June 5, 2017


A “Blast from the Past”. This week’s column is a reprint from July, 1996.

“NEW YORK, NEW YORK” is my song this week.  Because I was away from the RT a few days, some of this column will be dedicated to my most recent experience in the Big Apple. Needing a way to get to the airport, JR arranged me a ride with Woody Ingram, Andy Jordan, and John Fulton.  These three dentists were flying to Montana to go fly fishing.  My flight was to leave at 8:30 so they had me there by 7 a.m.  My traveling comrade for this trip was JoAnn (Hendrick) Rainwater from Houston and she arrived (on time according to her personal schedule) at 8:29 just in time to walk aboard the plane.  On our arrival at LaGuardia airport my luggage was almost unrecognizable; thank goodness the contents were undisturbed!  I’m happy to report that Continental Airlines promptly replaced it with a new bag.  Our destination was midtown Manhattan where we were the guests of Christine Lynch, a 20 year transplanted Houstonian.  NYC is the only place I know that has a super-abundance of buildings that rise to the sky and buses that kneel to the ground.

We arrived before our hostess and after a short rest, decided to hit the streets of NYC.  Since she lives only a half block from the United Nations Building, we walked to the garden there and admired the roses and looked for any Ambassadors that we might recognize.  That night we joined another friend, Jennifer Falk a native New Yorker, and dined at a wonderful Italian Ristorante, il Gabbiano, where I tried tender venison from New Zealand.  Other places we tried were The Swiss Inn and Becco on the west side of town near Broadway.

Because Jennifer works for Ted Turner’s New Line Cinema, she was able to get us passes to see the movie “Independence Day”.  Needless to say we felt a bit uncomfortable since the Empire State Building is destroyed in that movie and we were sitting within blocks of that famous landmark.  Also thanks to Jennifer we had fourth row orchestra seats to see Julie Andrews portray “Victor/Victoria” and the same seating the next night to see Betty Buckley as Norma Desmond in “Sunset Blvd.”  It’s interesting to note that Dan Hackler, T/I Director of HR, has a sister whose company, Scaena Studios, painted the elaborate scenery in “Sunset Blvd.”

We ate hamburgers at the 108-year-old P.J. Clark’s; had lunch in the Crystal Room at The Tavern on the Green and walked through Central Park observing thousands of people enjoying a beautiful day and 80 degree weather.  There were lots of roller blades, Frisbees, kids, kites and carriages.  Another day we ate at The Water Club in lower Manhattan that overlooks the East River.  We then walked (which we did a lot of) past the 21 Club to the Museum of Television and Radio.  It was most interesting.  In one screening room we saw the 1955 live interview of Edward R. Murrow with Marilyn Monroe in the home of photographer Milton Greene.  We also saw Flip Wilson as the lively “Geraldine” being interviewed by Perry Como – now that’s comedy!  The museum’s library has 75,000 video tapes instantly available.  Christine is a dedicated Moody Blues fan and was able to see a video of Justin Hayward perform their famous “Nights in White Satin and JoAnn found a rerun of Placido Domingo performing in Central Park which brings me to the real reason for our trip to NYC: to see The Three Tenors’ (Carreras, Domingo, and Pavarotti) Live Concert at Giant Stadium.  Most people cannot imagine a sports stadium filled to capacity with opera fans, approximately 80,000 attended and we were four of them.  It was awesome!

For the concert, our native New Yorkers leased a limousine for us to ride to the Meadowlands in NJ where Giant Stadium is located.  When we arrived at the stadium there were more limos than cars in the parking lot.  EVERYONE had the same idea!  One big problem; the officials would not allow us to be dropped off at the stadium so we were sent across the freeway to park and use the walking tunnels all the way back to the stadium.  After the concert, the tunnels were jammed with people trying to get to their transportation.  In our long dresses, we followed a small group of people that left the crowd and jay-walked across six lanes of congested traffic, climbed over a concrete barricade that had a chain-link fence on top of it and jay-walked across six more lanes of traffic to get to our rented limousine.  The thought “I can’t believe we’re really dong this” crossed our minds several times.  I shall NEVER forget my first limousine ride.  All in all it was a wonderful trip but I did miss the RT.

See you later…’round the table.