2008-09-26 / Columnists

Notes from the High C's

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
by Sharon Gabriel

Well, I think we have mostly recovered from our Fall Festival and are moving on to our next event which is our trip to the Gold Coast of Long Island and a visit to the Vanderbilt Mansion, Museum and Planetarium in Centerport.

That visit will conclude with a fourcourse dinner at The Maine Maid Inn in Jericho.

Every Vanderbilt mansion, and goodness knows, that family had a lot of mansions, are quite different from one another. One Vanderbilt tried to outdo the other and brought all the furnishings in from Europe. Another Vanderbilt had a separate house on the grounds of his mansion that was just for single men who might be visiting at any time.

Obviously, they didn't want any hanky panky going on with any single ladies who might be visiting at the time, and the ladies stayed in the main house. (Can you just see someone sneaking across the lawn at midnight?)

This same Vanderbilt had another house on the property quite a distance from the mansion, which housed the in-laws. Talk about in-law trouble, could you just see that in today's world. Oh, boy, I can just feel the tension. I don't think I would have wanted to be part of that family.

Our Vanderbilt, at least the one we are visiting on November l, in addition to his 43 acre estate had a planetarium which we will visit and a museum, which we will also visit, built on the property so this should be a very diverse and interesting estate to visit. As our group is always 45 to 50 people, we will have a private guide throughout the house itself.

The Vanderbilt Mansion is quite new in comparison to the restaurant we will be visiting. The Maine Maid Inn has been around since the late 1700's. The building was originally a residence and it is said that it was a part of the underground railroad during the Civil War.

I'm sure we will hear more about that when we visit for dinner. Our dinner will include an appetizer, a choice of three entrees, dessert and a beverage. All this will be in a private dining room with a fireplace. I know several people who have dined at The Maine Maid and they said that the food and service were excellent. I'm sure we will not be disappointed.

On all of our prior trips, I think we batted a thousand and I'm hoping this will be included.

Talking about batting, today is the closing day at the Yankee Stadium ...what a segue!

The Yankees being our family team, I'm quite sorry to see it close. Even though a new stadium is being built, it will never be the same.

First of all, you used to be able to bring your whole family to the park and while tickets today are expensive, I can't think of any way the average person will be able to afford the new stadium prices and that is very sad for the youngsters.

Unless your family has plenty of money I don't see the average person with a whole bunch of kids enjoying a game at the new stadium.

My dad was to the opening day of the stadium which I believe was in 1927 and he spoke about that often. Once I was in the business world, I was able to obtain field box seats, through my office, between third base and home and we enjoyed many games sitting in those seats. The most memorable was being at the stadium in l961 when Roger Maris hit his 61st home run. The place was packed and you could probably hear the screaming on the Grand Concourse when that ball was hit. I realized some months ago, that I had kept the stubs from that game, which showed a price of $2.50 (can you believe it?) and asked a friend to look on E-Bay and let me know what the going price was for those stubs. Needless to say, I was very surprised at how valuable they are today.

However, I intend to keep them as a memento.

We are now into the third generation of Gabriel's being Yankee fans. When my brother's son was a small kid, my brother took him to the stadium for a Kid's Day where all the players played ball with the little kids prior to the game.

My nephew was so excited, he brought his ball and bat and was all ready to go. Then the time came to go out on the field and play and he got cold feet.

No way he was going out there. However he always had a keen interest in baseball and sports in general and is now involved in the sporting goods industry. While that part of my family now live in Florida, they attend the ball games often and maybe even meet some of the players since a cousin is a sports photographer and they all get together at the field in Miami.

Nostalgia is wonderful and I think it makes life interesting to remember your childhood and all the things you did.

Times were tough and things were hard but I think we enjoyed ourselves more then than now or,...... maybe I'm just getting old.

Remember our membership drive is on so please renew your membership if you haven't already and for those of you who are thinking about it, join us to enjoy our many projects.

All events cost money and your membership will only add to the programs that we bring to the neighborhood.

A single membership is $25.00 and a couple is $40.00. Of course, anything else you may care to give would be greatly appreciated.

If you would like to join our Vanderbilt trip, you can send your check to The Rockaway Music and Arts Council, PO Box 171, Rockaway Beach, NY 11693.

The cost is $90.00 per person for nonmembers and $85.00 for members. The same address can be used for your membership.

Looking forward to hearing from you and I will see you around the neighborhood.

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