Happy Christmas to all!

Some Christmas lights for your enjoyment..

At the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens there is an interesting display which runs through January 1st.

Then on to Kuhn’s Flowers in Jacksonville. What a lovely Christmas window display!

Next.. Girvin Road in Jacksonville, but after waiting 45 minutes in bumper to bumper traffic decided enough is enough. Some pics from the beginning of the road.

Driving back from Jacksonville all was decorated along the journey. Nice, but will end with my favorite.

Once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker. Happy Holidays.

The Whitney Museum

Attended the Whitney Museum for the Edward Hopper exhibit. Edward and his wife, Josephine Nivison, also a painter, and Edward’s muse, were native New Yorkers.

Edward’s wife, Jo. Sad this exhibit held no paintings done by Jo. It was stated that Edward painted exteriors, and Jo painted interiors. Perfect blend for marriage – opposites…

The couple married in their 40’s and lived in the Washington Square area of New York. They were avid theater buffs, and Edward often painted scenes of the theater. He worked in charcoal and oils. There was a fascinating documentary playing in the exhibit as well as and ongoing stream of an interview with the couple. The interview played with this Hudson River view as backdrop.

Perhaps Edward’s most famous work. There is a Hopper Museum in Nyack, New York, Edward’s birthplace, and where he lived his early years. If visiting Upstate check it out.

Other Hopper paintings..

Found this the most interesting piece of the exhibit. Hopper’s notebook. Priceless.

The Edward Hopper Exhibit is through March 5, 2023. A must see.

The Whitney Museum – History and Beyond

The Whitney was founded by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1930, (b. 1875- d.1942). Gertrude was the daughter of Cornelius II and Alice Vanderbilt. She summered at the Breaker’s in Newport, Rhode Island and was a talented sculptress. She longed for a life of purpose other than that of a wealthy heiress. Besides her own creative abilities she was also a patron to others in the arts.

Portraits of Gertrude

The Whitney has 5 floors of painting and sculpture with outdoor sculpture gardens on two floors.

Some favorites from their collection..

On to the Museum of Broadway

Upon departing from Little Island walked through the Meat Packing area of Manhattan and up 40 blocks to the Museum of Broadway. In the Meat Packing District there are many trendy shops and restaurants. Stella McCartney, Beatle Paul’s daughter, has her shop here.

The journey in pictures..

A Christmas decoration under construction – and completed..

The shops, and yes they sell real Christmas trees in NYC, and the Museum of Illusions which had a long line of teens awaiting entry.

School of the Visual Arts

While walking came across this college exhibit and explored it further. As a former prison administrator was fascinated by these proposed concepts and hopeful they come to fruition. Too many are incarcerated unfairly, this ruins lives, families, and generations.

The sad facts,

The journey continues – Macy’s Christmas windows

Then lunch at Margon’s before the Museum Visit

What an amazing Cuban sandwich – and love that Mexican beer. If you can’t read the sign, it is 136 West 46th St. – just off Times Square. Forgot to take a picture of the restaurant so had to return after hours. Great service – Tasty food – Authentic.

Museum of Broadway

After the long walk finally arrived at 145 W. 45th St., The Museum of Broadway. This newly ordained Museum is a nice tribute to all those wonderful Broadway plays and actors. Attended the first Tuesday of the month when pricing is more reasonable as it currently is about $50 per adult ticket, also entry is strictly timed, and tickets must be purchased in advance. However, as of this writing pricing has changed for students and seniors to $29. and $32, respectively on certain days. Check out their website for particulars https://www.themuseumofbroadway.com.

It is the typical museum with a movie to start you off, followed by a play timeline, then many long winded explanations of various plays. Since I was not in the mood to read found all these narratives offensive as I did the overzealous young Broadway junkies who worked at the Museum and followed you throughout the visit.

However, what I did enjoy was the costumes.

Lion King, Hello Dolly, Godspell

Annie, Cabaret, Pirates of the Caribbean


Broadway certainly has an impact on NYC economy as was stated in these two billboards.

Another interesting Museum piece was the backstage operations. Some photos..

There was also a nice tribute to Broadway Cares, an organization which does much to support AIDS victims, and many other folks in need.

All in all this was a perfect visit for a rainy day, but need to plan ahead for the rain.

Let’s end this visit with some folks celebrating New Year’s in the subway. What fun!

Hudson Yards

This area of New York City is relatively new. It began after the development of the High Line which will be discussed later in this blog. It is a retail and business area adjacent to the Hudson River.

Let’s start at the subway stop and progress through the area.

Once off the subway much to see…

Bella Abzug Park – this gal was an American lawyer, feminist, politician, and leader of the Women’s Movement in the 1970’s.

The Buildings of Hudson Yard

Retail Area

Many trendy shops found here. Word to the wise…stop at the mall bathrooms prior to your High Line stroll.

The Vessel

This 16 story architectural feat was built to be a free area to walk and view the area. Currently, it is closed as folks were jumping off the structure. There are plans to somehow enclose the structure, however as stated this is in the “planning” stage.

The Shed – theater at Hudson Yards

How appropriate that a play concerning this man, Robert Moses, who essentially built the New York City landscape, is currently being performed at Hudson Yards. Ticket cost – in the neighborhood of $4000. However, while Moses was a genius and created the City streets, bridges, and parks, he was a known racist.

Railroad corner piece to the Bloomberg Building at Hudson Yard which is near to my High Line entry. There are several entrances to the High Line, a Manhattan Urban Park donated to the City by designer Diane von Furstenberg and family, ($20 million). While gifted to the City of New York it is privately funded and supported by Friends of the High Line.

The High Line was originally built in 1934, as an infrastructure project lifting train traffic 30 feet in the air. Remnants of train memorabilia are found among the walkways and plants.

High Line Entrances and Rules

Access Points

The Rules




Neat idea for a home bee keeping experience. Will have to try!


Apartment Views – almost feel like a voyeur, however, this apartment appears to be under construction..

Little Island-the treasure at the High Line end…

And the Whitney Museum falls at the end of this trek. Sadly, it was closed, (Tuesday), so will return Wednesday.

Am told an amazing Edward Hopper exhibit is in house… Can’t wait.

What a fun morning and more to come! Stay tuned..

Ohio State Murders

Let me make a prediction – another Tony for Audra in 2023 with this performance. For 90 minutes Audra mesmerizes, and does not leave the stage in this story of intrigue, evil, and sorrow. Written by Adrienne Kennedy, the play provides a blend of laughter and horror by this crafty 91 year old playwright. Let us hope the Tony’s don’t forget her as well.

The play tells the story of a young black woman at Ohio State who becomes involved with a white professor. There is a pregnancy and the professor does not claim the children. The woman, (Audra), who has the children is ostracized and this is all I will reveal. It is a compelling performance stirring much emotion yet done tastefully and creatively. Audra at her best!

It is appropriate that this play is held at the James Earl Jones Theater. The Theater is newly renovated and comfortable.

My seat was in the 5th row, (behind Duke Ellington’s son I over heard someone say), and was prime for cast pictures at the end of performance when New Yorker’s jumped to their feet with a standing ovation.

Note to Audra: Start looking for that dress for the 2023 Tony Awards.

Juilliard Performances and Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center

Have discovered a new, more reasonable yet still phenomenal way to enjoy New York City performances. Sign on to the Juilliard web site, info@lincolncenter.org. and hook on to these deals. Follow along to learn more.

Juilliard Orchestra – Evening Event

This December performance had Speranza Scappucci of Italy conducting the Juilliard Orchestra with Zhouhui Shen on piano. Giuseppe Martucci, Johannes Brahms, and Ottorino Respighi, were played at this concert. Cost – priceless, but actually $37.50, including tax and fees. What a performance!

The Juilliard Honors Chamber Music Ensembles – Afternoon Event

There were 2 Chamber Music performances. The first group performed a lively number of Villa-Lobos. Was fun to see the excitement of these performers.

Next set..

The second group performed a set of Ravel, the String Quartet in F Major. What a phenomenal hour performance and FREE!!

New Dances: Edition 2022 – Evening Event

There were 4 dances during this “Edition.” Those who have graduated returned to choreograph these students. In reviewing the brochure associated with this event noted Jon Batiste on Board of Trustees. Good choice, Juilliard! Let’s take a peek at the pics.

First Dance

Second Dance

Dance Three

Dance Four

On to Jazz at Lincoln Center after the dances…

This jazz club is in the 59th Street retail complex, 5th floor. Reservations are required. What a phenomenal night of Christmas music, “jazzed” up. Food and drinks available with minimal cover of $25 for a hour set. Stellar night – see pics.

What a perfect night of dance and jazz!

Newport Walking Tour/Restaurant Recommendations

Besides the opulent Mansions there is another story to be told of Newport, that prior to its Gilded Age. Found a walking tour which filled in the dots through a local free newspaper. Always look for these nougats as they enrich your visit.

After reserving our walking tour met our tour guide, Jean, at the Museum of Newport History. Arrived early and received free admission to the Museum. Learned of the early era of Newport and found an interesting printing relic of James Franklin, brother of Benjamin.

From here our walking tour began..

Newport began as Rhode Island’s state capitol and maintained this distinction till the 1900’s. Newport was also the 4th largest seaport in the colonies receiving many imports. Ships tied to a 2,000 square foot wharf, and delivered their wares to an open air market.

Newport Colony House – built by slaves which were 10% of the population.

Newport was a wealthy county and had the first library in the nation. To this day this library remains in use.

During the Revolutionary War there were 6000 British troops in Newport. They burnt houses for firewood and destroyed the area causing people to leave the area. The French were a positive influence paying for firewood and food, however, the maritime economy did not recover and a service industry rose. Newport transitioned to a great place to get away.

Beveled house – this house held many businesses. At one point it was a catering establishment operated by black entrepreneurs during the Gilded Era. During this era blacks worked in hotels and transportation industries besides catering ventures. The beveled paint is meant to make the building look more expensive.

The Alfred Smith House. This man is credited for developing the Bellevue Avenue of Newport. Starting as a New York City tailor he encouraged others to summer and vacation at Newport starting a real estate venture.

Also during this time Fort Adams was being created. This brought stonecutters from Ireland in the 1900’s. Their wives and other family members worked in the Mansions. Catholic Churches began to be built to accommodate their faith and with churches cemeteries were also needed for Catholics.

Catholic Cemetery


Orthodox Jews also arrived in this area due to Rhode Island’s religious tolerance. The first Jewish synagogue in the United States was established here.

Tours are available.

The Perry Family of Antarctica fame have roots in the Newport area.

Commodore Perry Monument to China Trade


The Hotel Viking built in 1926 was the last great hotel built in Newport. Often tennis stars stay here. There is a Tennis Museum and Auto Museum in Newport.


In 1835 this yellow hotel was built to house those in the arts from New York City area. It currently is a private men’s club.


The Newport Art Museum. It was donated to the Newport Society by a Chinese merchant, and is an architectural gem of Richard Morris Hunt circa 1862.

Some other homes for viewing – Newport has over 400 pre-revolutionary war homes, and is a delight to stroll every street. Take a glimpse at a few:

A home in transition – much work is needed to make these beauties.

And a few ideas for culinary delight..

For a truly British Breakfast…..

And for a truly American one..

Gary’s Handy Lunch

Amazing food – but bring cash.

Dinner Fare

Hot, spicey cider with a bit of rum – YUM.

Another idea – delicious clam chowder

Even resident Judge Judy dines at this place. Am told she tips 20%. Great atmosphere and food but Judge Judy would know!

And let’s close with a picture reflective of Rhode Island’s religious history.

Marble House

This home was the 39th birthday present of Alva Vanderbilt from her husband William. It was built between 1888 and 1892 of 500,000 cubic feet of marble and held 50 rooms. The Vanderbilt’s also had homes in Long Island, South Carolina, Florida, the EU, and Cuba.

Here they summered 6 weeks a year with their 3 children.

The Grand Entrance

The Formal Dining Room

It was in this Dining Room, Alva, (Mrs. William Vanderbilt), breakfasted with her 3 children. During meals the children were only allowed to speak French.

Alva, was raised in France as this is where her family settled after loosing their money in the Civil War. Educated and groomed in France she was inspired by all things French which are seen in this Room’s decor. The Dining Room was inspired by a Salon at Versailles. The walls surrounding the room hold a collection of French courtesans portraits.

Richard Morris Hunt known in most circles as, “the Vanderbilt architect,” created Marble House as well as other buildings throughout Newport. Here he resided, built his first home, and married a local woman, Catherine Clinton Howland. They had 2 sons. Mr. Hunt is buried in Newport Island Cemetery in a memorial designed by Daniel Chester French, the creator of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Alva Vanderbilt was a fascinating woman. She was a leader in the Suffragette movement and often had meetings in the tea house to the rear of the Mansion. She divorced William after 26 years of marriage and married a Newport neighbor whom she remained married to for the rest of her life. An interesting read of this era is Lost Newport by Paul F. Miller.

Here is where Alva held her meetings, and now a great place for light fare.

Cliffwalk View From the Tea House

Returning to the Mansion – The Library

The Gothic Room – a collection of Medieval and Renaissance art from France.

Consuelo Vanderbilt, the daughter of Alva and William, was forced into a loveless marriage with the Duke of Marlborough by her mother. Her mother yearned for a royal connection for her family, and European royalty often sought out American heiresses to replenish their fortunes. Thus, Consuelo became a scapegoat. She stayed in this marriage for over 20 years, bearing 2 sons.

At the time of Consuelo’s divorce Alva testified she forced her daughter into the marriage. Consuelo received her divorce and the Duke 2.2 million a year for life. Consuelo later remarried, happily, to Jacques Belsan, a French aviator and industrialist.

Consuelo Vanderbilt

Consuelo’s Bedroom

William Vanderbilt remarried to Ann Harriman, and moved to France where he remained the rest of his life. He contributed and volunteered in the air corp during World War I receiving the Legion of Honor from the French Government.

Marble House was sold in the 1930’s to the family of Armour Meat Packing.

Marble House – sea side views.