Why did it take me 47 years to visit New York City? This was the question I asked myself as I enjoyed my first ever visit to the Big Apple. Aside from enjoying the architecture and character of the city, this trip was special because I finally met my longtime pal Joe McCusker in person. In fact, he was kind enough to put me up at his place while I was in town. We had a great time visiting, and having those quirky conversations that only a couple of dyed-in-the-wool military researchers could have. And lo and behold, we did manage to tromp all over one former Air Force base, and made visual contact with another. So, while this trip report is short on content, it is certainly high in value to me, and I thank Joe not only for his hospitality but for his solid friendship over these many years.
Saturday, 1 Jul 2006
The purpose of my trip was to participate in the oral defense of a masters thesis. Yup, one of the perks of being on the thesis committee was a free trip to NYC! This event took up the morning and early afternoon, and afterwards Joe used his city navigational skills to get us out to New Rochelle. This involved a complicated mix of bus, subway, train and taxi arrangements that left me bewildered, but it was routine transportation for Joe. From Neptune Park, we could look across the water at Davids Island, home to the old Fort Slocum, that became Slocum Air Force Base for a few years in the late 1940s. We could see an elevated water storage tank, and a couple of old buildings from the Fort Slocum days. The park itself was also formerly Air Force property; it was the mainland dock area for transportation out to the island (a similar arrangement existed at Matagorda Island in Texas). I haven't found a separate Air Force name for the dock area, but the Army called it Neptune Dock when it supported Fort Slocum.
Sunday, 2 Jul 2006
Another series of buses, subways, train, and taxi took us out to Hazelhurst. Our objective was the former Mitchel Air Force Base. We found a mix of intact and modified Air Force buildings, along with recent construction. Going past the former main gate area, we first passed the old housing area, with the homes well-maintained and occupied. An old administration building stands, with a newer high-rise building in the background. Quite a few military buildings, large and small, still stand. The former NCO quarters was identifiable. A row of shop buildings and a fire station were in good condition. A row of hangars ranged in condition from run-down to really nice. One of the hangars is a museum, and I noticed a Nike Hercules missile in their outside area.
Monday, 3 Jul 2006
The United Nations Headquarters is not a military installation, so I didn't include it when I first wrote this report. But, when we reflect on Cold War history, this small patch of land with the distinctive buildings, has been an important place. We viewed the Security Council Chamber in the Conference Building. We explored the General Assembly Hall in the General Assembly Building. Here is the view from one of the broadcast booths overlooking the General Assembly Hall, and this is the view from the speaker's lectern.
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