Rockaway Beach/Gateway Park is getting more exciting each year. Not only are we excited about the new ferry service scheduled to start in March, but the live theatre and the ever expanding Rockaway Artist Alliance. Their works were on display all last week for viewing at their gallery in Fort Tilden.
While I was there I had a nice chat with the founder, artist Geoff Rawling as he worked on one of his masterpieces.
At the age of nine, when he was orphaned by the demise of his parents who lived in England, where he was born, he discovered his artistic talents. He attended school in London and left at the age of 15. When he arrived in New York he was homeless and raised money by making signs for storefronts and shops. He was a graffiti artist And mastered murals. Though most of his talents are innate, he found a mentor and was instructed by a great sculpturer who worked him literally to the bone and trained him in the basics of sculpturing. Many years were spent creating art for others. It is only now that he has come to the point where he can create art pieces to suit his own desires. While struggling in New York City, he lived in SoHo and on Avenue C until these neighborhoods upgraded and rents soared. Owen Baxter, proprietor of the Palm Gardens Restaurant/Bar, admired his paintings and hired him to decorate his establishment.
When Geoff arrived in Rockaway he was surprised to see how many bars lacked the artistic works of those in Manhattan. However, he fell in love with the peninsula living, the fresh air, beautiful views and beaches...low rents.
When the RAA lost their gallery on Beach 116 street he got together with Gateway National Park and the local artists of the Rockaway Artist Alliance and proposed a marriage between the two. With grants from the government and private donations for the costly renovation of two large spaces in Fort Tilden next to the theatre, the RAA found a new home. This not only benefited them but also those who visit Gateway National Park. And, it is expanding each year.
Three times a week in the summer Camp KidsmART offers children art lessons. Nearly all the artists are art teachers and teach in art lessons. The future looks very bright.
You should also know that the works of these special artists are on exhibit at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art once a year. Though a superb job has been done on renovating their two huge gallery spaces, they still need help in heating and restoring these areas to enhance the beauty and comfort of those who wish to browse and view the artistic talents of our local artists. If you haven’t paid them a visit, I recommend that you do. It will be well worth your while. There are distinguished artists in their midst and who knows? You may pick up a piece that will be invaluable in years to come.
Prayers for our peninsula patients: Gladys Crowley who broke her fibia and is confined to a wheel chair for about six weeks. May your bones set more speedily and stronger; Bob Healey, who is now keeping time with his new pacemaker and will have to avoid magnetic personalities from now on; Peter Danzilo, who is improving each day; Al Martin, confined to bed at home and in need of an operation. If you are ill and wish to be listed for prayers in this column please contact me and I will be glad to add you to the list.
Joe Kilbride had a memorable Christmas. He landed in a blizzard on a Jet Blue flight to Buffalo. (Joe, if you go to Iceland, Iceland Air lands in blizzards every day and they do a great job). Joe is making his mark now in Kennedy’s as the best NFL win pick. Speak to him about best odds.
Ed Ruoff started the new year off right. He flew to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Is it a fact Bob Zelek’s brother is being appointed to the Bush cabinet?
In answer to inquirers regarding the "Paint the Town Red" participating restaurants and hotels offering discounts and price fix lunches, you can contact the visitors information center at 810 Seventh avenue at 53 street or at their website www.nycvisit.com for a list of participating restaurants, hotels, museums, etc.
At the Ben Benson Steakhouse, NYC Showtime Boxing sponsored by Main Events presented their viral young championship boxers to the press: Zab Judah jr., welterweight champion. Junior. undefeated welterweight, Juan Diaz: featherweight attraction Ricardo "Rocky" Juarez and super middleweight, Jeff Lacy. Perhaps some of you watched them on Showtime last Saturday night. I met these young focused fellows and was very impressed with their stature and demeanor. While strong and well trained for the ring, they are mild mannered and courteous to the general public. Juan Diaz is only 17 and an undefeated boxer. So far, from what I could see, it has not gone to his head, nor has it affected the other young man as yet. If anything; the training gives them more respect for their power and ability and encourages them to conduct themselves in a non-violent way in life. (One of the big points stressed by Martin Luther King Jr., whose life we celebrated this past Monday).
There is a very famous top restaurant in Sicily called Il Mulianazzo. Tony May, owner of SanDomenico restaurant on Central Park South near Columbus Circle, president of the Gruppo Restoranti Italian and founder of the Italian Culinary School at the Culinary Institute of America, got together with Manifredi Barbara, producer of one of Italy’s finest virgin olive oils, (The olive oil served at SanDomenico Restaurant) to bring master chef Antonio Graziano from the Mulinazzo Restaurant in Villafrati, Sicily to treat New York pallets to his classic and inventive creations. Chef Graziano prepared a sampling meal for VIPs and press. Absolutely superb! Light fish dishes were beautifully presented to tantalize our taste buds and eyes. Each course was absolutely delicious with flavors I never savored before. A sea bass carpaccio with clementine oil; targliolini sautéed in fresh pork wrapped in spinach; roulade of sea bream with crispy caponata; and for the finale strawberries with vanilla scented olive oil and basil ice cream. If this is the fare in Sicily. I can’t wait to visit that part of Italy and the Mulinazzo restaurant. If you wish to temp your taste buds with these culinary delights, Chef Graziano will be serving his "magisterial cuisine" at SanDomenico through January 21, 2001 on a supplementary menu during dinner. Of course SanDomenico restaurant is one of the best Italian restaurants in the city. And, it is also a participant in the "Paint the Town Red"program for January and February. They are offering a 20 percent discount for lunch and dinner during this time. The service is excellent and the food can’t be beat. This is the time of year to take advantage of these discounts.
Maybe the Rockaway restaurants should run a program similar to this.
Special fare—January 26, three day Bahamas Norwegian Sea, $209.
February 2, three day Bahamas on Norwegian Sea Ins. $259; OV $309.
February 12, four day Bahamas RT Miami Ins. $329, OV $379.
February 10, Norwegian Wind seven day Western Caribbean $849, OV $949.
February 24, RT Miami Norwegian Wind $799.
Senior special—Norwegian Sea out of New York, May 6 to May 27 $799—seven day Caribbean, port charges included on all above.
Eight day Caribbean on HAL Westerdam $799.
April 1 ms Maasdam Fort Lauderdale, seven days Caribbean from $899.
South America circumnavigate 31 day Marco Polo, two nights. Buenos Aires Falkland Islands with tour. Straight of Megellan, Panama Canal, Catagena folkloric performance, Chilean wine tasting, cocktail parties. Second person half price—from $6,595, second 50 percent off Orient Lines.
Sail Hawaiian Islands February 16 ms Statendam Free Air 15 days RT San Diego from $1,999.
Alumni...Veendam seven day South Caribbean $699...March 2 San Juan/San Juan.
Air...London $109ow / Paris $145ow /Rome $171ow/Varcelona $174ow.
Check WNYX Monday to Friday (UHF Channels 26 and 35) for more travel specials.
Give me a call and away we go!