Volume 22, Number 15 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Aug. 21 - 27, 2009

Seaport Report

By Janel Bladow

Hello New Knee…
This month begins with a stay at New York Downtown Hospital for a total knee replacement following a really dopey “sports” injury while in college. Let’s just say that leaping like a goat at the top of a Rocky Mountain is not the best way to test new tennis shoes.

My arrival at the hospital Monday morning was greeted by courteous, helpful staff and two charming medical students who kept me entertained and relaxed talking about skiing and the strange-looking “hazmat” type outfits the surgical team would be wearing. Well, that was a bit unnerving! Then the fabulous Dr. Kenneth E. McCulloch of Seaport Orthopedic Associates arrived and everything must have been right with the world because I knew nothing until awakening to a really reassuring post-op nurse making sure I was comfortable in this big room alongside other drowsy patients.

Once settled into my room on the fifth floor, happily medicated and anxious to doze off again, I was poked, prodded and hooked up to a machine that automatically bent my new plastic/titanium knee for two hours. Ouch!

By the next morning physical therapy arrived in the form of a delightful and skilled therapist named Julie who got me up and walking. By nightfall I was cruising to the hallway on my walker! The next day we scaled two flights of stairs!

That afternoon saw a surprise visit from Anita Gomes of Harbour Café on Peck Slip. She came with a beautiful plant, and later in the week after I got home, she sent over a delicious bagel with cream cheese and lox. Hit the spot. Cheers Anita!

A big thank you also goes to the fifth floor staff — Billy, Max, Aisha, Pat, Elizabeth and her nursing student Julia, Ganyani, Josie and all the others who provided such professional and compassionate care. And Kevin of food services thanks for the delicious cranberry muffin!

Get On Your Feet…
Now with the new knee I’ll soon be able to hit the streets with longtime Southbridge Towers resident Bob Gelber. He’s off to a successful second career.

Bob spent 32 years with New York State as a law librarian for the court system until he retired in December 2006. Anxious to do something with his time and his love of New York City and its colorful history, Bob became a Big Apple Greeter. Some 300 people of all walks of life — some even in their 80s — volunteer to show visitors parts of the city most tourist would never roam.

“I’ve shown around about 40 people from around the world – England, Australia, Finland, even my first English-speaking Italians – and they all want to go away from the crowd,” Bob told Seaport Report. “Everyone has been wonderful and we have such a nice time.”

Since then, Bob has launched his own web site and walking tours, guiding guests as well as curious New Yorkers through such historically rich spots as Millionaires’ Row on Fifth Ave. in the 60s and 70s and the Lower East Side, which he wraps with a knish tasting at end of the three hour hike. He’s had great success with his green tour where he shows visitors around Battery Park City, the first mandated green neighborhood, including a model apartment and the green power works on the roof.

“American Express hired me to show it to some of their executives, and a group of Japanese businessmen also took the tour,” Bob told S.R.

He’s given chocolate-tasting trips through Soho and meanderings through the Financial District’s historically rich canyons, from the first Dutch settlers through the British invasion and on to today’s Wall St. hype. A fellow dog lover who S.R. first met with his late dog Teddy — he and his wife Cathy now have Ginger, a really cute girl, to keep them company — Bob even took dogs and their owners on a historic romp through Central Park, to benefit Bide-a-Wee Shelter. Up next is a ramble across the Brooklyn Bridge ending with a tour of DUMBO. “Retirement,” says Bob, “I recommend it!”

For upcoming tours, times and to make a reservation, visit: www.walkinNY.com.

Happy Trails…
An era has passed. When the Fish Bridge Dog Park first opened more than a decade ago, a core group of special dogs made it a fun place for their humans to hang. Now the last of those first pups has passed away.

Last week Leslie Mazer and Jeff Catalano lost their beloved Thurman. The 13-year-old English sheepdog was a delightful comic who never met a human or dog he didn’t like. Leslie told S.R: “He had to say hi to everybody. He just couldn’t hold himself back. He was very committed to being happy.” She also says that their younger sheepdog, Tweak, is stepping up to the plate. “We’re so thankful for him and the great memories we have of Thurman.”

Last month saw the loss of yet another long-time area wagging tail. No one could pass the corner of Water St. and Peck Slip in the afternoon without giving a pet to Honey Bear, a yellow lab who passed away at 15. Honey and her human Don Walsh were often spotted sitting outside at Acqua, enjoying the sights and smells, and a sip of prosecco. Last spring they moved upstate where Honey spent her last days enjoying green acres and a cool pond.

On The Market …
New Amsterdam Market returns to S3 for four Sundays (Sept.13, Oct. 25, Nov. 22 and Dec. 20) for fabulous fresh foods from around the tri-state and exciting epicurean workshops. Visit the vendors on South Street, between Beekman St. and Peck Slip, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Info: www.newamsterdammarket.org.

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