Sunday, July 24, 2011

American Airpower Museum, Farmingdale, LI, NY

This is the American Airpower Museum, dedicated solely to the aircraft and vehicles used in WWII and later years.

They are located in Farmingdale, in one of the hangers on the former site of Republic Aviation, once one of the largest employers on Long Island. Check out my blog for more information on Republic Aviation, also known as Fairchild Republic.   It was at this complex that over 9,000 P-47 Thunderbolts were produced.  The link to my entry will be included along with the other links at the bottom of this page.

I'm sitting at the cockpit of Teacher's Pet, a full scale replica of a WWII bomber complete with machine guns positions, bombardier, radio and pilot positions.  You actually get to walk through and experience what being on a bomber is like.  With video enhancements and accompanying text, makes this exhibit worthwhile.  This is designed for younger people in order to  bridge the gap between them and their grandparents who fought during WWII.  

The museum is chock full of information regarding World War II and has an extensive collection of operational aircrafts.  Volunteers like Al Roessler, who braved the 100 degree heat to show us around, make it possible for this museum to exist.

There were lots of planes were on exhibit outside, but this gives you some idea of what is here and how big their collection is.  Many of these planes are operational and air shows during the holidays are interesting and informative, always attracting a large crowd.  This is made possible by state grants and corporate underwriting. Shelt-Air and Republic Airport management team also support the museum by keeping the collection operational
 In 2008, the American Airpower Museum was in danger of being demolished by the Federal Aviation Administration, along with another hanger, in order to meet new runway standards.
At one point, after ongoing negotiations, the FAA discovered that it did not have the authority to demolish the hangers and it was decided to dismantle the museum and move it to a more appropriate spot.
This is a great victory not only for the museum, but for thousands of visitors to learn more about WWII aircraft and understand the role it played in preserving our freedom and democracy of the United States.

On our first visit, we were impressed with the museum's collection and with the amount of information contained within its walls.  On our second visit yesterday, we once again spent close to three hours with our tour guide whose enthusiasm and extensive knowledge helped us learn much more than we had from our first visit.

Several movies and tv shows have been filmed here, more recently the new show "Pan Am" where a replica of an old Pan American airplane was used as a prop.  Susan saw two scenes from the show being filmed here and saw as the team cleaned and painted the plane to get it ready for filming. One side said "Pan Am", the other side announced to the public to "Fly Eastern Airlines."  Watch for it in the new fall lineup.

Me on a Sherman tank.

B61 Hydrogen Bomb
Here are some links:

The official site of the American Airpower Museum. Check out this very informative site.  It gives more details and provides photos and information on their extensive collection of WWII airplanes and vehicles.

Link to an earlier Clyde's Guides blog entry on Fairchild Republic and Republic Aviation.
Article on the saving of the American  Airpower Museum

Wikipedia article

New fall show on ABC "Pan Am"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Hidden Vineyard, Calverton, LI, NY

I'm at the Hidden Vineyard enjoying a glass of the best chardonnay I've ever had and the best thing about it is that it has no preservatives, no additives and no sulfites at all.  There is no stainless steel involved here, as other vineyards have used; everything made of wood which gives the better and truer taste.

This is all thanks to Peter, the owner, who still uses his family recipe which has been handed down from generation to generation.

The Hidden Vineyard was founded in 2002 by the DiBernardi family, who are originally from a small island off the coast of Sardinia, Italy.  Peter's father taught him to make wine as did his grandfather taught his father. He is new to growing grapes though, but seems to be doing a fine job with his fairly large vineyard right across from the wine tasting booth.

 There are six wines to sample, each served in a cold, frosty glass. The three white wines include a Chardonnay, a Riesling and a Pino Grigio.  The three red wines include a Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and a Cabernet Sauvignon.  They are all served from the two casks behind me.   Buying a bottle is simple and easy.   The bottles are filled right in front of you and you can get a custom made label.

The Hidden Vineyard does wine tasting from Friday to Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm.  Entertainment is provided by Andy Lepak a multi-talented singer who plays drums, electric piano and guitar.  

Peter and any of the other servers are friendly and helpful and will answer any and all of your questions.  They make you feel at home.  Bring your own cheese and crackers and enjoy a bottle of wine as you listen to great music under the tent.  This is truly a hidden gem and one vineyard not to be missed.

The Hidden Vineyard official site:

Andy Lepak's official site.  There are links to his Facebook page. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

William Floyd Estate, Mastic Beach, LI, NY

Since it is July 4th, I wanted to share our trip to William Floyd Estate, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  We toured the  house on Memorial Day of this year.  Although Rob and Susan had gone through the house years ago, there is always something new to see on each visit.

Originally from Wales, the Floyd family sailed to the New World around 1650.  After settling in Setauket, LI in the 1680's, Richard Floyd II purchased 4,400 acres from the prominent Long Island Smith family in 1718.  Since that time, the estate has been passed down through eight generations of the Floyd family.  It was donated to the National Park Service in 1976.

It was called the Old Mastic House when the family lived here.  Starting off as a 6 room colonial, it has changed and expanded over the years to accommodate a growing family.  Today, there are 25 rooms. 

Originally a plantation in colonial times, the property includes twelve outbuildings, the family cemetery and 613 acres of forest, fields, marsh and many nature trails.  As the years passed, the Floyd family became more involved business and politics and the estate soon became just a summer home and used for hunting and fishing when in season.
The Floyd family cemetery still in use today
The house has not been altered and is shown exactly how the family left it in 1976. The Park Service believes that it is a unique cultural preservation and not a restoration.  When you tour the house, you will see a family that has made their home here for over 250 years.  It is truly impressive to see how each room has changed with the times.  You might notice a piece of furniture from the 1700's and another from the 1960's next to one another.  There are electric lamps and updated kitchens and a few doors down will see the original colonial kitchen. It is truly something to experience.  
The expansive "Vista View" clear to the marshes

Since it is a more a preservation, there is no photography allowed inside the house, but I have found some pictures from our local paper that I will include a link to. The property is still maintained as if they family still lived on the property.

Here are some links:

In answer to two comments about where William Floyd is actually buried, here is the link to explain.  Yes, he is buried in Westernville, NY.  The gravestone in the family cemetery was moved from Westernville to Long Island when the original stone was replaced.  The link is below:

Official site of the William Floyd Estate

More on the history of  William Floyd:

 Newsday article.  Some pics of the inside of the estate

Article about Westernville couple restoring General Floyd's home in Westernville, NY.  This is where he moved to later on and left the Mastic house to his son.

Gravestone of William Floyd

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park, New York, New York

After an absence of over ten years, Susan, Rob and I decided to take a trip out to the Cloisters Museum in New York.   They explained that there were several changes and several exhibits that were formerly closed were now open.

The museum, which is actually part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, contains a mixture of art and architecture from medieval Europe. The galleries are all in chronological order and covers periods from AD 1000 to 1150 and 1200 (the Romanesque period) and continuing with 1150 into the 1520's (Gothic period).

The Cloisters was created by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and first opened in 1938. Many of the exhibits and galleries were made possible by the acquisition of the George Gray Barnard collection, an American sculptor.  Many of these medieval sculptures and artworks that Mr. Barnard purchased were part of properties from French farmers and local magistrates that had been abandoned after the French Revolution.   The exhibits and galleries grew and expanded into what you see here today which include paintings, sculptures, tapestries, ceramics, enamels, stained glass and metalwork.

Here I am in the Cuxa Cloister from a Benedictine monastery, Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa from Twelfth century France. We then made our way over to the  Fuentiduena Chapel, which had always been closed off when Susan and Rob visited there.  Rob's favorite room is the twelfth century Chapter House from a Benedictine abbey from Gascony.  We have lots of pics and I will put up as many as I can.

Fuentiduena Chapel

Housed here are also the famous Unicorn Tapestries which depicts the hunt and eventual capture of the mythical unicorn.  According to the brochure, it was woven in Brussels around 1500.

The Unicorn in Captivity, part of the Unicorn Tapestries

There is much to see and do here and it is open any time of the year. Hours vary from season to season and is closed on Mondays, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  As The Cloisters is part of the Met, you can also visit that museum after your visit here.  The entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art is located on 82nd Street on Fifth Avenue. If you've never been (or have and want to check out newer exhibits), then this would be a great time to see both museums for the price of one.

Both museums are easy accessible by car, bus or subway and are worth the trip.

The Saint-Guilhem Cloister

The Bonnefont Cloister which contains a herb garden
The Trie Cloister, which is now a cafe
The Chapter House, Rob's favorite part of the museum

Here is the official site link to The Cloisters which should explain more about the exhibits and about the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It's a very informative site and also includes the floor plan to the Cloisters.

Beautiful view of the Palisades and Hudson River from the West Terrace