SLIDESHOW – Shimmering Solstice (Full Screen: Click bottom right corner)
“I took the best photos of my life at Shimmering Solstice!” my friend posted online next to his pictures of the holiday light show at Old Westbury Gardens. Since I also had visited the walk-through wonderland, I wasn’t surprised he was thrilled.
During my hours (!) visiting Shimmering Solstice on the grounds ofOld Westbury Gardens, the Long Island Gold Coast estate, I saw families with young children and grandparents, friends from their late teens to seniors, and photo enthusiasts.
VIDEO – Shimmering Solstice(Full Screen: Click bottom right corner) Breathtaking scenes include the Rose Garden, the pond, the Walled Garden, and South Lawn and Allee leading to Westbury House, with its decorated front, and a stunning projection show on its south facade.
Lightswitch – a collective of internationally recognized lighting, media, and visual designers – worked together with Old Westbury Gardens to create the show that celebrates the OWG’s history and environment.
Catholic Healthis the presenting sponsor of Shimmering Solstice. Patrick M. O’Shaughnessy, the President and CEO of Catholic Health, said, “This experience will bring families, friends, and communities together in a beautiful setting to reflect and make memories.”
Because the show both dazzled the senses and created emotional experiences, I do expect my memories will remain as vivid as the photos captured.
How wonderful it would be to have the chance to create such memories at Shimmering Solstice for years to come.
Which is why I was so happy to learn that Nancy Costopulos, the President and CEO of Old Westbury Gardens, said the non-profit intends to make the unique light show an annual holiday tradition at the historic state.
Please note you must buy your tickets before arriving at the event, which runs through January 9, 2022.
FEATURE PHOTO (at top of post): Old Westbury, NY, U.S. Dec. 10, 2021. Families explore in front of Westbury House at Shimmering Solstice, a walk-through light show at Old Westbury Gardens, sponsored by Catholic Health, and running through January 9, 2022.
Yesterday, April 26, activists held a rally in Mineola about the unfair burden of paying dam-bursting rates – about to rise 26% higher on May 1st – for water from New York American Water, a private company.
Living in Merrick, I’m among over 124,000 customers of NYAW in Nassau County who pay rates many times higher than county residents with municipal water.
Recently, however, New York State Senate Bill S.989a passed – sponsored by Sen. James Gaughran (Dem.-5th District, Northport) – which relates to the assessment of property owned by water-works corporations – including creating a Nassau County Water Authority and exempting water works corporations in counties of populations over one million from a special franchise tax.
But for New York American Water customers to avoid the 26% rate hike, and for such changes to take place, the NYS Assembly must also pass corresponding legislation before May 1st. [See UPDATE near end of post]
Before May 1, 2021, NYS Assembly Bill A07279 passed, which “relates to the establishment of the north and south shore water authority and capping the rate a water-works corporation may increase its rates and charges.” It was sponsored by Rep. Charles Lavine (Dem. – Dist. 13, Glen Cove), and co-sponsors Rep. Judy Griffin (Dem. – Dist. 21, Rockville Centre), Rep. Michaelle Solages (Dem. – Dist. 22, Elmont), and Rep. Michael Montesano (Rep., Ind., Cons. – Dist. 15, Glen Head).
NYS Assembly Bill A07279 differs from NYS Senate Bill A.989.a in some significant ways. For one, the NYS Assembly bill would form a North and South Shore Water Authority, covering fewer New York Water Authority customers than the Nassau County Water Authority NYS Senate Bill S.989.a would cover.
When 24-year-old LIZZIE FITZPATRICK – who happens to live a few blocks from me in Merrick – was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in late June, three tweens – her sister ANNIE, 12; their cousin MADDY; and Annie’s best friend ISABELLE – decided to turn their summer hobby of painting shells into a business to raise funds for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
After seeing a News 12 segment announcing Lizzie’s Army was having a fundraiser selling painted shells on August 15th, I knew I had to cover it to help spread news about how Annie, Maddy and Isabelle are fighting like girls to raise money for breast cancer research.
Also, two days ago, Andrea Fitzpatrick organized the Lizzie’s Army gofundme campaign, and as of 2:18 AM EST today, it’s raised $2,480, so I feel pretty safe predicting it will not only reach but surpass its goal of $2,500.
At dusk, I captured the above photo of the tree most severely damaged in my backyard. Just the bottom few feet of the trunk were still on my side of the white fence; the rest of the tree had fallen on the other side. (You can see my shadow on the left side of image.)
When my daughter Sue’s power returned, I drove to her home a mile away. On my way, I passed a huge tree near the curb toppled down across the front yard onto the roof of the house, which had to be evacuated.
That night, while returning to Sue’s home to drop off some cheese and eggs to store in her refrigerator, I slowly navigated a dark maze blocked by trees felled by wind gusts up to 70 mph. All was dark until I reached her street.
Cars and pedestrians made their way by moonlight – and headlights & flashlight – on Camp Avenue in North Merrick, as seen in the below short VIDEO:
Governor Andrew Cuomo, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Town of Hempstead Supervisor Tom Clavin are among the officials calling for an investigation into PSEG power company’s poor to non-existent communication with customers experiencing power outages, downed power lines….
VIDEO – Black Lives Matter March, N. Merrick, NY, Thursday, June 4, 2020:
⇔Last night, while driving home shortly before 9 PM, I accidentally found myself in the path of a Black Lives Matter March about to turn onto Bellmore Ave from Jerusalem Ave in North Merrick.
When marchers turned, they passed between my car and several Nassau County Police patrol cars parked to block the intersection, so marchers had a safe, clear path. [google maps]
I held my iPhone out the driver’s window to film the marchers, many spread out for social distancing. Most were young, some black, some white, and most wore masks, either covering their mouths and noses or under their chins.
They carried signs with messages including: RIP George Floyd – BLM! – Black Lives Matter – No Racist Police – Ignorance is always afraid of change
A man with a megaphone led his fellow marchers in a chant: No Justice – No Peace – No Racist – Police
After they continued north for a few minutes, police cleared a path through the intersection, and neighboring cars and I continued south.
Later, I learned the marchers were part of a massive, peaceful Merrick march that started earlier that night on Sunrise Highway and ultimately blocked traffic on the Southern State Parkway
⇔This Tuesday night, June 2, self-proclaimed reporter got over 10,000 views on facebook when he live-streamed his take on about 30 people at Merrick Road, Merrick, protesting against Black Lives Matters supporters who wanted to march east from Trader Joe’s to Massapequa.
The ugly comments that anti-BLM March group made about the protestors were exacerbated by the videographer repeatedly and inaccurately referring to that small group as The People of Merrick, as if they represented the entire community.
As an aside: One of the anti-BLM protestors commented how someone was wearing a mask (following CDC guidelines during COVID-19 pandemic) and asked, rhetorically, if the person was a coward.
It’s an anti-mask sentiment I suspect not only the chief executive of the United States but also the COVID-19 virus – if sentient – would share.
Last night, we witnessed a second wave of protests over the tragic death of George Floyd. In good part, this second march was the direct result of spiteful remarks gone viral, made by ignorant people flanking the peaceful march the day before. Let’s be clear, in Merrick there exists an overall community of wonderful people who genuinely believe in the fundamental principles upon which this nation was founded. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness combined with the understanding that all are created equal provides the basis of outlook, action, and acceptance of any Merokian I have come to know.
The remarks made by these ignorant few do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the people of the Merrick community or, for that matter, any community on Long Island. Yesterday, many Merokians walked along in protest, while many others stood on sidewalks providing support, applause, and even bottles of water to the passing marchers. In response to the tragedy of George Floyd, I witnessed members of this community march in support of the most basic of human rights, and I was proud; In response to vile words of thinly veiled hatred by a minority of instigators peddling divisiveness, I witnessed this community come together once again to protest that hatred in a peaceful way, and I was inspired.
Merrick is a community of fairness and understanding, of acceptance and fellowship, and I am proud to represent this community in the NY State Senate.
Sincerely, John E Brooks
I largely agree with Sen. Brooks’ above statement.
⇔Walk the Walk
Segregation is rampant on Long Island, and – as Newsday’s undercover investigation found – it didn’t happen by accident. [*see links below]
Yes, we need to Talk the Talk of the truth that Black Lives Matter and deserve equal justice, and to Walk the Walk by supporting/participating in Black Lives Matter protest marches.
Be we also need to take the countless steps needed to have our community, our Long Island communities, be more diverse and reflect the truth that Black Lives Matter and deserve equal justice, housing, health care, education and job opportunities….
*Newsday – Three-year investigation uncovers widespread unequal treatment by real estate agents on Long Island (2019):
• Opinion/EDITORIAL (Updated Nov. 17, 2019): Segregation’s stain on Long Island can be overcome
FEATURE PHOTO at top of post: Merrick, New York, U.S. June 4, 2020. North Merrick, New York, U.S. June 4, 2020. Black Lives Matter March heads north on Bellmore Ave in direction of eastbound entrance to Southern State Parkway.
Months ago, I ordered a box of 20 disposable N-95 masks. By the time they arrived, not long ago, many local first responders were short on Personal Protective Equipment and could use the masks more than I did.
After reading L.I. Herald reporter Andrew Garcia’s article on the Bellmore-Merrick EMS and how it needed PPE, I put on my makeshift face mask, grabbed the unopened box of N-95s, and drove to the not-for-profit’s nearby Bellmore HQ.
While dropping off the masks outside the EMS entrance door, I asked EMT ALEX DOOLEY what protective equipment donations the first responders particularly needed, other than masks, and she immediately said “gowns.”
Since dusk wasn’t far off when I left, I decided to capture Earth Day photos at a nearby South Shore park.
Normally I’d head west to Norman J. Levy Park & Preserve in Merrick, but it was closed because its sprawling trails and secluded areas weren’t social-distancing-friendly and Long Island was a major hot spot for the Covid-19 pandemic. So I instead headed east to Mill Pond Park in Wantagh.
The park borders Merrick Road, where I parked, joining two or three other cars already there, and adjusted my face mask after getting out of the car.
• [digitally colored] Panorama of Mill Pond Park at dusk:
My iPhone 11 Pro was the best and only camera I had with me. Its 2X optical zoom helped make it possible to capture photos I otherwise couldn’t have while Governor Cuomo’s executive order “New York State on PAUSE” is in effect, currently from March 22 to May 15, 2020.
New York State on PAUSE “NY State remains on PAUSE through May 15. All non-essential workers are directed to work from home, and everyone is required to wear a face covering and maintain a 6-foot distance from others in public”
FEATURE PHOTO at top of post: Wantagh, New York, U.S. April 22, 2020. Two fishermen wearing waders fish at Mill Pond Park on Earth Day as dusk approaches.
So when the nightmarish Covid-19 Pandemic hit New York, I wasn’t surprised to hear music station Z100’s Erica America announce that community member Joey Cestare was spreading hope – creating yard signs with messages of support for Front Liners, and giving away Hope rainbow window signs…
[vimeo.com/annparry/support] Using careful social distancing, Joey and Laurie delivered a “Strong – We’ll get through this” sign for my front yard, and a Hope rainbow sign for my front window.
While I told them news I’d been waiting to share for a while, I captured it with my iPhone, using 2X zoom, so I could share the video with the rest of our family. It turns out everyone involved said it was okay to share it here.
FEATURE PHOTO at top of post: Merrick, NY, U.S. April 5, 2020. JOE CESTARE, owner of Signarama in Bellmore, holds rainbow HOPE sign he is giving for free, while Long Island is hot spot during COVID-19 Pandemic. LAURIE GRAB is in truck.
SIGNARAMA Bellmore is your full service sign center
Not in October when witch costumes and candy canes debuted in tandem at stores. Not weeks ago when we had our first snow. It was last weekend, when the annual Long Island Festival of Trees opened at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.
The atrium had a two-story high, candy-themed Christmas tree, an elf taking visitors’ pictures with Santa, and a free ice skating rink, complete with free skates.
All proceeds raised — including from the sale of uniquely decorated Christmas trees, and Department 56 village porcelain pieces, all donated — benefited the Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County, Inc.
While admiring a tree decked out as an elegant peacock near the skating rink, I saw Peppa Pig stroll into view. Peppa certainly had a long walk ahead of her through the vast museum if she planned to see all the vendors, events, and decorations… though, alas, no muddy puddles *Snort*
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Town Hall at Hofstra University last night, Oct. 5th, landed at the start of the Columbus Day holiday weekend. But midterm elections were only 31 days away, and the Student Center Theater was packed.
After Dean Meena Bose, the moderator, introduced Gillibrand, the senator spoke to the largely supportive audience.
Anyone who wanted to ask Senator Gillibrand a question had taken a red raffle ticket, and put half of it in a glass bowl before the Town Hall began. Tickets were drawn at random for the Q&A.
Not surprisingly, an early question was about the highly controversial Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh – which the Senate was voting on the next day.
Gillibrand said she planned to vote against his confirmation because she thinks he’d put Roe VS Wade in danger, and “Judge Kavanaugh, he doesn’t value women, does not respect women, or listen to them.”
To a politically active but frustrated young voter, Gillibrand stressed the importance of being heard, voting, fighting for our country and values, and not giving up hope.
Excerpts from Gillibrand’s response:
“Don’t lose hope. Truth is, our Democracy never works unless regular people stand up and demand action….
“And, if we can really be heard and talk about our values and our priorities and how disappointing it is to have someone like Brett Kavanaugh serve on the Supreme Court, if we articulate that by voting, and organizing our communities, and even running if you think we must –
” – You’re gonna transform government, you’re gonna flip the house, and you’re gonna flip the senate, and that will create enormous oversight and accountability over the Trump administration, and give us a chance of unwinding some of the horrible things this president has already done, so do not lose hope.
“And most successful movements in this country have been student lead movements. So when young people care deeply, their parents care deeply, and so do their communities.“
When a Hofstra alumnus asked what actual approaches were going to be taken to effectively deal with the opioid crisis, Senator Gillibrand said, “Children are dying all across this country,” and discussed how more, and more effective, Prevention, Intervention and Response were needed.
Trump 2020: An audience member asked, “For those of use who are on the ground, and are working hard everyday, and are gonna keep on working, what can we do so we can make sure we don’t end up with another Trump or somebody worse in 2020, outside from asking people like you to run in 2020, in all sincerity?”
“I believe we will win,in both ’18 and ’20 because I think America believes in a set of values that President Trump doesn’t believe in…. We believe in the Golden Rule…. Making sure everyone has a chance at the American Dream.
“So whether you believe that health care is a right, not a privilege – clean water is a right – every kid should have access to a good education – that people shouldn’t be with laden with debt after college – that people should have the training to get a good job to earn their way to middle class, those four values will be on the ballot 2020.
“Those are American values I believe New Yorkers and people across the county will vote for, and that will be very different leadership than today.”
The last question was a long, multi-part one about immigration, and the audience softly booed when the questioner said the parents of Dreamers should never get citizenship.
When Senator Gillibrand’s response started with “I disagree,” the audience cheered. She then added, “That was a heartfelt question, so let me tell you why I disagree,” and responded energetically. [Video starts during audience member’s question]
Gillibrand concluded with a rousing message about diversity:
“Fundamentally, do not be afraid of people who need our help. We are rich. We are powerful. We can create a growing economy.
“And the things that create a growing economy is diversity – is ingenuity – is entrepreneurism – is innovation, and that comes from the beautiful panoply of America.”
Q&A topics also included:
Support of Senate bills protecting wildlife whose numbers are dangerously low.
Support of Peace legislation: Senate Bill S.2047, Preventing Preemptive War with North Korea Act of 2017, which has 13 out of 100 senators currently backing it.
Fighting hunger, including through food stamps – whose main recipients are children, seniors, and veterans – and through non-profit programs such as Island Harvest – Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization – which, as Gillibrand explained, “marshals food and supplies from people who have offered it to those who need it most.”
The audience applauded enthusiastically at the end of the Q&A.
Gillibrand promised to stay as long as it took for everyone who wanted a selfie with her to get one. (Well, they were sort-of selfies, since an aide took them, using audience members’ cell phones.)
The line for photos stretched from the stage to halfway across the back of the theater.
Whether their cars wore vivid coats of paint or muted ones, the owners I met at the Bellmore Friday Night Car Show last week were colorful and happy to talk, especially about the treasures they drove there.
Standing next to his sleek black Chevy SS, “Mr. Blowtorch” was handing out small free stickers – each with a beautifully illustrated car scene and “Friday Night • Car Show • Bellmore” on it.
I took two or three stickers as he shared anecdotes, and showed photos on his cell phone, about his former career as a theatrical stage metal worker (NYC’s Local One – IATSE).
So “Mr. Blowtorch” was the nickname he got at work, which spanned decades and continents, and included making the large flat metal world map, showing several rotated views of Earth, for the set of CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite!
See the USA in Your 1957 Chevrolet
A big fan of the Chevy Tri-Years, 1955-57 (and shiny red things), I headed straight to a red 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air as soon as I spotted it.
It turned out I arrived just in time to capture a shot of that, since – though the rockets weren’t leaving the car – the car was about to move to an apparently more desirable spot that had just opened up across the lane.
FRANKIE D’AMORE, of Levittown, had “BAC2D80S” license plates on his white with red interior 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible. Small green, white and red “Italia” boxing gloves dangling from the rear view mirror gave an extra personal touch.
It was well past sunset when I left shortly before 9 PM that late summer night.
Chamber of Commerce of the Bellmores members, wearing yellow reflective safety vests, were collecting entrance fees from drivers of the classic, antique and customized cars, who had over an hour of cruise night to enjoy.
For me, like the rest of the hundreds of visitors who walked in, Bellmore Friday Night Car Show was free.
Making a surprise appearance, Governor Cuomo endorsed Liuba Grechen Shirley, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the 2nd District, during her Joint Campaign Office Opening with NY Senator John Brooks on Sunday, August 5th.
Grechen Shirley, a community organizer and activist, business and non-profit leader, and mother of two toddlers, is the first female candidate to get FEC permission to use campaign funds for childcare.
Despite it being a muggy, 91°f summer day, more supporters attended the campaign event than could fit in the office during speeches by the governor, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Liuba Grechen Shirley, and Sen. Brooks.
VIDEO: Speeches by Gov. Cuomo, Liuba Grechen Shirley, & Sen. John Brooks:
The series of four speeches started and ended with a joke about the sweltering weather.
• Nassau County Executive Laura Curran
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran went to the podium in the packed office, and the crowd laughed when she smiled and said clothes wouldn’t be coming off despite the heat.
When the County Executive endorsed Liuba Grechen Shirley, the reasons Curran gave to vote for her, and other Democrats, included how Republicans are anti-New York State – by passing the tax reform provision removing state and local tax deductions – and are anti-gun control, pro NRA.
• Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Curran introduced Governor Andrew Cuomo, an unannounced special guest.
The governor seconded the importance of getting reasonable gun controls, despite NRA’s influence.
Cuomo said how Republicans have a different fundamental view of America as a nation, including being anti-immigrant and abandoning Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. He added how New York sued the federal government for family separation.
“And Laura Curran’s point is very important. They [Republican Congress members] are anti New York State, what they did in their tax reform last year. They passed a provision that removed the deductibility of state & local taxes….
Why? Because they want to hurt New York. This federal provision raises property taxes by 30% like that, overnight. We have to get Washington to reverse it….
“I am tired of the Republican Congress people fromNew York saying — when I said, ‘Why would you pass a bill that hurts your own people?’ That’s what the SALT bill did. It hurt this state. It hurt their constituents ‘Why would you do it?’ — they say, ‘Well, we’re powerless. We’re powerless.’
You know what?That’s baloney. They have been enablers for this president….
“And I’ll tell you how we stop Congress from doing bad acts to New York. We elect Democratic Congress people who will stand up and protect New York.
“We elect Liuba Grechen Shirley. We let Liuba tell them the truth, and stand up for women’s rights, and immigrant rights, and for gun safety, and for New Yorkers….
“We let Liuba stand up in Washington and explain how Progressive policies made this state the greatest state in the United States of America….
“We elect Liuba, and then we elect John Brooks, and Lou D’Amaro, and Monica Martinez, and Jim Gaughran, and we take over the State Senate.”
Liuba Grechen Shirley, a first-time candidate, thanked Cuomo for endorsing her and for New York having the strongest Paid Family Leave policy in America, and said she was excited at the prospect of working with him, Lou D’Amaro, and Sen. John Brooks.
“…It’s critical we take back the [NY] Senate, and flip the House. What is so exciting about our campaign is that it’s completely grass roots, We out raised Peter King this quarter, and we did it without any corporate PAC money….”
“This seat has been held for 25 years by a Republican, by Peter King, who refuses to even meet with his constituents. He actually told me that holding a Town Meeting would diminish democracy….
“He does not represent the values of our district, and we need a representative who will actually listen to everyone in this district. Who will fight in Washington to make sure that we actually have a government is taking care of working families in this district, not their corporate donors….
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. This is about values. Who is going to stand up for our values.”
Senator Brooks first thanked Governor Cuomo for the outstanding job he is doing in Albany.
“…Our governor was the one that stood up first and recognized what the federal tax changes would do to New York State…. [SALT Bill] an 18-billion-dollar tax increase for New Yorkers….
“We hear the president say he wants to make America great again… All we have to do is act like Americans…..
“Lou and I are going to go to the Senate to stand up for Long Island and deliver the products and services that we need in terms of good government….
“Thanks everybody for being here, and remember it’s supposed to snow later this afternoon.”
Several Long Islanders well below voting age came with their parents, including three sisters and their brother wearing red, white and blue campaign shirts with “Joanne Curran Perrucci – for Court Judge / 4th District” on the front, and “Vote For My Mom!” on the back.
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.
VIDEO of Massimino’s 8-minute acceptance speech:
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.
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.”
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.
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).
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.
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.”
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.
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 (“Luigi”), a physics teacher at Durham Academy, NC, and fellow aerospace and astronomy buff.