2001-10-06 / Columnists

Dorothy Dunne

Flags are flying from every terrace and lawn all over Rockaway in evidence, not only of the great losses we had to bare from the terrorist attack on September 11 at the WTC, but to display our love and loyalty to the United Sates of America. We were hit hard, it is true, but knowing the people in Rockaway, we’ll come back even harder. If you have a flag be proud to fly it, if not, don’t worry about it. You can have one painted on your nails on each hand as I have and wave it any time of day or night. Janet of the "J" salon did mine and everyone is stopping to comment. It is so simple. There is no reason for you not to have a flag. Not only that , but it is a great conversation piece. Go get one and show your pride in our country.

While touching on our losses, I do wish to offer my condolences to Bernie Herran and his wife who lost their son, Charlie. He worked for Cantor/Fitzgerald at the World Trade Center, the company that lost 700 employees. Bernie is a proprietor of the Harbor Light Restaurant in Belle Harbor. My deepest sympathy to the family.

Gerard Casey of Kennedy’s lost his niece’s husband. He and Jimmy Buckley contributed a very sizable amount to the Firemen’s cause. Good works such as this show the love we have for one another.

Mary and Pat Sullivan celebrated the end of a delightful stay for Jimmy Huey Sweeney and daughter, Mairead at a Kenndy’s brunch. They came from Ireland for a visit with them and were flying back to their hometown in Donegal. Those who joined them were: their son Gregory and wife, Jacqueline and children, Desiree, Gregory, (who will be two this week) and Christine Sullivan. Jimmy Huey Sweeney and daughter enjoyed their visit to the USA, but hope their next visit is more uneventful.

Another pre-brunch celebration was held for Andrew Spadaro who was making his confirmation at St. Francis de Sales that afternoon. He was joined by his Mom and Dad Lynn and Mark Spadaro, all the Spadaros, Gleasons and Orsines. Having a pre brunch drink at the bar at Kennedy ‘s was Mike Price who was enjoying his 29th birthday with friends: Karen Walsh, Mike Clynn, Annmarie Bernie and Steve Shey, to mention a few.

Robert Grey of B.219th St passed away over a week ago when I was on location. Bob Grey was a WW 11 Veteran who was in the Normandy Invasion. When he returned from war he married and found his career in Real Estate and Insurance. He was a fundraiser for many causes and member of the board of the YMCA, Boys Club and was past President of Flatbush Real Estate Board. He leaves his wife and sons: Thomas, a teacher; Robert an Engineer and Andrew, a General Contractor. Because of his strict ways he was dubbed "The General" and the Veterans were very loyal to him. My sympathy to the family.

As you must know by now I was in Costa Rica and Panama during the terrorist attack. While in both Countries the people were very kind and very consoling about our tragedy. After all, whatever affects the Untied States affects all the countries around the world. However, I wish to tell you about Costa Rica. The climate was heavenly, between 70 and 80 degrees. You may need a light sweater or jacket in the evenings. I was there at their low rainy season and, believe me, if you are on a budget, this is the best time to go. If there was rain, which most days was unlikely, it rained for an hour or so in late afternoon. It did not interfere with videotaping at all. Sunnyland Tours, one of the best tour operators for Costa Rica and Panama, sent us over with the courtesy of Lacsa Airlines which was a very smooth and comfortable flight. Sunnyland arranged for the hotels and tours. Herradura in San Jose was our host hotel. Though it is considered a four star hotel it had magnificent jacuzzi tubs in each room which I found most luxurious. They have added a brand new extension with beautiful swimming pools with outside jacuzzi; three attractive restaurants to choose from such as: Spanish, Japanese and Continental open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. TV in each room to bring the news from CNN which we were glued to when not touring. Vesa Tours took us to Imbio museum to learn about the trees, plants and animals in the three big forests in Costa Rica which is the size of Kentucky.. Their main industry is coffee. After that, bananas and tourism. 95% of the population of 3,710,558 are literate. Education is most important to them. Their Colleges are affordable and even FREE if you retain an "A" average. (Great incentive). English is their second language while Spanish their first. They achieved their independence from Spain on Sept. 15, 1821 and celebrated their Independence Day while we were there with parades of school children in every town (Each town consists of a church, a school and a soccer field.) We visited the luxurious five star Intercontinental Hotel that offers spectacular views of San Jose. After that a stop at the charming, beautiful boutique Alta Hotel situated high in the mountains with magnificent mountain views. This is a small comfortable, unique hotel with your economy in mind. And, the bonus is, is that it houses the best restaurant, in Costa Rica according to Conde Nast magazine, which awarded them that honor. The owner and Director of Public Relations invited us to dinner and I can truly testify to the delicious taste of the food and it’s artistic presentation. You will see it in "Dorothy Dunne Travels in Style to Costa Rica" TV show when completed.

If you are looking for adventure this is the place to go. We went river rafting on the wildest rapids you can find with Rio Tropical Tours. Our three young male guides were wonderful. They went to extremes to insure our safety and put us up in the Rio Tropical Lodge, which was more basic than I could ever imagine with outside facilities and very bare essentials. However, we were so exhausted from climbing rocks and river rafting, all that was needed was food, prepared and served by our young guides which was very good and a bed to sleep. These young men served us a hearty breakfast the next morning and off we went for another day of river rafting. Our next lodge, Pachira in Tortuguero, was a palace compared to the first. It had comfortable rooms with private bath, a pleasant dinning room with meals and the most breathtaking views of the mountains you ever saw. The morning awakening was beautiful. If you thought that was enough adventure, forget about it. The Original Canopy Tours took us way out into the forest in Tabacon where we climbed a high ladder, sat in a harness and held tightly, for life, to a cable that flew us through the trees. (It’s all on tape, folks) Great safety measures were taken here with the expert canopy flyers. Then I had the pleasure of soaking in the natural Hot Springs across the street that flows directly from the Arenal Volcano. This glorious Garden of Eden is replete with a spa. We lunched there with a view of the Arenal Volcano spewing its lava in spurts. Back to the Herradura Hotel in San Jose for our last evening in Costa Rica. We were taken to a beautiful Equestrian Ballet followed by a Costa Rican dinner. The next day we headed to the sophisticated city of Panama and the pleasures of paradise in Gamboa Tropical Rainforest Resort, which I talked about last week.

Events are starting to pick up in our Big City. Last night I spoke to Peter Jennings who was the Honorary Co-chair of the Veritas 13th Annual Evening with Friends of Charlie Parker Gala & Benefit Concert with Kayce Freed. Arthur Barnes Chaired the event that honored Clark Terry, Gerry Warren Merkkrick, AOL Time Warner and Mark Wills of J.P. Morgan & Co. It was hosted by Ray Brown and M/C’d by Phil Schaap. It was a great evening of Jazz music and dining, all to benefit Veritas, an organization for healing the family and breaking the cycle of drugs and abuse. The do a great job for the children of these families as well. If you wish to help in any way or attend next year give Veritas a call. They are located on Amsterdam Avenue in NYC.


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National airlines offers $1 LOW fare thru Oct. 16 to "get America flying again". Must purchase return discounted fare completed by Nov. 8 . With $1 fare as little as $25 bet. San Fran and las Vegas and $100 New York/Los Angeles. One nt. Min. stay and two day adv. Purchase.

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