• VIDEO – Gov. Ron DeSantis & protestor at Cradle of Aviation Museum:
On April Fools Day, the Nassau County Republican Committee hosted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.
DeSantis pitched his Florida Blueprint – politics to the right of Trump – to Long Island.
Tickets were free, and the first 300 attendees received a free copy of DeSantis’ new book ‘The Courage to be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.’
– Before the event started, a few dozen protestors were waving colorful pro-Trump flags at cars passing near CAM’s entrance on Charles Lindberg Blvd.
For though the Long Island event was nominally a stop on the governor’s book tour, it was more importantly an unofficial campaign stop for his undeclared presidential candidacy.
So it was clear Nassau GOP was no longer acting all in for Trump.
– Early in the event, Nassau County Republican chairman JOSEPH CAIRO introduced several GOP leaders sitting in the VIP section.
– Prominent Republicans politicians who stood up included Rep. PETE KING (R-Seaford), who attended with his wife Rosemary Weidl; former Sen. AL D’AMATO (R-NY)), who sat with his ex-wife Katuria D’Amato and their two children; and Rep. ANTHONY D’ESPOSITO (R-Island Park).
Cairo then introduced each speaker, including Nassau County Executive BRUCE BLAKEMAN, former Rep. LEE ZELDIN (R-N.Y.), and, finally, FLA Gov. RON DESANTIS.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman:
– former Rep. Lee Zeldin:
– Gov. DeSantis Event
– Gov. Ron DeSantis:
– While speaking at the podium, Gov. DeSantis commented about the U.S. Navy F11A Tiger jet suspended overhead and how he had served in the Navy.
While earning his law degree from Harvard University, DeSantis joined the U.S. Navy in 2004, and from then to 2010 was a naval officer in the Judge Advocate General Corps. JAGS are attorneys with knowledge of civilian and military law.
• NAVY jet above former NAVY JAG DeSantis:
– DeSantis made many comparisons between Florida and New York, and between Florida and the U.S. government.
An aside: DeSantis said so much he meant as unflattering about New York that I wondered how it struck his hosts.
NO STATE INCOME TAX – The governor said how Florida, unlike New York, has no state income tax, and how his state has the warmer weather, though no mention was made of his state’s growing hurricane season. And he stressed in how [once COVID increased workers’ opportunity to work from home] the biggest increase in U.S. migration to Florida has come from New York recently.
DeSantis continued to claim Florida has lax gun safety regulations because largely unfettered gun rights are constitutionally guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
And those regulations are getting even laxer.
On April 3rd, in a non-public event two days after he spoke on Long Island, DeSantis signed legislation allowing residents to carry a concealed loaded weapon without a permit anywhere in the state.
Second Amendment, ratified in 1791: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.
DeSantis’ approach to gun safety makes solid sense, as long as one ignores a few things:
1) The first half of the amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” states the reason for giving the rights is in order to maintain a well regulated Militia. How is that related to a person owning assault rifles, carrying concealed weapons without permits…?
2) In 1791 “Arms” referred to handguns or long guns that could hold one shot at a time.
3) Florida’s rate of deaths due to gunfire is about 3X that of New York, which has significantly stronger gun safety regulation.cdc.gov states map
the courage to be free
Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump won’t be the only options, Republican or otherwise, for presidential candidates in 2024.
And we certainly deserve better than the Florida Blueprint and MAGA cruelty.
Much was as expected. The artwork was varied and creative, the refreshments downright lavish. Catching up with some of my photographer friends, including Sara and Marc Josloff, Steve Silberstein, and Susan Kozodoy Silkowitz was so much fun.
And, as is usually the case, the juror was there to discuss the winning artworks.
Debbie Wells – she of the big smile – was the Reflections juror. Her past experiences include Immediate Past Pres. and Curator of Art League of Long Island, Founding Partner of Artful Circle, Asst. Dir. of Roslyn Landmark Society, and Staff Artist at Richner Communications. Artful Enrichment is her brand-new company.
First Place – High School Students: CHARLOTTE CHAN, Eye of the Beholder
Wells shared feedback about each of the 11 winning photographs as she handed out the awards. Since I was capturing photos of the event, particularly the winners, she didn’t have my undivided attention. But I did notice she included solid info.
Second Place – Adults: MARCEIL KAZICKAS, Blue Over Me
Seven awards in, Wells announced my name, for my photograph ‘WEN EKROY’ won an honorable mention. I took photos of her as I walked up for the award. When she started reading feedback on my photo of iconic Manhattan buildings reflected in the windows of the Javitts Center at dusk, I was still half-focused on what photos to capture next.
Second Place – High School Students: HELEN MURPHY, Night and Day
Then Wells’ comparison of qualities of my photo to a ‘Red Grooms’ landscape jolted me to attention. Red Grooms! Back in 2009, the Nassau County Museum of Art had an electric display of his colorful, vibrant work that I visited more than once. In fact, one of my photos of his huge sculpture ‘Jumbo’ of the grounds of NCMA was licensed years ago for use in a nationwide exam. [See a ‘Jumbo’ photo at end of this post.]
Third Place – Adults: CAROL MILAZZO-DIRENZO, Pemaquid Reflection
Because Carol Milazzo-DiRenzo wasn’t present, her husband MIKE DIRENZO accepted her award on her behalf.
Hmmm, Red Grooms landscapes… My ‘WEN EKYOY’…. Red Grooms landscapes…. Yes, I could totally see it! For years I’ve been familiar with Red Grooms’ work and, of course, my ‘WEN EKROY.’ As I reflected on the similarities, I was surprised how clear they were and how they had clearly escaped my notice.
Third Place – High School Students: LEXI HUGEL, The Dock
Here’s what was on the paper Debbie Wells handed to me:
‘HON. MENTION – Wen Ekroy – Ann Parry’ This grid patterned photograph allows the viewer to look at the New York City skyline with a fresh perspective. The grid grounds the composition, while the horizontal section on the top shows a reflective and delicate web of lines. Below, the artist presents warbled and distorted shapes of iconic skyscrapers, such as the Empire State Building in the center. The buildings look animated, like a Red Grooms landscape. The photograph shines with originality because it is rare to see architecture and geometric lines look alive with unexpected verve. The title, Wen Ekroy – New Yorke(r) spelled backwards – is a humorous commentary on the New Yorker building’s signage and quite fitting in the Reflections theme.
FEATURE PHOTO (at top of post) is based on: Manhasset, N.Y, U.S. February 11, 2023. KENNY NG, the First Place winner for his photograph ‘Whimsy,’ attends The Art Guild reception for its Reflections exhibition.
NOTE: Links to others’ sites are for readers’ convenience only. T.A.G. Reception: my Photo Gallery
Though the 2012 and 2022 model train displays I covered were by the same large scale model train organization, LIGRS, at the same museum, CAM, there were also differences – including in my photography equipment, experience, goals, and the COVID-19 impact.
When covering the event in 2012, I used my Nikon D74 DSLR full-frame camera, with a zoom lens, the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lG ED – arguably the best prime lens, to use as a sole lens, to cover such an event.
A few days ago, I used my Nikon Z9 mirrorless full-frame camera with a macro lens, the Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S – an outstanding lens to capture macro, closeup photos of small subjects such as model trains.
This year, had my goal been covering the event and location thoroughly, I would’ve also used a second lens- for example, my Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 A prime lens or my iPhone Pro. My goal was to work on capturing the best photos possible with my macro lens.
The Cradle of Aviation Museum is the Long Island museum I’ve photographed the longest and most often. For over a decade, I’ve loved photographing a wide variety of locations there, repeatedly, from morning to to dusk and night.
And over the past ten years I’ve covered model train events at several places and by several passionate organizations on Long Island, often more than once.
This year, after covering the atrium ground floor display, I asked myself, ‘Time to walk up the stairs to cover this from the upper levels?’ and answered, ‘Not really.’
The model train display looked a bit toned down this year.
It’s been years since spring 2020 when New York became an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 vaccines significantly reduce one’s risk of being hospitalized or worse due to the virus. Wearing N95 or KN95 masks significantly reduces the chance of transmitting or getting COVID-19.
But many of Long Island’s museums and clubs are still negatively impacted by COVID-19 – with lower average rates of attendance and participation.
FEATURE PHOTO (at top): Dec. 26, 2022. Garden City, N.Y., U.S. A young boy points to a model train traveling around the Long Island Garden Railway Society display of model trains at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.
Cradle of Aviation Store – Before leaving CAM this week, I went to the Museum Store and bought my toddler grandson a couple of souvenirs: an adorable pilot’s hat and plush toy version of the genuine U.S. Navy Grumman F11 Tiger Jet suspended from the atrium.
Updated Jan. 2022: Election results added near end of post
‘When labor votes, the state wins’ – Gov. Hochul, 10/30/2022, Mineola, N.Y.
The New York governor’s race has become unexpectedly close.
Two days after early voting started in New York, and nine days before Election Day 2022, Democratic candidates and supporters – largely from labor unions – gathered for a Nassau County Rally with Governor Hochul.
The Sunday, October 30th event was held outdoors during a sunny autumn afternoon at the Local 338, RSDSU UFCW workers union site in Mineola, Long Island.
After many candidates, labor union leaders, and democratic leaders on stage spoke, it was time for Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado to speak and then introduce Gov. Kathy Hochul.
• VIDEO: Lt. Gov. Delgado speaks and then introduces Gov. Hochul:
During Lt. Gov. Delgado’s impassioned speech about WHY it’s so important to vote, and to vote for democratic candidates, particularly for Gov Hochul, the enthusiastic audience frequently punctuated his points by clapping and calling out “That’s right… “Say it again!”… “Preach!”….
The following transcript of Lt. Gov. Delgado’s speech is from the above video that starts shortly after he begins speaking at the podium.
Transcript of Lt. Gov. Antonio’s Speech (from video above):
[…Referring to some Republican candidates] “….only in it for the game. It’s all a joke. And they play with people’s lives. Like it’s a game. And it’s not.
“We have to step up as people and demand more. We just have to. We have to set the bar. Integrity, decency, honesty. Are you principled? Do you care? Do you know how to love people? These things have to matter. To our democracy to matter. Education has to matter. And labor has to matter.
“Any political leader worth their salt that can’t get behind collective bargaining and organized labor needs to not be in public service. The story of upward mobility, the story, the American Dream. This whole idea is based on working folk coming together and fighting for more. To raise their families up across generations. And you want to call yourself a leader, destroy that? Come on now. Seriously. We know we can do better. And guess what folks, we can and we will.
“I got to know Governor Hochul very well. We talk about the stakes. A lot. We don’t, we don’t spend time foolin’ around and being political about… oh about this, how.. What are we going to do? What are the solutions? How’re we going to govern, to the people? Those were our conversations.
“She cares. She’s a worker. From the ground up, not top down. Not imposing her will, but engaging with the will of the people. And she leads from the heart, from the heart. Honest. Upfront. Accessible. Accountable. The kind of things you want in a leader. Not gonna lie to your face. Or fear monger. Or peddling hate. You have that chance right now.
“So whatever people are saying out there. All the head scratching, all the twitter feeds, and all the chaos and the noise. Forget about it. Put it to the side. The only thing we should be doing right now is action, not thinking. Act. Show up. And vote and support an absolutely amazing governor who is dedicated to the people. Who will fight for the people. Who comes from the people. Our governor – Kathy Hochul.”
Former NASA astronaut FRED HAISE came to the Cradle of Aviation Museum last week for a discussion and book signing about his autobiography ‘Never Panic Early: An Apollo 13 Astronaut’s Journey.’
VIDEO: (17.5 minutes) Fred Haise at Cradle of Aviation MuseumThe sold-out audience greeted Haise with long, loud applause when he entered the updated JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium with a huge moon laser-projected at the top of the full-dome.
my Photo Gallery – Fred Haise at Cradle of Aviation Museum (Plus, click each photo below to see larger one.)
Thanks to the lively way Haise shared some dangerous times during his career – notably when the Apollo 13 spacecraft was damaged on its way to the Moon on April 13, 1970 – the time seemed to fly by fast enough to escape Earth’s gravity.
I’ve enjoyed seeing Fred Haise several times at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. As THOMAS RIEDY, a trustee of the museum, said shortly before the event, the Cradle is very lucky that Haise is so supportive, visiting so frequently over the years.
FEATURE PHOTO (at top of post) Garden City, N.Y., U.S. Sept. 29, 2022. FRED HAISE, former NASA astronaut, smiles and waves to audience after his discussion of autobiography ‘Never Panic Early: An Apollo 13 Astronaut’s Journey’ in JetBlue Theater Planetarium at Cradle of Aviation Museum.
VIDEO: ‘Couple of Guys’ fundraiser Q&A…. Near the end of the fundraiser for ‘Couple of Guys,’ series creator DEBRA MARKOWITZ asked if I enjoyed the first two episodes screened this Monday night. Smiling, I simply said ‘Yes.’
There was no way I could begin to do justice right then to the funny and serious things that touched me about the story of divorced attorney RIchard Durant (SAL RENDINO) and heartthrob former rocker Jon Graham (LUKAS HASSEL) – two mature gay men finding each other and love.
• my Photo Gallery – ‘Couple of Guys’ Fundraiser (Plus, click each photo below to see larger one.)
Bellmore, New York, U.S. September 19, 2022. L-R, JOHN MAREAN, DEBRA MARKOWITZ, SAL RENDINO, ABILIGAIL HAWK, and CIARÁN SHEEHAN are on stage for Q&A during fundraiser for ‘Couple of Guys’ at Bellmore Movies.
Linda Louis’ luminous solo show The expressive artistry of Linda Louis’ other-worldly paintings shines in her colorful solo show ‘A Summer’s Day’ at the Hewlett-Woodmere Library, from September 2 thru October 2, 2022.
• my Photo Gallery – Linda Louis: A Summer’s Day
(Plus, click each photo below to see larger one.)
VIDEOsoundtrack: Billy Joel’s ‘Waltz #1 (Nunley’s Carousel)’ on Nunley’s Carousel organ • FULL SCREEN: click lower right corner
What goes around (and around) has come around on Long Island this summer!
We can once again enjoy Nunley’s Carousel, which recently reopened after the Covid-19 pandemic forced it to close in 2020.
The official ceremony on August 16th had speeches, a ribbon-cutting, and the ultimate fun treat for all – especially the many young children and their parents – a nostalgic ride on Nunley’s Carousel’s lion, 41 horses, and chariot.
• my Photo Gallery – Nunley’s Carousel reopens
(Plus, click each photo below to see larger one.)
The carousel – now under the management of the Long Island Children’s Museum – is located in the Nunley’s Carousel glass pavilion on Museum Row in Garden City, It’s between LICM and the Cradle of Aviation Museum, which previously managed the carousel.
If you’d like to ride the carousel this summer, be sure to visit by September 11th, since it will be closed from September 12 to October 4, 2022 for the Long Island Children’s Museum Fall Fix-Up.
When the carousel first started, I was surprised the music was a recording of Billy Joel performing his ‘Waltz #1 (Nunley’s Carousel)’ on the piano. Why wasn’t the organ playing his music?
During the ceremony, the carousel organ was set so it could only play off music rolls, not MIDI files (Musical Instrument Digital Interface files)
The midi was disconnected.
Blowers providing air for the organ were on.
The pump which provides air to play pipes, and to read the music roll as it passes over the tracker bar, was also on.
To play off the MIDI files, the pump has to be turned off, and the MIDI has to be reconnected.
I look forward to my grandchildren enjoying the full Nunley’s Carousel experience in the future: riding the magnificently carved and decorated carousel horses, lion, and chariot + hearing the carousel organ playing music.
When BILLY JOEL composed ‘Waltz #1 (Nunley’s Carousel)’ he had BOB STUHMER arrange it for Nunley’s Carousel organ. Stuhmer – a member of AMICA (Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors’ Association) and COAA (Carousel Organ Association of America) – gave Nunley’s a CD of music he arranged for its organ and professionally recorded on site. ‘Waltz #1 (Nunley’s Carousel)’ is the first piece on the CD. (see above photo)
GARY GRASSO, a board member of the National Carousel Association, presented the Historic Carousel Award 2020 to Nunley’s Carousel. NCA had been waiting since the Covid-19 pandemic hit Long Island to present the plaque. (see above photo)
Other than seeing some photos of the present exhibit on Old Westbury Gardens’ facebook page, I didn’t know what to expect. I soon realized this was fun art, rather than fine art, though fine art inspired some of Johnson’s most iconic pieces.
The statue ‘A Reason to Smile’ (see photo above) was inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The statues of dancers on the West Porch (see 3 photos below) were inspired by Pierre Auguste Renoir, the French master Impressionist painter.
I had more spontaneous, quick conversations with fellow visitors than during any earlier visit to Old Westbury Gardens.
Though strangers may typically avoid staring at each other, at this exhibit, we often stared at each other from a distance or even rather close. Were we approaching fellow visitors or trompe-l’œil statues?
Time and again, I’d cross paths with someone smiling who’d say something along the lines of, “Did you see the statue of a couple lying down under the tree? I was sure they were real people, even when I got closer, but they didn’t move…” (see above photo)
There are several big reasons I’ve kept my OWG membership active, despite Covid: it’s mainly an outdoor venue; I can go, or not, on the spur of the moment, and there’s no cost factor against making short or multiple visits to one event.
I used my Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera with the Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 lens to capture all photos except ‘Waving Girl,’ which I captured with my iPhone (see last post). Though I LOVE my Nikon gear, they’re not light, and it was a hot day.
So, after a couple of hours of photographing statues mainly in the west area of the grounds, it was near dinner time, and Bob and I left.
I look forward to returning to “bump into” and photograph more statues at the Gold Coast estate before the Seward Johnson exhibit ends.
FEATURE PHOTO (top of post) other views: sidecloseup – Old Westbury, N.Y., U.S. June 24, 2022. ‘Out of Sight’ (bronze, 2011) – two young boys with kites – is on view at ‘Re-Visiting the Familiar: Seward Johnson at the Gardens’ sculpture exhibition at Old Westbury Gardens. Westbury House is in background.
“About time! Love it” – Ellen Thomas Ehmer, former Gruman worker
Though it was near high noon on a hot day – not my favorite for capturing outdoor photos – I thoroughly enjoyed the dedication ceremony for the Sally Ride statue in front of Cradle of Aviation Museum on June 17th.
• my Photo Gallery – Sally Ride statue dedication ceremony (Plus, click each photo below to see larger one.)
Project Manager Steven Barber introduced the 3 sculptors of Sally Ride statue – GEORGE LUNDEEN, MARK LUNDEEN, and JOEY BAINER (see above photo):
“I want to introduce, in my humble option – and they get a little embarrassed when I say this, but it is true:
These are not just the greatest sculptures in America, these are the greatest sculptures in the world, for many reasons, the Family Lundeen, George and Mark, who have believed in me, which is hard to do sometimes,
So anyway, their unwavering spirit has been amazing for me.
So everybody, put your hands together for George and Mark Lundeen, and master sculptor Joey Bainer, behind the tree hiding, Joey is the heir apparent….”
Project Manager Steven Barber also introduced ALEXANDRIA LEGGITT (see above photo):
“….And I do want to also mention we have a great IBM’er, an executive from IBM here, Alexandria Leggit, who has been tireless in the last 2 years. She has been working with me trying to build the ‘Hidden Figures’ monument.
“So we want to start moving into diversity, which obviously Sally Ride is…”
Creating an Eyewitness News Long Island Bureau at Hofstra began in 2018, the year Lukasiewicz became Dean at Hofstra. During his long and distinguished career in journalism, he worked at ABC for 11 years.
Guests included CHAD MATTHEWS, the new president of ABC Owned Television Stations; DONALD SCHAEFFER, Chair of the Hofstra Board of Trustees; ABC anchor BILL RITTER, who emceed the ceremony, SHIRLEEN ALLICOT, a graduate of LHSC and current Eyewitness News anchor; Hofstra LHSC students; Hofstra staff and alums; community leaders and officials.
The long-standing mutual respect between Chad Matthews and Dean Lukasiewicz was evident during each of their speeches, and Matthews mentioned he was happy the abc7 Long Island Bureau at Hofstra opened before he named a new General Manager of WABC New York.
Councilwoman DOROTHY GOOSBY, Legislator TOM MCKEVITT, Councilman ANTHONY D’ESPOSITO, and Nassau County Executive BRUCE BLAKEMAN were among those attending not just because of their offices but because they were former Hofstra students.
And the Mark Twain quote at the top – “Nothing spoils a good story like the arrival of an eyewitness” – alludes to a third reason why this Hofstra alum finds it major that Eyewitness News will have a reporter stationed full-time at the Long Island Bureau:
• 3 • Covering news as an eyewitness makes it more likely the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth of the story will be shared.
Though I have bird feeders and don’t use pesticides in my yard, I want to make it more hospitable and inviting to birds, squirrels, butterflies… and help Long Island’s ecology.
So I was excited to cover the hands-on event “EARTH DAY: Help Plant a Native Pollinator Garden” that BRET BENNINGTON, Professor of Geology, Environment, and Sustainability, presented at the Student Garden at Stuyvesant Hall, Hofstra University.
Feature Photo at top of post: Hempstead, N.Y., U.S. April 18, 2022. L-R, student ‘BADGER’ and Prof. BRET BENNINGTON take quick break from planting to pose during ‘EARTH DAY: Help Plant a Native Pollinator Garden’ at Student Garden at Hofstra University.