IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT HOCKEY IN THE TRUE NORTH – TORONTO , CANADA . VISITING THE CANADIAN WALK OF FAME .

FB_IMG_1501327284786

You  and  your  brother ,  plus  your  grandparents ,  are  doing  a  little  sightseeing  on  the  third  day  of  your  30  Plus  Teams  Tour  of  Toronto .

You  basically  shopped  until  all  of  you  dropped  and  ate until  you  were  full  at  Eaton  Center .

Now   it was  time  to  go  to  the  Theater  District  and  see  the  Canadian  Walk  Of  Fame  that  your  grandparents  told  the  two  of  you  about .

Even  though  they  hadn’t  lived  in  Toronto  for  more  years  than  the  two  of  you  could  remember ,  they  still  remembered  where  it  was  located .

”  King  Street  past  Simcoe  Street .  It’s  near  the  Roy  Thompson  Hall  and  the  stars  are  on  both  sides  of  the  streets , ”  says  your  grandfather .

Before  the  two  of  you  see  the  first  star  on  the  sidewalk ,  the  two  of  you  notice  a big  red  empty  chair  that  is  right  in  front  of  the  now  closed  Royal  Alexandra  Theater .

It’s  a  seat  from  the  theater .

Your  grandfather  wants  to  take  a  picture  of  the  two  of  you  on  either  side  of  the  chair ,  since  you  can’t  sit  in  it .

It  just  happens  to  be  roped  off .

Your  grandmother  has  found  the  first  star  right  in  front  of  the  theater .

It  belongs  to  singer  Celine  Dion .

This  isn’t  the  only  star  that  you  all  see  nearby .

Your  brother  has  found  the  star of  the  man  known  as  ”  Mister  Hockey  ” ,  the  late  Gordie  Howe .

The  four  of  you  keep  walking ,  but  you  and  your  brother  keep  your  eyes  out  for  other  stars  of  people  that  you  recognize .

You  both  can’t  believe  that  the  names  on  the  sidewalk  were  actually  people  who  were  born  in  Canada .

Like  the next  star  that  you  see .

It’s  the  actor ,  William  Shatner .

”  Captain  Kirk  is CANADIAN ? !  ” ,  you  ask ,  referring  to  the  role  that he made  famous ,  Captain  Kirk  on Star  Trek .

Your  grandmother  has  stopped  to  take  a  picture  of  another  person  that  she  recognizes .

It’s  the  singer  Paul  Anka ,  who  not  only  has  a  special  place  in  your  grandparents  hearts ,  but  your  late  parents  as  well .

Your  parents  always  had   his  music  playing  at  your  home ,  and they  would  dance  and  sing to  his  songs  when  they  were  around  the  same  ages  that  the  two  of  you  are now .

As  you  all  continue  walking  down  King  Street ,  you  notice  that  while  not  as  big  as  the  Hollywood  Walk  of  Fame ,  there’s  a  lot  of  stars  on  the  street  and  it’s  just  not  actors  or  actresses ,  but people  from  every  walk  of  Canadian  life .

FB_IMG_1500995283245

FB_IMG_1500995333994

 

You  want  to  get  a  picture  of  the  CN  Tower ,  which  seems  to  be  photo bombing  every  picture  that  you  want  to  take  of  another  theater ,  the  Roy  Thompson  Hall .

As  you  walk  back  towards  your  hotel ,  your  brother  seems  to  be  really  excited  about  another  star  that  he  sees  on  the  sidewalk ,  and  he  nearly  knocks  you  down  to  look  at  it .

”  OH  WOW !  AWESOME ! , ”  you  scream  out ,  just  as  excited  as  your   brother .

Your  grandparents  have  no  idea  why  you  two  are  so  excited  because  they  really  don’t  recognize  the  name .

But  you  and  your  brother  do .

It’s  Mario  Lemieux  and  he’s  not  just  one  of  the  country’s  greatest  hockey  players ,  he  just  happens  to  be  the  owner  of  your  favorite  hockey  team  ,      the  Pittsburgh  Penguins .

Advertisements

REVOLUTIONARY TALES – BOSTON , MASSACHUSETTS – THE CHURCH OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE .

FB_IMG_1501855960455FB_IMG_1501855942339FB_IMG_1501855936571The  quinoa  salad  with  the  Feta  Cheese  and  Tomatoes  really  hit  the  spot  for  the  five  of  you .

The  other  things  that  you  brought  from  the  Farmer’s  Market ,  the five  of  you  will  save  for  later .

You  don’t  want  to  think  about  it ,  but  your  30  Plus  Teams  Tour  of  Boston  is  almost  over .

Sort  of .

You  think  you  might  stay  longer ,  but the  five  of  you  will  think  about  this  later  when  you  get  back  to  the  hotel .

Right  now  you  all  are  going  to  the  South  End neighborhood  of  Boston .

The South  End  is  not  to  be  confused  with  another  neighborhood  of  Boston ,  South  Boston ,  or  as  the  locals  know  it ,  ”  Southie . ”

You  all  might  not  get  the  chance  to  fully  visit  South  Boston ,  even though  you  all  were  close  by  it when  you  all  went  to  South  Station ,  the  Boston  transportation  hub .

South  Boston  has  one  of  the  largest  Irish  populations  in  the  world ,  next  to  Ireland  and  Northern  Ireland .

They’re  descendants  of  the  Irish  that  settled  in  the  country  during  the  Great  Potato  Famine .

They  have  one  of  the  biggest  St. Patrick’s  Day  parades  in  the  country ,  but it’s  not  held  on  March  17th ,  it’s  held the   Sunday  BEFORE .

March  17th  is  one  of  those  ”  only  in  Boston   ”  holidays  .

It’s  called  Evacuation  Day  and  its  celebrates  the  day  the  British  got  out  of  town  for  good .

The  five  of  you  keep  walking  down  Huntington  Avenue  in the  South  End ,  not  South  Boston  until  you  reach  the  headquarters  of  the  Christian  Science  Church .

The building  is a very imposing  but  very  stately  building  known  as  ”  The  Mother  Church . ”

The  five  of  you  haven’t  been  here  since  you  all  left  college ,  but  even  now ,  the  fountain  and  reflecting  pools  look  so  very  peaceful .

The  day  is  a nice  Fall  New  England  day .

It’s  not  cold  at  all .

There’s  tables  and  chairs  in  the  plaza  around  the  church  and  they  look  so  inviting  to  all  of  you .

This  is  the  perfect  place  to  sit  down  and  think  about  where  you  all  may  go  next  on  your  30  Plus  Teams  Tour  of  Boston .

 

START SPREADING THE NEWS – NEW YORK CITY – WALKING ON THE HIGHLINE .

FB_IMG_1501507424817FB_IMG_1501507433663FB_IMG_1501507421776FB_IMG_1501507857680FB_IMG_1501507863370FB_IMG_1501507867598FB_IMG_1501507384375The  three  of  you  are  on the first  day  of   your  30  Plus  Teams  Tour  of  New  York  City .

You  all  can’t  believe  how  tall  the  buildings  are  here  in  this  city .

All  of  the  buildings  seem  to  go  up  and  up  forever .

The  city  where  the  three  of  you  are  from ,  Cleveland ,  doesn’t  even  have  buildings  that  tall .

You  all  had  lunch  by  the  Empire  State  Building  and  the  three  of  you  oohed  and  aahed  at  the  sight  of  that  building.

Now  the three  of  you  are  going  over  to  the  what  all  the  travel  guides  say  that  you  should  visit  when  you  come  to  New York   City .

No ,  it’s  not  the  Statue  of  Liberty ,  Rockefeller  Center ,  Times  Square  or the  National  September  11th  Memorial .

It’s  the  Highline ,  which  goes  from  34th  Street  and  11th  Avenue  all  the  way  down  to  Gansevoort  Street  in the   Meatpacking  District .

The  Highline  at onetime  was  an elevated  train  track.

You  can  even  walk  on part  of  the  tracks  without  worrying  about   a train coming .

The  three  of  you  walk  the  entire  length  of  the  Highline ,  pausing  to admire  some  of  the  statues  and the   many different  kinds  of  flowers  in the   park.

When  you  all  reach  the  end  of  the  Highline ,  you  all  see  the  Whitney  Museum  of  Modern  Art .

The  three  of  you  figure  that  since  this  is  your  first  real  day of  seeing  New  York  City ,  you’ll  have  plenty  of  time  to  visit  the  many  museums on  your  30  Plus  Teams  Tour  of  New  York  City .

Instead ,  the three  of  you  are  going  to  do  as  the  other  New  Yorkers  do .

Get  something  to  eat  and  walk  while  you’re  eating .

This  is  one  place  where  you  really  don’t  want  to  look  like  a  tourist .

Even  though  the  three  of  you  are .

You  all  may  just  have  been  in  New  York  City  for  a  few  hours ,  but  the  three  of  you  are  really  feeling  bold  now .

Instead  of  getting  off  at  one  of  the  many  exits  on   the  Highline ,   the  three  of  you  are  going  to  walk  back  from  Gansevoort  Street  all the   way  down  to  34th  Street  and  take  your  first  subway  train  ride  in the   city .

 

 

START SPREADING THE NEWS – NEW YORK CITY – A WALK THROUGH LITTLE ITALY .

FB_IMG_1501779261721FB_IMG_1501779265670FB_IMG_1501779239525FB_IMG_1501779253093FB_IMG_1501779256054FB_IMG_1501779258921It  seems  as  though  the  three  of  you  are  walking  around  in  circles .

You’re  looking  for  Bowery  Street ,  which  supposedly  will  lead  the  three  of  you  to  your  next  destination  on  your  30  Plus  Teams  Tour  of  New  York  City  –  Little  Italy .

At  one  time ,  Bowery  Street  was  the  skid  row  area  of  the  city  with  many  people  down  on  their  luck .

Not  anymore .

”  See  that  huge  statue  of  Confucius , ”  you  say  to  your  cousins .

You  point  to  the statue  of  the  Chinese  philosopher  Confucius  looking  oh so  peaceful  near  the  entrance  to  the  Manhattan  Bridge .

Nearby  is  Columbus  Park ,  which  looks  very  calm  now ,  but  at  the  turn  of  the  century  this  was  the  center  of  the  very  dangerous  Four  Points  neighborhood .

You  remember  seeing  the  movie  and  reading  the  book  about  it  called  ”  The  Gangs  of  New  York . ”

You  all  finally  see  Bowery  Street  but  no  sign  that  Little  Italy  is  even  close  by .

You  see  a  map  that  tells  you  where  the  three  of  you  are .

There’s  another  Little  Italy  but  most  tourists  want  to  see  the  Little  Italy  that  the  three  of  you  are  having  trouble  finding .

This  is  the  Little  Italy  that  most  tourists  know  about ,  not  the  one  on  Arthur  Avenue  in  the  Bronx .

The  three  of  you  aren’t  the  only  tourists  that  seem  to  be  having   an  ”  Are  we  there  yet ?  moment .

Two  other  tourists  seem  to  be  looking  at  the  same  map  that  you  are .

As  the  three  of  you  keep  walking ,  you  finally  see  it .

One  of  your  cousins  points  to  the  banner  that  proudly  reads  :

”  WELCOME  TO  HISTORIC  LITTLE  ITALY .  ”

At  one  time  this  neighborhood  was  mostly  Italian ,  then  many  Chinese  people  moved  into  the  area ,  sending  many  Italians  out  of  the  neighborhood  and into  different  areas  of  the  city  and  other  boroughs .

The  three  of  you  forgot  how  long  it  took  you  all  to  get  here  once  you  saw  all  those  Pizzerias ,  Cappuccino  shops ,  and  Gelato  stands ,  not  to  mention  the  one stand  the  three  of  you  seem  very  mesmerized  by .

”  CANOLIS ! ,  ”  the  three  of  you  scream  out  in  unison .

What  would  a  trip  to  Little  Italy  be  without  seeing  a  stand  or  bakery  that  sells  canolis ?

The  three  of  you  are  tempted  by  the  little  crepes  filled  with  Vanilla  Cream ,  Chocolate  Cream ,  or  Vanilla  Hazelnut  Cream  surrounded  by  Chocolate  Chips .

This  is  one  of  the  reasons  you  all  wanted  to  see  Little  Italy  –  the  food .

After  you  all  have  paid  for  the  canolis ,  which  you’ll  eat  when  you  get  back  to  the  hotel ,  you  walk  across  the  street  to  the  San  Gennaro  Church .

This  church  is  the  starting  point  for  the  week  long  Feast  of  San  Gennaro ,  which  honors  the  patron  saint  of  Naples ,  Italy .

It  takes  place  in  September  and  you  all  can  imagine  how  much  fun  it  is .

Standing  on  the  sidewalk  and  looking  at  how  very  narrow  these  streets  are ,  you  wonder  how  anyone  could  get  through  here ,  let  alone  people  carrying  religious  statues  on  their  shoulders .

As  the  three  of  you  walk  into  the  courtyard  of  the  church  and  see  all  the  religious  statues  as  well  as  a  mural  honoring  the  Italian  –  American  soldiers  and  the  flag  of  Italy ,  you  all  don’t  seem  to mind  how  long  it  took  you  to  get  to  this  neighborhood ,  which  really  does  seem  to  be  swallowed  up  by  Chinatown .

 

START SPREADING THE NEWS – NEW YORK CITY – WALKING AROUND CHINATOWN .

FB_IMG_1501939092366FB_IMG_1501939069714FB_IMG_1501939080434FB_IMG_1501939350161The  three  of  you  have  left  Allen  Street ,  which  is  known  as  ”  The  Avenue  of  The  Immigrants . “

As  you  walk  down  the  street  something  looks  very  different .

The  signs  everywhere ,  even  the  Starbucks  are  in  a  different  language .

Welcome  to  the  most  populated  Chinatown  in  the  Western  Hemisphere .

When  you  all  were  in  Queens  you  visited  the  Chinatown  section  of  Flushing .

But  this  is  the  Chinatown  to  end  all   Chinatowns ,  even  the  one  in  San  Francisco .

You  all  just  know  that  the  three  of  you  are  going  to  get  lost ,  it’s  that  big .

The  map  you  all  have  is  of  no  help ,  neither  is  the  guidebook .

After  you  see  some  of  of  Chinatown ,  Little  Italy  is  going  to  be  the  next  destination  on  your  30  Plus  Teams  Tour  of  New  York  City .

That’s  where  you’re  trying  to  get  to  now .

Your  guidebook  is  telling  you  to  look  for  the  Manhattan  Bridge .

That’s  what  you’re  trying  to  do ,  get  as  close  to  the  Manhattan  Bridge  as  you  can.

You  see  the  signs  for  the  Manhattan  Bridge ,  but  just  where  is  it ?

As  the  three  of  you  keep  walking ,  it  looks  like  you’re  underneath  some  scary  looking  tunnel .

You  see  people  doing  what  seems  to  be  Tai  Chi  exercises .

When  you  leave  the  tunnel ,  one  of  your  cousins  looks  up .

”  We’re  underneath  the  Manhattan  Bridge !  Look  at  at  that  view,  ”  she  says ,  very  excitedly .

You  all  look  up .

Your  cousin  is  right .

Could  this  really  be  the  Manhattan  Bridge ?

Sure  enough ,  it  is .

Now  it’s  your  turn  to  be  confused .

You  were  under  the  impression  that  to  be  under  the  Manhattan  Bridge ,  you  had  to  be  in  the  neighborhood  known  as  DUMBO ,  which  is

short  for  Down  Under  Manhattan  Bridge  Overpass .

Dumbo  is  actually  in  Brooklyn  and  you  can  see  some  of  it  from  where  the  three  of  you  are  standing .

You’re  standing  on the   East  River  Greenway ,  which  is  part  of  the  FDR  Drive .

Not  only  are  cars going  above  you  and bikes  passing  by the   three  of  you ,  but  other  people  are  admiring  the  view.
Continue reading

START SPREADING THE NEWS – NEW YORK CITY – WALKING PAST THE LOWER EASTSIDE TENEMENT MUSEUM .

FB_IMG_1501509164489FB_IMG_1501509153596The  three  of  you  are  walking  to the  train  to  get  to  your  next  destination  on  your  30  Plus  Teams  Tour  of  New  York  City  –  Lower  Manhattan .

When  you  all  get  off  the  train , you’re  walking  towards  Orchard  Street  and  notice  a  museum  that  isn’t  on  any  of  your  lists ,  but  maybe  it  should  be  given  that  your  relatives  came  from  Eastern  Europe .

It’s  the  Lower  Eastside  Tenement  Museum  and  it  tells  the  story  of  immigrants  that  settled  on  the  Lower  East side

 

 

of  Manhattan .

One  of  the  buildings ,  97  Orchard  Street ,  once  had  7,000  people  from  20  different  countries  living  there  from  1863 until  1935 .

The  three  of  you  didn’t  take  the  tour  or  go inside  of  97  Orchard  Street .

But  seeing  this  building  from  the  outside ,  the  three  of  you  wonder  just  what  the  conditions  were  like  for  all  these  people  who  came  to  this  country  to  find  a  better  life ,  only  to  live  like  this .

START SPREADING THE NEWS – VISITING THE NATIONAL SEPTEMBER 11TH MEMORIAL

FB_IMG_1501940755403FB_IMG_1501940862001FB_IMG_1501940853377FB_IMG_1501941034906FB_IMG_1501941047536FB_IMG_1501940512559You  all  remember  where  you  were  and  what  you  did  on  that  day .

The  three  of  you  were  in  the  living  room  of  your  house  watching  television .

Suddenly  an  image  came  on  the  screen .

One  plane ,  then  another  was  crashing  into  the  World  Trade  Center .

The  three  of  you  thought  that  you  were  watching  a  movie ,  a really  frightening  one  at  that .

This  really  wasn’t  happening  right ?

You  remember  your  own  mother  screaming  and  crying  in  Russian ,  something  that  she  never  did  unless  she  was  speaking  to  your  grandmother  or  yelling  at  your  father .

This  time  she  was  hysterical .

The  three  of  you  couldn’t  understand  what  was  going  on .

But  then  when  your  grandmother ,  who  spoke  very  little  English ,  came  in  and  began  screaming

 

, ”  Towers  fall  down .  Planes  crash  into  World  Trade  Center .  Nyet  Nyet . ”

The  three  of  you  just  KNEW  that  this  was  no  movie .

The  three  of  you  for  your  30  Plus  Teams  Tour  of  New  York  City  are  going  to  see  the  place  where  those  two  towers  once  stood .

You’re  going  to  see  the  National  September  11th  Memorial .

You  all  didn’t  want  to  go  to  the  museum  and  tribute  center ,  though .

One  of  you  knew  someone  who  was  on  the  plane  that  crashed  in  Pennsylvania .

The  National  September  11th  Memorial  not  only  honors  the  the  victims  on  the  three  planes ,  but  the  First  Responders  who  died  on  that  day ,  as  well  as  the  people  who  died  in  the  first  World  Trade  Center  bombing  in  February  of  1993 .

You  really  don’t  want  to  see  this ,  but  your  cousins  convince  you  that  this  is  something  that  the  three  of  you  must  see  because  this  isn’t  just  New  York’s  history ,  but  the  history  of  the  United  States  as  well .

It’s  a  place  that  every  visitor  to  New  York  City  should  see ,  whether  they’re  doing  a  30  Plus  Teams  Tour  or  not .

You  all  get  off  at  the  Fulton  Center  train  station  and  take  the  walk  to  the  new World  Trade  Center .

Where  there  was  once  two  towers ,  now  there’s  only  one  tower ,  which  stands  1776  feet .

The  three  of  you  are  looking  at  the  reflecting  pools  where  those  two  towers  once  stood .

Around  the  pools  with  the  cascading  waters  are  the  names  of  the  people  who  died  on  that  day .

Your  cousin  has  a  white  rose  in  her  hand  and  she’s  looking  for  the  panel  that  has  the  name  of  the  people  who  died  when  Flight  Flight  93  crashed  in  Pennsylvania .

When  she  sees  the  name  of  her  friend ,  she  places  the  white  rose  on  top  of  it .

She’s  not  the  only  one .

She  says  nothing  and  neither  do  you  or  your  other  cousin .

Instead ,  the  three  of  you  just  hug  each  other  tightly .

Right  in  front  of  you  is  the  building  that  replaced  the  Twin  Towers .

The  three  of  you  look  up  at  it .

It’s  a  beautiful  blue  building  and  the  fact  that  it  rises  1776  feet  is  more  symbolic .

The  three  of  you  have  been  crying  a lot .

But  looking  up  at  the  sight  of  the  new  tower,  you  all  stop and  begin  to  smile .

It’s  as though  the  new tower  is speaking  to  the  three  of  you ,  saying  :

“Don’t  be sad .   It’s  going  to  be  all right  now . I’m  here  and  I’M NOT  GOING  ANYWHERE THIS  TIME . ”
Continue reading