Come From Away 2

Nick, who oversaw the restoration of the WP Murals at SI Borough Hall used to say that humans like stories. Even though we know how the story ends we read, view, or listen to the stories again and again to see how the stories are told.

This post tells of my first encounters with the Sept 11 Come From Away Back Story.

To me, Come From Away, is a remarkable musical sound byte that condenses the stories of over 6000 people who landed in 38 planes in the town of Gander NL  when the US closed the air space on Sept 11th. The story is told with a cast of 12 who play over 70 characters who represent the locals and the "Come From Awayers" in 100 minutes. At the end, you have a sense of what it felt like to arrive on the planes or live in Gander.

In preparation for my forthcoming trip to "the middle of nowhere" Gander NL, I read these two books:



Channel of Peace is a first person account from one of the real characters represented in the show. Kevin tells his own story and how the experience affected his life. This is an especially good read for teens and young adults who were young or not alive on the day. It made me realize how difficult it was to create Come From Away. But, Kevin's story is the tear drop on the tip of the iceberg.

The Day the World Came to Town was written by a journalist at the end of 2002. There are many more stories and they are written in greater depth. I won't spoil them for you. It is a great read that perhaps covers a big chunk of the tip of the iceberg.

Soon I will be "in the place where it happened".  I am looking forward to taking the Beyond Words tour and maybe figuring out how to see a real iceberg on my free day.

The Trash Museum - OHNY - 3/26/17 - (1)

IMG_0665 IMG_0665This morning was special thanks to Open House New York and Robin Nagle the Sanitation Department Anthropologist AND Nelson Molina chief collector and curator of The Trash Museum.

William B Helmreich might have walked 6000 miles in NYC and written the book The New York Nobody Knows but Nelson Molina spent his over 30 year career in the Sanitation Department working routes between his home on East 115 and the Sanitation terminal on East 99th Street. When Nelson saw things he believed should be saved, he brought them back to "the office". He did all of his work faithfully and he "saved" things. Mr Molina has retired but his saved "Treasures of The Trash Museum" are displayed in a sanitation warehouse that no longer parks trucks.

I normally don't take photos in museums. I would rather you visit on your own. However, this place is hard to visit so I took many photos. Here are a few. More in later posts like this one.

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OHNY 2016 (2) - My plan

12513806_10153959060562236_1464101873933207599_oYou can find me volunteering at the Open House New York Info Hub at Union Square Greenmarket from 10 AM-1PM. After that, I will check on the line at Jefferson Market Library and might go to Westbeth before heading Uptown. I need to be at the Museum of Art and Origin by 5. There might be time to stop in to see my 101.5 year old friend Marie. Afterward, I'll check the line at Hamilton Grange. I've never seen it at night.

Sunday, I am off to the tour of Freshkills Park  in Staten Island. Before leaving the Island, I want to eat brunch at Lakruwana, a Sri Lankan restaurant on Bay Street. Then I'll check on the progress of the Lighthouse Museum. I haven't been there in over a year. (OR I'll rush off of SI immediately and try to get to The Little Red Lighthouse! Oh the possibilities.)


IMG_1294I'll end this year's Open House New York by heading way Uptown to the United Palace to see Mary Poppins introduced by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I can't wait! (You can see the interior of the United Palace as part of OHNY for free on Saturday but it's no fun without a movie). (I have yet to see Hamilton but the book HAMILTON the REVOLUTION is a wonderful read).

NOTE: If you are new to OHNY, be sane. Pick sites that are near each other and have a GREAT time. There are way too many great sites. See what interests you! There's always next year.

Sept 11, 2016

Jersey View frontNot much to say on this 15th Anniversary except I could never imagine what downtown looks like today on Sept 12, 2001. I'll be doing some volunteer work packing food this year.  Actually there's more to say.

I saw Sully yesterday and one of the best lines was something like New Yorkers could use some good news about a plane.

And speaking of good news...While standing in the Shakespeare in the Park line, I heard about a musical now playing in DC called Come From Away. It is about the major good news story that never broke in the US during the aftermath of Sept 11th. I first read about it in an email months later and the PBS documentary came many months after that.  The show deals with one of the communities outside of Gander that took in passengers when all planes were barred from landing in US airspace. I'm heading to DC later in the month to see friends, visit the Newseum, and see the show. I've never seen an out-of-town pre-Broadway run of a show. 

More 9/11 perspective from an older post.


Marie (Runyon) and Mother Jones 9/2/2016

IMG_0093On Friday I paid a visit to my almost 101.5 year old friend Marie Runyon. Her apartment walls are filled with buttons and posters and pictures of causes and people she has fought for throughout her very long life. Above her office work desk is an old poster of Mother Jones with the quote "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living".  This pretty much sums up Marie's philosophy too!

I only knew about Mother Jones magazine thanks to articles that were often shared by my real and FB friend Jeffrey. I knew nothing about the woman. Marie's memory is fading. When I asked her for more info she had little to share so it was time for a Google learning moment from that gadget that Marie can't get over - the IPhone. 

The AFL-CIO and Wikipedia bios are well worth a read on Labor Day and every day.

I think Mother Jones is Marie's guardian angel. When denounced on the Senate floor as the "grandmother of all agitators" Mother Jones  said "I hope to live long enough to be the great-grand mother of all agitators" - perhaps Marie fulfilled her wish.

Wikipedia has many literary references. My favorite is that Carl Sandburg referred to Mother Jones as the "she" in "She'll be Coming Round the Mountain". I believe that. The song was one of the first camp songs I ever learned from my mother and Marie's song memory is very much in tact so we sang together.

1599 - Irondale May 2016 - Binge Shakespeare

A Guide Named Sue crossed the East River (on the C train to Lafayette Avenue) to get in shape for the ongoing Shakespeare season in NYC by seeing 1599 at Irondale in Brooklyn. Imagine binge watching 4 Shakespeare plays live up close and personal (the 4th wall is broken on several occasions). The cast moves. The audience moves. But, by Hamlet, cast crew and audience are one under the set lighting. It is quite an experience. A young girl in the audience was mesmerized by it. It was her first meeting with the Bard.

IMG_2423This mega production was inspired by a book called A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599. The book, by James S. Shapiro, explores Shakespeare's life and the history happening around him during the year in which the 4 plays were written. I will read it some day. (Pic is one tiny piece of the production space before the event.

Tickets for this absorbing Shakespeare experience are easier to obtain than tickets for Shakespeare in the Park. (See 1599 link above). The Naturally Delicious dinner box is tasty and worth the investment if you buy your tickets enough time in advance. If you decide to go at the last minute bring food and buy wine or soda at the theater. You will not have enough time to leave and return during the break.

Irondale is a hidden theater gem in Brooklyn. For those of you who never leave the Island of Manhattan, the C train journey is easy. One warning: the production definition of 4 hours is really NOT 5 hours. Take a nap in the afternoon if you are not a night owl.  You might also want to review the plots of plays beforehand.  ENJOY the show.

9/29/2015 - Daze off visit to Princeton and Grounds for Sculpture and...

Even licensed NYC tourist guide members of the Guides Association of NYC like A Guide Named Sue need to get out of state once in a while. Thanks to member Bob Gelber, we went to Princeton New Jersey in the morning and Grounds for Sculpture in the afternoon. We were on our own in both places.

In Princeton, I had a scrumptious muffin and great coffee at Chez Alice and headed to the Art Museum on the grounds of Princeton University. My mission was to see the Perlman exhibit and a great exhibit it was. On the way back to the bus I stopped to listen to the organist practicing in the Episcopal chapel. I visit Princeton often because my brother's family lives there and my niece graduated from the University but....


This was my first and NOT my last visit to Grounds for Sculpture. What fun! Nature about as natural as Central Park. Same deal. Recreated famous art in sculpture and greenery. My pictures do NOT do the place justice. I enjoyed lunch with fellow tourist guides and one of the local peacocks.



IMG_2105Founder Seward Johnson has done so much public sculpture in NYC. You will find the backstory of the Double Check sculpture in Lower Manhattan on site. I wish I could go to a Seward Johnson singalong with my FB friends from Forgotten Musicals.


IMG_2102I was first introduced to Red Grooms while doing a pre Google Search Software project in Tennessee. It was Tennessee Folk Art month. I went to an exhibition and discovered Red Grooms' #6 IRT local with straphangers and graffiti. It made me feel right at home. It was nice to see this sculpture of his on the grounds.

We only had the bus until 4:30. At 4:32 we disembarked where we started near the Tick Tock diner. The day was young. I strolled up Ninth Avenue to meet my brother and sister-in-law at Rosa Mexicano's. They were given last minute tickets to Il Trovatore at The Met. I joined them for a short rib quesadilla appetizer and some yummy house made guacamole and then I had to run to...

The Art Students League where I saw this extraordinary free panel discussion about The Hirschfeld Century book and exhibit at the NY Historical Society. I finally bought my copy of The Hirschfeld Century from a representative of The Drama Bookshop and had the book signed by my friends David Leopold and Louise Kerz Hirschfeld Cullman.

You can join adventures with A Guide Named Sue here.


Roy Eaton Bryant Park - July 29th 12:30-2:30 and...

me, A Guide Named Sue ,aka Ambassador Sue until the end of the 2015 NY International Fringe Festival.

IMG_0563First, Roy Eaton is a friend from my local coffee shop - Juliano's. He was a child prodigy who played at Carnegie Hall in 1937 and in yet another life was the first African American Mad Man. His concerts are delightful. He is actually playing all week in Bryant Park. I am going on Wednesday.

If you look through the online Fringe Guide, you will find the Grid. Fringe Plus is new this year. There will be meet-ups with the casts after one performance of each show. There will be an Ambassador like me at each meetup. We have the ability to sell $15 tickets (with no extra fees) to you - credit card only. We can also sell tickets, if available, to any show up to a half an hour before the show.

If you are in Bryant Park Wednesday and are ready to buy your Fringe tickets, tweet me @AGuideNamedSue and we will make it happen.

Upcoming July 2015 Public Tours

A Guide Named Sue Says:

There are still two days to sign up for the Brooklyn Bridge Park, Smorgasburg, and Governor's Island wander on Sunday July 19th.

The Shakespeare in the Park line is the end point of early morning Lower Central Park tours on Thursday and Friday July 23c and 24th. After you get your tickets at noon, plan on lunch on the Upper West Side and a visit to the New York Historical Society or the American Museum of Natural History.

IMG_1939Uptown Bounce, co-sponsored by El Museo del Barrio and the Museum of the City of New York, provides the inspiration for a Central Park North End Tour from St John the Divine to Fifth Avenue. The group meets at the Time Warner Center and subways Uptown.

Variations of these tours can always be done as custom tours.