Atlantis Alumni

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Vintage WWII Aircraft Over FIre Island

On summer holiday weekend sI have ofter observed WWII vintage aircraft flying over Fire Island. Friday evening I photographed two different planes. I believe one is a B-024 "Luberator" and the other is perhaps a B-17 Flying Fortress.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Great View: Great Day!

What a beautiful late summer morning here in Cherry Grove! Temperature is in the 80s with a light southwest breeze providing a cooling. It doesn't get much better than this!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Jackass Republican Peter T. King

From the New York Times:
Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, a member of both the Intelligence and Homeland Security committees,...said he had seen nothing to justify scaling back federal police grants. He said there was no evidence that giving the police heavy weaponry and equipment worsened the situation in Ferguson or led to abuses elsewhere.
What a jackass Peter T. King is! Was he not watching any television or reading any news accounts? The local police in Ferguson, MO overreacted and appeared in full battle mode in response to protesters. Police should not confront US citizens in full battle gear!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Beautiful In Blue

Our deck garden this morning: finally the beautiful morning glorys begin to bloom. Each year Ii plant seeds in May and wait and hope for the delicate flowers. There was a big smile on my face when I spotted the first bloom.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

New Ferry Boat

The Cherry Grove community came out today to celebrate the inaugural runs of the new Sayville Ferry Service Cross Bay Clipper.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Amsterdam Dining

We enjoyed our stay in Amsterdam during the last several days. One highlight of our visit was culinary. We enjoyed dining at Japanese, French and Dutch restaurants.

Somebody Missed Me

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Excursion to the Inaccessible Otterlo

Saturday, our last day in Amsterdam, Jim decided it would be good to take a trip to Otterlo, to see the Kroller-Muller Museum. This is one of the finest late 19th century-20th century collections of art in northern Europe, and I’d been hoping to see it for many years. But the museum is in one of the most inaccessible places imaginable. One can drive there (we decided this would be a bad decision, given that renting a car for a day is complex.) You can also take a taxi from Amsterdam, for about 600 Euros. Nix that, so the only other way is by train and then buses. But Jim is excellent in figuring out difficult connections, via WiFi. He discovered that reaching the collection, which lies outside the town of Otterlo, in a National forest, was possible by a train trip followed by a single bus ride. Many people online have complained about how difficult it is to reach the museum, having to walk through the forest, riding a bicycle or worse. Thanks to Jim we reached the museum shortly after noon, having left our hotel about 9 AM. After a pleasant lunch, we saw some of the highlights of the collection, including works by Signac, Monet and many others. There was a great temporary Seurat exhibit, with almost half of his works on display including both drawings and paintings. But the greatest art in the permanent collection of the Kroller-Muller is by Van Gogh. They have the second largest collection of his works, after the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. His breathtaking and achingly beautiful works such as the picture of the four cut sunflowers or the wheat harvest (see Jim’s pics) are memorable indeed. I’ve been showing his vertical “Night CafĂ©, Arles” to classes for over 40 years, so it was indeed a treat to see the painting first hand. After we left the museum, another three hours via bus, train and tram back to our hotel, we rested before heading out to our last dinner, at Sluizer, a fish restaurant in the old center of Amsterdam There, the cuisine is very light. One might call it nouvelle Dutch/French cooking. My mussels and Jim’s salmon caviar soup were followed by a turbot with potatoes gratin and a tuna tartar with noodles and a side salad Desserts were a vanilla parfait with Romanoff sauce, and my gateau au chocolat. –Dan

Netherlands Travel Day

We are venturing into the countryside today by train and bus to the Appledorn region and the Nationale Park De Hohe Veluwe, where the Kroller-Muller Museum is located. It's a two hour trip from Amsterdam.

Holland Road Trip!

We're on an excursion today by train and bus to the Kroller-Mueller museum in Otterlo, Netherlands to see Van Goghs, Seurats and more. The photo shows the entrance to the Burger Zoo in Arnhem. The Dutch countryside is pretty here.

Amsterdam High

Did a dime bag at this place the other evening.

Gay Amsterdam

On a street not far from our hotel there are gay bars and stores catering to the gay shopper. One bar in particular, Taboo, seems to be very popular especially at the cocktail hour.

Adventures By Boat And Tram

Friday morning we took a very pleasant canal tour of Amsterdam by boat. On the ‘green line’ we saw the major canals at the heart of the city, and even traveled into the Amstel River. Canal boats are an easy way to see much of the city. We left the boat in the Jordan section of the city, near the famed Anne Frank house and the West Church. Luckily, we’d visited the Frank house before, because the huge line waiting to see it snaked around several blocks. We did peek into the grand church, where the organist was practicing for a concert to take place in the afternoon. The last queen of Holland was married in the church, Rembrandt and his son Titus are buried there, and Anne Frank wrote in her diary that she could see the church’s tower and liked to hear its bells. We walked into the notorious and colorful red light district, trying to find a house museum. Then a gigantic thunder storm, with heavy rain started. Opposite the Oude Kerk, or Old church (1571) we huddled under the eaves of a brothel. Soon the ladies inhabiting the place, dressed only in lingerie, asked if we wanted to come into their den. They had heavy Spanish accents and tried to entice us with the term ‘fucki-wuki’ several times, to no avail, as Jim explained he was my husband! We eventually left the area, still chuckling, and took several modes of transportation, both metro and tram, down to a remote residential neighborhood where the Okura Hotel exists. But after we got there, despite the fact we had reservations, the maitre d’ refused us admission to the Yamazato Restaurant because Jim was wearing shorts. In short, the place has ‘attitude,’ to use an American expression. So we took a tram back to the Center of the city, and had a pleasant Italian lunch at an eatery run by two authentic Italian girls. In the afternoon we took another canal boat ride, seeing further parts of the city that we’d not seen previously. After freshening up at our hotel, the Banks Mansion, we walked down the nearby gay street, full of people to another old section of the center. There, we ate at Haesje Claes, a typical Dutch restaurant which was a combination of six marvelous old buildings, all in red brick, with interiors of carved wood. After a salad and huge plate of smoked fish (white fishes, salmon, prawns, mackerel, herring) Dan had Dover sole and Jim slurped up a hot pot of more fish with cheese and potatoes.-Dan

Friday, August 15, 2014

Amsterdam Kitty Friend

When we walk from our hotel we often pass by a shop window where this friendly cat spends his time. The other photo was taken at the station in the Hague yesterday as we traveled to Rotterdam.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Of Van Gogh and Rotterdam

Thursday morning we had tickets to the amazing Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. I ordered the tickets online well before we took the trip, and thus we didn’t have to wait in the long line of those who were buying tickets at the entrance. The museum is currently undergoing renovations. Its exhibits are arranged partly chronologically, but also by the artist’s relationship to his peers and time, and also by his development as a colorist, draftsman and more. The museum has great examples of such other artists as Pisarro, Gauguin and Kees Van Dongen. Many of Van Gogh’s paintings, donated by his nephew, are astounding and I learned that the “Crows in the Wheatfield” was not his last painting, contrary to legend. We also found out that his fugitive reds in the purples have faded with time so now many of his violets appear blue. It occurred to me that Van Gogh, like Anne Frank, is another tragic Dutch giant, a person who gave so much to the world and could have given even more, if it had not been for his suicide due to his mental problems. After we left the museum we took a train to Rotterdam. There, we visited the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, one of the largest collections in the Netherlands. Highlights included works by Bosch, van Eyck, Brueghel, Rembrandt, Ruysdael and many others. A wide span of time is covered in the collection, which we had never before seen. Rotterdam itself, having been heavily bombed in 1940, is mostly today a modern city, with tall skyscrapers. It’s very unlike Amsterdam, and is a fascinating contrast. –Dan

Photos: Rotterdam Train Stattion; Painting by De Bey, Tower of the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum; Scenes of Rotterdam.

The Amsterdam Banks Mansion Hotel

We're staying in a unique hotel situated on one of Amsterdam's pretty canals. Our room rate includes a full breakfast plus free minibar and a complimentary wine and cheese reception each afternoon!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Days in Amsterdam

Tuesday we spent mainly in travel: from the ship to the airport outside Barcelona, and then when we landed at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport, from there to our hotel in the city, the Banks Mansion Hotel. This is a very comfortable accommodation, decorated in early modernist style (think of furniture by Frank Lloyd Wright), and many amenities are included, such as a free mini-bar in the room, bottles of free cognac, gin and whiskey, and best of all snacks and wine daily in the lobby. The clerks are very friendly, and the hotel is also located right in the heart of the city. Last night we had dinner at Sumo, a grilled food and sushi ‘all you can eat’ restaurant across the street, though we only had 20 dishes. One can order 50, all for the same price. This morning we toured the wonderful Rijksmuseum, where the great art works of the Dutch Golden Age (Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, Steen, Ruysdael and all the others) were seen in historical context since the remodeling of this national treasure. In the 19th century part of the collection we were surprised to see gems by Monet and French art nouveau craftsmen alongside work by Van Gogh and Toroop. We had a lunch at Wagamama and then after a short rest at the hotel walked down to the Stedelijk Museum, home of modernist/ contemporary art. More excellent works by Van Gogh, the German Expressionists, Kandinsky, Malevitch and Mondrian were the highlights of the collection for me. Jim also liked reading explanations on the websites for both museums, and he was able to locate these on his smart phone. Tonight we plan to eat at a French restaurant near our hotel.

Here is an explanation of the pics that Jim posted below. If you scroll down, from top to bottom: first the exterior of the famed Rijksmuseum, the Dutch national museum of art and history. Then the “Syndics of the Cloth Maker’s Guild” by Rembrandt, often called by old-timers “Dutch Masters” because the painting appeared on the cigar box in yesteryear. The painting is much larger than I remembered and the figures, like those in the “Night Watch” are life-sized. They startle the viewer with their immediacy. The next painting is of the corniche or coast in Monaco, by Monet, also a masterpiece in the Rijksmuseum. The pic after that shows the Stedelijk Museum, the museum of ‘modern and contemporary’ art. Finally a canal scene in Amsterdam with a 19th century mansion. Last night’s dinner at Fyra, a ‘French’ restaurant featured a lobster salad and raviolis stuffed with exotic ingredients for Dan, and a piedmont salad with egg for Jim, followed by a codfish. These were not outstanding dishes, though the wine, a Syrah from France was truly memorable. This morning (Thursday) we will soon be headed for the Van Gogh Museum.-Dan

Calder At The Rijks Museum

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Visiting Amsterdam

On Tuesday we left the Celebrity Equinox and caught a flight from Barcelona to Amsterdam. Our hotel, Banks Mansion, is situated in the center of town on one of Amsterdam's famous canals. We enjoyed a dinner at a nearby Japanese restaurant and then a stroll through the neighborhood before retiring. We have museum tickets for various venues during the next few days.