Behind Wilson Hall
Many Monmouth County residents and vacationers have seen Wilson Hall as they peek to the south while passing through Monmouth University. Erlanger Gardens, situated just west of Wilson Hall’s back rooms, is another of the university’s architectural gems. The garden occasionally hosts students and events, but often sits peacefully at sunset.
Yesterday’s Coney Island, today
The Parachute Jump stands as tall as ever, its colors probably blinding the ghosts of yesterday’s thrill seekers. Wonder Wheel cars slide through their circles, the sounds of the Cyclone and its shrieking riders a background soundtrack. An antique car sits by Nathan’s, like a picture from a vintage postcard or book.
On a pleasant spring weekend day, Coney Island remains as vibrant as ever, attracting the tired, the poor, the huddled masses and many others, just as it did over a century ago. Signs of new investments hint at possibilities of even greater summertime memories ahead.
Cosmos Country, 2014
It’s NASL soccer on turf with an eclectic roster featuring Brazilian-born former Spanish international Marcos Senna, but today’s Cosmos is not the club your father may have seen a generation ago. The 2014 edition plays second-division soccer in front of a few thousand fans at Hofstra University, not 40,000-70,000 as it did at the New Jersey Meadowlands, although it continues the winning tradition established in the 1970s and ’80s when it was among the world’s most famous soccer clubs.
Today’s New York Cosmos, however, features some things not seen many years ago — ultras standing and chanting for 90+ minutes behind a goal and a sponsor prominently displayed on banners and uniforms. At yesterday’s home opener, Pele was even on hand to pose (sort of) for pictures with fans old and new.
Back to campus on a gorgeous spring day
If you return to visit the college you attended a generation ago, it’s bound to confirm that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” At Seton Hall University, that means a statue of the Pirates mascot appears outside the Richie Regan Recreational and Athletic Center ready to charge the Walsh Library. The sun continues to set on President’s Hall and the Immaculate Conception Chapel as it has since the 19th century. And, students still enjoy a break from studies by playing wiffle ball on the University Green.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Is there anything more American in springtime than Opening Day in major league ballparks across the United States? When the teams are from Washington DC and New York City and the pre-game ceremonies include a huge American flag, probably not!
Buddy Miles with Jim Cummins (r), before Jimi Hendrix and Band of Gypsys concert at Madison Square Garden, January 28, 1970 (photo used with permission of Image Fortress Corp.)
Besides being a distinguished photographer, Jim Cummins was also a professor. This spring, his photos of music legends will be displayed at the Baboo Gallery in New York.
Read my blog about his lasting impact on the life of a student: http://bit.ly/1jx2T3C
Ray Davies versus the autobiography, part 2
Will the former singer/songwriter of the Kinks ever pen a conventional autobiography? Read my take on Ray Davies’ fascinating Americana, published nearly 20 years after his semi-fictional first autobiography, X-Ray.
Board games for the bored
When snowbound in the days before social media and video games, many families would overcome boredom with board games. Monopoly was a favorite. Those who grew up in the New York area during the 1960s often spent winter hours around a Monopoly board, sometimes after watching the Million Dollar Movie a second or third time on one of only seven TV stations on the air. Years later, a New York City edition of Monopoly became available.
Cubans and other post-World War II Spanish-speaking immigrants in New York City often overcame bitter winters by moving a favorite outdoor game — dominoes — indoors. They passed the hours with dominoes, the older gentlemen smoking cigars, drinking cafecitos and eventually, as afternoon turned to evening, rum. All the while, the sound of ivory pieces being shuffled accompanied talk of warmer days to come.
A businessman as an artist and scientist
A chemical engineer by training and specialty chemicals industry executive by experience, Herman Mihalich took an interesting path to becoming the CEO and distiller of Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey. Yet, it’s a natural role at this point of his career.
Read my blog post to learn more: http://bit.ly/1lx8R9J
A Fiero gets religion
After stopping by D’Jais, the popular Belmar NJ bar and grill where undoubtedly many a Fiero parked near during the 1980s, a surviving Pontiac sporty coupe made its way over to the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, where Ellwood H. Stokes gazed stiffly down at it, and St. Michael’s Church in Long Branch.