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

 

YOU CAN’T COME BETWEEN A WOMAN AND HER SHOES

YOU CAN’T COME BETWEEN A WOMAN AND HER SHOES

The House of Gail

Long ago and far away in Brooklyn, NY, 1954, Doc Ingis, my fiancé’s father, said, “Go buy yourself a beautiful pair of shoes, I’ll treat.” Oh boy, a fairy tale offering. He gave me fifteen dollars. I was rich and a silly young thing then, in love and engaged to be married. I took my fiancé’s hand and asked him to come shopping with me. I told him that there was a shoe store on 86th Street that would have the perfect pair of shoes. In fact, I had seen them in the window of A.S. Beck shoes. The shopping was close to his house in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn. What a great opportunity, treated to my first pair of high heels. So exotic, the three inch kind, pink, backless, with two straps holding them onto my feet. I loved those shoes. I put them on and pranced back and forth in the store to show them off for my fiancé. He loved them too.  “There’s something about those shoes,” he said. They were sort of like these in the picture, only with two thin straps.

1950’s vintage heels

 

I felt like a peacock showing off his feathers. When we got back, Doc Ingis asked, “How much did they cost?” “Fifteen dollars,” I said proudly, thinking I had made a wise decision. WHAT? . . . “You paid fifteen dollars for two straps, why? How could you make sense of that?” Naturally, the tears rolled down my cheeks. Although, I did keep them, I did. But I never forgot his reaction and his words from this usually kind and generous man. I’m sure that experience influenced my shoe shopping habit today. I love my shoes, no matter the cost.

I have two weddings coming up for grandsons’ and their ladies. Excuse to buy new shoes! The first wedding is on top of a mountain, we get there by cable car, and that’s where the ceremony takes place. Then later in the Ingis backyard, all set up for a wedding celebration. Buying these shoes had almost a near-supernatural effect, like updating a fab fashion outfit from last year.

Wedding 1 Non-traditional on the mountain and in the backyard. I’m wearing black silk culottes and a white silk sheer blouse.

 

Science has an answer to that supernatural effect: Turns out, we’ve always been wired for shoe lust, even when the going gets tough. I had to have these, I immediately got taller and thinner, and can almost look into Tom’s eyes, rather than looking up. Well, almost. However, although I’m practicing, I may still need to hold his arm to walk in these stilts.

Wedding 2 Traditional in a hall and wearing a gown.

Here’s some facts about Apparel and shoes:
First of all, there’s some serious mood-boosting going on when you try on any kind of apparel. “The neurotransmitter dopamine is released, providing a feel-good high, similar to taking a drug,” says Martin Lindstrom, a branding expert for Fortune 100 companies and author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy. “The dopamine increases until you swipe your debit card.” Usually, the high then flatlines, and guilt starts creeping in…except, that is, when the item you’re purchasing is a pair of shoes. Shoppers rationalize shoes as a practical buy — something they can wear multiple times a week — so they hold on to that pleasurable feeling longer,” says Lindstrom.

But it’s not just dopamine at work. Shoes’ mood-altering traits also come from another brain reaction, says Lindstrom. Buying new footwear stimulates an area of the brain’s prefrontal cortex termed the collecting spot. “Shoes are a collector’s item, whether women realize they perceive them that way or not,” says Suzanne Ferriss, PhD, editor of Footnotes: On Shoes. Just think of how they’re often stored artfully on shoe trees and shelves. “They’re like sculptures,” says Ferriss. As a result, collecting each type provides a mini-adrenaline rush similar to the satisfaction a stamp collector gets when he acquires a rare find.

All those wonderful feelings are intensified when you choose high heels…but again, it’s biology, not Jimmy Choo, at work. “Like most animals, we’re wired to associate height with power,” says Helen Fisher, PhD, professor of anthropology at Rutgers University. “High heels can literally raise your status because you’re taller when you wear them.”

Heels carry historical significance as well, adding to their appeal. In previous centuries, only the wealthy wore high heels — everyone else had practical footwear to do manual labor. “Shoes were a measure of class,” says Fisher, “and we still have a bit of that mind-set ingrained in us.”

Now go even higher — to stilettos — and another element rears its head: sex. Stilettos are undoubtedly foxy, but why, exactly? “When a woman wears them, she assumes a primal mating pose called lordosis,” says Fisher. “Her butt lifts, and her back arches.”

But there’s more to it than how hot your bum looks. According to Daniel Amen, MD, author of The Brain in Love, our minds are structured in a way that may associate feet with sex. “The area of the brain that communicates with the genitals is right next to the area that deals with the feet,” says Dr. Amen. “These regions share neural crosstalk, which may be
why shoes can be erotic.” And we thought it was just our lust for high style.

Some of this info is from http://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/fashion/advice/a3331/women-love-shoes/

Did you know about the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto?

The Bata Shoe Museum is a footwear museum in downtown Toronto, Canada, located at Bloor St. and St George St. in the Bloor St. Culture Corridor. The museum collects, researches, preserves, and exhibits footwear from around the world.

Indigo Sky for the reader who enjoys historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA

CENTURIES OF CHANGE

CENTURIES OF CHANGE

greatbigtomorrowJust about the only constant in our world is change. In 2010, by the one-hundredth birthday of my hubby’s mother, she had seen changes no one would have thought possible—  Two world wars, nuclear power, personal computer, antibiotics, television, jet planes, a walk on the moon, the Internet. Change is happening faster and faster.

ASK app

ASK app

Even museums are changing! According to the recent issue of Art in America, mobile apps will keep museum visitors thinking about art even when looking at their phones. For example, the ASK app at the Brooklyn Museum offers a live team, the Audience Engagement Team, with advanced art history degrees, available to answer visitor inquiries. They can answer any questions about the museum collection, and they work in plain sight, so you can see they are live in their open office to the side of the lobby.

General Electric carousel of the future at Disney

Disney’s Tomorrow: General Electric carousel 

storkdeliverbabyLet’s take a stroll in history, when life seemed simpler, and for some relief from the constant changes surrounding us, the so-called technology of progress.

Wheel of Progress Wagon

Wheel of Progress Wagon

For a taste of New England’s beginning, why not visit historic Branford, Connecticut’s cemetery? Walk the grounds of history. Did you know you could still buy a plot?

Pieces of history in Branford, CT

Places and pieces of history in Branford, CT

Entrance

Entrance

branford-lkstaltonstall2Founded in 1645, it’s beautiful, well kept, and at the far end is lovely Lake Stalltonstall. It’s strange to me that there are so many vacancies after 371 years. It’s easier to buy a place in this cemetery than a place in New York City. tombstoneSome of the tombstone relics have almost legible inscriptions that are fun to read. Some date back to the 1700s, maybe earlier if you look around. I was not able to find the tombstone of Richard Harrison Senior, who was a founder of Branford. My hubby’s descendants, the Harrison family had come here from England on one of the early ships after the Mayflower. They first settled in New Haven circa 1635 then founded Branford in 1644.

Back to 2016, although human-like robots are on the agenda of the hot wheel of progress, we can still call ourselves human, but honestly, are we in the same hemisphere as these folks were?

Here’s a little mystic music to soothe your soul.

http://www.metmuseum.org/metmedia/video/collections/mi/ah-marie-bob-grillo

Enjoy music from the met museum while you read my excerpt from my novel:

Indigo Sky

If you like romance, and you like rip-roaring adventure, Indigo Sky is for you! Shopping at Tiffany’s, getting caught up in the New York Draft Riot, the Civil War, and the wilds of the Great Plains. Here’s an excerpt from my book that will curl your toes.

Available in eBook, free audiobook and paperback. Want that audiobook? It’s free, email me for access: gailingisclaus@gmail.com.

Excerpt

Dawn finally broke, and Leila sat listlessly on the pallet. Would today be the day she was raped? Death was preferable.

Little Star peeked through the doorway and crooked her finger. “Come.”

Leila crawled out and blinked against the strong light. Rising stiffly, she stretched, enjoying the sun on her face. She smiled at children laughing and playing between the tipis.

A group of women waited for her. “You bathe.”

Bathe? Leila almost laughed with relief.

The women led her silently to a copse of trees. A stream gurgled over rocks. They stripped her clothes off, urged her into a deep pool and washed her with a chunk of herb scented soap.

She reveled in the cold water until an elder hustled her out, drying her with scraps of soft hide.

Stony faced, the elder worried her gums and mumbled something rubbing herb oils on Leila’s body. Deep crevices on her face sagged in a perpetual expression of discontent. The elder peered over Leila, her small black eyes glittered with malice. She rattled off in an angry tirade.

One of the young women giggled behind slim fingers.

Leila glanced from one to the other. “What did she say?”

Little Star arrived with a hide garment over her arm and handed it to the elder. “She say you white like chicken fat, and don’t know why Red Arrow want you.”

The truth dawned on Leila. This was the moment she’d dreaded. She backed away holding up her palms. “N—no!”

Snarling, the elder grabbed Leila and issued brief instructions. The other women hastily pulled the buckskin dress over her head. Beads and feathers decorated the soft garment. Had circumstances been different, the dress would have delighted Leila. The women took her arms and led her back to the lodge.

Red Arrow stood in the center of a clearing between the tipis, hands behind his back, black eyes impassive.

Leila’s heart pounded and she hung back. The women shoved her and she fell to her knees at the warrior’s feet. “I—I will not be your woman—your whore.” She took his callused hand. “Please, I have a husband.”

He shook her off. “You obey.”

“I can’t—won’t!”

Red Arrow looked at Hook Nose. The leader nodded at a group of warriors. They stepped forward and hauled Leila up, dragging her from the clearing.

She twisted around. “What are they going to do to me?” She cried.

For you viewing pleasure, here’s the Indigo Sky trailer:

Indigo Sky_07_11_15 – Small

Follow Gail:

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA

Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.to/29NYE5w

Artist Page:      https://artist.gailingis.com/blog/

A TALK WITH AUTHOR CAT JOHNSON

A TALK WITH AUTHOR CAT JOHNSON

Cat480x640Cat Johnson is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romance author. She’s known for her creative marketing and research practices. Cat has sponsored bull riding rodeo cowboys, owns a collection of cowboy boots and camouflage shoes for book signings and a fair number of her consultants wear combat or cowboy boots for a living. A hybrid author, she writes both full length and shorter works and has series with Kensington Zebra and Samhain Publishing, in addition to her bestselling self published Hot SEALs series.

      Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up in the suburbs just outside of Manhattan and have since moved farther upstate to a small farm. I think that gives me the experience to write both city and country, a theme which keeps popping up in my romance.

      When did you first start writing?

I won a writing contest in first grade, but if we’re talking writing for pay, that was two weeks after I graduated college when I got my first contract with a big publisher writing work-for-hire for multiple Young Adult series. However my first romance contract was in 2006.

      What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

MidnightHeatBeing my own boss. Knowing I can make the decisions and steer the direction I want to go in my career.

      What are you working on next?

I have more sexy heroes to write for my bestselling self-published Hot SEALs series (in eBook, trade paperback and audiobook) after the new year, but next I’m writing a cute holiday-themed novella for Kensington Zebra that will be released in a mass market paperback multi-author anthology in time for the 2016 Christmas season.

      When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Midnight WranglerPromoting, studying the market, engaging on social media, creating graphics, analyzing the trends, learning more about this ever changing business—and yes, I know you’re looking for what I do in my off time. Right now, there is no off time and that is my biggest failure in my opinion—my lack of work/life balance—and it’s something I have to work on.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

 

Midnight RideSince I often write cowboys, and bull riders in particular, I’ve gone to the list of the real life top professional riders in the country and stolen names from there for my characters. But for my next release, Midnight Wrangler (in the Midnight Ride Series coming out in mass market paperback and eBook from Kensington Zebra Thanksgiving week) I actually met 2 cowboys from Alaska while I was in Vegas for the PBR Finals. Their names were Rohn and Colton and I told them then I was stealing their names for my book and I did. The hero of Midnight Wrangler is Rohn and one of his ranch hands is named Colton.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

Hitting the USA Today Bestseller list six times. I’ve been in multi-author box sets that were on the New York Times Bestseller list twice and on USAT three times, but those were group projects. It felt different the three times my single titles hit the USAT list and I’d done it all on my own, twice were with my self-published titles which was extra satisfying.

The Midnight Cowboy series by Cat Johnson:

Midnight Ride (out now in print, eBook, audio)
Midnight Wrangler (Nov 24, 2015)
Midnight Heat (Feb 23, 2016)
Facebook: http://facebook.com/catjohnsonauthor
Amazon Author Page: http://catjohnson.net/amazonauthorpage
Newsletter Signup:
Website

Crazy questions That No One Ever Asks Authors

Do you write naked?

No, but I’ve been known to clean the house and do laundry naked.

What is the biggest lie you’ve ever told?

That I liked another author’s book when I really didn’t.

Have you ever gotten into a bar fight?

Once my date, back in the late 1980s, did, in a bar in Brooklyn. I hid in the kitchen until the fight was over. I’m too petite to be able to hold my own in a bar fight. MidnightCowboyBookmark

MIDNIGHT WRANGLER

(Midnight Cowboys, Book 2)

Here’s a blurb about Cat’s Midnight Wrangler:

One Lonely Widower… One Woman with a Secret… One Night That Changes Everything…

Rohn Lerner is a successful Oklahoma rancher. He’s old enough to know what he likes, and still young enough to enjoy it. But losing his wife five years ago wore him thin. He’s not ready to date, but he needs someone to share a meal with as badly as someone to warm his bed.

Bonnie Martin fled her Oklahoma home years ago, leaving behind her abusive father, and Rohn, the lost love she never forgot. Now she’s back to settle her father’s estate, but she has no idea that she’s about to bump into Rohn or that they’ll fall for each other all over again.

eBook & Print Nov 24, 2016

http://catjohnson.net/books-2/midnight-wrangler/

A Dreamland of Fun, Food and Frolic

A Dreamland of Fun, Food and Frolic

Coney-Island-Pumping-Station_1-1024x768Did you ever sign a petition to save a building? It sometimes seems futile, especially here in the states. We are a country that forgets about architectural history. Someday, we too can be like our European neighbors, who treasure antiquity, if we save these works of historical art.

Landmark this: The Coney Island Pumping Station is a 1930s Art Landmark this: The Coney Island Pumping Station is a 1930s Art Deco structure that could receive landmark status after an Oct. 8 hearing.

Landmark this: The Coney Island Pumping Station is a 1930s Art Deco structure that could receive landmark status after an Oct. 8 hearing.

This time, I have been asked to sign for the Coney Island Pumping Station. This gorgeous landmark was designed and built in 1938. It fits the Art Deco style perfectly, and is one of the few places left in Coney Island after storm Sandy. Would you please consider saving this building?

Here is a sample letter for your perusal. To send the letter, please see the address at the end of this post. Do it now, the deadline is coming up when the commission will vote on October 8th. Copy this letter, paste in Word, sign and send to the address below.

Dear Commissioner Srinivasan,

Please accept this letter in support of the designation of the Coney Island Pumping Station as a New York City Landmark.

The architect for the 1938 Coney Island Pumping Station was New York City architect, Irwin S. Chanin. Chanin graduated from Cooper Union in 1915 with degrees in both architecture and engineering. In 1926 he attended the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts. He returned to the U.S. with a new architectural and ornamental style that was known as Art Deco. By 1930, Chanin had established himself as a major designer-developed in New York City, having built theaters, hotels and office buildings. His most compelling works include the Century and Majestic apartment houses of Central Park West and the Art Deco Chanin Building located on 42nd Street, where he maintained his own office. The Coney Island Pumping Station exists as Chanin’s only public building and marked the change in his style from large Art Deco skyscrapers to low rise Art Moderne functional buildings. The pumping station remains a testament to the work of a Chanin, documents a turniing point in his career as an architect as well as the changing attitude toward public architecture, to design for the common good of all and to celebrate progress and innovation.

The beauty of the architecture as art and its purpose make the Coney Island Pumping Station significant and irreplaceable as one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in Brooklyn, NY and one of Irwin Chanin’s most evolved and streamline Art Deco designs. I commend the Commission for holding a public hearing to include this building and urge  you to designate the Coney Island Pumping Station as a New York City Landmark.

Sincerely,

Your name here

Send to:

Commissioner Meenakshi Srinivasan, Chair
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
Municipal Building
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor, North
New York, NY 10007

Save this one . . . another piece of American History facing the bulldozer. It will take money to restore this, but this is Coney Island after all, a dreamland of fun, food and frolic and most important, American history. Let’s collect those letters and send them to Commissioner Meenakshi Srinivasan.

This has already been designated a landmark, preserve it! Thank you for taking this into consideration. Let’s preserve Coney Island. They lost so much in storm sandy and are rebuilding. Would you consider saving this beautiful part of American history? Then copy, sign and seal this letter and mail to the above address. Do it quickly, it’s a battle keeping those bulldozers

Coney Island Pumping Station Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Coney Island Pumping Station Neptune Avenue and W.23rd Street, Brooklyn, NY

Coney-Island-Pumping-Station_1-1024x768 away.

Not sure where the pumping station is in this photo, it must be behind that cyclone fence somewhere. If you can catch a sunset in Coney Island, they are breathtaking.

10/2/15 Just got this additional information:

“We encourage all stakeholders to submit written testimony in advance of the hearing by email to backlog95@lpc.nyc.gov.
All statements and materials received in advance of the hearing on October 8th will be distributed to the Commissioners and entered into the record. The record will remain open until October 22.”

GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY

GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY


Green-Wood Gothic Revival Gate Entrance

Green-Wood Gothic Revival Gate Entrance

Did you know that New York’s Central Park, an historic landmark, was designed based on the lay of the land of a cemetery? The Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838 as a rural cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. It was granted National Historic Landmark status in 2006 by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Located in Greenwood Heights,  it lies several blocks southwest of Prospect Park, between Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Kensington, and Sunset Park. Paul Goldberger in The New York Times, wrote that it was said “it is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon the Fifth Avenue, to take his airings in the Park, and to sleep with his fathers in Green-Wood.

The plots

The plots

Inspired by Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where a cemetery in a naturalistic park-like landscape in the English manner was first established, Green-Wood was able to take advantage of the varied topography provided by glacial moraines. Battle Hill, the highest point in Brooklyn and built in 1838, is on cemetery grounds, rising approximately 200 feet above sea level. As such, there on that spot in 1920, was erected a Revolutionary War monument by Frederick Ruckstull, Altar to Liberty: Minerva. From this height, the bronze Minerva statue gazes towards The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

Chapel

Chapel

The cemetery was the idea of Henry Evelyn Pierrepont, a Brooklyn social leader. It was a popular tourist attraction in the 1850s and was the place most famous New Yorkers who died during the second half of the nineteenth century were buried. It is still an operating cemetery with approximately 600,000 graves spread out over 478 acres (1.9 km²). The rolling hills and dales, several ponds and an on-site chapel provide an environment that still draws visitors.

Decorative Sylvan Water pond at the cemetery

Decorative Sylvan Water pond at the cemetery

There are several famous monuments located there, including a statue of DeWitt Clinton and a Civil War Memorial. During the Civil War, Green-Wood Cemetery created the “Soldiers’ Lot” for free veterans’
burials.

The gates were designed by Richard Upjohn in Gothic Revival style. The main entrance to the cemetery was built in 1861 of Belleville brownstone. The sculptured groups depicting biblical scenes from the New Testament are the work of John M. Moffitt. A Designated Landmarks of New York plaque was erected on it in 1958 by the New York Community Trust.

mausoleum swiss chalet

mausoleum Swiss chalet

Several wooden shelters were also built, including one in a Gothic Revival style,

Gothic Revival mausoleum

Gothic Revival mausoleum

and another resembling a Swiss chalet. A descendent colony of monk parakeets that are believed to have escaped their containers while in transit now nests in the spires of the Gothic Revival gate, as well as other areas in Brooklyn.

Green-Wood has remained non-sectarian, but was generally considered a Christian burial place for white Anglo-Saxon Protestants of good repute. One early regulation was that no one executed for a crime, or even dying in jail, could be buried there. Although he died in the Ludlow Street Jail, the family of the infamous “Boss” Tweed managed to circumvent this rule.

The cemetery was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2006. In 1999, The Green-Wood Historic Fund, a not-for-profit institution, was created to continue preservation, beautification, educational programs and community outreach as the current “working cemetery” evolves into a Brooklyn cultural institution.

A piece of Egypt

A piece of Egypt

Cemeteries are architectural landscape wonders. I took my interior design students to Green-Wood Cemetery to sketch the mausoleums. Some structures looked like cottages, some looked like  palaces. I remember this one, fashioned after an Egyptian pyramid. I have sketched and painted cemetery landscapes. How about you, what do cemeteries mean to you? Do you like cemeteries?

Resource: Wikipedia

 

I LOVE NEW YORK-SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW?

I LOVE NEW YORK-SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW?

brooklynnavyydI grew up in my beloved  borough of Brooklyn. It was just over the bridge to the city where I visited museums,  art galleries, shopped Bloomies, boutiques and did design school.  Don’t ask–I practically lived in the city. After today’s lecture at the Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, CT, I learned about a whole new Brooklyn and New York that I never knew. Historian Justin Ferate talked about hidden houses, insider’s clubs, offbeat treasures, secret gardens, and things like the monument dedicated to the our soldiers that died in the revolutionary war.

Monument 2

Monument was designed by architect Stanford White

The Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument in Fort Greene Park, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, is a memorial to the more than 11,500 American prisoners of war who died in captivity aboard sixteen British prison ships during the American Revolutionary War. The remains of a small fraction of those who died on the ships are interred in a crypt beneath its base. The ships included the HMS Jersey, the Scorpion, the Hope, the Falmouth, the Stromboli, Hunter, and others.

The column carries this inscription: “1776 THE PRISON SHIP MARTYRS MONUMENT 1908”. The grand staircase of 100 80-feet-wide granite steps rises in three stages. At the foot of the staircase, the entrance to the vault was covered by a slab of brown sandstone, now in storage, that bears the names of the 1808 monument committee and builders and this inscription: Their remains were first gathered and interred in 1808. In 1867 landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, designers of Central Park and Prospect Park, were engaged to prepare a new design for Washington Park as well as a new crypt for the remains of the prison ship martyrs. In 1873, after urban growth hemmed in that site near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the remains were moved and re-interred in a crypt beneath a small monument. Funds were raised for a larger monument, which was designed by noted architect Stanford White. Constructed of granite, its single Doric column 149 feet (45 m) in height sits over the crypt at the top of a 100-foot (30 m)-wide 33 step staircase. At the top of the column is an eight-ton bronze brazier, a funeral urn, by sculptor Adolf Weinman. President-elect William Howard Taft delivered the principal address when the monument was dedicated in 1908.

Plaque at the bottom of the monument

Plaque at the bottom of the monument

A plaque was added in 1960 located across from the front label on the monument. The plaque reads:

In memory of the 11,500 patriotic American sailors and soldiers who endured untold suffering and died on the prison British ships anchored in Wallabout Bay during the Revolutionary War 1776- 1782. Their remains lie buried in the crypt at the base of this monument which was dedicated on November 14, 1908. This plaque was afforded by The Society of Old Brooklynites on June 1, 1960. Farelly Crane M.D. President.

18th century ships

18th century ships

During the Revolutionary War, the British maintained a series of prison ships in the New York Harbor and jails on the shore for captured prisoners of war. Due to brutal conditions, more Americans died in British jails and prison ships in New York Harbor than in all the battles of the American Revolutionary War.

The British quickly disposed of the bodies of the dead from the jails and ships by quick interment or throwing the bodies overboard. Following the end of the American Revolutionary War in 1783, the remains of those who died on the 16 prison ships were neglected, left to lie along the Brooklyn shore on Wallabout Bay, a rural area little visited by New Yorkers. On January 21, 1877, the New York Times reported that the dead came from all parts of the nation and “every state of the Union was represented among them.”

If you ever have the opportunity to hear Justin speak, run and sign up. He is a font of information presented with great spirit. All spoken off the cuff, no notes in his hands, only a powerful power point presentation with beautiful images.

What secret places do you know?

CONEY ISLAND PLAYGROUND

CONEY ISLAND PLAYGROUND

The new Steeplechase

Coney Island is not actually an island, but a small peninsula that hangs from the southernmost edge of Brooklyn. It is accessible by car and by subway. The neighborhood includes high-rise apartments, two-family and single-family houses and some retail businesses along Surf Avenue, Mermaid and Neptune Avenues: and the centrally located amusement area.

It is all new, the rides, the signage, the smiles

Cozy ride in the new Steeplechase

Since the early 1800s, Coney Island, “playground of the world,” has played many roles in the lives and imagination of New Yorkers and the world. From its beginnings as a quiet seaside town, Coney Island went on to boom years in the 1880s, as entrepreneurs rushed to stake their claims and make their fortunes.    In 1929 with the Great Depression, Coney Island transformed.

The area became a “Nickel Empire” of cheap amusements; a nickel paid the fare on the new subway line, and visitors were greeted by the original Nathan’s, famous home of the five-cent hot dog. The amusement parks struggled to stay afloat and Coney Island began to experience hard economic times. The historic amusement area spans from West 8th to West 24th Street, and from Surf Avenue to the Atlantic Ocean. This area contains a three-mile beachfront boardwalk.

The Wonder Wheel is old, it has a long history. When I played there in the 50’s, it was my favorite ride. It doesn’t only go around, the cars slide to the end and swing way out, to and fro, with nothing beneath you. Thrilling.

Today, Coney Island is in the midst of a revival, spurred by public, private and community initiatives.  In addition to amusement parks, rides and concessions, there is the New York Aquarium, KeySpan Park-home of the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball team-and Asser Levy Park and Amphitheater.

Home of the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team. That structure in the back of the stadium is the famous Coney Island Parachute Jump. This is my 14×17 watercolor of the park.

With the creation of the Coney Island Development Corporation, the area is poised for further positive change, in which the Parachute Pavilion Design Competition, will play a vital part.

Sadly, Storm Sandy ripped the Island apart. It will have to be restored once again.

Have you been to Coney Island? Have any of you been there in the 50’s or 60’s? Have you indulged in Nathan’s famous hotdogs and curly fries. Ummm. Tell me your story.

 

 

LISBON FOR THE DAY

LISBON FOR THE DAY

Oops! Latest in clothes dryers right in the middle of Lisbon, with a beautiful backdrop facade of azulejos. The azulejo (tile) is the most typical and widely used form of decoration in Portugal since the middle ages.

Lisbon, the capital and largest city of Portugal is one of the oldest cities in the world, according to Wikipedia.

The Rossio central square

We saved running around the city until our last day. Mistake. Who could have predicted that my stomach would bubble and gurgle? There are pills for that condition. I took a couple and by the time Lili picked us up, I was able to take the tour sitting down.

Lisbon trolley car

Lili and Gigi are  family, she is Gigi’s sister and she babysat my kids ions ago in New Jersey. She drove the city. Here’s what we saw.

Who remembers trolley cars? They were in Brooklyn, (I rode those), New York City, Philadelphia,  and other American cities. There they were, moving about on the rails, filled with people.

Amoreiras Shopping Center

A typical city with people shopping, talking, walking, lovers everywhere hand-in-hand, and the scents, the wonderful scents and aromas of a busy city, the sweet-sticky-scents of bakeries and cafes ricocheted in the air.

Lisbon has some of the largest shopping malls in Europe. Armazens do Chiado is the most central, Colombo is the largest, and Amoreiras is the oldest, updated to post-modern. They all house well-known international retailers such as Zara and fast food restaurants such as, yes, McDonald’s. They’re ideal for some shopping on a rainy day in the city. It broke my heart, we did not have time to shop. I made up for it in the airport. Well, sort of. The airport shops cannot replace shopping in Lisbon.

Castle of São Jorge

Lili took us to the top of the city where we could see the Castle of São Jorge, the highest point of the city. This place reminded me of a waterfront park in San Francisco, where you find the young people playing instruments, singing, resting, lovers and the interested.

Top of the city. Lili and Gail on the right.

Aquaduct

On the morning of our departure, I took photos from our Marriott Hotel and got a foggy shot of the famous aquaduct. An obvious nod to the ancient Roman influence in Portugal, this massive 18th century aquaduct once delivered water to the entire city from the Mãe d’Água reservoir. Covering a span of some 18 km, about 11 miles, the aquaduct is no longer in use but still serves as an iconic feat of Portuguese engineering on display in the city.

According to the Tenth addition, AAA Europe Travel Book,In an early 19th century dispatch, the Duke of Wellington said “There is something very extraordinary in the nature of the people of the Peninsula, The most loyal and best-disposed . . .” It has not changed.

Donna Emilia (Gigi and Lili’s mother) We were her guests in Sao Martinho.

The heart of Portugal is the people. They are warm, friendly and accommodating. Here’s one of the best, the mother of our hosts.

Red sunshades of cafes in Ribeira Square, Porto

Do you like wine, do you like coffee? Those are serious beverages in Portugal. Next week, cafe’s of Portugal.

* Beautiful Blogger Award *

* Beautiful Blogger Award *

Yay! Its Thursday and I have some good news to share.

Beautiful Blogger Award

Marian Lanouette, writer, has passed The Beautiful Blogger Award to me. I am pleased, honored and grateful. Thank you for poking me Marian! Marian writes mysteries with romantic elements. Her first novel and the first in the series, If I Fail, A Jake Carrington Mystery, will be released in September 2012 by MuseItUp Publishing. Marian is from Brooklyn like me. Yay Brooklyn. Check out Marian at www.marian-l.blogspot.com.

And another thank you to Casey Wyatt, whom I think awarded it to me a few months ago.  But I wasn’t ready to accept such a distinguished standing. She publishes two posts every Friday. If you have a chance check out her blog at CaseyWyatt.com and Secrets of 7 Scribes blog, you’ll be glad you did.

Life is busy for me, always; great and grinding, I seem to find it easy to dig my own grave. Digging out is difficult, but not when you are creating and sharing like when I am doing this blog.

And here are the rules for the award, which I’m not going to follow to the letter. I like to create my own rules now and then.

Rule 1 – Share seven things about me.  I’ll do six.

1. The first is above. I like to tailor the rules from time-to-time.

2. I am bionic. Pins hold me together at the hip and my tennis-serving arm.

3. But I maintain my membership in the professional tennis teaching United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA). I taught tennis for twenty years. The painting below is in the USPTA Houston headquarters.

USPTA Watercolor by Gail Ingis Claus

4. We own three cars, but there are only two of us.

5. I failed history in High School, but I founded a school of interior design and had to teach it!

6. My favorite book is “Gone with the Wind.” And I am writing an Historic Romance.

Gone With the Wind image from the movie

Rule 2 – The next rule is to pass the award to seven bloggers. I am passing it on to five.

The award is passed to:

1. Katy Lee, Katy is a published writer and hard working dedicated home-school teacher. See more here:  www.katyleebooks.com.

2. Kate Rothwell, Kate is a multi-talented published author. She has worked as a service manager/parts runner in a Saab garage, and much, much more. See more here: www.katerothwell.com.

3.Thea Devine,Thea is the author whose books defined erotic historical romance.  Romantic Times calls her “The Queen of Erotic Romance,” Affaire de Coeur: “… the divine mistress of sensual writing …”  www.theadevine.com

4. Julianne Stirling, ASID, (American Society of Interior Designers). Julianne is an interior designer extraordinaire, President of her own company. You can find her blog in her website links. www.stirlingdesignassociates.com.

5. David Dunlop, David is an amazing artist, lecturer and teacher. He shares his knowledge and artistic skills with his students. His students follow him here in the USA and across the seas. www.paintingclass.net/blog.

Do you have a favorite most beautiful blog?

This was fun and a change of blog direction. Last week was the start of color, come back next week for more.

 

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