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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
                 Monday, September 8 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

If you go...

Many travel articles have a sidebar entitled "if you go," with tidbits of helpful information. That's what today's entry is meant to provide, related to the entries on our recent visit to New York City and places in Pennsylvania.

As our New York journal entries indicated, New York is now a much kinder, gentler city than the one those of us who remember the 1970s and earlier times knew. Former Mayor Giuliani is given a lot of credit for working hard to clean up the city, and that in turn is credited with cleaning up the attitudes of most New Yorkers. Though it's not completely graffiti-free, the relative cleanness of most public surfaces compared to the worst days of that particular scourge could be called symbolic of the change. The sleazy underworld joints pockmarking the Times Square area memorialized in movies like Midnight Cowboy and innumerable TV dramas has been replaced by upscale shops like Disney's, Starbucks, and many more gentrified establishments. I've been in London a half dozen times in the past decade, but today's Times Square makes London's competitor, the famous Picadilly Circus, look pale in comparison.

One thing I remember from all my early visits to Manhattan was the presence of hucksters on many of the street-corners, trying to sell the proverbial Brooklyn Bridge. They ranged from card-shark conmen trying to lure you to play three-card Monte or bet on being able to guess which shell was hiding the peanut to semi-legitimate souvenir vendors selling the latest toy or gimmick. I saw none of them this time, except for a few T-shirt salesmen. On the subways we saw one or two buskers (a London term for street musicians playing for tips), fewer than in either London or Paris last summer, or the touristy areas of San Francisco, for that matter. Though the profusion of such "entrepreneurs" in New York's old days was colorful, its current absence is probably part of the cleanup effort that has immeasurably improved the quality of a visit there.

A relative at our family reunion wondered why we would even want to visit New York. The prospect can be daunting, but if you've never visited it, you've deprived yourself of an irreplaceable insight into American culture (and by that I don't mean "haute culture" as in things like art or opera or even Broadway shows. I mean the energy, the mix, the humanity and the just-plain experience of the epitome of American cities. It is an accessible city; though you'll have doubts, even driving on Manhattan isn't much harder than driving in Johnstown.

As for the Pennsylvania places mentioned, I'm assuming that everyone on our email list and regularly visiting the Nanty Glo site knows how to get to Altoona, Nanty Glo, Johnstown and places like Horseshoe Curve and the Portage Railroad Historical Park. Some did express interest in more information on the Kishacoquillas Valley. From Cambria or Blair County, take US 22 east 12 miles beyond Huntingdon to Mill Creek and the intersection of state highway 655. Turn north toward Reedsville. That's the Big Valley named for Shawnee Chieftain Kishacoquillas. The weekly farmers market, every Wednesday, is in the village of Belleville, not Allenville, as I reported earlier. Both of those small towns are population centers in the Big Valley.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Home for the holiday

An elderly man in Phoenix calls his son in New York and says, "I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; 45 years of misery is enough."

"Pop, what are you talking about?" the son screams.

"We can't stand the sight of each other any longer," the old man says. "We're sick of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her," and he hangs up.

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. "Like heck they're getting divorced," she shouts, "I'll take care of this."

She calls Phoenix immediately, and tells her father, "You are not getting divorced. Don't do a single thing until I get there...I'm calling my brother back, and we'll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don't do a thing, Do you hear me?" and hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. "Okay," he says, "They're coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own air fares. Now what? "

— Sent by Carole A. (McDermott) Long

Thought for today

How I wish that somewhere there existed an island for those who are wise and of good will! In such a place even I would be an ardent patriot.

— Albert Einstein 
Sent by Bill Dalrymple

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