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Feature: Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island 2012

21 Aug

Thousands grabbed their waistcoats, donned their seersucker suits and held onto their hats as the annual Jazz Age Lawn Party hit Governors Island yesterday.

Tickets were available at the front or by prior acquisition online.  VIP tickets included a small three course meal and unlimited alcoholic, but only alcoholic, beverages.  Segregated, but equally long lines were also available for those who laid out the extra few dollars.

Many songs circa 1920 were performed by Michael Aranella and his Dreamland Orchestra, including The Sheik of Araby and Cole Porter’s classic, Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love.

Vintage shops, hat shops and various other vendors came out to peddle their wares, creating an overall prodigious marketplace for the antique or retro-style connoisseur.

Though some guests appeared minutely cautious to perfect their roaring twenties retro threads, some toned it down a touch.  Some guests who stood out in appearance included a rather ponderous tranny-flapper and a group who brought along vintage dishes and cutlery, wooden chairs and a fold-out wooden picnic table.

In attendance were not only local residents, but visitors from Germany, London, Atlanta and various other locations.

Among the guests were Elle, , and Sara residents of London, Philadelphia and Atlanta respectively, who are currently in college in Ohio and felt that the event absolutely lived up to their expectations.  “We got a late start today, but we finally got here and it was definitely worth it.” Sara confided after the three tipped a young boy dressed as a “newsie,” who agreed to pose with them in a photo.

Though the event was confined to a rather small section of Governor’s Island, those who were not in attendance could not help staring if not laughing at the archaic characters in attendance.

Their laughter, however was cut short when they saw the tired,  poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of the teeming shore, these, the homeless, tempest-tost, the several thousand lined up to the ferry door.


New Category Added: Travel

27 Jul

Some of our readers may have noticed that there is now a “Travel,” section added to our site. This will be as blurred and ambiguous as the rest of our categories and will have plenty of miscategorised, helter-skelter topics. So never fear, we are also afraid of change.

All that aside, we will try to add topics of interest to readers and cover all things pertaining to travel from the travelling itself, local destinations and things to do to hotels, motels, inns and lodging.

Please do check back and as always, reader requests will always be appreciated.

Review: Artesano Mead- Essence

27 Jul

Artesano is a small mead company whose facility is located in Groton, Vermont amid the beautiful, flowery landscape of the Green Mountains. They are a small scale operation and by no means competition for bigger companies such as the Londonderry, New Hampshire company, “Moonlight Meadery.” Artesano may occasionally be found at retailers, health food stores and Farmers’ Markets.

“Essence” mead, the company’s only dry variety, costs 16.99 USD for 500ml. It is packaged in a stout looking bottle and sealed with a swirled wax stamp on the cork.

Essence pours smoothly. Thin and silky, it does not coat or adhere, but rather sinks to the bottom of the glass.

The smell is robust, semi-sweet and slightly tangy. It is difficult to sense the dryness through the fruity and effervescent smell. It is pale, with about two more shades of light than a typical chardonnay.

It touches lightly on the tongue and disappears without linger. It is dry, but still allows the distinct taste of honey to surface. By no means is essence as full bodied as it’s smell, it’s effect on the palate is airy, smooth and lacks the fullness that the smell imbues.

Superficially tasteful, but lacking in complexity, this spirit is by far not the finest in it’s class. It is not, “at the top of the game,” but it is enjoyable.
This is the mead that one would not serve at a dinner party, nor use to celebrate a special occasion, but rather one which may be brought on a picnic, sipped to compliment a weekday dinner or paired with light cheese while enjoying sunshine and outdoor scenery.

Not a spectacular value and not a remarkable product, but by no means a poorly made product, Artesano Mead, still up and coming, has a lot of coming up to do.

Review: Ash Street Inn, Manchester, NH

27 Jul

A quaint and peaceful escape from the clutches of the city to a rustic and cozy bed and breakfast. Surrounded by trees, a lake perhaps, outdoor activities, friendly proprietors eager to make one’s stay comfortable and carry bags to the room. A place with merits equal to or beyond those on the website, worthy of the 169-229 USD/night.

Sound nice?
It would be, if you find the place described please do write a review.

The front page of the Ash Street Inn website features a bald, bearded man and a short haired woman standing in front of the main door sneering into the camera, if one were to give the innkeepers the benefit of the doubt they would assume that the sneers are not there in real life; that is half-accurate.

“Coffee, tea, water, and soft drinks as well as fresh-baked goods and fruit are available 24/7 and are included in the rate.” boasts the website.

To clarify, tea bags are available, a noisy Keurig alerts the entire house when you make yourself a cup of mediocre “k-cup,” in a town only a couple of hours away from the Green Mountain Coffee factory and many other purveyors of fresh coffee. “Baked goods,” are available, fruit is not. The “fresh-baked goods,” consist of Pillsbury cookies and some strange scone-esque item that have been there for days and will remain for the entirety of one’s stay. They are not replaced until that final cookie is snatched by some poor, unsuspecting fool.

Please keep in mind that this refutation, though a paragraph long is only one out of many possible using information from the Website.

“You have arrived at your destination on the left,” squawks the GPS, the travellers look incredulous until seeing the sign in front of the building across from the gas station. Turning into the lot, the travellers notice two doors, one parallel to 7/11 and one on the side near the parking lot; uncertain of which one to choose as both are unmarked, the latter is chosen.

Eric Johnston, the sneering, alopecia-plagued, bearded man from the website opens the door and stares. He stares at the travel-worn two, standing weary and perplexed and says, “Yes?”
“We are here to check in.”
“You can’t use this door, from now on use the other door. And you can’t park there, you are going to have to move your car.”
“Ah… Alright.”
“Ok, if you will come with me I will show you the inn.”

All three stand in silence until he starts frantically gesturing implicitly that he prefers giving tours while addressing the rear of his guests.

The room is nice, clean and air-conditioned, though the, “flat screen TV,” is roughly 16×8 and there is nothing spectacular about the small, somewhat monastic space.

One may get the feeling while staying at the inn, that they are being watched.  Every drink in the refrigerator, every bag of pretzels and every toiletry, appears carefully counted and laid out so that those missing can be easily accounted for.

Do not bother wearing nice clothing when you go out, the neighbourhood is filthy and the main inhabitants of the city are loud, brash and wearing oversized, dirty pants and t-shirts. In fact, don’t bother going out at all, restaurants close early and the ones that are open are not worthy of the endearing, colloquialism, “greasy spoon.”

On summer nights, the AC is turned off around 11 to save money, which means that the visitor will likely awake, unable to sleep and if you have brought a travel companion, well, godspeed.

When one from out of town envisions New England, the predominant image is probably quaint towns, lighthouses, lakes etc. Manchester is like any small, dirty city. It is not unique, nice or special. The inn is physically comfortable but mentally unsettling. It evokes a melancholia to know that you just spent $200 a night to stay in a town that is a proverbial septic tank.

The inn itself is not bad as far as the architectural value, cleanliness and linens, but paired with an eye-sore location and awkward, grotesque ambiance, it is far from being a good value.

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