Month: December 2017

NYC Christmas Light Walking Tour, Dec 12, 2017

Christmas Lights Walking Tour New York City
Taylor Strubinger will lead a walking tour of New York City’s world-famous Christmas trees and department store windows,  Tuesday, December 12, 2017.

“We will take the 8:36 a.m. train from Darien and the 8:39 a.m.train from Noroton Heights,” said Taylor. “We usually try to sit in the forward railroad cars.

“At Grand Central Station, we will gather at the information desk underneath the clock before starting out,” he said. “No reservations are necessary. If the weather is inclement, we will not go.”

Contact: Taylor Strubinger at tstrubinger@snet.net or phone (203) 952-6423.
The Christmas trees include Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park.

Elephant Company : the Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II by Vicki Croke, May 9, 2018

J.H. “Billy” Williams always had an affinity for animals. So, when he responded to job offer with the East India Company to work with logging elephants his family wasn’t surprised, though worried that he had already come back from World War I in one piece, would he be so lucky with India? Not only did he find his calling with the elephants in India, Billy and his elephants became war heroes. At the onset of World War II, Williams formed Elephant Company and was instrumental in defeating the Japanese in Burma and saving refugees, including on his own “Hannibal Trek.” Billy Williams became a media sensation during the war, telling reporters that the elephants did more for him than he was ever able to do for them, but his story has since been forgotten. Part biography, part war story, and part wildlife adventure, Croke delivers an utterly charming narrative and an important, little-known piece of the legacy of World War II.

 

NYT’s Book Review: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/books/review/elephant-company-by-vicki-constantine-croke.html?_r=0 

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, April 11, 2018

The mysterious Jay Gatsby uses his fabulous wealth to create an enchanted world fit for his former love, Daisy Buchanan, now married to Tom. Daisy, though, is a romanticised figment of his own imagination, and the extraordinary world that he creates is equally illusory. He gives lavish, legendary parties where the guests and gate-crashers enjoy free-flowing champagne and cocktails and carefree hospitality. But a more sinister reality begins to break through, as idealized romantic figures prove to have human frailties and selfish motivations, and the grandiose world of Gatsby’s creation crumbles and disillusion turns to tragedy.

In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick, March 14, 2018

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Wishaw, and Brendan Gleeson, and directed by Ron Howard.The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the twentieth. In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with twenty crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than ninety days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents-including a long-lost account written by the ship’s cabin boy-and penetrating details about whaling and the Nantucket community to reveal the chilling events surrounding this epic maritime disaster. An intense and mesmerizing listen, In the Heart of the Sea is a monumental work of history forever placing the Essex tragedy in the American historical canon.

 

Companion read:  Moby Dick

Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West by Christopher Knowlton, February 14, 2018

A revolutionary new appraisal of the Old West and the America it made

The open range cattle era lasted barely a quarter-century, but it left America irrevocably changed. These few decades following the Civil War brought America its greatest boom-and-bust cycle until the Depression, the invention of the assembly line, and the dawn of the conservation movement. It inspired legends, such as that icon of rugged individualism, the cowboy. Yet this extraordinary time and its import have remained unexamined for decades.

Cattle Kingdom reveals the truth of how the West rose and fell, and how its legacy defines us today. The tale takes us from dust-choked cattle drives to the unlikely splendors of boomtowns like Abilene, Kansas, and Cheyenne, Wyoming. We venture from the Texas Panhandle to the Dakota Badlands to the Chicago stockyards. We meet a diverse array of players—from the expert cowboy Teddy Blue to the failed rancher and future president Teddy Roosevelt. Knowlton shows us how they and others like them could achieve so many outsized feats: killing millions of bison in a decade, building the first opera house on the open range, driving cattle by the thousand, and much more. Cattle Kingdom is a revelatory new view of the Old West.

“Hiking” Greenwich Point Park, Friday, December 8, 2017 at 10.30am

We will be walking Greenwich Point Park on Friday December 8 at 10.30 am. Note that this is half an hour later than our usual start time of 10.00 am.

Greenwich Point is a beautiful peninsula surrounded on three sides by Long Island Sound. The walking trail is completely flat and does not require any special skills other than a desire to walk amid some pretty spectacular scenery. We will be doing the full circuit of about 3 miles in about 1 1⁄2 hours.

Following the walk we will have lunch at the Italian Restaurant Applausi Osteria Toscana( 199
Sound Beach Road). Last year this restaurant was a hit with our group.

Directions: Google Greenwich Point for the best directions.
Take Exit 5 off the South bound I-95. At the end of the exit ramp make a sharp right onto Rt 1 and then at the first traffic light make another right onto Sound Beach Road. Continue on Sound Beach for 1.8 miles, then at the T junction make a right on Shore Road which becomes Tods Driftway after 1.3 miles. You enter Greenwich Point Park through a somewhat obscure stone gateway and park in the first parking lot on the right where we will meet.

This park is open only for Greenwich Residents during the season, but this being off-season anyone can enter. Leashed dogs are allowed after Dec 1.

Clothing: It is usually quite windy at Greenwich Point and will probably be chilly
as well. Be appropriately clad. Walking will warm you up and it should be
invigorating and fun. All are welcome. ( Last year our group numbered 18 ).

Contact: Sunil Saksena 203-561-8601 ; ssaksena44@gmail.com