Sunday, May 17, 2015

Rury's Food Store...

The man in the window to the right is Francis V. Rury, present proprietor of Rury's Food Store, who returned to Cherry Valley,  New York to help his father run it, in addition to driving a school bus, when he returned from his service as a radio operator in the US Navy during WW II.   His father is long gone, as are his regular customers, local farmers who used to crowd the place, so now things are kind of quiet, just how he likes it, so he can spend time with the sight seers like me, who stop in to to check out this most anachronistic of establishments.  

For me, it might have been just another stop on my cross section of the American experience, but for one thing.  In the course of our conversation, Francis V. Rury,

happened to mention that after his discharge from the Navy in 1946, he was deposited in Lido Beach, NY, a spit of sand on the south shore of Long Island, not far from where I grew up, and was given carfare to make it back to Cherry Valley, which was no easy task in those days.  Given the deplorable state of public transportation today, it would have been an even more daunting task.  But make it home he did, raised a family, and has never left, still operating the store.  While I was there, his son, a retired school teacher about my age, was sweeping the floor.

What makes this story resonate for me, was the fact that my father, Felix Shapiro, was also in the US Navy during WW II, a source of great pride for him, but about which he spoke little.  One story he did like to tell, however, was that he too was deposited at the Navy installation on Lido Beach after the war, and given the proximity of the base to his home in Far Rockaway,  it was assessed that he needed only a quarter to get home and that's just what he was given.  Probably just enough to cover the bus rides home with enough left over for coffee and a doughnut.

Given that Far Rockaway was only a 6 or 7 miles from Lido Beach, my grand parents picked him up in their car, greatly relieved that he returned home safely from the war, unlike some sons of the Rockaways, and drove him home, allowing him to pocket the quarter.  Funny; I asked him if he still had the quarter, he said no, but he wished he did.




Friday, May 8, 2015

The Big Duck...Flanders, Long Island

I love Long Island, at least the parts of it that have not been paved over and turned into a strip mall, tract housing, or a Comfort Inn.   Farms and open spaces are becoming quite rare on the island and require excursions farther and farther out toward the east end of the island to find open space,  although I don't recommend doing this during the summer season...

And I love ducks, although I'm not sure why.

So imagine my rapture last week at the confluence of events that occurred when, while we were spending 4 or 5 days in Riverhead Long Island,  I discovered that we were only a 15 or 20 minute drive from the world famous Big Duck of Flanders.

This is the perfect example of form following function, in that it was built in the 1930's by duck farmer Martin Maurer to advertise and sell his wares.  At one time, there were over 90 duck farms on Long Island so this was some pretty forward thinking.  It was originally located on Main Street in Riverhead and over the years it has been moved many times, before landing here.  Actually, given the fragility of its construction and our casual regard for the past, it is a miracle that it still exists at all.  It is the purpose of this blog to hit the road and report back, which I have done, so if you want to know more about the Duck, which is considered one of the architectural wonders of America, there's lots more about it on google.

PS:  As per a recent article about the Big Duck,  by of January 2015, there were only 2 duck farms left on Long Island, but one was in the process of closing, so that by the time of this posting, there will be only one duck farm left on Long Island!!!  How can that be!!!):  Where will all of those famous Long Island ducks come from?    



Always looking for a good place to put orphan photos that I like, but don't seem to fit anywhere else.  This picture was taken on the North Fork of Long Island, on the 25 somewhere around Mattituck.  There are not too many duck farms left out there, but there must be a few since they are still selling duck eggs.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Cinco Calles...

February 20, 2015:

The names of the streets in Old San Juan are lyrically well suited to be the first line of a haiku, which normally consists of five syllables;  Calle de Luna, Calle de la Sol, Calle de Christo, etc., and as I was walking down a steep cobbled street leading to the harbor early one damp and misty morning a haiku
came to me as did the idea of a photo poetic project that would provide the psychic glue that would hold me together as I languished stranded and alone in San Juan waiting for Jackie to return from sea.  So if I could just come up with four more haikus and at least five good photos to accompany them I would be saved... So here it is...Cinco Calles...With no particular effort to synchronize the words and pictures in any coherent fashion, just a walking tour of whatever caught my eye.

Calle de la Cruz
cobbles damp from last nights rain
or are they weeping.

Calle de la Sol
your sad smile can not disguise
secret thoughts of death.

Calle de Christo
seeks strength in the cross it bears
finding only thorns.

Calle de Luna
hidden and mysterious
suena la mujer.

Calle de Justo
full of light and hope and dreams
mine is a dark world.

Piraguas are nice but at the end of the day Jackie, Maria, Ben and I spent our time drinking remarkably refreshing and potent $5 happy hour special mango mojitos to wash down our amazing $5 happy hour tapas upstairs at the Cafe St. Germaine.  If it sounds Parisian or something it should because the decor and drinks have the power to transport you to another time and place.   Its at the corner of Cruz and Sol, second floor.  So if you should find yourself in Old San Juan and thirsty in the late afternoon, which you undoubtedly will, tell them Pablo sent you.