Monday, January 17, 2011

John Coltrane Home, Dix Hills, Long Island, NY

Back on Long Island again, this time in front of the home of renowned jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane.  Coltrane moved his wife and four children in 1964.  He lived here three years until he died of liver cancer in 1967.  His wife, Alice, lived in this home until 1973.  

This "Farm Ranch" house, built in 1952, is comprised of four bedrooms, a living room and a practice room above the garage.  There is also a recording studio in the basement, Coltrane Studios, where many demo recordings were made.  The practice room is credited as being the place where he composed the album "Love is Supreme."
The living room

The 3.4 acre plot and house were marked for demolition by developer Ash Agrawal in 2002 until a local historian by the name of Steve Fulgoni launched a campaign to save it in 2004.  By 2006,  the Town of Huntington purchased the house and was given to a local non-profit group known as "The Friends of the Coltrane Home." In 2007, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The house, which according to an article "Winter Threatens John Coltrane House" speaks of intensive repairs, which will cost close to one million dollars, but is still "miraculously intact". The article, published in 2009, is the most updated information that I can get on the house. 
Mr. Fulgoni, who sits on the Board of Directors of "The Friends" along with Coltrane family,  would like to turn the house into a museum where kids can learn more about John Coltrane and his music.  The picture of me sitting in the driveway was taken on July 4, 2010 and the gate was open at the time. 

If in the neighborhood, the house is located at 247 Candlewood Path in Dix Hills. 

As usual, I am including a few links:

Wikipedia article

The article "Winter Threatens John Coltrane Home" where I borrowed two pictures from.

New York Times article:

the official John Coltrane site.  The link to the Dix Hills house does not seem to work and I wonder if the site has been taken down.

Town of Huntington article:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gumbo Limbo Environmental Complex, Boca Raton, FL

Hello again from sunny Florida.  This time I'm here at the Gumbo Limbo Environmental Complex in Boca.  The first few times that Susan and Rob visited Florida, the complex was always closed, but when we finally got to see this remarkable facility, they keep going back.

It was known as the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center back then and is surrounded by two parks, Spanish River and Red Reef.  Gumbo Limbo started out in Spanish River, later moved to Red Reef as the master plans called for.  The Nature Center on the right, contains a butterfly nursery, gopher tortoise exhibit and a sea turtle garden to name a few.  While there, you can visit the gift shop, sign up for public programs and/or pick up some literature on nature and conservation.

You can also walk along their elevated boardwalk and visit the Hardwood Hammock, which will give you a glimpse of what Florida looked like back before modern civilization and climb the 40 foot observation tower where you can see for miles around you.  Discover what the state tree of Florida is and what a strangler fig is.    

The North Trail features a butterfly garden which is in full bloom in May and June. Relax in the Seminole chiki that overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway where, if you are lucky enough, you can spot a manatee.

Exhibits also include four seawater tanks where you are encouraged to touch and handle.  Included are the Mangrove Tank, the Reef Tank, the Shark and Ray tank and a Sea Turtle Tank. 

Their Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center is new having opened in January of 2010.  In the past, Gumbo Limbo saved sick and injured sea turtles, but always sent them to other facilities to be treated.  Of  5000 endangered green turtles,177 of them were treated here and released from this new facility due to a cold snap on January 1st.  

An endangered sea turtle in one of the four outdoor tanks .

I am including the official site of the Gumbo Limbo Environmental Complex which includes pictures and a detailed history of the creation of the park.    It is worth looking at especially if you've never been there.  It will give you some idea of how important the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is to the area and what they are involved in.  I would also like to thank them for providing some of the pictures that you see on this blog.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Wakodahatchee Wetlands and Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands, FL

Well, I suppose after all the snow we just had you'd like to see something warm.  So here I am in Florida at a great place called Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach.  Here you'll find everything you are looking for.  From rare birds to alligators, Wakodahatchee has it all.

Wakodahatchee means "created waters" and comes from the language of the Seminoles. Fifty acres of unused utilities creates this great place to enjoy nature at its finest.   

There is a three mile boardwalk so you can walk through and enjoy the wildlife and learn how these wetlands were created and how it is maintained.  In the site I will provide in my usual links, you can take a virtual tour of these wetlands and learn a little more about this popular spot.  Walkers, joggers, bird watchers and just plain local folk come to this place every day to learn more. 

Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands in Boynton Beach is similar yet different.  It's a bit newer than Wakodahatchee and provides a 1.5 mile boardwalk which snakes through the 100 acre habitat. There is also a large modern nature center as you enter the wetlands from the parking lot.  There are lots of exhibits you can enjoy and it's a great place for adults as well as children.

Here are the links:

Here is a virtual tour of the Wakodahatchee Wetlands.  Explore, then read about this great spot.

The link to Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands.  I borrowed the picture above from this site.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pastrami N Friends, Commack, LI, New York

Look at the size of that sandwich.  You can't get any better pastrami than that.  Wash it down with a little Dr. Brown's Cel-Rey and you've got the perfect deli meal.

Welcome to Pastrami N Friends, one of three Kosher delis in Suffolk County, but believe me, this one is the best.  It actually beats the pants off one of the biggest and most well-known Kosher delis in the area.

It's actually new to Rob and Susan, but it's not new to the area.  Partners Ernie and Don (Don is now retired and Ronnie has taken his place) opened  Pastrami N Friends in 1975 and are still in the same location.  They were recently voted Best Pastrami on Long Island for 2011 and they do deserve the honor.  Ernie believes that it's because he uses only top quality products and he will not settle for anything less. 

It may be a little smaller than other well known delis, but it's big on quality and warm in heart.  Ernie treats his employees and patrons equally, like one big happy family.  Sharon, our waitress for this evening, has worked there for 20 years.  When you walk in, you get treated with kid gloves.  Everyone welcomes you with a smile and the servers will bend over backwards to bring you a great meal.  Everyone is warm and friendly with excellent service with prices that can't be beat.
The yellow paneling on the walls and the doo-wop oldies playing over the speakers help to enhance this fabulous restaurant.  The pictures and posters on either side of the deli cover the periods from the 1930's to the present and make you feel right at home. If you so desire, you can purchase any one of them.

One of the better things about this particular deli is that it serves a cup of any soup you want, unlike other delis in the area, which only serve a large bowl.  Try  all the homemade soups, all of which are out of this world.  Specials written on the board are named after a borough or section of Brooklyn.

Tonight Susan and Rob were served an open sandwich of the best tasting corned beef and pastrami served with delicious derma over barley.  Rob had a large potato pancake while Susan had the traditional fries.  Both served with Dr. Brown's Cel-Rey soda.

So the next time you are looking for a great Kosher deli with a "little bit of Brooklyn", please consider Pastrami N Friends as your stopping off point. It is located off Commack Road in the Meat Farms Mall and is the second store on the left.  When you click on their menu link below, it will give you directions how to get there.

Towards the rear of the deli, you will glimpse a sign that reads "Good Food - Good Times - Good Friends."  This says it all.

As usual, I am including a few links

Their menu:


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Atlantic Seafood Market , Center Moriches, Long Island, NY

Hi there and Happy New Year everybody!!!  We took our traditional ride out to Montauk today (which I will cover in my next two blogs) and stopped off to eat at the Atlantic Seafood Market, a combination fish market and restaurant.  The food there is excellent with prices to match.

You can't beat their specials.  Susan had the stuffed flounder with spinach filling topped with three stuffed shrimp with rice and veggies, a special for $13.99.  Rob had a pound and a quarter lobster dinner with rice and veggies, another special for $12.95.  Served with your choice of salad or coleslaw (they both had the salad), but they also sampled the soup.  Rob had the New England Clam Chowder and Susan had the Bisque, all homemade and just delicious. Sarah, our waitress brought four fresh rolls to the table before dinner; two seeded and two dark rye, which I heartily recommend.  Here I am sampling one before dinner. 

Atlantic Seafood Market started off a Swap and Shop, the only one in the area, owned and operated by Leslie and Mary Loper in 1948. Even after Leslie died, Mary and her daughter, Maryann ran the Swap and Shop for many years afterward.

The business started to change with the advent of garage and yard sales and Maryann's husband, George, began to build and sell lobster pots to people in their neighborhood.  As business started to grow, people came in looking to buy lobsters, along with clams, shrimp and fish.  So the Atlantic Fish Market was born.

An elderly gentlemen came into the Market one day, looking to buy a large lobster for his wife's birthday.  He explained that because it was her birthday, he didn't want her to cook and asked Maryann to cook it for him.  She explained to him that she wasn't allowed to, but would do it anyway if he promised not to say anything to anyone about it.  Well, one thing led to another and the next day two more people showed up and asked her to cook their lobsters.  And that, as they say, is history.

The restaurant continues to grow and evolve, largely through friends, family and patrons. We were lucky enough to meet and speak with Christine, one of the daughters of George and Maryann.  A wonderful and warm woman, who was kind enough to share some of the family history with us.

  There is a small outdoor seating area on the side so you can eat outdoors in the warmer months. The ambiance is warm and the patrons were very friendly and helpful.  The service is excellent; we never lacked for anything.  So if you're ever in the area or on Montauk Highway stop into the Atlantic Seafood Market.  It's not hard to miss, just look for the large shark mouth that surrounds the doorway.

As usual, here are some links:

The menu:


more photos

and more reviews