Trip to Mark and Barbara (1997)

While I was holidaying with Gordon and Arna in California, Mark and Barbara had invited me to spend a fortnight with them in Long Island, New York.

The weather was still a bit uncertain, and there was quite a bit of snow in the higher regions. As a result, it was suggested that I wait for more favourable conditions, and suggested somewhere around the middle of April, when the flowers would all be in bloom and everything just about right.

I therefore took off for Long Island, and arranged to use the La Guardia airport for landing. For the first time I used the Airport Greyhound bus in Brandon, and travelled non-stop to Winnipeg where I caught my plane. My grandson Mark was waiting for me at the Airport, and drove me to his apartment in Port Jefferson, Long Island.

In spite of a rather sharp back and hip pain, I made the trip rather well. Mark and Barbara live in a quiet, comfortable area near to Stony Brook University where Barbara is employed as director in her particular field, "International Exchange Study". Mark is a computer trouble-shooter and works for both Berkley, California and Perdue University. He travels a lot and is about to set up a complete computer outfit in his home for easy access to his various workplaces.

I was comfortably ensconced in their guest room, with a patio which overlooked the streets below, and since the building was erected on a hill, it provided quite a splendid view of the surrounding terrain.

Barbara is pursuing studies in Anthropology, and hopes to obtain her doctorate (Ph.D.) in a year's time. Her thesis is "Guyana", which she and Mark visited extensively, going all the way into the jungle interior in search of his great-grandfather's final resting place where he died.

Mark is a Nuclear Physicist, (Ph.D.) and is at the top of his profession.  Arriving there on the 22nd April 1997, the weather was truly spring like and comfortable, quite a relief from conditions at Gordon's place in Susanville.

Mark and Barbara area very well-matched couple, and it was a delight spending a short holiday with them. In spite of the success they have achieved in their young lives, they are as natural and easy to be with as possible, and a real joy to have as members of one's family.

Their home is on Long Island, New York, and is linked to Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx, by bridges over, and tunnels under the East River. It is an education to witness and take part in a trip connecting these heavily populated areas by car, and both Mark and Barbara displayed a keen knowledge of getting around in these busy areas.

800px Astoria Park Panorama of Triborough and Hell s Gate Bridges

My second son, Michael, who now lives in St. Lucia, in the Caribbean, where he teaches art and drama at the college there, joined us here in Long Island on Thursday 24th April 1997, and spent one week with us here. It was arranged as a surprise, enabling grandfather, father and son to be all together for at least a short time.

On Saturday 26th April 1997, the four of us, Barbara, Mark, Michael and I set off by car for an extensive visit to Manhattan. After parking the car at an underground garage parking lot, we first of all partook of a solid meal at an Italian restaurant where we enjoyed some really good pizza. We then bought tickets for a 2-3 hour tour of the "Big Apple", on an open-top tour bus, providing an excellent view of all the prominent places in New York all the way out to the Statue of Liberty.


A constant commentary was provided, telling us the history, etc. of all that we were seeing. What a grand display this was, and for me, the second time I had seen this wonderful view. Many pictures were taken by Mark, who really, is quite a photographer.

Following this view of the city of New York, we then paid a visit to the Empire State Building. Of course, we took the elevator up to the 86th floor, where there is a special arrangement for tourists to view the city from 'on high'. What a beautiful picture this provides, with Central Park way down below, and all the magnificence of this city laid out beneath you!

Panorama Skyline Manhattan Empire State Building

The drive by car from Mark's home to the heart of New York is just about one hour, going by freeway most of the way.

Over the next couple of days during Michael's visit, we made several trips to a large mall in Long Island, and enjoyed some of the fine foods served there. Before his return to St. Lucia, Michael gave a lecture at the Stony Brook University on "Word Picture", and it was quite interesting.

Barbara took me viewing the rest of Long Island one day while Mark was busy in his task of getting rid of some 'bug' which was bothering them, and as I said before, he is really the "trouble-shooter" and quite expert at that sort of thing. Barb and I went to the far side of Long Island, and the view was very interesting indeed. The beauty of Long Island is due to its being a sort of close suburb of Manhattan without the rush of a great city like the "Big Apple".

On the following weekend, and just prior to my departure, Mark, Barbara and I drove into the big city once more, and did a conducted tour of Radio City Music Hall. We were able to experience over sixty years of magic and mystery as we were taken behind the scenes of America's most popular showplace.

In groups of about 20, we were taken by a trained escort starting at the lowest level, where he described in detail all about the great stage, how it operates, how it can be elevated or lowered, complete, or in sections, and by manipulating various levers. Personally, having visited Radio City myself 25 years ago to see the Rockettes etc., I often wondered how they were able to change the stage and its settings so quickly and easily, - now, I know! As our guide pointed out, it was all possible with the clever use of hydraulics, etc.

Apart from explaining about the great stage and the elaborate and spacious seating available, he showed and explained to us the Art Deco interiors, the mighty Wurlitzer organ, the world famous Radio City Rockettes, and where they were housed in a separate area of the huge building. At the time of our visit, the Rockettes were in Chicago, so it was not possible to see them perform in New York until later in the year. These "behind the scenes" tours were offered seven days a week during the absence of the main attraction, The Radio City Rockettes.

A few days before I left Long Island Mark, Barbara and I enjoyed an Italian supper at a nearby restaurant, and it was quite a difference to the normal type of food. I met an old friend of mine from Guyana in the person of Ken Corsbie, who now lives quite close to Mark in one of the blocks of apartments nearby. He is now married to an American who has recently qualified as a Ph.D. in Anthropology.

An so, after a glorious holiday with Mark and Barbara, I took off on my return journey to Brandon on May 7th 1997.

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