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My Hometown Travels: Straus Park, Titanic Memorial

–Introducing: My Hometown Travels...and tell us about yours!

In light of the COVID pandemic, our routines have been and continue to be radically changed.  Much like Alice Through the Looking Glass, my world, as a travel writer, has shrunk to the confines of the Upper West Side of Manhattan…my home for the last 35 years.  Rather than heading to the airport to catch an international flight or board a ship to sail the seven seas, I leave home daily(wearing my mask) for a 2-3 mile walk thru my “hometown” to get some urgently needed exercise and frankly just to get out of the apartment!  Inadvertently, my daily “mental health” pilgrimage has introduced me to several local hidden gems, that until now either I overlooked or took for granted.  All are unique and would warrant a visit next time you find your way to the Big Apple.

In that spirit, I invite you to reciprocate.  Share something special or meaningful with us about your hometown, region, state, or country…something you would want us to experience if we were able to visit…maybe a park, a restaurant, a store, or local sights.  Just a paragraph or two and several JEPG’s and we’ll post it.  Travel is about people, not just places and we would love to hear about something you feel is special about your “hometown”.  Here is to awakening the travel writer in YOU!

Not far from where I live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, there is a lovely little park at West 106th Street and Broadway with a stylized bronze statue of a Victorian “nymph” overlooking a fountain with well-manicured flower beds.  It was dedicated in memoriam to an elderly couple, Ida and Isador Straus.  Co-founder of Macy’s and a US congressman, he and his wife perished together on the RMS Titanic in 1912.  An inscription reads: “Lovely and pleasant were they in their lives and in their death they were not parted.” The passage refers to Ida’s choice to stay with her longtime, beloved husband, Isador rather than get safely into a lifeboat.

The Strauses lived in a house on Broadway, between west 105th and west 106th Streets, one block south of the location of the memorial. Dedicated in 1913, a year after the disaster, today The Friends of Straus Park fund maintenance and the planting of seasonal flowers each year.  It is a calm oasis from city noise and depending upon the season, offers the visitor a variety of colorful blooms…and perhaps a touch of NYC grit with the occasional homeless person.

For me, it puts the historic disaster into a very personal and human perspective.  Two people who cared deeply about each other and the loss to their family and community.  Makes me think how we all must cope with surviving and the possible loss of friends and loved ones during our current disaster, COVID.    Wear a mask, stay separated and we’ll get thru this…. together!

Image credit Luigi Novi / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

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Arie Boris
Arie Borishttps://www.cruisegourmet.com/
CruiseGourmet.com Magazine is an Internet publication with a focus on food, wine, and cruise/destination travel. Renowned travel writer, food critic, and Vacation Maker Extraordinaire, Arie Boris, hosts this lively and engaging web magazine. “CruiseGourmet.com” combines the best of travel, dining, recipes, and destinations. Last year, more than 30 million people chose to cruise. Along with traditional ocean-going cruises, there has been exponential growth in river cruising and taking hosted group theme cruise vacations. Based on consumer feedback, cruising offers the best value and consistently maintains the highest level of customer satisfaction for any vacation package. As Editor-in-Chief, I bring with me extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry, and a national association of travel agents. I was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start-up team for CruiseCritic. I have written over 450 cruise ship reviews. Along with publishing CruiseGourmet.com Magazine, I produce and host Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. I have produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including fans of opera, broadway, spiritual retreats, and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars! There is a theme cruise for everyone and I hope you will join me soon on a Cruise Gourmet Voyage designed for your non-profit charity or special interest group! Bon Voyage and bon appétit!

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9 CONVERSATIONS

  1. Thank you for this Aldo. Those monuments you mention reflect the respect/appreciation for American/Allied forces lost fighting for Italy’s liberation…and against fascism during WWII… Fighting against extremism is something we can never take for granted…and does not always require “going to war”!

    We continue the fight here in the USA on November 3rd not with guns, but with the POWER of the vote…..and then we can rejoin our European Allies to serve as a model of Democracy for peoples around the globe….starting in Eastern Europe and yes, Russia. Sometimes a simple change in leadership can make all the difference to the well being of The People!!

  2. Welcome. You will find yourself very comfortable in this group. I liked the topic you proposed.
    Among other things, you deal with travel, a sector that I have approached from some time, because my son has opened an activity that has as its reference points the sectors of tourism, travel, events, hotel. Next maybe we can talk about it!
    I live in Italy, a country with many defects but with many beautiful things to see and enjoy, from landscapes to culture, art, food, wine, etc.
    But I want to point out something that is not always visited by tourists and it is the shrines dedicated to the fallen, especially Americans, of the Second World War, in the battle of Montecassino, and to the other battles that took place in that period, which has been long and caused an immense loss of human life.
    Everyone should visit them to understand what useless is the war and only responsible of human losses.

    • Thank you for this Aldo. Those monuments you mention reflect the respect/appreciation for American/Allied forces lost fighting for Italy’s liberation…and against fascism during WWII… Fighting against extremism is something we can never take for granted…and does not always require “going to war”!

      We continue the fight here in the USA on November 3rd not with guns, but with the POWER of the vote…..and then we can rejoin our European Allies to serve as a model of Democracy for peoples around the globe….starting in Eastern Europe and yes, Russia. Sometimes a simple change in leadership can make all the difference to the well being of The People!!

    • Oh do I love Helsinki! I have visited several times but just for the day as a port of call on Baltic cruises…I hope someday to spend more time there…and get to know it and the people …and have the time to visit your …Suomenlinna. Cheers, Arie

  3. Thanks, Arie.
    Two things come to mind about Annapolis. One is water – the Chesapeake Bay, which is the flooded basin of the Susquehanna River. 6,000 miles of shoreline, at the nexus of three weather patterns, so never a dull moment. I worked as a charter captain for years here and still kayak and sail whenever possible.
    The second is the Alex Haley/Kunta Kinte memorial downtown. Here is where Kunta Kinte landed in chains in 1767. So we embrace great beauty and great pain.
    Be well.
    Mac

    • Almost moved to Annapolis…but we opted to stay in NYC. We loved the time we spent there…it is really a beautiful area and the history is there at every turn!

      Cheers,
      Arie

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