The Wrath Of Kahn

Posted: June 19th, 2014 | Filed under: Manhattan

It took nearly 40 years for Four Freedoms Park to be built on Roosevelt Island. Some of that was due to architect Louis I. Kahn’s death, some due to the City’s lousy finances, but the biggest reason is probably because the thing is a turd.

When the project was resurrected, my recollection was that there was this excitement about it being “Kahn’s last design” or some such. That’s basically the only thing going for it, and if it didn’t have some big name attached, you’d probably hate the thing.

There’s a lot of stupid shit going on, but the biggest sin of the memorial is how it unaccountably blocks a tremendous view of Midtown Manhattan with a bunch of granite:

Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, June 8, 2013

Were people in the 1970s this fucking stupid? Or were architects back then so full of themselves that they actually believed their special message about this, that or the other was so meaningful that it merited a permanent censorship of a beautiful vista?

This is from 2004 — my recollection was that you could walk out farther and that it was this wonderful experience of almost floating in the East River. The perspectives aren’t the same, but I think you get the idea, and I don’t think I zoomed in with the camera, either:

Southern Tip of Roosevelt Island, United Nations in Distance, June 16, 2004

Now here’s what you see if you want to look at the skyline from the tip of Roosevelt Island:

Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, June 8, 2013

It’s so fucking aggravating, and senseless, too. No modern architect would ever think to obscure one of the most unbelievable panoramas in the world with three feet of granite.

And to what end? For Franklin Roosevelt? Who gives a fuck about Franklin Roosevelt? I mean, seriously — is what we’re supposed to consider about FDR’s legacy really more important than a beautiful view? OK, I’ll answer that: let’s be clear, not even George Fucking Washington deserves to be able to obscure the skyline. And I find it impossible to believe that any president would think it was OK, either.

Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, June 8, 2013

Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, June 8, 2013

Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, June 8, 2013

Yes, somehow we’re supposed to bow at the menacing bust of FDR because it’s just too horrible to think we can just enjoy a nice spot at the tip of Roosevelt Island. No, seriously:

Kahn’s design makes perfect use of the triangular shape of the Park’s site, emphasizing it, and employing what could be called a forced perspectival parti to draw and focus the visitor’s gaze toward the colossal head of Roosevelt at the threshold to the ‘Room.’

If I recall correctly from my undergraduate Architecture Appreciation 103 class, “forced perspectival parti” is basically a fancy way of saying that despite the fact that one of the most iconic, stunning panoramas is just to your right, the architect demands that you ponder the FDIC. You know what? Fuck you. And the “room”? What happens in the “room” anyway? A reevaluation of the TVA? Please.

Because look, maybe there are some among us who travel to this marvelous spot in the middle of the East River to contemplate the Wagner Act. I kind of think that what most people want to do is take pictures of themselves and their friends in a unique place in the city:

Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, June 8, 2013

That said, there is a great view of U-Thant Island. So there’s that:

U-Thant Island From Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, June 8, 2013

Speaking of which, look at what the pre-Kahn, untrammeled site was — it’s perfect:

Southern Tip of Roosevelt Island From Water Taxi, East River, September 7, 2008

The other asinine thing — fucking ridiculous thing, really — is that the memorial is only open 9 am to 7 pm and closed all of Tuesday. Which is to say, if you would like to see the sun set from this wonderful perch in the middle of the East River, you can only do so between August 11 and May 7.

Why closed Tuesday you ask? Why no early morning communing with an oversized mug of FDR? Simply put, it’s because you can’t be there unsupervised. And why can’t you be at the site unsupervised? If I’m to understand one of the park rangers/volunteers, it’s because everything about it isn’t designed for actual park users. When we went there (June 2013), the water’s edge at the tip of the island was roped off so people wouldn’t fall in. Also the rules state that you’re only allowed to bring in water because — get this — the granite isn’t sealed. That’s right — no coffee drinks, no iced tea, no soda pop — because it might stain the granite. Who fucking creates a park like this?

The other thing — and fine, whatever, maybe this is more “subjective” — is that the thing is so bizarre and angular that it looks almost unreal. The site used to look like this:

Roosevelt Island, Upper East Side From Avalon Riverview, 2-01 50th Avenue, Hunters Point, Long Island City, Queens, July 4, 2005

Now the tip of the island has been sheathed in granite and either pumped up or shaved down to something unnatural looking:

Four Freedoms Park From Gantry Plaza State Park, Hunters Point, Long Island City, Queens, February 24, 2013

It looks to me like if Roosevelt Island got a Brazilian wax — just, I don’t know, unnatural. Or an origami condom or something. Land masses — the best land masses — at least look like they’re real. This looks wrong. And it just doesn’t feel right.

Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, June 8, 2013

The whole thing is horrible. We don’t need a memorial to FDR. We need open space. I can’t wait for the money to run out and let that site revert back to the people. What will probably happen is the fate of its neighbor, the smallpox hospital:

South Point Park, Roosevelt Island, June 8, 2013

The smallpox hospital is landmarked but it’s too expensive to fix, so it has a “keep out” sign, and we can just appreciate it from afar. That whole concept isn’t far off from the original goal of the FDR memorial, at least if you read between the lines; it’s a place for a memorial, but not for you to interact with. This is bullshit. Go forth, spill coffee, enjoy the summer sunset. That’s what a park is all about.

Citi Field Scoreboard Ads Over The Years

Posted: February 7th, 2014 | Filed under: Queens

Latest visit to Citi Field is up, from 2013:

New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies, Section 520, Citi Field, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, April 28, 2013

New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies, Section 520, Citi Field, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, April 28, 2013

2012:

New York Mets vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, Section 427, Citi Field, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, May 6, 2012

New York Mets vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, Section 427, Citi Field, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, May 6, 2012

2010:

New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs, View From Section 302, Pepsi Porch, Citi Field, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, April 21, 2010

New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs, View From Section 302, Pepsi Porch, Citi Field, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, April 21, 2010

2009:

Jumbotron Inclement Weather Notice, New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies, Citi Field, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, August 21, 2009

Scoreboard, View From Section 426, New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies, Citi Field, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, August 21, 2009

Sometimes Memorials Seem Haphazard And Out Of Place And Other Times They Make Perfect Sense

Posted: February 6th, 2014 | Filed under: Queens

There are a lot of 9/11 memorials around New York. A lot look like this one at Juniper Valley Park in Queens:

Juniper Valley Park, Middle Village, Queens, April 16, 2013

A lot of times they seem pretty random. But even though it’s not particularly attractive, this one works — just turn around and take a look at the vantage point:

One World Trade Center From Juniper Valley Park, Middle Village, Queens, April 16, 2013

Gulf Coast, Florida, 2013

Posted: February 1st, 2014 | Filed under: Out Of Town

A trip to Sarasota Jungle Gardens in Sarasota:

Flamingo Feeding Area, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota, Florida, November 7, 2013

Flamingo Feeding Area, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota, Florida, November 7, 2013

Flamingo Feeding Area, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota, Florida, November 7, 2013

Flamingo Feeding Area, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota, Florida, November 7, 2013

American Crocodile, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota, Florida, November 7, 2013

Reptile World, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota, Florida, November 7, 2013

A return trip to Weeki Wachee Springs north of Tampa:

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, US 19 and State Road 50, Weeki Wachee, Florida, November 5, 2013

Buccaneer Bay, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Weeki Wachee, Florida, November 5, 2013

Fish Tails Mermaid Show, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Weeki Wachee, Florida, November 5, 2013

Fish Tails Mermaid Show, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Weeki Wachee, Florida, November 5, 2013

A return trip to The Ringling in Sarasota:

Howard Bros. Circus Model, Circus Museum, The Ringling, Sarasota, Florida, November 7, 2013

Howard Bros. Circus Model, Circus Museum, The Ringling, Sarasota, Florida, November 7, 2013

Howard Bros. Circus Model, Circus Museum, The Ringling, Sarasota, Florida, November 7, 2013

Howard Bros. Circus Model, Circus Museum, The Ringling, Sarasota, Florida, November 7, 2013

Ca' d'Zan, The Ringling, Sarasota, Florida, November 7, 2013

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, The Ringling, Sarasota, Florida, November 7, 2013

Sunset:

Sunset, Four Winds Beach Resort, Longboat Key, Florida, November 7, 2013

Phoenix Updates

Posted: January 24th, 2014 | Filed under: Out Of Town

Phoenix Zoo:

Giraffe Encounter, Phoenix Zoo, Phoenix, Arizona, March 27, 2013

Encanto Park:

Encanto Park, Phoenix, Arizona, March 25, 2013

The Duce:

The Duce, 525 South Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona, March 27, 2013

View Toward Downtown From The Duce, 525 South Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona, March 27, 2013

Columbus Circle, November 2012

Posted: January 18th, 2014 | Filed under: Manhattan

Tatzu Nishi’ sDiscovering Columbus exhibit:

Discovering Columbus, Columbus Circle, Midtown Manhattan, November 2, 2012

Discovering Columbus, Columbus Circle, Midtown Manhattan, November 2, 2012

Discovering Columbus, Columbus Circle, Midtown Manhattan, November 2, 2012

Discovering Columbus, Columbus Circle, Midtown Manhattan, November 2, 2012

Discovering Columbus, Columbus Circle, Midtown Manhattan, November 2, 2012

Maine, June 30-July 6, 2013

Posted: August 16th, 2013 | Filed under: Out Of Town

A journey that was mainely about the lobster, but definitely not just that . . .

June 30, 2013: Portland: PWM, Shaw’s Supermarket, Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel, Street and Co.

John Ford Statue, Pleasant Street at Center Street, Portland, Maine, June 30, 2013

Grilled Lobster on Linguine, Butter and Garlic, Street and Co., 33 Wharf Street, Portland, Maine, June 30, 2013

July 1, 2013: Two Lights, Maxwell’s Strawberry Farm, Allagash Brewing Company, US Route 1, Red’s Eats, Belfast, Colonial Gables Oceanfront Village, Young’s Lobster Pound.

Maxwell's Farm, Bowery Beach Road, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, July 1, 2013

Two Lights, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, July 1, 2013

Red's Eats Lobster Roll, Wiscasset, Maine, July 1, 2013

Young's Lobster Pound Bucket List For 2, July 1, 2013

July 2, 2013: Chase’s Daily, Perry’s Nut House, Trenton Lobster Pound, Bar Harbor, Bar Harbor Cottages & Suites.

Perry's Nut House, 45 Searsport Avenue, Belfast, Maine, July 2, 2013

July 3, 2013: Acadia National Park, CJ’s Big Dipper.

Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine, July 3, 2013

Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine, July 3, 2013

July 4, 2013: Fourth of July in Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Timber Tina’s Great Maine Lumberjack Show, The Old Dutch Treat, Hadley Point Beach.

Fourth of July Parade, Bar Harbor, Maine, July 4, 2013

Lobster Race, MDI Rotary Fourth of July Seafood Festival, Bar Harbor, Maine, July 4, 2013

Wood Chopping, Timber Tina's Great Maine Lumberjack Show, Trenton, Maine, July 4, 2013

Hadley Point Beach, Bar Harbor, Maine, July 4, 2013

July 5, 2013: Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory, Traveler’s Inn, The Bowling Bowl.

Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory, Prospect, Maine, July 5, 2013

The Bowling Bowl, 7 Dunlap Street, Brunswick, Maine, July 5, 2013

July 6, 2013: Jen’s Place, Portland Head Light.

Portland Head Light, Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, July 6, 2013

A Look Back At Our Narrow Experience Of The 2012 Baseball Season

Posted: March 10th, 2013 | Filed under: Out Of Town, Queens

So in 2011 our baseball spectating percentage was a torrid .559. Not so much for 2012, a year where we saw the Phillies take on the Mets (4/14/12), then the Cubs (4/29/12), then the Diamondbacks (8/3/12), then the lowly Rockies (9/9/12). The one team with a good record we saw the Phillies play was the Braves (9/23/12). In Phoenix we saw the Diamondbacks play the Giants (4/7/12), who ended up winning the World Series, so there was that, but back in Queens we also saw the Diamondbacks play the Mets (5/6/12), both of whom were solidly mediocre-to-terrible in 2012.
,
So the final standings went as follows:

San Francisco Giants: 94-68
Arizona Diamondbacks: 81-81
Colorado Rockies: 64-98
Chicago Cubs: 61-101
Philadelphia Phillies: 81-81
New York Mets: 74-88
Atlanta Braves: 94-68

A combined 549-585 record translates to a .484 winning percentage. And to be honest, were it not for the novelty of taking Mr. Baby to his first baseball games, I think my satisfaction level would be right around 48 percent — low enough not to get reelected, you know?

Anyway, here are some highlights:

Game 1 (4/7/12)Diamondbacks vs. Giants in Phoenix — opening weekend/no more “Uptown” this year:

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants, Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona, April 7, 2012

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants, Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona, April 7, 2012

Game 2 (4/14/12)Phillies vs. Mets in Philadelphia — cleaned up what was left of the Spectrum/still holding on to the glory of 2008/the debut of the Phanatic Dangle Hat:

Spectrum Site, Sports Complex Parking Lot, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 14, 2012

Spectrum Site, Sports Complex Parking Lot, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 14, 2012

Concourse, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 14, 2012

Jumbotron, Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 14, 2012

Game 3 (4/29/12)Phillies vs. Cubs in Philadelphia — more of these blasted Dangle Hats/the Phanatic’s birthday/Hunter Pence era, not yet ended:

Phanatic Dangle Hats, All Things Phanatic Stand, Main Concourse Behind Section 121, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 29, 2012

Phanatic's Birthday Celebration, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 29, 2012

Phanatic's Birthday Celebration, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 29, 2012

Jumbotron, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 29, 2012

Game 4 (5/6/12)Diamondbacks vs. Mets at Citi Field — no attendance troubles here/”Foam God bless America My Home, Sweet” (also, more impressive scoreboard ads than in past years)/did anyone really expect Dickey to be so solid in 2012?/changing Lower Manhattan skyline:

400 Level Men's Room, Citi Field, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, May 6, 2012

New York Mets vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, Section 427, Citi Field, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, May 6, 2012

New York Mets vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, Section 427, Citi Field, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, May 6, 2012

View Toward Lower Manhattan From Citi Field, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, May 6, 2012

Game 5 (8/3/12)Phillies vs. Diamondbacks in Philadelphia — SEPTA sold the naming rights to the station on Pattison Avenue/more fun with bootleg T-shirts/sellout streak nearing the end (I don’t think I’d seen it below 44,000 — including standing room tickets — for some time; the streak ended 8/6/12):

AT&T SEPTA Station, Pattison Avenue and Broad Street, South Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 3, 2012

Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 3, 2012

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (Section 331), Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 3, 2012

Game 6 (9/9/12)Phillies vs. Rockies in Philadelphia — beautiful day/but subpar attendance/ivy creeping to the top of the batter’s eye:

Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 9, 2012

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies (Section 331), Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 9, 2012

Batter's Eye, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies (Section 331), Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 9, 2012

Game 7 (9/23/12)Phillies vs. Braves — memorializing the Spectrum/we’ll call it — it took eight years for the ivy to reach the top of the batter’s eye/”with white foam, God bless America my home”:

Spectrum Site, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 23, 2012

Batter's Eye, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 23, 2012

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 23, 2012

Gas, Grass Or Pass: Then We’ll Plant A Tree

Posted: March 6th, 2013 | Filed under: Queens

We got to visit the relatively new Elmhurst Park on the former site of the Elmhurst Gas Tanks, the gas holding tanks that sat next to the LIE until Keyspan began to dismantle the tanks in 1996.

If you make a reference to the greatest bumper sticker of all time, of course I’ll title a post accordingly. I’m guessing the language for this interpretive sign came from the top:

Elmhurst Park, Elmhurst, Queens, March 5, 2013

I don’t know if the mounds come from remediated gunk or what, but they are a fun homage to the site’s former use:

Elmhurst Park, Elmhurst, Queens, March 5, 2013

I say that because if the tanks were still there, the one thing you’d want to do would be to climb to the top of them to see the view. So you basically still can in a way:

Elmhurst Park, Elmhurst, Queens, March 5, 2013

And I think that’s what the designers intended — it’s the only way to interpret the periscope play toys located around the park:

Playground, Elmhurst Park, Elmhurst, Queens, March 5, 2013

Christ, look what my life has become: I’m deconstructing a playground.

A final note — I’m pretty sure one of those huge boulders around the park came from Fort Greene. This one looks like it matches the picture in the Times article:

Elmhurst Park, Elmhurst, Queens, March 5, 2013

Finger Lakes, July 1-4, 2012

Posted: October 18th, 2012 | Filed under: Out Of Town

Sunday, July 1

It’s always a treat to get a rental car because then you can go get good coffee on the way out of town. The place we wanted to go in Long Island City didn’t open until 10 a.m. — who ever heard of a coffee place not open early? — so we went to Cafe Grumpy in Greenpoint instead, mostly because Goober is such a huge Lena Dunham fan. So anyway, we got a later start than we hoped and things became complicated when an exit on the Thruway was missed, which meant that we went the long way to the Finger Lakes, but which also meant that we got to drive through Seneca Falls.

A word about the car we got: We were initially very skeptical about being saddled with a Ford Crown Victoria. I went cheap with the car rental and got some “super secret” surprise upgrade for the price of a compact or something, but that car ended up being a Crown Vic. When we saw it we were like, oh hell no, but then part of me wanted to cruise around in a Crown Vic, no matter what its gas mileage. As it turns out, the gas mileage wasn’t terrible — maybe low 20s MPG — and it did cruise along like you were rolling between Tampa and Orlando — but the true value of a white Crown Vic was that it looked like a police cruiser, so it wasn’t long — maybe east of Syracuse — where we finally realized that people were actually slowing down when they saw us in the rear view mirror. Never mind that the plates were from Florida and there was a giant baby car seat in the back with two women flanking it — in the rearview we apparently totally looked like the fuzz, which gave us a huge thrill: “You’ve been Crown Vicked!” we’d guffaw as we passed some would-be scofflaw going 72. It was hilarious.

ford Crown Victoria, Red Tail Ridge Winery, 846 State Route 14, Penn Yan, New York

Then of course we ended up needing the trunk space in the end for all the hooch we bought:

Dollar Rent A Car Crown Victoria Rental

I will always love the Finger Lakes because it was the first place that we ever really tasted wine. That said, it took me a while to figure out that listing the “residual sugar” in a wine is not a common practice, and it was kind of funny this time noticing that people pouring first sized you up by asking whether you like “sweet” or “dry” wine. They don’t ask that one at Opus One.

Anyway, from Seneca Falls, we followed New York State Route 89 along Cayuga Lake to Sheldrake Point Winery and Bellwether Hard Cider (with a stop between at Thirsty Owl):

Cayuga Lake From New York State Route 89, Seneca County, New York, July 1, 2012

We got into Ithaca later that afternoon, had dinner at Bandwagon Brewpub, showed the baby some sights around around downtown Ithaca (where none of us went to school) and hit the Wegmans to buy beer to drink back at the hotel (since we don’t really go out at night nowadays).

Monday, July 2

We got breakfast in Ithaca before heading out to Seneca Lake, driving up New York State Route 14 through Watkins Glen, hitting Wiemer, Shaw Vineyard, Miles Wine Cellars, Anthony Road Wine Company and Red Tail Ridge Winery. The west shore of Seneca Lake may be my favorite part of the Finger Lakes, wine-wise, what with Wiemer and Miles especially. Miles might be my favorite New York State wine, though I’m speaking out of turn for the rest of the group. Plus, it’s pretty there:

Seneca Lake From Miles Wine Cellars, 168 Randall Crossing Road, Himrod, New York, July 2, 2012

We got into Geneva late that afternoon, settled into the hotel (we’re now big fans of Microtels) and went to dinner at Beef & Brew before heading over to the Wegmans to get more beer for the evening. You may be wondering, “Why all the beer?” Honestly, after a day of tasting wine, that’s kind of what you want to drink. That, and Wegmans has a bomb-ass beer selection:

Wegmans, 300 Hamilton Street, Geneva, New York

Also, this was around July 4th:

Red, White & Blue Flowers, Wegmans, 300 Hamilton Street, Geneva, New York, July 2, 2012

Tuesday, July 3

The next morning we drove down New York State Route 14A toward Penn Yan:

New York State Route 14A Between Geneva and Penn Yan, July 3, 2012

We ate breakfast in Penn Yan. Do you remember those Seth Thomas clocks that were in like every classroom? No? Well, I do:

Angel's Family Restaurant, 5 Main Street, Penn Yan, New York

Also, I was curious about the griddle used to break pancake world records (see, for example):

The Birkett Mills, Main Street at Seneca Street, Penn Yan, New York, July 3, 2012

From there we went to Ravines Wine Cellars where we came face-to-face with our own mortality:

Ravines Wine Cellars, 14630 New York State Route 54, Hammondsport, New York

Then to McGregor Vineyard where they are super-nice and where we tried the super-weird Rkatsiteli-Sereksiya wine they make (Sereksiya is some Eastern European grape that they figured out grows well in the Finger Lakes). Then we drove through Hammondsport toward Dr. Frank, where they were celebrating their 50th anniversary (and it’s still good!). We were running out of day, but we made it back over to the east side of Seneca Lake via Tyrone . . .

Ray Dann's Town and Country Trading Post, 768 County Road 23/Main Street, Tyrone, New York, July 3, 2012

. . . in time to visit Finger Lakes Distilling, which makes really good alcohol, especially whiskey (and offers quite a tasting, just so you know).

It took a while to get back to Ithaca no thanks to the Crown Vic, which got us into a slow-jam when some Honda saw it behind him/her and decided to slow down to precisely 54 MPH on State Route 79 until he/she eventually pulled to the side. We made it back — eventually — and had dinner at The BoatYard Grill:

The BoatYard Grill, 525 Taughannock Boulevard, Ithaca, New York

And then dessert at Purity Ice Cream:

Purity Ice Cream, 700 Cascadilla Street, Ithaca, New York

Wednesday, July 4

In case you’re wondering, wineries are open on July 4. We started the day with coffee from Gimme! Coffee (which started in Ithaca but which has expanded to Brooklyn and Manhattan) before driving out to the east side of Seneca Lake via Trumansburg. There are some great wineries on the east side of Seneca Lake, too — maybe we should just say that Seneca Lake has many good wineries — and we began at Standing Stone Vineyards before heading up to Lamoreaux Landing. One thing the east side of Seneca Lake has going for it is the striking beauty — I don’t know that there are many other wineries we’ve been to that are as picturesque as Lamoreaux and Standing Stone:

Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, 9224 Route 414, Lodi, New York, July 4, 2012

Standing Stone Vineyards, 9934 Route 414, Hector, New York, July 4, 2012

Farther down toward Watkins Glen is Red Newt Cellars, which in exchange for not having “estate-grown” grapes (the land is too far up the hill apparently) has the flexibility of making excellent wine that never suffers from bunk growing seasons. That was a great place to end four days of wine tasting. (Also, the baby crapped up a storm while we were in the middle of a tasting, and while I don’t totally know whether the lady pouring caught wind of the stink, we were very lucky there wasn’t a total blowout; for months since then we’ve compared poo-splosions on the “Red Newt Scale”; I somehow avoided soiling the driver’s seat; suffice it to say, it was probably a good time to wind down our trip.)

On the way back to Ithaca we stopped at Taughannock Falls State Park. Speaking of which, I’m forever grateful to the nice young lady at McGregor who hipped me to the correct pronunciation of “Taughannock,” which, if I remember correctly, sounds like “tuh-cannock” and not “tuck-a-nuck” as I was led to believe. Anyway, it was kind of dry this year, I guess:

Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg, New York, July 4, 2012

Then we headed home, back through Whitney Point, which we always seem to stop at, before getting on New York State Route 17 which they’re still converting into an Interstate Highway:

New York State Route 17 Between Hancock and Fishs Eddy, New York, July 4, 2012

The mighty Susquehanna:

Susquehanna River, Windsor, New York From New York State Route 17, July 4, 2012

And did you realize that’s where the store got its name?

New York State Route 17 Near Exit 89, Fishs Eddy, New York, July 4, 2012

And then the signs about restricted parking at the Roscoe Rest Area suddenly made sense:

Roscoe Rest Area, New York State Route 17, Roscoe, New York, July 4, 2012

The Tappan Zee is still there:

Tappan Zee Bridge From Eastbound Lanes, Hudson Valley, New York, July 4, 2012

As is the Major Deegan:

High Bridge From Southbound Major Deegan Expressway, The Bronx, July 4, 2012

And 13 wineries, one cider place and one distillery later, we were home.