rear of the building to lower costs. Labor disputes and an outbreak of yellow fever further slowed construction. The building was not dedicated until 1811, and opened officially in 1812.

Although Mangin and McComb were the original designers, the building has been altered numerous times over the years, by various well known and respected architects:

Step of City Hall

The steps of City Hall frequently provide a backdrop for political demonstrations and press conferences concerning city politics. The heroine in my book meets the hero on those steps while attending a suffragette rally in 1886.

Rotunda

On the inside, the rotunda is a soaring space with a grand marble stairway rising up to the second floor, where ten fluted Corinthian columns support the coffered dome, which was added in a 1912 restoration by Grosvenor Atterbury. The rotunda has been the site of municipal as well as national events. Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant lay in state there, attracting enormous crowds to pay their respects. City Hall is a designated New York City landmark. It is also listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places.

The area around City Hall is commonly referred to as the Civic Center. Most of the neighborhood consists of government offices (city, state and federal), as well as an increasing number of upscale residential dwellings being converted from older commercial structures. Architectural landmarks such as St. Paul’s Chapel, St. Peters Church, the Woolworth Building, Tweed Courthouse, the Manhattan Municipal Building, the Park Row Building, One Police Plaza, and the Brooklyn Bridge surround City Hall. If you’ve ever watched an episode of Law and Order, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Until next time, Gail.

Thank you Wikipedia for the facts and links.

City Hall Park

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released when she’s done revising, I’ll keep you in the know. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

 

 

My Wild Walk on the Beach

My Wild Walk on the Beach

Rockaway Beach Morning Shoreline by Maureen E Ritter

I was alone. A sultry day in July, the sun was blazing, the temperature in the nineties. A walk on the beach sounded like a great escape. Sneaking away from my family was no big deal.

Jumping into the soaring waves was refreshing, revitalizing, invigorating. I waited for the next wave, then the next. Giggling at the cool spray that tickled my skin. The heat no longer bothered me after each successive splash of cold water coated my arms and legs. Suddenly, I found myself overcome by a giant wave. Unexpected. Scary. Gasping for air and flailing my arms I couldn’t stop the pull of this force of nature.

Would someone see me and come to my rescue? I hadn’t noticed a lifeguard. Who thinks about that when there’s so much fun to be had. I tried to drag myself out of the frothy water, onto the safety of the beach, but my strength was fading fast. The undertow pulled me farther and farther away from shore.

Rockaway Beach

Desperate. Frightened that I would drown, I fought the waves with all my might, dragging myself back. Finally, I managed to stand and slog my way through the shallows to shore.

I was eight years old.

Since that day, I have told this story hundreds of times. I promised myself I would never take the power of nature for granted ever again. I was pretty tall for my age and was a good swimmer, but it didn’t make a difference. I was at the mercy of the tides. Since then, I never go into the ocean when the waves are bigger than me.

Those lovely old cottages

Jones Beach undertow

My family had a cottage just up the street, in Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York. The experience put a damper on my love of the ocean. The almost-drowning is what I think of whenever I see a gigantic wave today.

I spent many a summer at Jones Beach watching my own kids jump in and out of the waves. I didn’t want to stop their fun or diminish their pleasure, but I was ready at a moment’s notice to leap to the rescue if one of my kids needed me.

Nature is beautiful but it’s also untameable. Wild. Have a safe summer.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the fall of 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

A Christmas Concert To Remember by Gail Ingis

A Christmas Concert To Remember by Gail Ingis

West Point Cadet Chapel

Chapel looking back to the Narthex

This past Sunday, December 3, Tom and I took the 90 minute drive up the Palisades, across the Bear Mountain Bridge, around the bending roads and up the hills, to the West Point Cadet Chapel in West Point, NY.

West Point is actually the name of the town, the home of the United States Military Academy where Handel’s Messiah was being performed. Our daughter-in-law, Joanne Ingis, was one of the voices in the visiting chorals. The voices echoed like angels in this beautiful chapel. A standing ovation followed the 90 minute concert. Well deserved, I must add.

Joanne, part of a New Jersey choral group, practiced numerous hours over many weeks for two performances: #1 Hawthorne Bible Church in New Jersey, #2 here at the Chapel. On December 19th, Joanne will sing with the choral group at Rockefeller center.and then the next evening, she will be singing Getty Irish Christmas in Carnegie Hall.

A few of the voices, Cadets joined the chorals and featured a female Cadet soloist.

A gracious Cadet who permitted this photo

This was not the first time I visited West Point. My son Rick’s friend got married in this Chapel, and oh my, it was beautiful. The services were followed by a reception at the Thayer Hotel in close proximity to the Academy.

That’s Joanne Ingis and her step-dad, Tom Claus (my hubby)

Son Paul Ingis & me (Gail)

Chapel night shot. It took on the orange moon color

For dinner, of course we headed over to the nearby, Thayer Hotel. Built in 1926, the lobby and dining areas charmed me with their antiquity. Not so much the furbishing, but rather the ambiance. I imagined former presidents, and great military leaders, walking the halls. The hotel has entertained many of the United States Military and other distinguished visitors. Oh, and by the way, the food was delicious, five star. Onion soup, the best yet, barbecued short ribs in gravy, with a medley of vegetables that included squash & zucchini.

 

West Point view from the Chapel

That’s the Hudson River. The views are spectacular

The five of us shared one amazing dessert – fresh apple-pear pie with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. WOW!

This little blurb from the hotel talks about how delightful it would be to visit the town of West Point. You can stay at the hotel, or find the offerings through the visitor center. The area offers a grand gateway to Hudson Valley area attractions, historic sites and outdoor recreation. Tee off on the West Point Golf Course, hike through the Black Rock Forest or go horseback riding in Bear Mountain State Park. Visit one of the largest contemporary art museums in the world, or sample a local vintage at a Hudson Valley winery. During your visit  you can go from West Point tours to Hudson River cruises and shopping sprees.

While you are waiting for my new book coming in the spring of 2018, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, would you like some fun? Take the adventure in New York City, and over the prairies and hills across America, from the Catskills to Yosemite, with Leila and Rork in my book, Indigo Sky.

 
Fancy a Cup of Tea?

Fancy a Cup of Tea?

Lobby

Many blue moons ago I had the great pleasure of having High Tea at the Helmsley Palace in New York City. Or so I thought! Much to my surprise, I was mistaken in my assumption that it was called High Tea. In fact, the proper name is: Afternoon Tea. Fascinated with the ritual of “tea time”, I explored the history and found that Afternoon Tea, aka High Tea, originated among the wealthy social classes in England in the 1840s. By the end of the nineteenth century, Afternoon Tea developed into its current form and was observed by both the upper and middle classes. Teatime for the working population was always much later in the day, usually after 6 pm, and accompanied by a pot of good, strong stimulating tea.

Wrap around balcony, where afternoon tea was served

Food service for afternoon tea

At the Helmsley Palace, Afternoon Tea consisted of delicate savory cucumber or egg and cress sandwiches, bread and butter, scones with clotted cream and jam, and occasionally cakes and pastries along with a bracing pot of tea.

Sandwiches always had the crusts removed, and were cut into small segments, either as triangles or fingers, aka tea sandwiches. The waiters dressed in formal attire, starched collars, black vests and black pressed trousers. The Harpist playing,The Blue Danube, by Johann Strauss II, with the delicacy of an angel, which not only pleased the ear but aided digestion.

Harpo Marx, a talented harpist

Hotel entrance flanked by the Villard Houses

Reservations were the only way you could have Afternoon Tea at the Helmsley. Today, the Helmsley Palace Hotel is  known as Lotte New York Palace Hotel and is one of many fine hotels in NY that offer Afternoon Tea. And of course, by today’s standards, Afternoon Tea takes place in late afternoon to early evening, 3:30-5 pm.

Afternoon Tea figures prominently in my next book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin. The Baldwin sisters and their mother arrange a special Afternoon Tea and invite some of the most well-to-do ladies in New York society. I had great fun working on this scene, especially the menu! I can’t wait for you to read it.

Sample of tea accompaniment

 

NYC’s 5 Great Places For Afternoon Tea In 2014 « CBS News

Thanks to Wikipedia Tea (Meal)

 

New York: The Ephemeral City

New York: The Ephemeral City

Windsor Letterhead

New York is one of the few cities in the world that’s rich enough and diverse enough to be anything it wants to be, The Dutch first settled along the Hudson in 1624 and two years later they established the colony of New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island. In 1664, the English took control of the area and renamed it New York.

This same New York is my hometown, a place for immigrants, barons, and in short, middle America. I’ve combed the city as a kid, as a student, and as a designer.

Automat at 818-820 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1904 postcard, Wikipedia

Long ago, I loved the Automat (Horn and Hardart). A whole lunch for a nickel. Nickel in, lunch out, on a vertical turnstile, Hot soup and apple pie, yum. Whatever happened to those days? Naturally any place in New York is home to me, even the Catskills, where I spent many a summer and where my first historic romance couple, Rork and Leila, met in Indigo Sky.

My new and latest story The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, (Book 1, The Baldwin Family Series) takes place in none other than my hometown, In fact, the Baldwins’ live across the street from Central Park. What was it like to take a walk in the park in 1886? You’ll find out in my book.

An early stereoscope view of the Main Dining Room shows the frescoed ceiling and sumptuous chandelier.

Baggage entered the 46th Street side (right) and guests entered on Fifth Avenue. The arrangement avoided “cluttering.” — photo Library of Congress

Sadly, New York has been an ephemeral city. Many buildings were demolished or burned, one of which was the Windsor Hotel on 46th Street and 5th Avenue, conveniently located close to the Grand Central Depot, a short walk to the Windsor for those who traveled by train. The Hotel welcomed the wealthy, from Barons to Dukes, and according to the New York Times, the Windsor was “most luxurious and aristocratic hostelry in New York.”

Inside the hotel were the barber’s shop, grocery and general storerooms, vegetable kitchen, dining rooms, a separate one for children, and more. The hotel was considered a marvel in modern convenience. Every suite had a private bath and every room had a fireplace, according to The Times.

You’ll get an exclusive invitation to visit the Windsor Hotel in my book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, out on Valentine’s Day 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the 1800s to Carrie Bradshaw: Autumn in Central Park

From the 1800s to Carrie Bradshaw: Autumn in Central Park

Autumn in New York City, Central Park Photo by Vivienne Gucwa

Thousands of people visit Central Park in New York City every day, but there is one time of year where Central Park is at its most beautiful. Autumn.

There’s nothing like autumn in New York. Just ask Carrie Bradshaw, the much-loved heroine of the hit HBO series Sex and the City.

“There is a time of year in New York when, even before the first leaf falls, you feel the seasons click.” Carrie Bradshaw.

Go back in time more than a 100 years and you find another funny, quirky, smart young woman who loves autumn in New York—Allie Baldwin. Allie is the heroine of my upcoming book The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin. Allie, 24, lives with her family in the Sandanko Apartments on Fifth Avenue, which is a fictional building I created that was inspired by the famous Dakota Apartments located across the street from Central Park.

You can see stunning pictures of Central Park in photographer’s Vivienne Gucwa book NY Through the Lens (released Nov. 24, 2014)

The Baldwin family in my upcoming book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, loves their outings in Central Park. Allie walks her dog Captyn, a huge black and white spotted Great Dane, through the park every day. In the story, Allie spends time there with her best friend,  Frankie, and with the hero, Peter. I can’t wait for you to find out what happens on those outings!

Autumn in Central Park is all about the leaves. Mother Nature paints her most vivid colors when the leaves turn from green to gold, bronze and red. Flower beds of garden mums and asters in autumn’s colors of red and yellow dot the landscape.

History tells us that architects Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux painstakingly incorporated arches into their design of Central Park more than 150 years ago in a way that is still relevant today. According to research from the Central Park Arch Project, they “used arches not only as a safety measure (to separate what was at that time the bridle path from pedestrian crossings), but as an aesthetic tool to create a cohesive green space: keeping pedestrians immersed in the park’s surroundings while cleverly hiding bustling roadways on another plane.

Bow Bridge Central Park Courtesy Ephemeral New York

There are many beautiful bridges or “arch ways” in Central Park including the Gapstow Bridge, built in 1874 by Jacob Wrey Mould. It’s located between 5th and 6th Avenue and 62nd Street in Central Park, in the area known as the Pond. Visitors to New York peruse the Gapstow Bridge in order to experience one of the most beautiful views of the city. A photograph of my Gapstow Bridge painting in winter is in this post. The bridge figures prominently in a scene from my book.

Gapstow Bridge, Central Park Painting by Gail Ingis

Here is a picture of a painting I did featuring the Gapstow Bridge in Central Park. It’s a winter landscape but the magic of Central Park is always there, no matter the season.

I cannot wait for you to read The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin and also experience the beauty of Central Park in the fall.

 

Gail Ingis is the author of the historical romance Indigo Sky.
You can buy it on amazon.

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