The Maniac Collector's Inbox
Sherlocking on Long Island Points Beyond
Last week I traveled to Huntington, New York out on Long Island for a grueling two-day workweek. The place I was working was only open on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I flew into LA Guardia on Tuesday afternoon, worked all day on Wednesday and headed into the city after work. I know the New York area is awash in Sherlockian activities. The ASH Wednesday Dinner was that night, however my main reason for coming into the city was to attend a free Dave Brubeck concert at the invite of my E.C.G. This stands for East Coast Girlfriend, a fully sanctioned and approved designation by my editor and wife, Joyce. Elyse Locurto has been my E.C.G. for many years and we never miss a chance to get together when I am in or near New York City.
The A.S.H. Wednesday Dinner starts at 6:30 PM so I could not commit to attend, being unsure when I would be able to leave the site where I was working. I managed to catch the 5:26 Hicksville train and make it to Penn Station by 6:15. The concert was at the Lincoln Center Damrosch Park, about 29 blocks north. The decision between A.S.H. Dinner and The Dave Brubeck Quartet was made in an instant and I hope the Sherlockian over at O'Casey's won't hold it against me. Elyse had met my train and together we jumped on the subway toward Lincoln Center. The short jaunt left us with time for dinner. We decided on P. J. Clarke's at Lincoln Square and quickly caught up on each other's lives over a nice bottle of Central Coast Pinot Noir.
Dave Brubeck had just taken the stage when we arrived and the octogenarian can still entertain. Mr. Brubeck will be 89 on his next birthday, December 20. He looks frail but still performs regularly. This year is the 50th anniversary of "Take Five" and as they played this classic as the finale, Simon Shaheen joined the group on stage. This brought the crowd to its feet. Afterwards, we strolled down to O'Lunney's for an impromptu meeting of the O'Lunneytics.
[I did not take this picture, mine were too far back]
The next day was my turn, so I meant my E.C.G. at the Hicksville station. I am affectionately known as T.B.F. (Texas Boy Friend) so the T.B.F and his E.C.G. drove to Cynthia and Richard Wein's house. Richard and Cynthia friends of Elyse that I have gotten to know over the years. This was my first visit but it was one of those places that you feel you have been going to all of you life. Richard has and extensive collections of books, 3-D objects, and Sherlockian artwork. Our original plans were to have drinks and then go out for dinner, but after being sidetracked by a few bottles of red wine, we ended up ordering pizza from a locate place. This gave us more time together without interruptions.
Richard's Sherlockian books are split between a very cozy den and the first level of the basement. One of my favorite Sherlockian activities is getting to visit other Sherlockian collections. Richard's collection was fully of treasures. It is always interesting to see the different area of collecting that effect people. I saw only a couple of foreign editions but many, many children's edition and all sorts of other great editions. The other half of the basement is full of shirt that Cynthia hand paints. She showed me a plethora of Sherlockian related designs; more about this is the future.
Upstairs part of Richard's collection
Friday was a travel day for me and I had schedule a late flight out of La Guardia. Elyse stayed with Richard and Cynthia's so in the morning I drove the short distant back. We ate breakfast at the Plainview Dinner, a local legend I'm sure must have been on some random Food Network television show. This was a grand experience, very stereotypical aura of a Long Island Dinner (whatever that means). My E.C.G. is from Long Island and wanted to show me something one the island I had not seen before. She decided that Theodore Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill would be a good place to start. This spectacular National Historic Site is located on the north shore near Oyster Bay. Because of time constraints, we were not able to be in on the next tour. This meant we were not able to go inside the house but we strolled the beautiful ground before we drove down the hill to the Roosevelt Gravesite.
TBF and ECG at Theodore Roosevelt's grave
Here we met the most interesting man named Nick Labella. He was the caretaker and quickly began explaining to us the significance of the 25 steps leading to Roosevelt's grave. He was the 26th president according to Mr. Labella he built them! He unlocked the gate and let inside where he took our picture. He then proceeded to give us a ream and a half of Xeroxed articles, letter, and signed photographs of everyone and everything that has had to do with the famous Rough Rider and 26th president. He was a spry old 72 and looked to stay fit by climbing around the Young Memorial Cemetery. He followed us all the way back to the parking lot exalting deeds he had done. His infectious enthusiasm would have been more appreciated if I had more time.
My E.C.G. rode to the airport with me and then caught a cab back into the city. I made it to my gate on time and bid good-bye to another whirlwind, but most action packed New York trip. It is good to have Sherlockian friend to call upon.
Past 2009 Columns