Two years ago I published a screen print of the Statue of Liberty at the request of Eastern National Bookstores so thought it about time to visit the Statue and the bookstore below. It’s quite a monument. I trained down from Connecticut in about 45 minutes, then stood in two lines–half hour to purchase tickets and another hour to get on the ferry. My poster has a silhouette of my 1899 tug as the border for the statue with additional silhouettes of actual immigrants taken from an historic immigration photo. The actual Statue of Liberty was not accessible–that takes a 6 month advanced reservation….so I contented myself with a walk around Liberty Island. And the poster was still not up on the walls of the bookstore, but it’s only been two years……
This is the footprint of tower #1 of the WTC which today is another monument. The new WTC towers above a full 1776′
Ranger Kevin Oldenburg of the Roosevelt Vanderbilt National Historic Sites in Hyde Park NY invites me to give my talk at the FDR Library/ Visitors Center–I am absolutely flattered. First there is a tour of the Vanderbilt Mansion.
This was the age of “conspicuous spending” and Frederick (grandson of Cornelius) was certainly conspicuous. Pardon the blue tarps–they’re rebuilding the porches, columns and all. Kevin gave me a private tour and we delved into many nooks and crannies……
In this nook, we found an orrery or clock of our solar system with only the Sun, Mercury, Venus and the Earth and Moon–which was pretty much all that was known when these were figured out. The ecliptic rises at 23 degrees. Kevin had answers to all my questions.
And then a piano hidden in this cranny. Now I’m a sucker for pianos–even broke my leg walking to one a few years back–but this is quite fancy; an 1883 Steinway which is tuned and occasionally played.
The NPS manages dozens of units in the Hudson River Valley, and in Hyde Park I visit three: The Roosevelt Home, Val-Kill Residence (Eleanor Roosevelt’s retreat) and The Vanderbilt Mansion. The Visitor Center at the Vanderbilt hosts nine posters which introduce an exhibit about FDR and his National Park and WPA–CCC involvement. It will run a year or more so try to attend.
This is FDRs desk at his home. He was born in this house and was an only child–which nearly killed his mother at childbirth. Eleanor moved into this home with FDR’s parents, so never had her own to raise their 6 children–five of whom survived. I met Elliot Roosevelt in Puget Sound in about 1983. FDR hosted world dignitaries here in 1939 including King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill.
FDR’s wheelchair can be seen center left–it was a simple oak kitchen chair with wheels added. That way, he could sit with a blanket over his knees and not draw attention to his polio stricken legs. He contracted polio when he was 39; it was misdiagnosed which may have allowed this disease to progress further.
Posted at the FDR Library is this “Message to Congress” that everyone over 80 remembers hearing FDR read on the radio. Besides plunging the US into a two-front war, it also ended the WPA and the poster project with only 14 parks having participated.
Also posted in the FDR Library is this letter from Albert Einstein. Einstein said this was probably the biggest mistake of his lifetime.
Who wouldn’t love this 1936 Ford Phaeton. It was equipped with hand controls so FDR could operate the vehicle, which he often did.
I get back from my talk at 8pm and offer my condolences to my next door campers–a tree crashed down nailing two cars–this was the worst. Now, I had the pick of this site a few hours earlier and almost camped here, but chose the next one. My trailer, seen just beyond, was spared…… whew!
After that scare, and with a week of free time before my Baa Haaba (Bar Harbor & Acadia) talks, I decide to explore the Bay of Fundy. I live in Alaska where 26′ of tidal variations are the norm. However, the Bay of Fundy boasts full 46′ tidal fluctuations on average shared at various points around the bay. The ‘mother of all extremes’ occurred in 1869 when the Saxby Storm piled 71′ of water at the head of the Bay of Fundy.
The beautiful New Brunswick town of Shediac–Home of the Worlds Largest Lobster–visit if you can and stay tuned……..