Thursday, October 11, 2007


Gondola safely in truck.

By nature, I am not really a “morning person”. It’s quite common for my wife and me to turn in at around 2am. This expedition was one big series of early mornings, especially as we rowed according to a tide schedule which happened to switch in the morning. So as I have been doing for the last two weeks, I awoke early on the 9th of October. We didn’t have a parade (that was yesterday) and there was no rowing to do (the gondola was on her trailer in Staten Island). I awoke early on the 9th to get “closure”, to “finish what I’d started”, to “carry the ball that last yard”, to (heck! Insert your own favorite analogy here). I did it to get the gondola into the truck so I could breathe a heaving sigh of relief. This was an overcast day and it looked like it might rain at any minute. Elisa and I arrived at the Staten Island Towing Service yard and waited for:
- The arrival of the gondola with Vincent Tummino,
- The arrival of John Forster from Staten Island Towing Service, who insisted on performing the transfer personally,
- And of course, the arrival of the big semi-truck to put the gondola in.
Vinny showed up first, accompanied by Vittorio, Bepi, Enzo and Enzo’s daughter Samantha who had joined us on Day 5. While removing the trailer from the hitch on the truck, I noticed something new on my trailer: little shamrock stickers all over both sides. In the FDNY world, a large percentage of the firefighters are either Irish or Italian. It seems that when the trailer was stored in a firehouse lot, the “Italian” gondola trailer was “marked” by Irish firefighters. I laughed out loud at the thought of it, and still snicker when I think about it two days later.
The gondola was lifted by two independent forklifts; a rolling flatbed from a Landol truck was backed under the gondola and trailer, and then the gondola was rolled into the Rudd’s Transportation trailer.
Sam, who was our driver and has transported other gondolas for me in the past, secured everything in the truck and headed out of town in the direction of California.
Then and only then, did it rain. God is good. It had threatened to rain on three of our rowing days, and then two days prior to the 8th the NYC forecast called for rain on our parade. Again, I laughed out loud as the rain fell on my windshield, on the city, on the Hudson, but not on my gondola, not on the expedition, and not on our parade.
Elisa and I arrived back in Manhattan in time to watch our two daughters ice skate in Rockefeller Center – a family tradition of sorts. Then we had “tea” at the very girly, pink and flowered room at American Girl Place on 5th Avenue. Later that night we saw a performance of “Stomp” and thoroughly enjoyed the loud, percussive performance. With not a care in the world (anymore), we just enjoyed the City.
Ice skating at Rockefeller Center.

Having tea at American Girl Place

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