Category Archives: museums

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino gives free lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at Cradle of Aviation Museum.

Astronaut Mike Massimino: From Long Island to Space

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
June 24, 2018

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. L-R, JOSHUA STOFF, Curator of Cradle of Aviation Museum; astronaut MICHAEL MASSIMINO; ANDREW PARTON, Executive Director of CAM; and GREG SANTI, Human Resources Manager at Curtiss Wright, pose at 10th Annual Luncheon. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. L-R, Josh Stoff, Curator of Cradle of Aviation Museum; astronaut Mike Massimino; Andy Parton, Exec. Director of CAM; and Greg Santi, HR Manager at Curtiss-Wright, pose with illustration of Massimino. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

NASA space shuttle astronaut MICHAEL J. MASSIMINO – Franklin Square’s inspiring and fun space ambassador – captivated three audiences this Wednesday, June 21, at the Cradle of Aviation Museum: during its 10th Annual Luncheon, a small group Meet & Greet, and a free lecture at the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium.

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut MIKE MASSIMINO is holding GIOVANNI, 3 1/2 years old, from Manhasset, wearing an astronaut's space suit costume, after the museum's Members Meet & Greet. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino holds Giovanni, 3 1/2 years old, from Manhasset, wearing an astronaut spacesuit costume. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Air & Space Hall of Fame Induction for Class of 2018

Mike Massimino, aviation pioneers LOUIS and CONNIE MANCUSO, and aviator and Newsday founder ALICIA PATTERSON were the inductees for the Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame Class of 2018 honored during the Cradle of Aviation Museum’s Annual Luncheon, presented by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation.

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. L-R, Astronaut Mike Massimino, Deborah Henley, and Louis Mancuso Jr. pose at Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame at Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. L-R, Astronaut Mike Massimino, Deborah Henley, and Louis Mancuso Jr. pose at Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame at Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

A highlight of Massimino’s acceptance speech was when he poetically described his reaction to seeing the curve of our planet fill his field of vision during his second space walk: 

“The beauty of our planet was kinda overwhelming…. This must be the view from heaven…. That’s not quite right…. This is what heaven must look like….

“What made that possible, those memories possible…. all come back here to Long Island….  the mentors I met along the way, this museum being here at the right time in my life to set me on that journey that ended up 350 miles above our planet to work on Hubble.”

  • VIDEO of Massimino’s 8-minute acceptance speech:

The other inductees were honored posthumously: LOUIS MANCUSO JR. accepted on behalf of his parents, and DEBORAH HENLEY, Vice President and Executive Editor of Newsday, accepted on behalf of Alicia Patterson.

Meet & Greet

During the Meet & Greet, a few dozen lucky museum members and STEM students (Science Technology Engineering Math) sat around a conference table and asked Massimino questions.

When asked about space food, Massimino said it was good, and then explained how everything gets recycled, including urine, so, “Yesterday’s coffee is tomorrow’s coffee,” as Expedition 39 commander Koichi Wakata memorably observed in 2014 about recycling on the ISS (International Space Station).

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino, a Long Island native, gives free lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. In the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium, Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino displays photo of him sending email to Johnson Space Center for his twitter feed. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Evening with Mike Massimino Lecture

Massimino’s lecture at the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium was part of the Cradle of Aviation Museum’s Countdown to Apollo at 50, a multiyear celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969.

When a young audience member asked Massimino how he became an astronaut, he went into great detail, including how the Cradle of Aviation Museum played a key role when he was growing up.

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino gives lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Astronaut Mike Massimino gives lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

FYI from FLI: In the late 1980’s, my daughter Sue went to Space Camp at the Cradle of Aviation, then in an unrestored hangar. I’m still searching for the name of the CAM photographer who captured this photo of 10-yr-old Sue wearing a genuine spacesuit that summer.

NASA rejected Massimino when he applied to be an astronaut – the first, second and third times. Persevering, he applied a fourth time – and the rest is Hubble Space Telescope repairs and recurring role of playing himself on The Big Bang Theory history.  

In one of the photos Massimino displayed on the dome, he was in the space shuttle writing the first tweet ever from space. Here’s that message he sent to Johnson Space Center, so they could post it on his @Astro_Mike twitter feed:

“From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!”

Laughing, he said his tweet didn’t compare well to Neil Armstrong’s 1969 historic first spoken words ever coming from the moon:

“The Eagle has landed. That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Former NASA astronaut MIKE MASSIMINO is inducted into Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame Class of 2018 at Cradle of Aviation Museum. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. NASA astronaut Mike Massimino is inducted into Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame Class of 2018 at Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Astronauts

I first saw Mike Massimino in 2010, during Cradle of Aviation Museum’s Legends in Air & Space Lecture series. Seeing him in action throughout Thursday reinforced how he’s an upbeat, self-reflective, cool-nerd sort of guy “everyone would like to be or have as a friend.”  

In fact, many astronauts I’ve crossed orbits with also exuded a personable, centered quality – not surprisingly, since it’s an essential quality for working well in space. 

“Spaceman”

At the museum’s gift shop, I bought two signed copies of Massimino’s 2016 book, “Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe” – one for myself and one for my brother Lou, a physics teacher at Durham Academy, NC, and fellow aerospace and astronomy buff.

Site:  MikeMassimino.com | twitter:  @Astro_Mike

Mike Massimino Lecture:  SLIDESHOW | GALLERY

Air & Space Hall of Fame 2018:  SLIDESHOW | GALLERY

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Old Westbury Gardens Winter Holiday – Now & Then

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
December 23, 2017

Last Sunday, while entering the snowy grounds of Old Westbury Gardens with my friend Bob, I thought back to 2007, when I visited the Gold Coast estate during a biting, heavy snowfall.

Past

That day 10 Decembers ago, I stayed outside capturing photos until I absolutely had to go to Westbury House, beg mercy from staff in the Entrance Hall, take off my gloves and boots, and stand toasty close to the fireplace.

Old Westbury, New York, USA. Dec. 5, 2007. At Westbury House, the Entrance Hall window with black wrought iron grill gives hazy glimpse of snowstorm. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, Ann-Parry.com)

Old Westbury, New York, USA. December 5, 2007. At Westbury House, the Entrance Hall window with black wrought iron grill gives hazy glimpse of snowstorm. (© 2007 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Slowly defrosting in the impressively elegant wood and marble hall, I imagined myself back outside the mansion, but during the Great Blizzard of 1947, when the John and Margarita Phipps family lived there….

Fantasy ’47

I was a trespasser with a noble mission – wielding my Kodak in the snowstorm to capture ghostlike images of trees – and, alas, flirting with hypothermia.

Without warning, a tall stranger swept me off my numb feet and whisked me to the mansion. As we took off our coats, I noticed he, too, had a camera strapped around his neck.

We sat in front a fireplace surrounded by books, and he put his hand to his chest. “Victor, Victor Hasselblad – a… a husgäst of Phipps,” he said softly and with a melodic accent. “And you, lilla frusen lövsångare?”   

“Oh my,” “I said, “You’re THE Victor Hasselblad!” The genius nodded. “You’ve just GOT to develop a Hasselblad camera for civilians!” I said, then started to tell him why….

Old Westbury, New York, USA. December 17, 2017. A lighted Christmas tree decorates the formal dining room of Westbury House at Old Westbury Gardens during its Winter Holiday event. (Ann Parry/˙ 2017 Ann-Parry.com)

Old Westbury, New York, USA. December 17, 2017. A lighted Christmas tree decorates the elegant dining room of Westbury House at Old Westbury Gardens during its Winter Holiday event. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Present

Now I’m at times better about coming in from the cold before losing feeling in my extremities.

But I always do my best to protect my camera. So last weekend when Bob and I arrived at Old Westbury Gardens and stepped out of the car on to slippery icy snow-covered grounds, we headed straight to Westbury House.

Once inside, we heard what sounded like live music coming from the Ballroom just ahead. We were right, for in a far corner of the vast room, pianist ANGELINA FUSCO was playing traditional Christmas music on a Steinway grand piano, backlit by large windows. Capturing the atmospheric scene was a fun challenge.

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Old Westbury, New York, USA. December 17, 2017. Pianist ANGELINA FUSCO plays Christmas music on Steinway grand piano to entertain visitors at Old Westbury Gardens museum, a former estate of John Shaffer Phipps, during snowy winter holiday weekend on Long Island's Gold Coast. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)


Old Westbury, New York, USA. Dec. 17, 2017. Pianist ANGELINA FUSCO plays Christmas music on Steinway grand piano at Old Westbury Gardens museum during Winter Holiday weekend. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

The Main Hall was not to be missed, especially for families with children, since that’s where Santa sat surrounded by a Christmas tree, fireplace that was a great setting for holiday photos, and stairway strewn with stuffed animals looking as if they’d spilled out of Santa’s bag as he made his way up to the Children’s Quarters on the Third floor.

Old Westbury, New York, USA. December 17, 2017. Santa sits ready for visitors next to a Christmas tree on second floor of Westbury House at Old Westbury Gardens museum during snowy winter holiday weekend. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Old Westbury, New York, USA. December 17, 2017. Santa sits ready for visitors next to a Christmas tree on second floor of Westbury House at Old Westbury Gardens museum during winter holiday weekend. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Bob lingered longest in the bedroom with a large-scale model train traveling around the room, disappearing for a while each lap as it followed tracks under the bed.

Children (of all ages) also enjoyed the charming scene in Mrs. Phipps’s bathroom, where deer and penguins watched a fawn take a bubble bath in the green and white bathtub.

Old Westbury, New York, USA. December 17, 2017. In the Westbury House children's sunny bathroom of Old Westbury Gardens museum, deer and penguins watch over fawn taking a bubble bath. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Old Westbury, New York, USA. December 17, 2017. Deer family and penguins watch over a fawn taking a bubble bath in Mrs. Phipps’s bathroom at Westbury House at Old Westbury Gardens, a Long Island Gold Coast estate. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

As closing time neared, we visited the Porch facing West, with its three walls of windows, and enjoyed hot cider and the panoramic, ungilded dusk view.

Old Westbury, New York, USA. December 17, 2017. At Westbury House, two Christmas trees flank the Porch facing West, with panoramic view of snowy grounds during Winter Holiday event at Old Westbury Gardens. (© 2017, Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Old Westbury, New York, USA. December 17, 2017. At Westbury House, two Christmas trees flank the Porch facing West, with panoramic view of snowy grounds during Winter Holiday event at Old Westbury Gardens. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

And when it was time to go, we made our way through the snow once again.

Old Westbury Gardens Winter 2017:  SLIDESHOW | GALLERY