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Garden City, New York, USA. May 23, 2019. At left, ANDREW PARTON, President of the Cradle of Aviation Museum is standing at lectern and introducing, at right, ANDREW CHAIKIN, best-selling author of "A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts" in the museum’s JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium. Event was part of CAM's celebration of 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11.

Andrew Chaikin: Over the Moon about Space

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
May 30, 2019

VIDEO 1 [00:21] Chaikin’s favorite quote:

An Evening with Andrew Chaikin, at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Thursday, May 23, began with refreshments near the “LEM” room, home of the actual Apollo LM-13 lunar excursion module built for the cancelled Apollo 18 mission.

What a great setting for photos of the bestselling author of “A Man on the Moon: Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts”!

And when asked if I wanted him to go on the surface of the (simulated) moon – the first time anyone offered that in all the years I captured photos there – I was so surprised I blurted out, “Are you sure it’s okay?” He smiled and good-naturedly assured me he had permission. 

Garden City, New York, USA. May 23, 2019. At left, author ANDREW CHAIKIN takes a selfie with ALAN CONTESSA, who worked on the real Apollo 11 lunar module, as they stand in front of the genuine Lunar Module LM-13, built for cancelled Apollo 18 mission.

Garden City, New York, USA. May 23, 2019. At left, ANDREW CHAIKIN takes a selfie with ALAN CONTESSA, who worked on the Apollo 11 lunar module, as they stand in front of the genuine Lunar Module LM-13, built for cancelled Apollo 18 mission. (© 2019 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

After capturing photos of Chaikin at LM-13, I saw a few guests come in, including Alan Contessa, who, as a 22-year-old Grumman employee in 1969, was responsible for making and installing the gold silver thermal foil covering the lower part of Apollo 11’s lunar excursion module LM-5, the “Eagle” of “The Eagle has landed” fame.

My favorite LM area photo of the evening shows Chaikin taking a selfie with Contessa as they’re standing in front of the LM-13 thermal foil, which Contessa, as a volunteer, worked on for the Cradle of Aviation display.

Soon it was time to go to the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium, for Chaikin’s talk about growing up on Long Island and interviewing Apollo astronauts.

VIDEO 2 [44:10] Chaikin’s talk:

Chaikin became obsessed with space when he was five, and he was 12 when he met his first NASA astronaut, Alan Bean, who later became his dear friend and mentor.  

Young Chaikin literally dreamed of meeting Neil Armstrong and getting his autograph. During a trip with his parents to Washington DC in 1971, he found out Armstrong was working at NASA Headquarters. The second time Chaikin went to HQ, he ran into Armstrong in the hallway, where the astronaut signed an autograph for him, and then took a selfie of the two of them.

As adults, they got to know each other as friends, and in 2002 Chaikin’s wife Victoria Kohl took a picture of Armstrong and Chaikin, who was holding that 1971 selfie.

Chaikin, an animated, knowledgable, and fascinating speaker – and I’m not saying that just because we have the same birthday – talked about the Apollo 11 mission in great detail, with photos and videos projected on the huge screen behind him. NOTE: Video 2 above includes most of Chaiken’s talk.

During the Q&A, the first guest called on asked if Chaikin thought the [2018 biographical drama] movie “First Man” portrayed astronaut Neil Armstrong accurately. The audience laughed when Chaikin quickly answered, “Not at all….”

The evening ended with the CNN Films documentary “APOLLO 11,” but I had to leave before it ran on the giant curved screen, so I returned to the IMAX theater with a friend to see the film that Sunday afternoon.

Walking up and up and up the theater stairs, we turned into the second row from the top, sat down, and enjoyed the awe-inspiring, newly unearthed views of the Apollo 11 astronauts, support teams, and the mission itself.

Feature Photo at top of post: Garden City, NY, USA. May 23, 2019. At left, ANDREW PARTON, Pres. of the Cradle of Aviation Museum introduces, at right, author ANDREW CHAIKIN in the museum’s JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium.

Andrew Chaikin at Cradle of Aviation:  MY GALLERY

Video 1 – Chaikin’s Favorite Quote: vimeo.com/annparry/chaikinquote
Video 2 – Chaikin’s Talk: vimeo.com/annparry/chaikintalk


Hempstead NY, Oct. 5, 2018. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks at podium at start of Town Hall Meeting at Hofstra University, Long Island.

Gillibrand Town Hall at Hofstra: YES to Affordable Health Care & Education; Diversity & Hope

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (annparry.com)
October 6, 2018

Hempstead NY, USA, Oct. 5, 2018. Sen. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND poses with, L-R, MARIA TERESA ROMERO, ELSA FORD, and MILLIE MOTA, members of Brentwood Bay Shore Breast Cancer Coalition, at end of Town Hall at Hofstra University. (Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Hempstead, NY, USA. Oct. 5, 2018. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), 2nd from right, poses with, L-R, Maria Teresa Romero, Elsa Ford, and Millie Mota, members of Brentwood Bay Shore Breast Cancer Coalition, at end of Town Hall at Hofstra. (© 2018 Ann Parry/AnnParry.com)

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. 

Judge Kavanaugh

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.” 

Young Voters:

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.

Opioid Crisis:

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?”

Excerpts from Gillibrand’s response:

“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. 

Gillibrand Town Hall, Hofstra: PHOTO GALLERY

All my Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Videos: vimeo.com/channels/gillibrand