Category Archives: Merrick

“American Grit” Contestant Chris Edom has Backyard Viewing Party

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry ( ann-parry.com )
July 8, 2017

“American Grit” Season 2 contestant Chris Edom lives right here in Merrick!

Merrick, New York, USA. 11th June 2017. In backyard of "American Grit" contestant Chris Edom, Edom walks up where the American Grit logo appears on large screen that show's premiere episode is projected on in his backyard. Edom family hosted neighborhood Viewing Party during broadcast of Episode 1 of the FOX network reality television series. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Merrick, NY, USA. 11th June 2017. “American Grit” contestant Chris Edom (lower left) walks up to where the TV show’s logo appears on the large screen in his family’s backyard during their Viewing Party. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Chris – who described himself on the Fox reality TV show as being bullied and picked last for teams when he was a kid – invited every adult neighbor on both sides of the block his family lives on to the Viewing Party he and his wife Joan hosted for the premiere of the new season.

Merrick, New York, USA. 11th June 2017. "American Grit" TV contestant CHRIS EDOM, 48, (wearing GOT GRIT? T-shirt) has his arm around shoulder of his wife JOAN EDOM, both of Merrick, as they host backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. Show. Edom family and neighbors watched Episode 1 of FOX network reality television series that Sunday night outdoors. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Merrick, NY USA. 11th June 2017. “American Grit” reality television show contestant CHRIS EDOM and his wife JOAN EDOM host backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

The night of the party, when I parked my car, slung my camera across my chest, and walked across the dead end street, I thought back to the 1960s when it was actually a mostly-dead end (as Miracle Max from Princess Bride might put it).

Back then, its rounded end had a limited outlet that brought extra cars and pedestrians, including my best friend Judy and me walking to and from school each day.

Merrick, New York, USA. 11th June 2017. At bottom left, CHRIS EDOM, "American Grit" TV contestant, 48, of Merrick, hosts backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. The Fox network reality television series show projected on large screen, with (L-R) JOHN CENA, and 2 of his Cadre members, JOHN BURKE and RIKI LONG. Edom was last contestant picked for a team that episode. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Merrick, NY, USA. 11th June 2017. At bottom left, CHRIS EDOM, “American Grit” TV contestant, hosts backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. On screen are 3 of the 4 “Cadre” team leaders: (L-R) JOHN CENA, JOHN BURKE, and RIKI LONG. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Eventually the outlet closed altogether, and now curbside basketball hoops bloom each summer, and it’s common to see families chatting, children playing….

But that Sunday night, the block felt – uncommon. The air itself seemed charged with some special energy that grew stronger when I joined the crowd at the Viewing Party.

Merrick, New York, USA. 11th June 2017. "American Grit" TV contestant CHRIS EDOM (at bottom right, wearing white GOT GRIT? T-shirt), 48, sits with his wife, JOAN EDOM, of Merrick, as they host backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. Edom family and neighbors watched Episode 1 of FOX network reality television series that Sunday night on a big screen (at left) outdoors. Edom was last contestant picked for a team. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Merrick, NY, USA. 11th June 2017. “American Grit” TV contestant CHRIS EDOM (at bottom right, wearing white GOT GRIT? T-shirt) sits with his wife, JOAN EDOM as they host backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

What a turnout! About 60 of Chris and his wife Joan’s family, neighbors and other friends filled the Edoms’ backyard to watch the first episode.

Before the episode started, Chris had the biggest smile as he told everyone how close the contestants have stayed, how many will be getting together to watch a future episode, and how they’re his American Grit family.

Then the words “American Grit” filled the huge inflatable screen borrowed from a neighbor. The show began. Guests cheered when Chris appeared on screen, held their breath when challenges got tough, and waited in suspense to find out: 

Will Chris be picked for one of the 4 teams — or will “the last kid picked for teams” be the first contestant “ringing out” of the competition and the chance to win the cash prize at end of “American Grit”?

Merrick, New York, USA. June 11, 2017. American Grit TV show contestant CHRIS EDOM (wearing white "got grit?" T-shirt), 48, of Merrick, hosts Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. Show stresses teamwork and stars WWE star John Cena. Edom family's relatives and neighbors watched Episode 1 of the Fox network TV show on large screen in their backyard. Edom was the last of 16 contestants picked for a team. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Merrick, NY, USA. 11th June 2017. During “American Grit” Season 2 premiere Viewing Party at contestant Chris Edom’s backyard with large TV screen – Edom (center below) plunges into lake after pulling rip cord. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

  • UPDATE July 16, 2017:  Chris made two important decisions during tonight’s episode, and still is a contestant on American Grit.
  • UPDATE August 6, 2017:  Chris Edom did Merrick proud by coming in 5th Place during tonight’s Season 2 Finale!   —  At the Open House Viewing Party held at ‘Cadre’ Rikki Long’s gym in Copiague, fans joined ‘Cadre’ John Burke and some contestants, including Chris with his wife Joan. The two fans from my family who were there enjoyed cheering for Chris and meeting such friendly cast members.

Chris Edom’s twitter:  @chris_edom

More “American Grit” Viewing Party photos:    Slideshow      Gallery

Click to CONTACT ME

Requiem for Booker T. Gibson

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com) 
March 18, 2016

Instead of writing this right now, I’d be at Booker T. Gibson’s funeral at Union Baptist Church in Hempstead, if I’d learned about his March 10th death sooner, rather than a few minutes ago when I read his moving obituary by journalist Scott Brinton.

Merrick, New York, USA. May 27, 2013. Veteran Booker T. Gibson at Annual Memorial Day Parade 2013, hosted by American Legion Merrick Post No. 1282, with ceremony at Merrick Veteran Memorial Park. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Merrick, New York, USA. May 27, 2013. Veteran Booker T. Gibson at Annual Memorial Day Parade 2013, hosted by American Legion Merrick Post No. 1282. (© 2013 Ann Parry, Ann-Parry.com)

Booker was an active member of the American Legion Merrick Post 1282, and I’m a member of its Auxiliary. We first met on December 10, 2011, at the Northport VA Medical Center, where he played piano to accompany our AL Post members singing Christmas carols to patients. Which was more mesmerizing and expressive: Booker’s big bright eyes, his hands as they played, or his warm personality? I can’t decide.

Close-up of Booker T Gibson's hands as he plays piano at Northport VA medical Center, on Dec. 19, 2011. Light vignette. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, Ann-Parry.com)

Northport, New York, USA. December 19, 2011. Close-up of Booker T Gibson’s hands as he plays piano at Northport VA medical Center to accompany American Legion Merrick Post 1282 singers. (© 2011 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Years ago, filmmaker André Joseph contacted me to license editorial photos for EPYX Productions’ 2013 documentary film on Booker T. Gibson. When we spoke, Joseph’s deep respect for Gibson was clear, as it was later in his 2013 documentary:

AJ EPYX Documentary film:  Book T. Gibson: A Teacher’s Journey

Writing this visual requiem, I feel both sad (quite sad) and profoundly grateful to have known and photographed fellow Merrokean, fellow teacher, fellow lover of music, Booker T. Gibson.

American Legionnaires, Booker T. Gibson at right, riding in classic car in Merrick Memorial Day Parade on May 28, 2012, on Long Island, New York, USA. America's war heroes are honored on this National Holiday. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Merrick, New York, USA. May 28, 2012. American Legionnaires, Booker T. Gibson at right, riding in classic car in Merrick Memorial Day Parade. (© 2012 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Photos of Booker T. Gibson playing piano

Click to CONTACT ME

Memorial Day Weekend at Levy Park 2015

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
May 28, 2015

Around 3:30 the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, I went to Norman J Levy Park & Preserve. After parking in the crowded parking lot, I headed to the path with the sign “Shortest Way to Top” – since I hoped to get a hilltop view of the Bethpage New York Air Show in progress at nearby Jones Beach.

At Norman J Levy Park & Preserve, family members point south to contrails in the sky over Jones Beach where planes are performing in the Bethpage New York Air Show. Many visitors watched the air show from the marshland park after several major parkways to the famous Long Island beach were closed when it filled to capacity. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Merrick, New York, USA. May 24, 2015. At Norman J Levy Park & Preserve, visitor point south to contrails in the sky over Jones Beach where planes are performing in the Bethpage New York Air Show, Memorial Day Weekend.  (© 2015 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Earlier that day, I heard that Jones Beach filled to capacity before the air show even started, so major roads leading there were closed. So I wasn’t surprised to see groups of people scattered throughout the hilltop and pointing south to where planes were leaving contrails in the sky. The performers, too distant from Levy Park to identify, included Thunderbirds, Golden Knights, and GEICO SkyWriters, and more.

When the show ended, I headed south on the winding trail leading down to the park’s fishing pier. At the far end of the 500-foot-long wooden pier, I enjoyed the cool breeze and watched kayakers in Merrick Bay, and chatted with fellow visitors Rev. David Lee and his parishioners. They had planned to fish at Jones Beach, but finding Meadowbrook Parkway closed, cast their reels at South Merrick’s Levy Park instead.

Photo Gallery: Memorial Day Weekend 2015

Click to CONTACT ME

“The Interview” Opens at Merrick Cinemas on Christmas

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
December 31, 2014

On Christmas morning, I read that The Interview, the comedy by Sony Pictures Entertainment, was playing at Merrick Cinemas, the only movie theater showing it in Nassau County, Long Island. So, even though I still had most of my Christmas present wrapping left, I headed out to capture news photos before the first show, 12:30 pm.

Merrick, New York, USA. December 25, 2014. The Interview plays at Merrick Cinemas, the only movie theater showing it in Nassau County, Long Island, on Christmas Day. (Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Merrick, New York, USA. Dec. 25, 2014. “The Interview” opens at Merrick Cinemas, in Nassau County, Long Island, on Christmas Day. (© 2014 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

In November, hackers hacked – yes, that sounds like coughing – Sony Pictures computers, and later threatened theaters planning to show The Interview, in which stars James Franco and Seth Rogen play civilians recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korea’s dictator.

Due to the terrorist threats, Sony originally canceled public release of the film, but then changed its plans again, and released the film in a limited way, including several hundred independent theaters. Several people who bought tickets to the movie in Merrick said they were seeing it mainly to protest the attempt to suppress Americans’ Right to Free Speech.

Photo Gallery:   The Interview at Merrick Cinemas

Click to CONTACT ME