Governor’s Island, Bay Head, Metropolitan concert & eating out

Debbie and I finally got to visit Governor’s Island and loved it so much we visited 3 times! Having been there, I can’t believe I took so long to get round to it. The 1 train to South Ferry takes you within a 4 minute walk to the ferry (next to the Staten Island Ferry port) which costs $3 return or a mere $1 for seniors!
Even better, it is free if you take one of the early ferries. The island is 800 yards from the tip of Manhattan and has a military history – one that involves defending Manhattan from the British navy. 

The island is no longer inhabited and the officer’s houses are used for different projects. The larger blocks will fall into ruin if nothing is done. I wonder why New York doesn’t think about having people occupy them so that the rent can pay for improvements and upkeep (as the National Trust does in the UK).
The first time we went – 12.00 ferry out and 4.30 back – we explored the entire periphery of the island that is shaped like an ice cream cone. The red chairs that are dotted around are both useful and nice to look at and there are great views of the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan, New Jersey, Brooklyn and Staten Island to take in as you take shade under the trees.
I was surprised to find a Starbucks tucked in the middle of the island, operating from a modified container.
There are several man-made hills with great views and one of them has a Rachel Whitebread
house on it.
A few days later we returned on the weekend. This time there were a lot more people because they had the annual “Jazz age” festival there, with a great old-fashioned band and a lot of people dressed in either 1920s swim-suits (including the guys) or posh attire. 
Debbie and I had gone for the lavender workshop. We helped to bunch it up and were able to take some back with us – a nice momento of the island. Hollis organised it – she is a Scot who has lived in NYC for a long time and reminds me of Diane Keaton in her mannerisms.
We also visited an exhibition of woodcuts of endangered birds as well as meandering through more of the interior of the small island.
The dogs did well on the aged ferry (only service dogs are allowed) despite the clanking and smacking into the docks as it arrives!
One thing I love about New York is that a lot of the infrastructure is worn but it functions nevertheless.
Finally, I heard that they had a bluegrass festival “Porch
Stomp” on as well as a quirky art/science festival for the weekend, so off we went, accompanied again by the dogs and our birdwatching expert, Rachel who enjoyed visiting the Audubon house.
As last year, Debbie and I were invited by her brother Russ and Stephanie to their lovely house on the bay in New Jersey for Memorial Day weekend.
Four days of relaxation and walks to the ocean for Alfie to play did him the world of good. Alfie loves to chase a ball into the sea, even if he doesn’t like swimming and I like to think it is good for his hip dysphasia.
We also found a nice local park where he could do his business because Alfie really doesn’t like doing it in the garden of a house where he is staying – such a border collie!
Their house is huge, with a great swimming pool and spa.
We had a limousine to get there and back, taking 3 hours to get there because of heavy traffic but only an hour and a half to get back and the dogs were very good in the car.
The first evening we ordered in delicious fish from the local fish restaurant, eating out on the last night. Russ and Stephanie are very generous and we had a great time eating on the terrace, chatting, swimming and relaxing in the jacuzzi.
The weather was iffy but I like it when it isn’t too hot, and so does Alfie – in fact he is a very different dog in the heat and I love it when it rains here as it manages to cool and freshen the park for our morning walks.
Before the weekend, we caught up with Russ and Stephanie at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where Debbie and the rest of the musical talent from the Lighthouse for the blind were performing in their annual concert.
Debbie has a lovely voice and it is always a great concert. Her brother Dave and his wife and son Ben also came. Afterwards, Russ treated us to a great meal at and old Italian restaurant ‘Giovanni Venti Cinque’ on East 83rd street.
Another place I always enjoy eating at is the Ellington in the Park just near us in Riverside Park where my friend Dom and I enjoyed a beef burger while our dogs rested in the shade – Alfie’s being an umbrella!
We also continue to visit the Hungarian Pastry Shop where Alf enjoys the pastry from the delicious baklava that I order there.
Tiffany and David – who have the lovely dog Corrie, Alfie’s friend, live on the same block. We went there for pizza one evening and while Alfie attempted to control their cat, we enjoyed the largest pizzas I have ever seen that they ordered in from a local pizzeria.

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