A Day in the Life & Children of Iron

The Waterford Swans on Dawn Patrol
The Waterford Swans on Dawn Patrol

The Day started at 06:00 with the pair of Waterford Swans and their new cygnets doing a Dawn Patrol.

The A330-300 that Delta flies on the Dublin to JFK run has a Japanese flavor on the entertainment system.

ON the road to Dublin
ON the road to Dublin

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Approaching Dublin Airport
Approaching Dublin Airport

Thus I’ve watched a few memorable Japanese movies in the last few months flying over the North Atlantic.  Today’s memorable film was called, “Children of Iron”  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5162716/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_1

The Poster for Children of Iron
The Poster for Children of Iron

Beware that the Japanese Times story about this is a bit of a spoiler and not that accurate to begin with.

But I can tell you that one of the adults tells the two children that since they are a child of iron, they must always smile and basically put a good face on everything because that is what adults must do.

I am clumsy in my explanation, but I did feel it was quite poignant.

Maybe in anticipation of having Dauntless in Japan, I have been fascinated by the creativity of the Japanese in both the written word as well as film.  Just don’t tell my Korean friends.

Ireland from 10,000 feet
Ireland from 10,000 feet

As I drove on the Belt Parkway heading west to the Verrazano Bridge and ultimately New Jersey, I was

The Coney Island Subway Yard just off the Belt Parkway
The Coney Island Subway Yard just off the Belt Parkway

amazed at some of the grandiose bridge construction that has taken place in the last few years.  This route takes me right past not only my mother’s house, but also her sister’s house (the next to last sibling that died a few years before my mother, the last of the 7 DeLuca siblings) and my cousin’s house of that same sister.

 

A Few City of New York Thoughts

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Brownsville today. Clean & safe streets.

Be patient, in less than two weeks, I will be back on Dauntless and my blogs will revert to its focus on boats, cruising and travel.

But in the meantime, I find myself with a lot of time; maybe too much time, thinking and reflecting, reflecting and thinking and the continuous circle that entails.

Burned out cars and dilapidated buildings on sixth street, Sunset Park in the 1980's. Photo by ROBERT MADDEN/National Geographic Creative
Burned out cars and dilapidated buildings on sixth street, Sunset Park, Brooklyn in the 1980’s.
Photo by ROBERT MADDEN/National Geographic Creative

Meeting an old friend in the middle Brooklyn yesterday, driving from the Bronx; one is reminded that the transportation networks of NYC, roads and public transportation, as outstanding as they are, were never meant for doing what I was doing, going from the Bronx to Brooklyn and return.

New York City was put together in the “Consolidation of the City of Greater New York” in 1898.  Before 1898, NYC consisted of Manhattan and the Bronx.  The towns of the Bronx having been incorporated into NYC during the preceding 25 years.

So until 1898, the City of Brooklyn, (then one of the largest cities in the U.S.) was incorporated into the City of Greater New York.  At the same time, all the little villages/towns of Staten Island and Queens were included.  Thus even to this day, the addresses in Queens, refer to the village, e.g. Flushing, Long Island City, but Brooklyn is all Brooklyn, while Manhattan is of course New York.

So the “City”, “New York”, Manhattan to the rest of you, is where most of the commerce takes place and thus our transportation system, public and highways, was developed to get people from the boonies to New York.  But driving across the boroughs, let’s say from Bronx to Brooklyn, is a pain in the ass.

My Drive Clara Barton H.S.
My Drive Clara Barton H.S. From the Bronx, through Queens and Brooklyn

But it gives one time to see how the places I lived in Brooklyn, 16 years ago have changed or in some respects have stayed the same and that’s for the better.

Driving through Brownsville, the clean streets, single women walking alone, are all signs of the changes that took place in the last 30 years, as well as the dedication of Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg.  Giuliani in particular gets no credit for making NYC clean and safe.  Before his time, Manhattan was difficult, but livable.  The ghettos of Brownsville, East New York, Bedford Stuyvesant were littered with burned out cars on every block, walking was impossible, driving was perilous.

A Walk though Prospect Park for the first time in 15 years.
A Walk though Prospect Park for the first time in 15 years.

Giuliani proceeded to make every NYC employee do their job.  Garbage was picked up, crooks were arrested, rules were enforced.

Thanks for listening.

First Times

Are always hard.

I still remember vividly every mistake I made during my first winter in Fairbanks, Alaska: having to change a tire at 50° below zero (-45°C), because I had not put enough air in it when it was warmer, and now, at minus 50°, the tire was so flat it had a flat spot, that would not allow the car to move.  Even with thick gloves on, I froze the end of my index finger.

That same winter, same car, I spent a week not being able to start it.  One night, walking the 5 miles to work at my first weather forecasting job, I almost froze to death.  I was so cold, when I finally got to the get at Ft. Wainwright, the gate guard took pity on me and called for a car to take me the last mile.

You have heard enough about our first Atlantic crossing and what we would do differently.

My first year of teaching was unreal.  Swimming across the Atlantic may have been easier.

Dauntless still has the dent in the swim platform from the first time I tried to back into a slip.

So, I find myself relishing the thought of the coming winter.

Why?

Because it’s the second winter for Dauntless in Europe and Ireland. I know what to expect; I know what to worry about and what I don’t have to worry about.

It doesn’t get simpler or easier than that.

I know that with Dauntless secure in Waterford, I can spend a bit more time in the U.S.; not only with Julie in N.Y., but also visiting other friends throughout the country and Europe.

A “Real Life of Reilly” A TV show that that as a young kid I found fascinating, why? It was about this foreign place called Brooklyn.  Reilly worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard; which also says a lot about New Yorkers in that we are a city of neighborhoods.  Also, since I lived on the west side of Manhattan, it was out of sight.

Literally, my sight.

Had I perhaps lived in the Lower East Side (from which the Brooklyn Navy Yard is quite visible) maybe I would not have thought Brooklyn so foreign.  It did have Coney Island, which I was a frequent visitor.  But again, in those days, the train to Coney Island took the tunnel under the East River; so again, I missed my opportunity to the Navy Yard. (Nowadays, it takes the Manhattan Bridge, giving a wonderful view of New York (Manhattan), Brooklyn and even the Statue of Liberty.

OK, so back to the story.

I can also spend a bit more time on the continent, taking advantage of Ryan Air’s cheap flights, while I scope out some possible places for winter over next year.

Yes, the second time is great.

So while my second winter in Fairbanks, didn’t come for another 10 years, I knew to put 60 lbs. of air in the tires (double the normal amount) before winter started and the gas station air pumps all froze.

I also knew contrary to local wisdom, to start the car engine with no choke initially, otherwise it would instantly flood and I’d be walking for a week.

And in our second year on Dauntless, I know when someone asks me to back the boat into a slip to make it more convenient for them, I kindly decline.

So, I’m really looking forward to my upcoming second winter and second summer in Europe.

But after two, three starts looking the same as one and two.

So it’ll be time to reset the clock again.

Better to have a new first time; than a boring third time.

So just like that we start all over again.

 

 

 

 

Just What Have I Been Doing for the Last Few Months?

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Packed Storage Bins

Since December, besides travelling to England, Italy, Spain and the U.S., I have been organizing tools and spare parts.  I am making a computerized list of each part, their storage location, as well as any significant information, such as model number, etc.

Having also reorganized my tools and fasteners, clamps, etc., my life will be so much easier, and as an added bonus, I was able to throw away two garbage cans of packing materials.

Though I am returning to Dauntless today, I shall return to NY at the end of April for two weeks. Dauntless will be hauled out and have her bottom painted again while I am in NY.  Then I will be joined by Larry, a friend of over 40 years, who I met on T-3.  With that extra set of hands, we will complete the last of the winter projects.

What’s left to be done:

  1. Replacing the Raritan toilet processing tank,
  2. Installation of the Wallas DT40 heater
  3. Installation of a 30,000 BTU “Bus” heater, which will use engine heat to heat the two cabins while underway,
  4. Recommissioning the Katadyn water maker
  5. General clean up

In my Next post, I will publish the updated Cruise Plan.

On another topic.

I made a new post on my other blog, Refeldtions, titled Another World Leader Appreciates the United States of America.

A great story that was in yesterday’s Opinion page of the Wall Street Journal, 21 March 2015, President Sisi of Egypt tells of a different reality than we are accustomed to hearing, day in and day out.

I thought it was important to share. If interested, the link is:  richardbost.wordpress.com

 

Snow, New York and My Father

Why am I so sad that I am going to miss this big NYC Blizzard?

I do like snow.  Why else would I have spent so much time in Alaska!

As a child, I remember waking up and listening to the traffic on West Street below our third floor window.  West Street was still cobblestones in those days and full of truck traffic, as the elevated West Side Highway kept most cars off the surface street.

Every once in a while, especially during January and February, I would awake to silence.  The snow muffling the noise of the tires on the cobblestones.

During one particularity heavy snow that occurred on a Sunday, my father had planned go to New Hope, PA, where his friend, the Sculptress Selma Burke, had a house and some land.  I loved going there.  It was always an adventure, with a little stream that had grass growing on the bottom that I was absolutely terrified of.

Selma, not our father, actually taught my brother (Peter, two years younger) and I to hunt.  We ate what we shot, the total haul being one woodchuck and one duck, but I felt sad for the duck’s partner and it was the last animal I ever killed.

But on this windy, snowy day, NYC had maybe 12” to 18” inches of snow and I declined going to New Hope, deciding instead to make my own adventure by taking the 10th Ave bus up to Riverside Park with my sled.  I did that, walking the mile to 14th to catch the bus that finally came and an OK day sledding.

When my brother and father got home that night, my brother regaled me with tales of blasting through large snow drifts and I was disappointed that I had missed out.  A bit strange that I did not go, in that I was the one who accompanied my father on all sorts of trips, in the city and out, never being too bored (sometimes my job was simply to sit in the car, while it was double parked, as my father found various electronic parts he needed).  My brother often found much of this time boring, and while at times I did also, I felt it was part of my responsibility in helping my father in any way I could and I liked seeing different things, going to new places.

There was only one other time, that my brother accompanied my father without me, and that was during the summer of 1972.  I had decided to stay in Seattle at the UW to attend this oceanography class that actually had us out on Puget Sound doing stuff.  But that summer, our father,  G. Lee Bost, was working on the last of his three Shaft movies, Shaft in Africa, so my brother got to go on location for a month, while I collected seaweed in Washington.  I was not as envious that time.  Africa did not sound that appealing to me.  Neither did our father by the way, who remarked that he was grateful to be born in the USA no matter how his ancestors got there.

Sadly, our father died in 1992, when I was 41 and it wasn’t until my forties that I started to see how similar I was to my father, in both good and bad ways. A gentle soul, loyal to his friends until the end of time.

But 20+ of snow is always fun in the City.  It’s especially interesting watching the MTA put those cable chains on the Articulated buses 24 hours in advance, so the cable are well worn or broken by the time the snow actually arrives.

February 2011 Snow Storm
February 2011 Snow Storm
20101226 Blizzard 007
Christmas 2010 Snow Storm This bus and the one in front of it sat for days
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Julie and Sarah Enjoy the February Snow

 

Then the buses prompt get stuck after the first few inches in any case.

Articulated buses are only good to reduce the number of drivers and the quality of service.  Not much else.

But I digress.

I am truly sorry I am not there.  Had I been reading the forecast discussions like I used to, I would have had an inkling a few days ago and may have even flown home for the event.   Oh well, next time.

Nowadays, I look at the Atlantic Surface Analysis every day.  I like getting a feel for the weather and how it changes over time.  It will be during the winter that we will follow in Columbus’ tracks and take the Northeast Trade Winds back to the New World.

I did pull out Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes last night.

So many places to go and people to see.

A Walk in the Bronx & the New Squeegee Men

Or the Return of the Squeegee Men, Without the Squeegee.

Bronx Greenway Mosholu Pelham System
Bronx Greenway Mosholu Pelham System

So no Dauntless news in this post. No news is good news., just me on my soapbox.

Woke up this morning and realized that I needed some exercise.  In Waterford, I walk a few miles a day, up and down the hill to the butcher and the two bakeries, one for bread and the other for a cupcake or other tasty treat.

Living in Manhattan, I was able to park the car within a block or so of our apartment, now in the Bronx, a half mile away is becoming commonplace, but we don’t use the car as much.  So, I’m actually walking far less. I decided to walk the green space from the Bronx Zoo, past the Bronx Botanical Gardens, pass the Bronx River and up Mosholu Parkway towards Van Cortland Park.

My dear friend Samantha, a real Bronxite, had told me about this path and how it is possible to walk almost half way through the borough in this green space.  Very nice; a month earlier the fall foliage would have been much prettier.

The Bronx River
The Bronx River

So as I am ambling down the path, the first thing I notice is the guy with the pit bull letting his dog shit in the park and no way is he picking it up.  Then a few minutes later, in one of the places where I have to cross the street, with traffic backed up getting onto the Bronx River Parkway, who do I see, but the new squeegee men.  They don’t have squeegees anymore, they don’t need them, as they have figured out, panhandling is even more lucrative than the extortion of trying to clean someone’s windshield.  So by staking out some spot where cars are bumper to bumper they can make their hundred dollars a day with little effort.

The Squeegee Men, Without the Squeegee
The Squeegee Men, Without the Squeegee

Now they are far less annoying, than the panhandlers on the subway who have been multiplying like cockroaches the last couple years. Every train now seems have at least one or two. The new Mayor has made it clear by his actions that he doesn’t care about the quality of life issues that made this City livable again under Giuliani and Bloomberg.  The cop on the street is being put into a no win situation. We had a good 20 year run, but as someone who watched the decline in the late ‘50’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s, I’ve seen this picture before and it doesn’t end well.

What most people don’t realize is that the City declined because at best 20% of all City workers were actually working (except the Firemen, who as always had a lot of work and who attract those men and women who actually wanted to keep busy. And if you doubt that, just look at the events of 9/11 and the 380 poor souls who gave their lives just doing the jobs they have always done).

A Police Station
A Police Station

No, the City was dirty, mentally and physically.  Burned out cars in the hundreds or more littered every poor neighborhood.  Every year crime got worse, and the politicians, wrung their hands, beat their breasts and lamented that there was nothing they could do.  In the mid 1980’s a woman was raped on 6Th ave in midtown.  Just a few feet from the sidewalk, in front of an office building in Midtown.  Not even late at night, but in the evening.  Unimaginable now, but it was commonplace then.  Murders, rapes, mayhem; that was the City by 1992.  Finally Giuliani comes along and changes the game.  He made everyone do their job.  Police started arresting folks, garbage men started picking up garbage and he actually took the City back from the Hoodlums and their ilk who terrorized everyone, most of all in poor neighborhoods.

But it starts and ends with small things.  In the past year, It has become impossible to ride on the subway, without someone with a voice of an opera star telling everyone how hungry they are and while they really want food, they will take cash, but no credit cards, yet.

So, on my little walk this morning these were the thoughts crossing my mind.  The saddest part, is the Mayor obviously cares about image more than results.  Stop and Frisk made our poor neighborhoods safe.  Safe for whom, the 95% of the good, hardworking people who live there.  Ask them if they want to stop it; not those blowhards who pretend to speak for them, but could care less.

Enough, thank you for listening.  It’s been on my mind for quite a while and while I feel powerless, I feel sometimes we just can’t give up without at least saying something.

The Bronx has turned out to be a really interesting and nice place.  My friend Samantha had made it clears how much this was a borough full of interesting, wonderful neighborhoods.  When she told me this, I never believed I’d be living here myself one day, but I am.  Full of many very diverse neighborhoods.  In our neighborhood alone, we have Albanians, Russians, Hispanics from all over South and Central America, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, Bengalis, Pakistanis, Arabs, some southeast Asians, northwest Asians and southwest Asians. And of course, there are still the Italians, Irish and Jews who were the bulk of the Bronx for over a hundred years.

Mosholu Parkway
Mosholu Parkway

I walked 5 miles, it was a wonderful morning and the beginning of a great week.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

A Wallace Avenue Apt Building
A Wallace Avenue Apt Building
Lydig Avenue
Lydig Avenue