#TBT: Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting August 15th 1985. © Collection of Joe Geronimo
Whitewater rafting August 15th 1985. © Collection of Joe Geronimo

Stepping back in time 31 years to a family experience in the Adirondacks. I can’t remember if this was on the Hudson River or the Sacandaga River?

Top left is my dad with my sister tucked in behind him followed by myself. In front left is my uncle Ralph and his son Anthony. Behind Anthony is my other uncle Pat. Next to the woman with the paddle is my aunt Lorraine and my mother is in the back of the boat behind woman with the paddle.  I do recall not listening to my uncle about the foot straps and I was promptly ejected from the boat in the first set of rapids. It was a great family vacation…

Another memory from this trip was coming home I was riding with my uncle Ralph, aunt Lorraine and Anthony. I remember saying to my uncle I had to go to the bathroom. He responded by handing me a Pepsi bottle… Again fun times and great memories.

Cheers!

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Stryper: The Chance Theater

Growing up in the 1980’s I was treated in my opinion to some of the best rock music ever produced. Some of my favorites were Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Judas Priest, etc. In 1985 I discovered the band Stryper on a whim when I was given their “Soldiers Under Command” LP and I was instantly hooked. I was 14 and I loved the sound but really wasn’t all about the lyrics. But I thought to myself these guys sound great and who cares what they sing about. In late 1986 they released the blockbuster album “To Hell with the Devil” and I made sure I would get to see them live on tour. They were amazing back then!

Fast forward 30 years later to a small theater in Poughkeepsie, NY and I would once again witness how truly talented these guys are. It blows me away how lead singer Michael Sweet keeps his voice spot on. On June 11th Stryper rocked “The Chance” and I believe they sound even better now. Look how bad David Lee Roth sounds these days. I wouldn’t pay one dollar to see Van Halen in concert now. Stryper over the past two years or so has released two new incredible albums titled “No More Hell to Pay” and “Fallen”. Michael Sweet has also teamed up with George Lynch of Dokken fame to release Sweet & Lynch “Only to Rise”. There isn’t a bad song on it…

What I loved about the show is not only did they play some great music but they made it fun. They covered a few classic tunes as well. Below are a few short video clips taken with my iPhone. My iPhone does not do these guys justice.

Cheers!

Hyde Park New York: FDR

This past Tuesday we made an overnight trip to Hdye Park, New York to visit the home and Presidential Library of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The National Park Service did a wonderful interpretation and the museum, library, home and grounds are just beautiful. One of the highlights in the museum is Franklin’s car complete with hand controls and a cigarette dispenser the would dispense lighted cigarettes. The Depression Era depiction was utterly amazing and sad as well. I personally am fascinated by World War Two history. We also wanted to visit Val-Kill the home of Eleanor Roosevelt but sadly it was closed the days we were there. If history is something that interests you I highly recommend a visit.

FDR's home in Hyde Park, New York.
FDR’s home in Hyde Park, New York.
The library room in FDR's home.
The library room in FDR’s home.
Music room FDR home
Music room FDR home
Dining room FDR home
Dining room FDR home
Eleanor Roosevelt's bedroom
Eleanor Roosevelt’s bedroom
Franklin and Eleanor's bedroom until Franklin was stricken with polio
Franklin and Eleanor’s bedroom until Franklin was stricken with polio
Franklin's boyhood bedroom
Franklin’s boyhood bedroom
"Birthing Room" where Franklin was born.
“Birthing Room” where Franklin was born.
Sarah Roosevelt's room which was Franklin's mother
Sarah Roosevelt’s room which was Franklin’s mother
In the Presidential Library sits Franklin's desk from the Oval Office. The desk was Herbert oover's and Franklin never changed the furnishings once taking office. However the trinkets on the desk are Franklin's and exactly the originals.
In the Presidential Library sits Franklin’s desk from the Oval Office. The desk was Herbert Hoover’s and Franklin never changed the furnishings once taking office. However the trinkets on the desk are Franklin’s and exactly the originals.
Michael in a depiction of a top secret "Map Room" during World War Two
Michael in a depiction of a top secret “Map Room” during World War Two
Depiction of a top secret "Map Room" during World War Two
Depiction of a top secret “Map Room” during World War Two
A Day that will live in infamy. Franklin's original speech originally said "World History" which he crossed out and wrote in "Infamy".
“A Day that will live in infamy” Franklin’s original speech said “World History” which he crossed out and wrote in “Infamy”.
"The Tehran Conference" On this day in 1943, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt joins British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin at a conference in Iran to discuss strategies for winning World War II and potential terms for a peace settlement.
“The Tehran Conference” On this day in 1943, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt joins British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin at a conference in Iran to discuss strategies for winning World War II and potential terms for a peace settlement.

 

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Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12th 1945. The news of FDR's death so moved Stalin that he allowed the story and the President's picture to be printed on the front pages of the Russian newspapers - space previously reserved only for national stories. Winston Churchill said he felt as though he had been "struck a physical blow," and broke down when he relayed the news in a speech to the House of Commons. A soldier aboard a troopship bound for France exclaimed in disbelief "But the war's almost over!" A funeral train slowly brought Roosevelt's body from Warm Springs to Washington. Although copper was rationed as part of the war effort, a copper-lined coffin was built for his interment. After the funeral ceremonies his body was again placed on the train for a last ride to his home in Hyde Park, New York. Funeral at Hyde Park, NY
Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12th 1945. The news of FDR’s death so moved Stalin that he allowed the story and the President’s picture to be printed on the front pages of the Russian newspapers – space previously reserved only for national stories. Winston Churchill said he felt as though he had been “struck a physical blow,” and broke down when he relayed the news in a speech to the House of Commons. A soldier aboard a troopship bound for France exclaimed in disbelief “But the war’s almost over!” Funeral at Hyde Park, NY
Franklin D. Roosevelt "Funeral Train" along the Hudson River. The funeral train slowly brought Roosevelt's body from Warm Springs to Washington. Although copper was rationed as part of the war effort, a copper-lined coffin was built for his interment. After the funeral ceremonies his body was again placed on the train for a last ride to his home in Hyde Park, New York.
Franklin D. Roosevelt “Funeral Train” along the Hudson River. The funeral train slowly brought Roosevelt’s body from Warm Springs to Washington. Although copper was rationed as part of the war effort, a copper-lined coffin was built for his interment. After the funeral ceremonies his body was again placed on the train for a last ride to his home in Hyde Park, New York.

 

The Early Bird Catches The Train

This past weekend was quite an adventurous one to say the least. Saturday morning we woke at 0530 and drove 140 miles to Peekskill, New York in order to catch our train into Manhattan.

Peekskill, New York train station. Image © Joe Geronimo
Peekskill, New York train station. Image © Joe Geronimo

My wife Julie and our sons Max and Michael waiting for our train at Peekskill, New York. Image © Joe Geronimo
My wife Julie and our sons Max and Michael waiting for our train at Peekskill, New York. Image © Joe Geronimo

Weather was perfect on Saturday and the hour train ride was just as beautiful as the railroad follows the Hudson River most of the way into New York. Arriving at the famed Grand Central Terminal which celebrates one hundred years in 2013.

Travelers scurry the main concourse at Grand Central Terminal. Image © Joe Geronimo
Travelers scurry the main concourse at Grand Central Terminal. Image © Joe Geronimo
Outside of Grand Central on our way to Bryant Park. Image © Joe Geronimo
Outside of Grand Central on our way to Bryant Park. Image © Joe Geronimo

We are celebrating my wife’s 50th birthday on this day. She wanted to travel to Manhattan to tour some bakeries in her on going cupcake adventure. Another goal of the day is to visit Chelsea Market and the High Line. Walking from Grand Central to Bryant Park.
Making our way from Grand Central to Bryant Park we see a view of the Chrysler Building. Image © Joe Geronimo
Making our way from Grand Central to Bryant Park we see a view of the Chrysler Building. Image © Joe Geronimo
Walking from Bryant Park we arrive Times Square where we will hop the 2 train to 14th Street and the Chelsea area.
NYPD precinct at Times Square. Image © Joe Geronimo
NYPD precinct at Times Square. Image © Joe Geronimo
On the 2 train headed for 14th Street, the Chelsea Market and High Line. Image © Joe Geronimo
On the 2 train headed for 14th Street, the Chelsea Market and High Line. Image © Joe Geronimo
Arriving at 14th Street we made our way over to the Chelsea Market. “Chelsea Market is an enclosed urban food court, shopping mall, office building and television production facility located in the Chelsea neighborhood of the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. Built in the former National Biscuit Company factory complex where the Oreo cookie was invented and produced, the 22-building complex fills two entire blocks bounded by Ninth and Eleventh Avenues and 15th and 16th Streets, with a connecting bridge over Tenth Avenue. In addition to the retail concourse in the structure east of 10th Avenue, it also provides standard office space for tenants, including media and broadcasting companies such as Oxygen Network, Food Network, Mr Youth, MLB.com, EMI Music Publishing and the local New York City cable station NY1. Also, more recently, Google has moved into some of the second and fourth floors.
Retail facilities were introduced into the building by connecting the original back lots of individual buildings to a central, ground-level concourse with entries at 9th and 10th Avenues (completed in April 1997). Anchor stores include the Chelsea Market Baskets, Manhattan Fruit Exchange, BuonItalia, Anthropologie, and a restaurant called Buddakan. There is also the Fat Witch Bakery, Amy’s Bread, Ruth’s Bakery, Chelsea Wine Vault, Eleni’s Bakery, The Lobster Place, Dickson’s Farmstand, The Green Table, Chelsea Thai and Friedman’s Lunch, as well as a variety of smaller stores selling cheese, artisanal salt and olive oil, chocolate and flowers.
In January 2006 on the 10th Avenue side, Morimoto, owned by Food Network “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto and designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, opened. Opposite Morimoto across 10th Avenue, also in the Chelsea Market complex is Del Posto, an Italian restaurant owned by fellow “Iron Chef”, Mario Batali. The Food Network films its shows Iron Chef America and Emeril Live in the Chelsea Market.”
The Chelsea Market. Image © Joe Geronimo
The Chelsea Market. Image © Joe Geronimo
This where we decided to have some lunch. On a Saturday the place is mobbed! Not sure what the rest of the week brings? However there is limited seating inside the market with most people taking their food to either the High Line Park or the High Line itself. I must say we enjoyed the food and the selection was great. You can even get a whole fresh lobster for lunch! http://lobsterplace.com, I opted for lunch at Sarabeth’s Kitchen http://www.sarabeth.com where I had the grilled smoked mozzarella, tomato and avocado sandwich. I won’t lie the sandwich was so good I had another! Ok my wife’s first stop on her cupcake tour was Eleni’s New York http://elenis.com for some cupcakes.
Eleni's New York Bakery. Image © Joe Geronimo
Eleni’s New York Bakery. Image © Joe Geronimo
Since it was my wife’s birthday the boys and I packed a candle in order to celebrate her day. I convinced her to leave the market and head over to the High Line Park in order to sit and enjoy her cupcakes. However a light breeze kept blowing the candle out.
Happy Birthday! Image © Joe Geronimo
Happy Birthday! Image © Joe Geronimo
Back in the market we made a brief stop in Antropologie http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/index.jsp where the boys were goofing around.
Michael being goofy. Image © Joe Geronimo
Michael being goofy. Image © Joe Geronimo
Max taking a nap! Image © Joe Geronimo
Max taking a nap! Image © Joe Geronimo
Now we we’re on the High Line. The High Line is an former elevated freight railroad that has been made into a walking green space in an otherwise asphalt and concrete urban environment.
Walking the High Line. Image © Joe Geronimo
Walking the High Line. Image © Joe Geronimo
Walking the High Line. Image © Joe Geronimo
Walking the High Line. Image © Joe Geronimo
The Freedom Tower rises above the High Line and Manhattan. Image © Joe Geronimo
The Freedom Tower rises above the High Line and Manhattan. Image © Joe Geronimo
After the High Line our next stop was Billy’s Bakery http://www.billysbakerynyc.com for some more cupcake sampling.
Birthday Girl inspecting the days delights. Image © Joe Geronimo
Birthday Girl inspecting the days delights. Image © Joe Geronimo
Billy's Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes. Image © Joe Geronimo
Billy’s Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes. Image © Joe Geronimo
While sitting and enjoying we were talking with another family and they told us about this minuscule cupcake place called Citycakes http://www.citycakesny.com. They were telling us how tiny this place was and if you didn’t know it was there you’d walk right by it. It was tucked down a small staircase in Chelsea. It was so tiny that my 18mm lens was to big.. So an iPhone image will have to do.
Salted Caramel Cupcake. Image © Joe Geronimo
Salted Caramel Cupcake. Image © Joe Geronimo
At this point the boys were getting tired as we had been doing a lot of walking. We hopped the 2 train at 18th Street and made our way back to Times Square.
Love the old tile work of the NYC Subway System. Image © Joe Geronimo
Love the old tile work of the NYC Subway System. Image © Joe Geronimo
Back in Times Square Max bumped into Shrek.
Max and Shrek. Image © Joe Geronimo
Max and Shrek. Image © Joe Geronimo
And finally back to Grand Central Terminal to catch our train to Peekskill.
Grand Central Terminal. Image © Joe Geronimo
Grand Central Terminal. Image © Joe Geronimo
NYC_25 Upon arriving at Peekskill I had to make a quick stop for a cold beer at the Peekskill Brewery http://peekskillbrewery.wordpress.com where I enjoyed the “Skills Pils an international style Pilsner with German malts, New Zealand Riwaka hops and American lager yeast.
Peekskill Brewery "Skills Pils". Image © Joe Geronimo
Peekskill Brewery “Skills Pils”. Image © Joe Geronimo
Making our way from Peekskill to Cold Spring for dinner at a restaurant aptly named “Cold Spring Depot” housed in the former New York Central Station along Metro North’s Hudson Division. he Menu boasts 68 freight and passenger trains daily. Sitting on the patio the evening was perfect. Not buggy and the temperature was comfortable. The food was great service however a bit slow but expected on a Saturday evening. Waiting for our food my wife was reading the placemat. It mention an easy hike two miles north at Breakneck Ridge. We figured this would be a great Father’s Day hike on Sunday. After dinner we made our way over to West Point and crashed at the West Point Motel http://www.thewestpointmotel.com.

Early on Sunday morning I went out for my run while Julie and the boys were sleeping. It was a cool morning and quiet. I made some chit chat with the Military Police at the entrance of West Point and discovered a farmers market being set up in town also. After a nine mile run it was back to the motel for a shower and breakfast. We decided to head for the farmers market for breakfast. Some strawberries, pumpkin bread, mini cherry pies and a cup of coffee we were all set for our easy hike at Breakneck Ridge. Arriving at the trail head we packed very little. Actually we didn’t pack a dam thing except my two very heavy cameras. No water, food, etc… Heck the placemat said it was an easy hike. Off we went! The trail started off smoothly and then all of a sudden it got steep, and we had to start scaling some very large rocks. Not to be deterred we pressed on seeing as the flag pole we saw from the highway below did not look to far up. That was a pretty hefty climb up and we thought how the hell would we get back down?

Arriving at what we thought was the summit of Breakneck Mountain.
Arriving at what we thought was the summit of Breakneck Mountain.
In order to get down we were told we had to continue up. We looked up and said are you fucking kidding me! I mean it was shear rock face. Michael now nicknamed “The Mountain Goat” was a machine he loved this and scaled these rock faces like it was nothing. Along the way we bumped into two guys who really helped us out. They provided us with water and kept tabs on Max and helped him if needed as did I. I had no issues except two expensive cameras and lens strapped to me like the rifle of a soldier trying to climb. Julie and Max had a bit more difficulty. At one point Julie started to lose grip and slide a bit down the face of a rock. I was scared to death! Cameras thrown off I was after her to grab her hand if needed. She was able to take hold of a crevice and pull herself up. Up and Up we went and literally I took no other pictures as all I could do is concentrate on my family at this point. Finally we reached the summit. The view of the Hudson Valley north and south was amazing. According to Mapmyhike.com we began at 148 feet of elevation and ended at 1,200 feet of elevation. A gain of 983 feet in under a mile.
The Black line represents our hike.
The Black line represents our hike.
Map My Hike rates this climb a a Category One “Cat 1 Climb – These rated climbs are the next most difficult after HC climbs. The exactly same methodology is used in determining their difficulty as HC climbs but they fall next in terms of overall difficulty. All climb scores are based on distance, grade/elevation change, and maximum elevation.” which is only surpassed by a category HC “HC climb – “Hors Categorie” – (a French term for above category) climbs are the hardest rating/score given to any climb. All climb scores are based on distance, grade/elevation change, and maximum elevation. The combination of these factors drives all final climb categories and there is no subjective analysis used in the final scoring of any climb score. HC climbs will traditionally be very long (over 10 miles), very steep (average grades above 8 to 10%), or very high (above 11,000 feet) but again some extremely steep or long climbs could alone qualify it as an HC rated climb.” Julie doesn’t sweat so she gets heated, dizzy quickly. Out of water now and Julie not feeling well I found an ice cold stream where I refilled our empty water bottle. Not to drink unless it was an emergency but to use to keep her cool. Making our way down the mountain and finally reaching our car, we were dirty, tired, hungry and accomplished. I am so proud of my sons. Michael is a natural and he and I will move on to tackle Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks. Max on the other hand not as thrilled with the hike and scared at points saying he couldn’t go on, went on and he overcame. Love you!

We drove north now to Beacon, New York for food and made our way to the Yankee Clipper diner http://www.beaconyankeeclipper.com. The menu was huge as expected in a diner. I went right for the full stack of blueberry pancakes with whipped cream, powdered sugar and warm syrup. AHHHHHHHHH! Finished with our lunch we were promising the boys they could swim at the Bear Mountain pool at BEar Mountain State Park. We arrived only to find the pool doesn’t open to June 22nd. We decided it was time to head back home but made a brief drive to the top of Bear Mountain for one last view of the Hudson Valley.

Looking north along the Hudson River and the Hudson Valley from Bear Mountain. Image © Joe Geronimo
Looking north along the Hudson River and the Hudson Valley from Bear Mountain. Image © Joe Geronimo

Arriving home around 1900 tired and hungry again, we took a moment to reflect on the weekends events. We came to the conclusion that we love being a family with the good, bad and indifferent. Here is to our next adventure starting on June 24th as we fly to California for vacation.

Cheers!

Joe