Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day 2018

I was finishing up high school when the first Earth Day was held in 1970.

I was young.  Idealistic.  Growing up in New York City, I saw what pollution could do firsthand, between November 23 and November 26, 1966, when New York City was blanketed in smog so brown and thick that you could not see across the street.

Some 185 people died, and it is estimated that 10% of New York City residents suffered some adverse health event from the smog.  My father and I were fortunate.

In my childhood, the snow would develop a black crust soon after it fell.  I never knew "clean" snow until I moved from the city.

Thanks in part to the 1966 Thanksgiving smog, the United States Congress passed the clean air act in 1967, with other legislation following.

Now, here we are in 2018, celebrating the 48th Earth Day, and climate change is upon us.  More frequent flooding, and increasingly harsh weather events plague us all over the world.

April 19, near Johnson City, New York
Parts of the United States are getting snow. We haven't gotten the huge accumulations but it snowed every day this week (except yesterday).
April 19, Binghamton, New York
We all know what is happening, whether or not we want to admit it.

Will we have the will to drop politics from the discussion, face what is happening, and take the actions we need to take?

Tomorrow - "T" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Sanford, Spring and Snow #AtoZChallenge #Blogboost

Sanford, Florida.  It is a city in Central Florida  dating back into the 1830's.

Some may know it from trips to the Orlando, Florida area.

Sanford is the southern terminus of the Auto Train, the vehicle carrying train that is my ode of transportation every few years when my spouse and I travel from our home in upstate New York to Florida.

At one time, much of the celery grown in the United States came from the Sanford area.

We found this plaque in its Memorial Park explaining that, after the South lost the Civil War, people came down into Florida, including the Sanford area, to snap up land at bargain prices.

Most of the buildings downtown date from the 1920's.
When we first visited Sanford in August of 2006, we were not at all impressed.  But times have changed.  Many of Sanford's downtown treasures are being renovated.
Info on a downtown building

Sadly, Sanford also has quite a history of racism directed at African-Americans.  Even today, if you ask an American what they associate with Sanford, they may very well answer "the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin in 2012".  Unfortunately, this was far from the first racist incident in Sanford's history.  Even Jackie Robinson felt the sting of Sanford's racism.

Still, Sanford also offers people waiting for the Auto Train a free trolley that takes them from the train station to downtown - a downtown that becomes more and more attractive with each passing year.

Snow, April 19,near Johnson City, New York
Especially when those in the North encounter this weather on April 19, and dream of a Spring trip on the Auto Train to Sanford, where it is green.

Tomorrow, April 22, is Earth Day - join me then - this snow photo will give you a hint of my theme tomorrow as I take a day off from Blogging from A to Z.

Day 21 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost and "S" day on the Blogging from #AtoZChallenge.  My theme: "Florida Outside the Theme Parks".

Friday, April 20, 2018

Rhodesbilt Arcade #Blogboost #AtoZChallenge #SkywatchFriday

The Rhodesbilt Arcade, in Lake Wales, Florida, was built between 1924 and 1926, when Florida was experiencing a land boom.  The builder was one Jesse Rhodes, a real estate agent.  This building is on the National Historic Register.
The two sides of the building have totally different feels.  This is one side.

And the other.  What a beautiful blue sky contrasted against the building.
Let's go in and see what we can find.
We weren't able to get into all of the building, but the part we could access was beautiful inside.
It was January, but the small Christmas tree somehow seemed to belong.

Madeira Beach, Florida
And, just in case you were tired of sunsets - here's another Florida sunset for you.

Day 20 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

"R" day on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge #AtoZChallenge

And finally, I join Yogi and other bloggers who watch the sky every Friday on #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Quirky - #Blogboost #BloggingfromAtoZ

Mt. Dora (also see my "D" day post), Florida, has a well deserved reputation as being a quirky city - as in "sometimes eccentric", or "zany".  It's an artist colony, and it has its share of people who intended to just pass through, but never left.

And, anyway, I needed a post with a title beginning with "Q".

Here are some examples, which I offer in an affectionate spirit.

In Mt. Dora, people want other people to be happy.
It has its own polar bear, "Monty".

A local business has a bubble blowing machine, where children and adults gather to enjoy the bubbles (they are a bit hard to see in the photograph but the bubbles are there).
Mt. Dora's own space oddities.
Quirky and just a few miles from all those theme parks.

Day 19 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.
"Q" day for the Blogging from #AtoZChallenge - my theme, "Florida Outside the Theme Parks".

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Phillip Phillips #AtoZChallenge #blogboost

Long before Orlando, Florida became a theme park destination, the Orlando area grew a lot of oranges.   To the south, past the theme parks, they still do.  
Here, to get you thirsty for some "OJ", is an orange juice commercial from the 1950's, featuring New York Giants football player (and late husband of NBC's Kathie Lee Gifford) Frank Gifford.

We can thank a number of individuals for introducing and developing the citrus industry in Florida, including a man by the name of Phillip Phillips. (No, not the same Phillip Phillips who won American Idol).

Dr. Phillip Phillips, who died in 1959, was a medical doctor, a philanthropist, and a businessman, and, most of all, a man who became rich off of citrus. Phillips first came to Florida in 1894.  His first venture failed when a freeze wiped out his crops.  But, he didn't give up.

He owned thousands of acres of orange groves.  He developed several innovative ways of processing and packing orange juice, including developing the "flash pasteurization" process that took the metallic taste out of canned orange juice.

I remember a brand of canned orange juice called "Donald Duck"....oops, I just made a Disney reference again.

Orange Juice processing plant
If you are ever in the Lake Wales (south of Orlando) area, I recommend a visit to the Grove House of Florida's Natural juice.  You get to taste the fresh juice, and it is oh-so-good.  And it's free, too.
When I lived on the West Coast of Florida between 1974 and 1976, we would sometimes (if the wind was blowing right) smell the wonderful fragrance of orange trees in bloom.  I wonder how many of those groves were once owned by Dr. Philips.

Today, Dr. Phillips has a number of buildings in Orlando (an art center, a high school, and more)  named after him.  It turns out I was staying in a suburb of Orlando, population of around 11,000 . Dr. Phillips had purchased this land in 1905 and turned into orange groves. My pictures were really being taken in Dr. Phillips.
I'll end this post with a picture of Poinsettias growing outside a store in Dr. Phillips.

Considering that we got snow squalls yesterday where I live in upstate New York (and many people got much worse), you'll forgive me for Pining away for Florida.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Orlando or Oranges? #AtoZChallenge #Blogboost

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  For my theme, "Florida - Outside the Theme Parks", the letter O was so simple.  Or was it?

Should I blog about Orlando, the city that is 8th in population growth in the United States?  Its Greater metropolitan area now has a population of over 2.13 million people, but some 51 million tourists visit each year. 

Or, should I go back to basics and blog about Oranges, the fruit that made Florida famous?   Before Orlando became a theme park destination, after all, there were oranges (and a man I will blog about more in my "P" post.)

I remember visiting passing through Orlando in 1972 and again in 1975 and 1976.  When I next returned, in 2006, it was as if a small city had been replaced by New York City. Yet, there is a lot to explore outside of the theme parks.  So, Orlando is my pick.

Here are some non-theme park oriented pictures I took on a January visit.
Apparently, even Batman has moved to Orlando.
Downtown Orlando- a historic park and new construction.

The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, a 400 foot tall ferris wheel.  It became a fascination, watching it change color at night.
Theme parks in the distance.  Sorry, I had to stick a theme park (see left side of photo) in.

And one more shot of Eola Park.  You would never think, if you know where to go, that you were in a major metropolis.

Anyone interested in Orlando history can access a website called Historic Orlando for more information.

"O" day of the Blogging from #AtoZChallenge and day 17 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Nostalgia #blogboost #AtoZChallenge

Nostalgia.  It happens to all of us.

Do you remember S.H. Kress?  I do. It's a piece of my childhood.  As a child of the 1950's and early 1960's, I shopped at Kress with my Mom on many occasions.
The former Kress Building in Columbia, South Carolina, gives a flavor of Kress architecture

Between 1974 and 1976, my spouse and I lived in Tampa, Florida.  During this time, as an office temporary, I spent several months working in downtown Tampa.  And, my spouse worked for a company called Woolco.  Woolco was a subsidiary of Woolworths, the famous "five and dime" chain.

I remember the Tampa Kress.  It closed in 1981.
Woolco is gone, too.

Kress building historic plaque, King Street, Charleston, South Carolina
Kress and Woolworths has a place in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's, as many civil rights protestors strove to integrate their lunch counters.

Maybe the marker will be like this one on King Street in Charleston, South Carolina
The Woolworth's in Tampa was one of those stores.  Only this year have they decided to commemorate this with a historical marker.

The former Kress building in downtown Tampa, Florida, has sat, abandoned, since 1981.

Of course, I never took pictures of these buildings when I lived in Tampa- whoever would have thought that those chains would be no more.

I remember the W. T. Grant in Tampa and when the chain went bankrupt.

They aren't just a piece of Old Florida. They are a piece of the retail history of the United States.  Binghamton, New York, (population about 47,000) where I work, still has a downtown department store.  I wonder how many other downtowns still do.

So many stores from when I lived in Tampa are gone.  Besides Grants, Woolworths, and Kress Brothers:
RIP  Maas Brothers (founded in 1886, it closed its downtown Tampa store years ago. The building was demolished in 2006.)  Another Tampa store, in a major mall, still operates as a Macy's).

RIP Robinson's. (we got our first credit card at Robinson's as newlyweds).

A lot to reminisce about, this nosgalgia I feel for the Tampa we knew between 1974 and 1976.  But now, it is time for music.

Since this is Monday, it is time for #MusicMovesMe.

The Head 4M'er is XmasDolly.  Her co-4Mers are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice, (who has been taking a break for health reasons) and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   And last but certainly not least, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy


 I decided to look up retail music.  Yes, there is such a thing.  Music is used by retailers all the time to drive sales.  The first two songs come from an H&M playlist from 2013 I found on You Tube.

Here's one I found:  New Day by Alicia Keys

And this, by Ne-Yo:  Forever Now.

Day 12 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

"N" day on the #AtoZChallenge.