2012-07-27 / Columnists

Notes from the High C’s

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
Commentary by Sharon Gabriel

Last week I journeyed to Washington DC to see a screening of “The Bungalows of Rockaway” at the National Building Museum. This wonderful documentary, which the RMCA helped to fund, was shown by the director, Jennifer Callahan, to an audience of more than 100 who thoroughly enjoyed the film.

I had spoken to Jennifer several weeks ago telling her I planned to be in Maryland to visit an old Rockaway friend, someone I’ve known since the fourth grade in PS 44. Jennifer was delighted and arranged for both of us to see the film at the Building Museum. My friend, Marjorie Leffert Solomon, lives in Montgomery Village about 45 minutes northwest of DC by subway and I asked her if she would like to attend the screening and revisit Rockaway, which she still loves even though she has been away for many years.

To say Washington was hot would be an understatement. Every day I was there the temperature was 98 to 100. You couldn’t really walk around in DC to visit any monuments. We were on the Mall at the Smithsonian but walking from the subway to the Museum, a half block, was horrendous. We saw the original “Old Glory” from Fort Sumter, pretty torn up and straggly, but now restored as best could be and kept under climate control to preserve it for future generations. There was Lincoln’s top hat and many other items of American history. I had been there many years before but there is always something new to see at the History Museum.

Anyway, Tuesday came and it was time to go back to DC for the screening. If you go to Washington, be sure to stop and see the National Building Museum at the Judiciary Stop on the subway. This magnificent building looms up in front of you as you exit the subway. Once inside, the main lobby extends up to the roof of the building and there are four massive columns in the middle, which reminded me of the Roman Forum. All exhibits and offices are off of this main rotunda. In any event, the film was held in a large room where, as I said above, there were more than 100 people in attendance. Everyone loved the film and, to my surprise, I found several people from Rockaway at the screening. In fact one lady introduced herself and it turned out she is the cousin of a friend of mine. What are the chances??? There was much applause at the end and a question and answer period. Jennifer introduced me as a “representative” of The Wave and I was asked several questions about things today. Needless to say, I gave Rockaway four stars. It was a fun eve-ning, hot as he—, but quite enjoyable.

Now to say a little bit about the Washington subway. Next time I take a New York subway I’m going to kiss the conductor. Here’s my story: Two round trips, on senior fare from our station into DC cost me about $25. (That’s not a typo.) Then the ticket wasn’t always accepted by the machine and if it was the bar didn’t open to let you through, a clerk had to do it. Once you were past the turnstile, there was the escalator either up or down. Four out of five times they didn’t work and for that you paid $25. One thing I will say, the stations are very clean, as are the trains, and the trains are very quiet. The joy of my trip continued as I returned to New York by bus (a fun trip and inexpensive) and came right into an unbelievable storm. Coming up the Jersey Turnpike you could see the black in New York and then the thunder and lightening started and hail was hitting the bus windows. When we finally reached 31st and Seventh, we couldn’t get out of the bus there was so much rain. Congratulations are due to the two lady bus drivers, both going and coming.

Check out “The Bungalows of Rockaway” on the web. There’s some interesting information and you can also purchase a copy of the film.

The RMAC is working on a bus trip to Philadelphia within the next couple of months, so watch for more information.

See you around the neighborhood.

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