Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Picture Perfect Dinner

 Last night, with weather being hot, muggy and at times wet, it wasn’t an ideal night to be outside, but at the same time I didn’t want to stay home. Having one of my urges to try something new, I went to a dinner fundraiser at the old train station.

The Railroad Playhouse (at the old West Shore Station; 27 South Water St.) hosted the spaghetti and meatball dinner fundraiser to benefit Northeast Gateway to Freedom (104 Broadway) in support their Newburgh Kidz Summer Initiative, a free program for kids (1st through 12th grade) in the city of Newburgh.

It didn’t matter that I was by myself and didn’t know a single person in the place. I tend to occupy myself by taking pictures, and as soon as my camera came out, that broke the ice. Kwajae, one of the Kidz at my table noticed its size and was eager to try it. I took out a point and shoot camera for the sake of simplicity, asked him if he wanted to take some pictures for me, gave him a quick rundown on the camera (push this button, hold it from the sides because of the touch screen, and be careful where your fingers are not to block the lens) and sent him on his way, with the instructions simply to take pictures of anything in the room that looked interesting. Not wanting to be left out, his cousin Khalil was just as eager to try the camera, we went through the routine again, and off he went working his way around the room. Before I knew it, I had two miniature photographers taking pictures for me, and that set the tone for an entertaining evening; the entertainment not just being the people on stage. 

 On stage entertainment included inspirational songs sung by Pastor Rosey and Vinnie, keyboard playing (sorry, I didn't get a name, but if anyone knows, please let me know!), and a violin solo by Moline. 


Kidz were called on stage at times and recited short biblical verses. When Kwajae was called up, he suddenly turned shy and didn’t want to go. He had still wanted to try the big camera, so I made him an offer- if he went on stage, he could use the camera after.  Up to the stage he went, quickly doing his thing while trying to hide behind his hand. As soon as he was done, on we went to take pictures with the big camera, with his cousin wanting to do the same thing too.


 All the while food was being served by attentive servers. Dinner included the obvious spaghetti and meatballs, that being the dinner theme, as well as salad, pizza, breads, beverages, and a myriad of desserts to choose from (including homemade Italian Ices from Simple Gifts and Goodies). In addition, raffles were taking place throughout the course of the evening, with a wide assortment of prizes being given away.

The dinner was prepared by TheWherehouse (119 Liberty Street) and Simple Gifts and Goodies (19 Liberty Street). Panera Bread (1278 Route 300) and the Pizza Shop at the Railroad Playhouse (27 South Water Street) contributed to the meal.

Collaborators included American Cleaning, Baptist Temple, Minard Farms, Guardian Self Storage, Bon Ton, Aglow International, Dutch Sheets Ministries, Hudson Valley Christian Church, ARC, Stairway Ministries, Triumph Textile & Knitting, His Table Ministries, Simple Gifts & Goodies, Adams, Natures Pantry, Mother Earth, Shop Rite, A & P, Panera Bread, Skonberg Family Chiropractic Care, Windsor Dental, Pine Hill Farm, Clegg Bros, Stewarts, Cornwall Presbyterian, Soho Two, ADR Bulbs, Sorbello Landscaping, Star Quality Painting, Thomas O Miller, Sullivan County Correctional Facility, StewartsShops, Price Chopper, City of Newburgh, Little Sisters of the Assumption, Elozua Studies and Morehead Honda.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

City Sidewalks

When it came around to doing the sidewalk in front of the house, many options came to mind. Being that it was a brick building, the first thing that popped into mind was a brick walkway, perhaps in a herringbone pattern, but matching old bricks get tricky, not to mention what vintage bricks cost. Another thought was cobblestone, but there was nothing style-wise to tie the cobblestone to. Looking up and down the block, I saw mostly uneven blacktop. Even if it formed a consistent look along the street, I couldn't picture asphalt sidewalks 100 years ago, so I refused to have anything blacktopped .

Considering form, function, and budget, we laid a cement sidewalk. Cement was the most durable option we had being that slate or stone is more susceptible to the elements and traffic. If they are not cemented in place, water (snow or rain) seeps in  in the colder months, that water freezes, slowly dislodges the stones over time. If the stones are cemented into place, the mortar tends to wear away and then you still have the problem of the stones being displaced.High foot traffic also displaces these walkways over time. The biggest factor we considered was what was the best when it came time to start shoveling snow off of the sidewalk.

 As a small compromise to having a cement sidewalk, we stenciled a brick border around the sidewalk. It wasn't the bricks I wanted, I had even considered inlaying real bricks for the border, but another thing working against us was the seasons changing. It was late fall when we were finally done with anything that had to run underground from the street to the building, and wanted to get the sidewalk in before winter hit.

Laying the sidewalk took a day. With as much cement as we needed we had a truck deliver premixed cement, we'd spend less time and money just going with the cement delivery, not to mention a cement truck is better equipped and has more control than if you were trying to mix it yourself..

 As the sidewalk was done and we were roping off the sections of fresh cement, I was wondering if the smooth finish would survive the night, wondering if I'd find names, drawings or who knows what etched into the cement the next morning. I'm happy to say that nothing was disturbed overnight, and the sidewalk had set just as we left it.