2001-09-29 / Columnists

Dorothy Dunne

The WTC disaster created clouds of smoke that hung heavy over the city and brought the stench of burning rubber throughout many, many streets in New York City for the past two weeks, according to its residents.

Our Big Town is not the same. Hotels lack guests, Broadway Shows play to empty seats. The people are somber and sad as they hear of more and more bodies being recovered. Workers are still laboring at the WTC site. How proud I am my son, Jimmy Matuozzi and cousin Bobby Crowley are among those helping out and doing such a tremendous job. Thank you, guys!

As the rubble is carried way we must realize this cannot continue forever.. Life goes on and, as difficult as it is, we must make the effort to go about our business in as normal way as possible. Come to the City, come to the shows , Christmas shop early and keep our city alive. We must not allow our spirits and our town to be destroyed.

So many casualties in Rockaway, so much pain, so much sorrow. My prayers and my condolences are with

every family member and friend who lost a loved one. In Breezy Point alone: Carlo Commisso; Vincent Kane, Engine 22; Florence Gregory; Bill Peterson; Edmund McNally; John Patrick Tierney; Matt Burke; Lt. Kevin Pfiefer; Michael Roberts ; Chris Grady; Peter Mulligan and Kevin Dowdell along with Ed. Stackpole from B.P.S.C. and Brooklyn. If there are more, please let me know.

We ask ourselves, "Is it really over now"? Reports were heard a truck filled with explosives was stopped before it drove onto the George Washington Bridge the other day. There were terrorists in New Jersey that have been captured. They are still out there, but our security has tightened and we are now on the alert. While all events were canceled while I was away it was nice to see a good number of people show up on Tuesday evening for the Birding Cruise on the beautiful Mystique Dinner Yacht (owned partially by Katherine Pierce of Breezy). Marcia T. Fowl, author, with Paul Kerlinger, was on board to launch her new book, " The New York City Audubon Society Guide to Finding Birds in the Metropolitan Area. We sailed up the East River as far as Inwood Hill Park, past the Urban Ecology Center and on past little Islands where unusual birds can be found. Ms. Fowl points out, in her book, the many spots in Central Park for birding as well as on Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn. It is a very informative book and one every birder should have to discover where these beautiful creatures can be seen right in our own backyard. As usual the Mystique provided good meals with superb service and, I must say, it was an extremely relaxing and fun cruise. A live auction was held to raise funds for the Audubon Society and everyone disembarked a happier person for coming aboard.

Last week I touched on my adventurous trip to Costa Rica and, believe me, this is the place for adventure travelers who are looking for thrills, forest hiking and exhilarating experiences. On the Atlantic or Caribbean side, resort areas boast of the best scuba diving, surfing and snorkeling. You seem to have everything in Costa Rica. It is a great place to learn about nature, the trees and small animals. September 15 was their Independence Day and school children marched throughout the towns where, in each one, you will find a church, a school and a soccer field. Sunnyland Tours arranged all our tours and Lacsa /Groupa Taca flew us down there. from New York Lacsa has a direct flight to Costa Rica and is a fine airline that offers meals and movies to speed you on your way. Sunnyland Tours offers many options to suit your desires and budget to give you an exclusive travel experience in Cost Rica.

Lacsa airlines also flew us from Costa Rica to Panama where we stood in awe of the workings of the Panama Canal. Panama, in comparison, is a very sophisticated City with high risers, casinos and bingo halls. They, too have a great Rainforest and, I must say, I am happy to report my stay, at the most breathtakingly beautiful Gamboa Rainforest Resort. (If you go to Panama, this is a must stop for you. Acres and acres of polished, meticulously kept grounds with waterfalls inside and out of the main building and along the pool, which is the length of its expansion. Magnificent mountains paint an awesome view across the way. Elegant gourmet restaurants offer a dining experience you will never forget; soft music, ultimate service that only a member of royalty would receive and tasteful, attractively presented food to suit the most discerning guest. Have it flambéed to your order, and try the cognac flambé’ specialty coffee. Each room is very spacious with king size beds, table chairs, desk and outside terrace replete with hammock for a leisure nap or meditation. We toured the lake in a boat, trudged through the forest to a closed down secret radio station once owned by the US Military and than over to Monkey Island to feed the friendly monkeys. In this Rainforest we saw many unusual animals and birds.

The next day we boarded a tram that took us high above treetops to watch the animals in their own habitat. (This was far more comfortable and less scary than flying through the trees in a harness as we did on the Original Canopy Tour in Costa Rica.). How we hated to leave Gamboa. It was truly heavenly, but, then, we did have to see the City of Panama. Holiday Inn is owned by Mr. George Bern who owns Gamboa as well and therefore we were asked to stay a night. Most Holiday Inns, outside our country are excellent and so was this. Clean roomy rooms with all the amenities you might need, a business center and a very adequate restaurant open from 7am to 11pm which provided buffet and table service for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hotel is across the street from the exquisitely built Maria del Carmen Church where I stopped for mass to pray for the souls lost in the New York terrorist attack.

Just a few steps away and across the street was our next visit at the budget hotel, considered four star, Cost Del Sol ,owned by the wife of Dr. Luis Aurgatos, a veterinarian, whom I interviewed for my "Travel is in Style" show on Panama. We toured the city and attended their local cultural show consisting of their three main cultures: Indian, Spanish and African Black. We toured their huts and tents and life style of years before. Then, the children of the various cultures provided dancing entertainment.

Through all our touring experiences we couldn’t wait to get back to the hotels to glue ourselves to CNN news of the Terrorist Attacks. We are home now and though I am glad to be back it is so very, very sad to come home to such horror as well as such sorrow. God bless our police and firemen, the Red Cross, all the volunteers, the innocent souls whose lives we shall no longer share, and those of us who are left behind to mourn and rebuild. And, rebuild we must. So I do hope you got out and voted.

Good luck to our politicians and may we have had the wisdom to pick and choose the best man or woman to suit the needs of the job.

God bless you all and may there be better days ahead.

TRAVEL:

Perhaps a trip would pick up your spirits. And, if you are in the mood and have the courage to fly this is a great time to go.

For as little as $499 you can take a 5 day Bahamas & Key West Cruise, Jan 6/02 on the ms Westerdam if you have sailed on Holland America before. An 8 day New Year’s cruise s low as $899 Estern Caribbean.; Jan 11 and 19 for a little as $639. In February it goes to $729 and $749. Dec. 12 10 day So. Caribbean $999ms Volendam Zaandam -10days So. Carib. Dec. 10: $999.

Because many travel trips have been canceled there are more bargains than ever before. Take your pick and GIVE ME A CALL AND AWAY WE GO!!!

More travel specials on WNYX-TV Mon. thru Fri. UHF Chs. 26 1nd 35


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