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Nov 082017

( Updated for 2016 )1

Please read note 22

     As a child I grew up on the shores of Lake Ontario outside of Rochester N.Y. Winters were brutal. We would get snow up to your eyes from lake effect storms. The snow plows would invariably come by and fill up your driveway right after you spent an hour clearing Midtown-Plaza-10-300x225.jpglast nights snowfall away. But the Christmas lights and decorations from houses could be seen for miles and the scenery was beautiful. One of my fondest memories of Christmas in Upstate New York was going to Midtown Plaza on the edge of downtown Rochester. There was nothing like walking through the front doors and seeing the giant Christmas tree and the Clock of Nations right in the middle of the plaza floor. And of course Santa Clause!

Midtown Plaza was dedicated on April 10, 1962 as the first downtown indoor mall in the United States.The idea for this mall started with discussions between Gilbert J.C. McCurdy, owner of the McCurdy’s department stores and Maurice F. Forman, owner of the B. Forman Co. department stores. At that time strip plazas were growing in popularity. Though both owners had opened branch stores they were concerned about  Downtown Rochester‘s viability and came up with the idea of an indoor  shopping center.

The plaza was basically a high rise building open in the center and going up 14 floors. The first few floors were dedicated to the mall and the rest up to the top floor were office space. You could see the people walking to the various stores on all floors just by looking up or down. There was even a monorail running around the perimeter of the second floor. What a special place for me. Concerts would be played pod1224.jpgat all times of the year on the bottom floor by the Clock of Nations and would draw people from miles around. There was a restaurant called the “Top of the Plaza” on the topmost floor where musicians like Gap and Chuck Mangione as well as many others would play.3 As I remember, the food was pretty darn good too. But Christmas was special. The music, people and decorations made it a wonderland for a small boy. The eateries were filled with wonderful smells. The bustle of people all shopping for their loved ones and the long lines to sit in Santas lap made it a place to look forward to during the Christmas season. There was a TV talk show host, Eddie Meath, that would host shows and specials in the Plaza from time to time and Captain Kangaroo (Bob Keeshan) would show up now and again. I am sorry I never got to take my wife and children to see it before the doors closed in 2007

The final Christmas season at Midtown Plaza took place in 2007.  A  40-foot (12 m) Douglas Fir was donated to the mall by Dave Manioci,  Midtown’s Chief Engineer. A tribute to Midtown took place on December 1, 2007, which attracted thousands of people from Rochester, NY and the surrounding areas to what was called “a magical event.” The beloved  Monorail had its last run on December 24, 2007. All retail and office space at Midtown except for the adjoining Euclid Building wing was to  conclude business activity on or before July 29, 2008, while some demolition work on unoccupied portions of the building complex had  already begun before that date. The Euclid building, which housed some  offices and the studios of Clear Channel Communications,six Rochester area radio stations, closed at midnight on December 31, 2008. Clear Channel moved to new quarters in the HSBC Bank downtown Rochester office tower, in a studio complex formerly occupied by CBS. On July 29, 2008 Midtown Plaza closed its doors to the public for the last time, as scheduled. Many retail and service businesses which had been operating at Midtown Plaza during its final months relocated and re-opened in other locations in or near downtown Rochester, some of them taking advantage of relocation help offered by the City of Rochester. On Tuesday, November 3, 2009 the last occupant of Midtown Plaza, the Adirondack Transit Lines bus station, closed. The bus station relocated five blocks away, near the railroad station.

Oh well, just memories to pass on to the grandkids, but Midtown Plaza will live on in the hearts and minds of 434426919_0966136e5f_z.jpgpeople from the area as a magical and wondrous Christmas stop. Memories that will live on in the aging mind of a once small boy who sometimes has to pause, just for a moment and forget the present day.  Just long enough to get the magic back and remember Mid Town Plaza, a place where we left our cares and worries behind as we enjoyed the sights and sounds of that most wonderful time of the year, Christmas


Midtown Plaza was well known for its Clock of Nations designed by Geri Kavanaugh. The 4313850095_59dcef3b70.jpgclock, which represents 12 nations, has 12 cylinders each with a scene with puppets for each nation. Considered a significant piece of art when it was unveiled, the original puppetry was not well maintained and was replaced in the mid-1970s with the work of a local housewife. The clock has been moved to the Greater Rochester International Airport terminal, before it plans to move to a permanent home at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong Memorial Hospital following completion of that facility’s expansion.

  1.  Addendum for 2015. This has been a hard year. Back in May, I lost my Mom to Alzheimers. I also lost my constant companion and best friend. One who helped me deal with things for 13 years, my Lab Saadi. (( Those of you that treat dogs as family will understand. She really save my life when I needed it and was always there.  I also lost my Dad in early October from cancer and Alzheimers brought on by the cancer.  I bring these things up because of the fact that it was they who introduced me to MidTown and took me many times through the years before I left for the Army. While I post this every year due to e-mail requests and mainly because I love the memories,  This year I dedicate this memory to you “Ma” and to you Dad. Midtown was a special place and one I will never forget and I will never forget the good times we had there. Thanks for the memories Mom and Dad. —-Serenity   []
  2. I have been asked a few times if I would re post a nostalgia piece I did a few years back about Midtown Plaza in Rochester NY. After my server crashed, I tried to recover the blog and had a hard time. The bottom line was that I never was able to replace all my old posts. So as stated earlier, I had a fresh start to the blog.  Anyway, I was looking through my backup drive and found the SQL file containing that post. So after extracting it, I decided to re post it here.  Some of the pictures may not be the same as they were lost in the crash, but the article is the original text. So here you go. I have made a few additions to the text labeled under addendum’s. By the way, this is one of my favorite posts as well. I hope you enjoy it as much as I. []
  3. It was at Midtown where I first met Chuck Mangione. Besides being the biggest influnce on my love of music, he was the one that pushed me and gave me the confidence to play not just the violin but all things strings. I will admit he wasn’t the happiest person when I took up the guitar to play in a rock band but he always supported me and has been a good friend and my favorite Jazz musician since. Oh and also his brother Gap. Thanks guys. While I don’t play as much with a couple of gimpy fingers, I still have my love of music and I will always be greatful to Chuck, Gap and many others for their impact on my life. Máire Ní Bhraonáin ( Moya Brennan Clannad) and her sister Enya (whom I have yet to meet Got a nice autographed picture though), Loreena McKennit, Anne Haslam , Mark Farner and Vincent Furnier (Alice Cooper) Thay have always been friends and their music still and always brings me joy. []
Nov 022017

We’re pleased to present the first video ever made by the North Pole here on Santa Update — and maybe it’s YOUR voice you hear on it. This video features actual messages to Santa over his voice mail. Take a look:

Santa just loves all the voice mails he is receiving. He just can’t get enough of them.

Now, it’s not often we ask this kind of thing but at Santa’s request I’m asking you to share the video you see above. Share it with your friends, your family, your parents, your siblings, your teacher…everyone!

That’s because Santa wants to hear from as many as possible. It fills him full of good cheer to hear your lovely voices!

As as you can tell from the video Santa hears from older people, too.

And that’s great! Santa really appreciates hearing from everyone.

You can tell Santa anything you want. You can ask questions, sing songs, tell him what’s happening to you at school or at work. Santa will listen. He’s a great listener.

He’ll listen to your wishlist too. Of course, you can always send it to him because that’s a lot of fun too.

Santa is constantly listening to his messages. He listens when he is on the sleigh. And he listens where he works. It is just something he never gets tired of.

So if you have something you want to talk to Santa about don’t wait to see him — just call him!

— Elf Ernest

p.s. — The number, just in case you forgot it, is 866-847-2682

Oct 162017

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (NNS) — Naval Supply Systems Command, in cooperation with the U.S Postal Service, Military Postal Service

Image taken by User:Minesweeper on December 14...

Image taken by User:Minesweeper on December 14, 2003 and released into the public domain. From left to right, the post boxes belong to FedEx Corporation, University of California, Berkeley, United Parcel Service, and two from the United States Postal Service (the one on the left is for Express Mail only) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Agency, and Joint Military Postal Activity, released mail-by dates for pre-Dec. 25 deliveries of holiday cards, letters, and packages.

For mail addressed to/from: 
APO/FPO/DPO AE zips 090-098 (except 093); AA zips 340; AP zips 962-966 
* Priority Mail Express Military Service: Dec. 16
* First-Class and Priority Mail (letters, cards and packages): Dec. 11 
* Space Available Mail: Nov. 27 
* USPS Retail Ground Mail (formerly known as Standard Post): Nov. 6

* Priority Mail Express Military Service: N/A 
* First-Class and Priority Mail (letters, cards and packages): Dec. 4 
* Space Available Mail: Nov. 27 
* USPS Retail Ground Mail (formerly known as Standard Post): Nov. 6

Domestic Mail (For Ships in Port and Personnel on Shore Duty in the U.S. mailing to U.S. destinations-not including APO/FPO) 
* First-Class Mail: Dec. 19
* Priority Mail: Dec. 20
* Priority Express Mail: Dec. 22

International First-Class Packages and Priority Mail addressed to Africa and Central and South America should be mailed no later than Nov. 30. 

International First-Class Packages and Priority Mail addressed to Asia/Pacific Rim; Australia/New Zealand; Canada; Caribbean; Mexico, Europe; and the Middle East should be mailed no later than Dec. 7.

All classes of mail addressed to FPO addresses must contain the New Navy Standardized Address format, which includes ship or mobile unit number, (or PSC number for ashore FPOs), virtual or actual mail box number, and five-digit ZIP code to ensure delivery. Mail not addressed correctly could be returned to sender as undeliverable. 

Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS) is available from selected military post offices. If mailing to an APO/FPO/DPO address, check with your local post office to determine if PMEMS service is available and specific delivery service standards. 

Space Available Mail (SAM) refers to parcels mailed to APO/FPO addresses at parcel post rates first transported domestically by surface, then to overseas destinations by air on a space available basis. 

It is recommended customers check with local civilian or military post offices for information regarding size restrictions and customs declaration form requirements. Customers are advised mailing restrictions apply and some items cannot be mailed. Examples of non-mailable items are: alcohol, switchblade knives, pornography, controlled substances, and explosive or incendiary devices. If in doubt, contact your local civilian or military post office. 

As a final note, customers should ensure articles are packaged properly for mailing and packages do not display markings related to any type of hazardous material, such as bleach, alcohol, or cleaning fluids. Parcels found by U.S. Postal Service with such markings or labels on the outside of the box will not be processed. 

NAVSUP’s mission is to provide supplies, services, and quality-of-life support to the Navy and joint warfighter. With headquarters in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP oversees logistics programs in the areas of supply operations, conventional ordnance, contracting, resale, fuel, transportation, and security assistance. In addition, NAVSUP is responsible for food service, postal services, Navy Exchanges, and movement of household goods.

For more information, visit, or

Oct 042017

The Harvest Moon is making an appearance on Thursday, Oct. 5, and it’s a sight you’ll want to see.

Harvest moon rising over the mountains

Normally, the Harvest Moon shows up in September. This year, the full moon will rise in October, which only happens once every three years. 

Naming the full moons is a tradition that dates back to prehistoric Native American civilizations, who used the movement of celestial bodies to track time. April’s full moon is known as the Pink Moon due to its arrival near the time when pink phlox blooms. June’s full moon is the Strawberry Moon, since it rises near the time of year when strawberries ripen.

The Harvest Moon is the full moon that rises nearest the Autumnal equinox. This year, that fell on Sept. 22, but the September full moon was on the 6th, which makes the October full moon the closest to the Fall equinox. Therefore, it gains the special title of this year’s Harvest Moon.

The Harvest Moon is special because it rises early, just after sunset. It also appears larger and brighter than normal, and tends to have a orange or yellow glow. The moon will appear full for several days after it rises, so there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy this year’s Harvest Moon.

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