Pops on the River

After a 25 year absence “Pops on the River” returned last evening to Binghamton, NY. You couldn’t have asked for better weather in order to celebrate a triumphant return. With low humidity, temperatures around 78 degrees under cloudless skies.

I have been living in Binghamton for 24 years and have not had the opportunity to witness this event. To be honest I was 23 when I moved here with my interests more in beer, women and Rock N’ Roll. So I probably wouldn’t have went anyway. Times and tastes change a bit. Don’t get me wrong I still love Rock N’ Roll!! When I heard “Pops on the River” was returning I was extremely excited and could not wait to attend. I had seen pictures, read stories from years past of crowds approaching 50,000. Last nights event didn’t come close to that number but I would say several thousand lined the riverwalk, the Court Street bridge and rooftops. However the images of past did show a very large crowd on the water in all sorts of watercraft.

My wife, son Max and I decided to paddle our kayaks and canoe a short distance down the Chenango river to take in the show from the water. Arriving at the launch there were about a dozen or so cars parked who had the same idea as us. The current was mild which made for a real nice paddle and we were setup right before showtime which was 8PM.

There were many kayaks, canoes and homemade watercraft as well. There was even a pirate ship. However the custom float complete with drunk guys right next to us the entire evening were very entertaining. They were fixated on pillaging a later from that pirate ship I mentioned. During the Binghamton Philharmonic’s final score of “Pirates of the Caribbean” one jumped in the water and swam over to try and acquire a lantern. It didn’t go so well, but again was extremely entertaining. As a matter of fact one of those  drunk guys tried to help my son Max get his kayak unstuck from a rock once we were leaving, only to flip him over. It was hysterical!

The music was wonderful. My wife and I enjoyed it very much and Max I know he enjoyed it because he plays in his high school band and loves the music as well.

The evening was capped off with an amazing fireworks show and sitting in the river we had front row seats. Hopefully Pops on the River will return again in 2019!

The firework show was 10 minutes long and spectacular so please watch the video, cheers!

Max, Julie & I paddling down the Chenango river to “Pops on the River” Binghamton, NY July 19th 2018. © Joe Geronimo
Enjoying the music of the Binghamton Philharmonic during “Pops on the River” Binghamton, NY July 19th 2018. © Joe Geronimo
Max paddling around before the start of “Pops on the River” Binghamton, NY July 19th 2018> © Joe Geronimo
Enjoying an evening listening to the Binghamton Philharmonic during “Pops on the River” Binghamton, NY July 19th 2018. ©Joe Geronimo

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Weekend Re-Cap

Saturday September 23rd 2017: Zipping up my wetsuit into a new adventure, open water swimming. Several years ago I had purchased a wetsuit with the intent on using it, things never panned out that way. Our swim was to take place on Quaker lake in Silver Lake Township Pennsylvania not too far south of the New York border.

Saturday morning the fog quickly burned off, the air temperature perfect and the lake  like glass. I’m guessing the water was somewhere between 66-68 degrees. The three of us (Chris, Bob & Myself) plunged into the lake at 0840, beginning our swim. I’ll admit I had been nervous all week leading up to this. I purchased a 15 liter New Wave Swim Buoy as a safety precaution. I was extremely happy with it and you wouldn’t even know it was there. Chris would swim 2 miles skirting the perimeter of the lake. Myself and Bob would swim 1.5 miles down and back the length of the lake. I stopped a few times briefly to adjust my goggles and take a quick break. On our way back up the lake I began to feel a little more confident with some endurance, my nerves had finally settled. Exiting the lake and sitting on the dock I glanced down the lake taking notice of my accomplishment, turning to my watch I covered the distance in 1:27:00. I really enjoyed the experience of open water swimming and look forward to more of it in the future. Recently I have been using swimming as a cross training tool, a low impact workout to supplement my running.

Later that day Julie and I would head back down to Pennsylvania to our families lake house to visit my cousin, his wife Dawn and friends who were staying the weekend. Some great food, company, kayaking, campfire and a game of Cards Against Humanity and all was right with the world.

Quaker Lake Silver Lake Township, PA. © Joe Geronimo. Note: This image was taken in October 2007.

Sunday September 24th 2017: Lacing up my running shoes I would run my first race in five months, the Dick’s Sporting Goods Greater Binghamton Marathon. Myself, Chris, Chuck and Ken would run the marathon relay as team “Sunday Bloody Sunday”. It was another beautiful day in the Southern Tier but extremely warm. Chuck would be our first runner, followed by Chris, Ken and lastly I would be runner #4. I do feel the need to pick on Ken for his little snafu during the race, just because it adds to the memories of a really fun day. Prior to Ken’s turn running he was getting in a few extra miles. Chris arrived to the exchange earlier than anticipated and Ken wasn’t around. I panicked and quickly jumped in and began to run. A few minutes later Ken exchanged with Chris and the guys came and pulled me off the course just over a mile in. Even though we lost some time Ken ran strong showing up to exchange with me pretty much as predicted. My leg of the course would be 4.2 miles mostly along the rail trail. It was HOT and I struggled a bit. I almost never hit the water stops on a race course but today I did twice. I ran an average of 7:26 pace for the race and honestly I could not be happier finishing my run in 30:58. This was huge for me because I had no pain in my hip flexors at all. I’ve finally have gotten my bigger muscles to start doing the work and I have really been enjoying the rebuilding process. Approaching the finish I was very excited to see my wife cheering me on as it its always brightens my day to see her smile. Our official finishing time was 3:15:25.

Post race refreshments and entertainment were provided by Ommegang Brewing of Cooperstown, NY and Local band Wreckless Marci. Later in the afternoon the week had finally caught up with me and I found myself unexpectedly napping on the couch.

Cheers to a super fun weekend!

Dick’s Sporting Goods Greater Binghamton Marathon relay team “Sunday Bloody Sunday”. L-R: Joe Geronimo, Chuck Hein, Chris Pilotti and Ken Burt.

 

TONY DANZA: STANDARDS & STORIES

Last night at the Patchogue Theater on Long Island we had the opportunity to see for the first time one of my most favorite actors, singers and dancers perform on stage, Tony Danza. The show had a Rat Pack sort of vibe to it. He sang some classic Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and so forth. It was like we had been briefly transported to 1960’s Vegas. He told funny stories of growing up in Brooklyn and summers on Long Island in Patchogue as well.

Tony just has this charm about him that while you were seated in the audience you felt like you were family. He was funny, he tapped danced brilliantly and his voice utterly amazed. One of my favorites is a song Tony covers written in 1952 by Alan Brandt and Bob Hyames, That’s All. Tony also recently performed at the USO 75th Anniversary Armed Forces Gala & Gold Medal Dinner in New York back in December of 2016.

Perhaps best known for his starring roles on two of television’s most cherished and long-running series, “Taxi” and “Who’s The Boss,” Danza has also established himself as a Broadway star and a cabaret song and dance man. Danza most recently received rave reviews for his performance in the Broadway musical comedy, Honeymoon In Vegas. He has also starred on Broadway in the “The Producers,” “A View from the Bridge”, and opposite Kevin Spacey in “The Iceman Cometh.” Tony debuted his latest cabaret act, “Standards & Stories,” last year to a sold out audience at the world famous Carlyle Hotel in New York City, with The New York Times calling him “a live wire who tap-dances, plays the ukulele, tells stories and radiates irresistible charm.”

Tony Danza: Standards & Stories

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!

This Mornings Chorus

Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo
Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo

Arriving Long Pond State Forest shortly before 5AM and stepping out of my car into a witch’s brew of fog and mist I was greeted by a melodic symphony unlike any I have ever heard before. The sound was so rhythmic and so soothing that I had to pause and pause I did.

The wildlife was in rare form on this placid pond nestled just outside of the small village of Smithville Flats. The harmony of vast tones sung by a variety of birds had the forest alive, the who’s who of owls on backup vocals, the Pileated Woodpecker providing percussion and filling out the baritone section was the charge of many a bullfrog.

Unpaused now and launching my kayak, I slowly threaded my way out into the darkness only to be spooked by a rather large beaver rising from the depths and then rapidly disappearing. Several fish as well made their way over to greet me wondering who was coming to visit. Off in the distance the amber glow of a Coleman lantern barely able to pierce the fog as soft voices of campers could be heard against the stillness.

Continuing my slow paddle I made my way to the opposite end of the pond all the while my mind had been conjuring up romantic thoughts of exploring this beautiful world. In the background the symphony was still going strong as Mr. Bald Eagle had finally strutted on stage, his screeches echoing off the hillsides for the encore.

With the sun now poking its head over the treetops, pockets of fog and mist vanishing, the sky above painted and the greens of spring along the shoreline popping, Long Pond was alive.

Mr. Bald Eagle thought it was fun to taunt me, moving from perch to perch in his attempt at breakfast. He however did provide ample photographic opportunities but this fellow left the house without “Big Glass” this morning. None the less I was determined and pursued Mr. Eagle.

Returning to my launch site I came upon two fisherman preparing their small boat, a brief conversation was struck and we went our separate ways. Loading my kayak onto the car and gazing back out over the pond the fog and mist had vanished. Just as quickly had the fog and mist vanished, this mornings beautiful chorus was fading into the distance like that of a steam engine’s whistle making its way towards another town.

With Long Pond now in the rear view mirror and the open road ahead I thought to myself how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful place.

Time for my coffee, cheers!

http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/8180.html

Sunrise Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo
Sunrise Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo
Mr. Bald Eagle taunting me. Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo
Mr. Bald Eagle taunting me. Long Pond, Smithville Flats, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo

Connecting Our World

Greetings,

I’m not sure if any of you know this but I am a postcard junkie. I have a major addiction to postcards both new and old with the later being my favorite. There is just something about sending and receiving postcards that I truly enjoy. Maybe it’s that mystique of what I might find in my mailbox or that surprise in yours. Whatever it might be I truly enjoy it.

Some of you who are reading this may have been a recipient of one of my postcards from when I/we travel, a friendly hello or just a simple thank you. Yes I know what you are thinking I have to buy stamps and find a Post Office or mailbox when “I can just post a picture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever is the new fad today”. I’ll be honest, I love your pictures, however I love even more when you take the time to send me something tan·gi·ble “That may be touched, real actual; evident.” Something that years from now I can look back on and re-visit your life, journey, event or day.

A look back to a postcard written in 1958.
A look back to a postcard written in 1958.

One of my favorite stories is of recent, about a woman from our running community, a friend who lives a good distance from our area. While on social media prior to the Christmas holiday I was raving about the local coffee shop and their “Christmas Blend” coffee roast. Katie chimed in with “We are serious coffee drinkers ” asking if I might ship her some, so I did. After a week went by and I heard nothing of her receiving my package. I sent her a message asking if it had arrived and her response to me was “I sent you an old fashioned thank you card in the mail”. It was a handmade card, I was elated!From Katie O'Regan

Lately I have been recieving postcards from all around the globe. Have you ever heard of the Postcrossing project? I have been a member now for just over two years and I love it. I get to send  postcards around the world and even better I receive them from around the world as well. Furthermore I have the added benefit of all different types of stamps from across the globe. Exciting, yes I know!

My friends I hope that you have a happy 2015 and who knows maybe one of my postcards will make it to your mailbox.

Cheers!

Joe

Received from Siberia Russia on January15th 2015.
Received from Siberia Russia on January15th 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Received postcard from Taiwan on December 23rd 2014.
Received postcard from Taiwan on December 23rd 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This postcard came from a friend who was recently on a Caribbean cruise.
This postcard came from a friend who was recently on a Caribbean cruise.

A little information about the “Postcrossing Project” in hopes it might peak your interest. http://www.postcrossing.com

The project

The goal of this project is to allow people to receive postcards from all over the world, for free. Well, almost free! The main idea is that: if you send a postcard, you will receive one back from a random Postcrosser from somewhere in the world.

Why? Because, like the founder, there are lots of people who like to receive real mail.
The element of surprise of receiving postcards from different places in the world (many of which you probably have never heard of) can turn your mailbox into a box of surprises – and who wouldn’t like that?

How does it work?

First, the short version:

  1. request an address from the website
  2. mail the postcard to the address
  3. wait to receive a postcard
  4. register the received postcard in the system

The first step is to request to send a postcard. The website will display (and send you an email) with the address of another member and a Postcard ID (e.g.: US-786). You then mail a postcard to that member.

The member receives the postcard and registers it using the Postcard ID that is on the postcard. At this point, you are eligible to receive a postcard from another user. You are now in line for the next person that requests to send a postcard. Where the postcard comes from is a surprise!

You can have up to 5 postcards traveling at any single time. Every time one of the postcards you send is registered, you can request another address. The number of postcards allowed to travel at any single time goes up the more postcards you send!