Sunday, November 28, 2010
There are four locations, Fairfield and Manchester CT, the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT and one coming to the Danbury Mall in January, 2011.
Orginally located in New Haven, CT, it is known as Pepe's and it was started in 1925 in the neighborhood of Wooster Square.
Frank Pepe arrived in this country from his native Italy at 16 in 1909 and worked in a factory until World War I broke out. At that point, he returned to Italy to fight on their side. After the war, Frank and his new bride Filomena, returned to New Haven in 1920 and began working in a Wooster Street macaroni factory, then at a local bread factory, also on Wooster Street.
Between the years 1925 - 1937, Frank Pepe started small, employing relatives, In 1937, he moved his pizzeria to the building next door where he lived upstairs with his wife and two daughters. He became known as "Old Reliable" for his contributions to the community and to his family.
According to their website, Frank Pepe originated the New Haven-style thin, but chewy crust pizza which is simply delicious. It is a coal fired oven, the kind that he used to bake his breads.
The White Clam pizza, which is what Susan and Rob ordered, became Pepe's signature pie. It all started because Pepe's also served appetizers of Rhode Island raw little neck clams on the half shell, the pie was added in 60's and gradually became popular over the last 40 years.
The coal fired oven, which you see in back of me, has been recreated from Pepe's original oven, brick by brick. The fire doors are cast from the original mold of Frank Pepe's original pizzeria begun 80 years ago in New Haven, CT.
Everyone working at the Yonkers venue is very friendly and cooperative and always go out of the way to welcome you, especially if you have come a long way to enjoy their pizza. The parking lot is always jammed and so is the restaurant. The pies at Pepe's are always cut slightly different then their regular counterparts, each slice cut so that everyone can enjoy the crust.
So if you're ever in the area, please visit this great pizzeria.
Here is their website where you can find more information.
Susan asked me to post her Freedomland Timeline and her article on Freedomland in this blog and I am happy to do so. Here they are. Hope you enjoy them.
|May 1, 1959||Freedomland project announced by William Zeckendorf, president of the real estate firm of Webb & Knapp, Inc|
|May 21, 1959||City Planning Commission approves map change to aid Freedomland|
|May 25, 1959||C.V Wood, Jr. president of Marco Eng. Corp. of LA and General Manager, Disneyland from 1954 - 56, announces Freedomland project at news conference. Cost estimated at 16 million dollars|
|May 26, 1959||Full description of the Freedomland project as written up in the New York Times. Cost estimated at 65 million dollars|
|June 12, 1959||Estimate board gives full final authorization|
|July 21, 1959||Freedomland stock is offered to the public|
|August 12, 1959||R.E. Carpenter, Jr. is elected director|
|August 26, 1959||Groundbreaking ceremonies begin|
|March 24, 1960||Six small unfinished buildings are razed by fire|
|April 29, 1960||Park attractions described in NY Times|
|May 11, 1960||Bank of NY branch to operate in Freedomland as a model bank of 1850|
|June 12, 1960||Freedomland, USA nears completion|
|June 18, 1960||Freedomland, USA is dedicated with 5,000 people in attendance|
|June 19, 1960||Freedomland, USA officially opens in the Bronx with 25,000 people in attendance|
|June 19, 1960||Freedomland, USA debuts on the Ed Sullivan show as Disneyland’s equal on East Coast|
|June 20, 1960||Freedomland is forced to stop selling tickets because of traffic snarls|
|June 25, 1960||Ten hurt as stagecoach overturns in Great Plains section of Freedomland; park denies any involvement in forcing photographer to expose picture of accident|
|June 26, 1960||Three victims hospitalized; one with a snapped spine|
|August 28, 1960||Front office robbed of $28,836 by four armed men making their getaway in a boat|
|September 12, 1960||Three held in robbery incident|
|September 18, 1960||Freedomland reduces amount of open days|
|September 20, 1960||International Recreation Corp. considers purchasing three NYC hotels from Zeckendorf Hotels Corp. to provide more working capital|
|October 5, 1960||Three companies file liens totaling $140,000 against Webb & Knapp|
|November 11, 1960||Lien filed by Turner Construction Company for $3,648,000|
|May 24, 1961||Freedomland needs eight million in refinancing to bring the park out of debt.|
|June 10,1961||International Recreation Corp. approves giving Webb & Knapp total company control|
|June 11, 1961||Freedomland’s second season opens|
|June 19, 1961||Families and guests of UN delegates attend Freedomland|
|August 18, 1961||Three jailed for1960 robbery|
|November 7, 1961||W. Zeckendorf Jr. named Chairman, R. Levy is named President and G.A.Hamid, Jr. is named Executive VP|
|March 21, 1962||A.K. Moss named Executive VP and General Manager|
|May 27, 1962||Freedomland’s third season opens|
|June 28, 1962||Announces special “family vacation” admission|
|August 13, 1962||Benny Goodman Orchestra in concert at Freedomland|
|September 5, 1962||Benjamin Moore sues to void their lease for exhibit space and collect $150,000 in damages; also sues for “historical and educational” changes in park’s character to appeal to teens and jazz enthusiasts|
|September 21, 1962||NYS Supreme Court dismisses suit|
|Summer, 1963||Addition of bumper cars, a roller coaster and a Last Supper made of wax|
|April 22, 1964||NY World’s Fair opens|
|July 1, 1964||Webb & Knapp transfers 60% interest in International Recreation Corp. and its subsidiary Freedomland, to National Development Corp.|
|September 14, 1964||Freedomland files for bankruptcy. Sites World’s Fair as loss of patronage|
thanks to the New York Times and Nassau Community College for helping us to find the information we needed.
"Mommy, Daddy, Take My Hand"
The date is October 8, 1871. You are walking on a busy downtown street in Chicago, enjoying the sights and sounds of the old city when a cry of "Fire!" fills the air. Fire bells begin to ring. You turn your head just in time to see the doors of the old-fashioned red-brick firehouse swing open. An old-time hand-pump engine is wheeled out and pulled down the streets of the city.
Curiousity overcomes you and you follow the engine to see where it's going. Suddenly, you see the flames. They are coming from from all over the city. Quick, no time to lose! The call goes out for volunteers to help man the pumps. You join the brigade. As you grip the iron bars and pull up and down, up and down, a steady stream of water shoots out of the long snakelike fire hose. You continue to pump until, finally, the fire is out. You hear hands clapping and you look up to see that a crowd has gathered to watch. You sigh with relief. You have just put out the biggest fire in the history of Chicago. Twenty minutes later, it will all begin again.
The Chicago fire was just one of many attractions at a place called "Freedomland, U.S.A.". I know because I was a "volunteer." At eight years old, I was probably the youngest. It was one of their most spectacular attractions and one I'll never forget.
Freedomland was an entertainment park, the largest anywhere in the world. It was New York's answer to Disneyland. Built in the shape of the United States, this 205-acre park's main theme was American history. It was divided into seven sections of our country, each with its own special exhibit or disaster. You could travel from the East Coast to the West Coast, all in one day.
My family and I came to the Bronx often to visit. On the day its doors opened on June 19, 1960, Freedomland became the high point of my childhood. After we parked the car in the lot, we walked to the stand to buy our tickets. Our first stop was Little Old New York. This was New York as it looked in the late 1800's. Horseless carriages and surreys filled the streets. People in period costumes mingled with people of today. A German "oompah" band played while several shops down the street, someone was robbing the bank.
A horse-drawn trolley took us to Chicago, where the streets were also filled with people. After we put the fire out, the curio shop next door had a fire sale. Paddlewheelers made their way across the Great Lakes. To get to San Francisco, you could board an old iron horse on the Santa Fe railroad. My family always preferred to walk.
The one attraction in the Great Plains section that I remember was Borden's farm with its white barn and matching silo. Borden's logo was on the side with Elsie's head wreathed in the middle of a daisy. Elsie and her two tiny calves lived inside the barn. It was a real farm with pigs, chickens, and live sheep. There was even a cornfield.
Next was San Francisco. It was 1906, the year of the big earthquake. You could visit the naughty Barbary Coast, eat lunch or dinner in Chinatown, visit Fisherman's Wharf, and watch the city collapse in an indoor ride called "Earthquake."
We visited the old Southwest of the 1890's. What I remember was a house called "Casa Loca." which means "crazy house." That is just what it was. This little shack was tilted, but you could walk straight through and never know it. Water ran uphill there, and people popped out of walls.
There was a real gunfight in the streets of the old town, which was a cross between Tombstone, Tuscon, and Old Santa Fe. A popular sky ride in this area was the ore bucket ride. This took you to the top of the Rocky Mountains.
I only remember two attractions from New Orleans. One was the Crystal Maze, a mirror maze that I got lost in, and an indoor ride, "Tornado," that took you inside the eye of a very powerful twister. The fun did not stop there. You could see pirates or ride a dragon, or a carousel. You could even get involved in the Civil War.
Satellite City was the last of of the seven sections and is an area of the park that I do not remember at all. I know, from research, that this was the futuristic part of the park, where Space Rover, a rocketship, took you through space around the entire Western Hemisphere in six minutes. The Blast-Off Bunker was a replica of a Cape Canaveral rocket launching station.
Satellite City was the only part of the park that was not completed when it opened. Perhaps that is why I do not remember it.
Freedomland only lasted four years. Its first season, 1960 to 1961, is the one that will always live in my memory. By 1962, the theme of the park had changed. The history was played down, and it became just an amusement park with bumper cars, roller coasters, and side shows. The park began to lose money. There were accidents and lawsuits. The front office was robbed. In its last season, the park lost more of its patrons to the New York World's Fair. On September 15, 1964, Freedomland filed for bankruptcy. Between late 1964 and early 1965, Freedomland was torn down. Later that year, plans were made for a large apartment complex, Co-Op City, to be built in its place.
Freedomland may have been a failure, but it was always a winner to me, especially the Chicago fire. When I ask other people if they remember Freedomland, that is the part of the park they always mention first. Many people still remember the gunfight in the Old Southwest and others that remember the old radio advertisement:
Saturday, November 27, 2010
If you can see me, I'm sitting on the tractor getting ready to head out to the orchard.
The present owners, Andy and Lou Amsler had taken over from their father who, after graduating from Farmingdale Agricultural College in 1934, began working for Mr. Richter the same year. Mr. Amsler leased the orchard from Mr. Richter three years later and operated it on his own.
|The store. The mill is on the right.|
The attack on Pearl Harbor had left an impression on Mr. Amsler so much so that he joined the Navy and became a Sea Bee stationed in the South Pacific.. Upon his return in 1946, he bought the farm from Mr. Richter and married Mrs. Amsler. After Mr. Richter's death, they had the hard task of running the orchard, while raising three sons. Out of respect for Mr. Richter, the Amsler family kept the name Richter's Orchard as a memorial to him.
When the Amsler brothers finished their stint at Cornell University College of Agriculture, they took over the business in 1979 after their parents retired. You can still spot them on busy days at the farm to help out Andy and Lou.
You can buy some homemade apple cinnamon pancake mix, mulling spices, apple crisp mix, apple bread mix and double apple muffin mix. Their small store is filled to the brim with all kinds of apples and great tasting cider that can be bought by the gallon or half gallon. Andy and Lou are great to talk and reminisce with. While touring, we met Chipper and discovered that he loved Asian apple pears.
|The road leading up to the mill|
They are open from August to May, but apple pressing begins in October. They are closed on Tuesdays after January 1.
Here are two links that I found, one has a review and the other is an article about the place.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
|The Brick Store in Bath, NH, the Oldest General Store|
The "Kanc" as it is known by the locals, was named for Chief Kancamagus or the Fearless One. Kancamagus once ruled all of what is now known as southern New Hampshire, In 1691, he made the decision to move north to upper New Hampshire, which is now known as Quebec, Canada after trying and failing to make peace with the English settlers.
Kancamagus Highway is fairly new, having been been completed in 1959. Some old logging roads were set aside by the federal government, but there wasn't a road linking Lincoln with Conway, New Hampshire.
|Lower Falls, White Mountains|
The Kanc was paved in 1964 and was plowed for the first time in 1968. It is now used all year round.
Sometimes when you travel on the Kanc, you can see moose, deer, even a fox. Here are some that we spotted. There are places that you can hike to such as an abandoned logging town called Livermore. It's way off the beaten path and if you don't know it's there, you won't find it.
Rob took some of my relatives that came for a visit. They had no idea that we were coming and came out to say hello.
I am including a few links:
this shows you the entire route of the highway:
wikipedia article on the history
more about the history of the road and some sites you can see
and about the abandoned logging town of Livermore
|Brake for moose crossing Kancamagus Highway|
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
|Remains of the Totsie in 1998|
Susan's family traveled from Long Beach, NY to the Bronx for the first year that the park was in business. Since Susan's family loved history, they went often. On the day its doors opened on June 19, 1960, Freedomland became the high point of Susan's childhood.
Its first season, 1960 to 1961, was the best part of Freedomland. That's when the history theme was really played to the hilt. There was Little Old New York, Chicago, the Great Plains, San Francisco, the old Southwest and New Orleans. Satellite City was added later.
Chicago was famous for its fire. As the story goes, in 1871, Mrs. O'Leary's cow tipped a lantern in her barn and thus began the fire that ravaged all of Chicago. This was reenacted at the park, where every twenty minutes a controlled fire would burn down a building and volunteers would have to put it out before it burned down the city. After the fire, the gift shop next door would have a fire sale. Susan was one of the volunteers, even though she was only eight years old at the time. It was great fun and that was her favorite part of the park and always stuck in her memory.
|Map of Freedomland|
By 1962, the theme of the park had changed. The history was played down, and it became just an amusement park with bumper cars, roller coasters, and side shows. The park began to lose money. There were accidents and lawsuits. The front office was robbed. In its last season, the park lost more of its patrons to the New York World's Fair. On September 15, 1964, Freedomland filed for bankruptcy. Between late 1964 and early 1965, Freedomland was torn down. Later that year, plans were made for a large apartment complex, Co-Op City, to be built in its place.
Rob used to have a site up for this park. It had been taken down a year ago and now he is working on getting it up again. This is where I got my pictures from.
Here is a link to a few sites on Freedomland:
Rob's Freedomland site is now up and running. Link below:
new link to rob's freedomland site
Saturday, November 20, 2010
This is another one of the "Gold Coast" estates and another copied after a French chateau. It remains the second largest private home in the world with 127 rooms and is over 109,000 square feet. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Here's another piece of trivia. Otto Kahn's likeness is used for the little man in the Monopoly game.
Of course, it didn't start out as a hotel. Mr. Kahn, a financier and philanthropist, hired famed architects Delano and Aldrich to build a summer home and country estate between 1914 and 1919. It was built out of steel and concrete making it one of the first fireproof buildings. Two years were spent building an artificial hill in which to place the home on, so that the family would have magnificent views of Cold Spring Harbor and Cold Spring Hills. Today, especially in winter, you can spot the many chimneys of Oheka Castle.
Otto Kahn commissioned the Olmstead Brothers to design the Formal Gardens, which you can see pictures of on the Oheka's official site. Mr. Kahn also had a private 18 hole golf course built around the estate, one of the largest private greenhouses in America, tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool, a landing strip, orchards and stables.
After Mr. Kahn died of a heart attack in 1934, the estate changed hands several times.In 1939, it was used as a retreat for New York sanitation workers, and in 1942 to 1945, it became a government training school for Merchant Marine radio operators. It became the Eastern Military Academy in 1948 until it went bankrupt in 1979. For 5 years the estate stood empty and was ravaged by vandals until 1984 when developer Gary Milius bought the estate and sought to renovate it to its former glory.
Please check out their great website to learn more about the history of this beautiful estate.
This is the Wikipedia article:
Check out the official site below. It's very informative and gives you plenty of vintage photos, some rare videos of the Kahn family and some great facts. Click on photo and check out Oheka on demand for some great videos.
here is an aerial view on wikimapia
Sunday, November 14, 2010
The history of this beautiful estate, which just opened for "work in progress" house tours in April, 2010, goes back to the late 1880's when the 70 acre Scully estate was part of Windholme farm, a 300 acre "gentleman's farm", which used to be across the street from Wereholme.
Windholme was a summer home owned by coal magnate Samuel Peters, who enjoyed fishing and boating on the Great South Bay with his wife Natalie and two children Harry and Lousine. The Peters eventually divided up the property between their children with Harry taking 200 acres to the east side and Lousine taking the 70 acres to the west.
The Scully estate or Wereholme was built for Lousine Peters and her husband, Harold Weekes in 1917 on the 70 acres that she inherited. Inspired by a French chateau, it was designed by architect Grosvenor Atterby, who also designed Forest Hills Gardens and part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Lousine then passed the estate over to her only child, her daughter, Hathaway or Happy as she was better known. In the 60's, Mrs. Scully, who had no children, left the estate to the National Audubon Society.
Across the street, Happy's first cousin, Natalie Peters Webster, donated her father's 200 acre estate to the federal government who then created the Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge. In 1968, Natalie's husband, Charles Webster, started the Seatuck Environmental Association, whose offices are at the Wereholme estate.
|Happy's bedroom, upstairs on the second floor.|
Upon Mrs. Scully's death in 1984, Audubon moved in and used the estate to house its Living Oceans Campaign. Suffolk County purchased Wereholme from the Audubon Society in 2004 to establish a nature center and protect open spaces. The County just completed an extensive renovation of the estate and also signed a long term agreement with Seatuck to manage and operate the facility.
|The tea room|
Seatuck itself has an extensive history. In 1968, while continuing to live on their 200 acres, Charles and Natalie Webster established the a National Wildlife Refuge to manage and conserve suburban wildlife. In 1979, the Suffolk Research Program, together with the Peter's family trusts, the Fish and Wildlife Service and Cornell University Lab or Ornithology conducted tests on a variety of subjects, including colonial nesting birds, salt marsh management, deer and raccoon populations and Lyme disease. When Cornell bowed out in 1989, Webster founded the Seatuck Environmental Center for continued research. In 2002, Seatuck began working with Suffolk County to establish a nature center at the Scully sanctuary across the way from Windholme. In 2007, Seatuck would move its offices over to the mansion, where they still reside today.
|Main entrance, hallway stairs leading to second floor bedrooms|
|Hallway, second floor|
|Deer at the refuge|
As usual, I am linking Seatuck's site at the bottom where it will explain more of the history of Wereholme and what Seatuck actually does. Enjoy!
To see the history, check under Nature Center and it will explain everything in more detail.
Here are some pictures I found of the Peter's estate, Windholme
Find the table of contents and click on Islip, NY to see the pictures. They are on pages 140 and 144.
another link with more pictures
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The very first lighthouse was completed in 1826 and was set back at the end of the Fire Island. It was built in the shape of an octagonal pyramid made from Connnecticut River blue split stone. It was only 74 ft high, too small for the ships to see, so it was taken down and the stones were used to build the terrace of the present lighthouse.
A new tower began construction after Congress appropriated $40,000 in 1857. It was considerably taller than the original and stood at 168 feet tall. Originally red brick and painted a creamy yellow, it changed to the black and white bands of the present day in August 1891.
The Fire Island Lighthouse was first lit with a Fresnel Lens and gave off one light flash every minute. Different fuels were used to light the lamps until electricity finally reached the lighthouse on September 20, 1938, a day before the Great Hurricane of 1938 struck Fire Island, cutting off all electric power and caused a delay to reinstate the lighthouse with electricity. In 1939, management of the lighthouse moved into the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard when the United States Lighthouse Service was dissolved. .
In 1973, the Fire Island Lighthouse was decommissioned. The Coast Guard gave the National Park Service a five year permit during which time, the lighthouse deteriorated. Due to limited funds, a group of concerned citizens got together to create the Fire Island Preservation Society in 1982. The raised over 1.3 million dollars to restore and preserve the lighthouse. In 1984, the lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. .
Thanks to the Society, the Fire Island Lighthouse has been restored to its 1939 condition and was relit and reinstated in 1986. In 1996, the Society took over the maintenance and operation of the lighthouse.
You can still see the lights of the Fire Island Lighthouse. It flashes every 7.5 seconds and is highly visible for up to 21 to 24 miles.
As usual, here is the site for the Fire Island Lighthouse. Please check it out as there is a virtual tour of the lighthouse. The virtual tour is located in the Photos and Multimedia Section.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
This is Rob and Susan's favorite place to get apple cider and believe me, they have the best. They've been to others and nothing comes close. Hot or cold, you can't beat the Jericho Cider Mill.
The mill started making champagne cider in 1820 and was still going strong until prohibition closed it down in 1919. It remained closed for several years until it moved to another site. In the 30's, John Zulkofske purchased the mill and returned it to its original site, only to watch it being razed for the expansion of Route 106 in 1958.
The Jericho Cider Mill operates from Labor Day to Mother's Day and is closed the rest of the year. The cider is made right on premises, pressed from the finest and freshest Hudson River apples with no preservatives added.
You can buy anything in their store from apples to pies to delicious fresh cider, hot or cold. They even have a spice mix to make your own mulled cider on cold winter days.
Here I am sampling one of their juicy apples and some of their cider which is sitting next to me. Yum.
And here is their store. Packed as usual on a crisp autumn Sunday afternoon.
As usual, here are more links to the history of the Jericho Cider Mill.