Well, there it is! A stunning slice of history, isn't it? Leaves you kind of breathless. Wait, what? You fail to see the significance of a graffiti-covered cement wall on Staten Island? Pull up a chair, my child, while I tell you a little story. It is the story of a family that has great pride in its Irish heritage and will stop at nothing to find connections to the good, bad and ugly events that make up Irish history in the late 19th/early 20th Century.
It is here, dear friends, at 194 Richmond Terrace in Staten Island, that Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, beloved patriot to the Irish Republican movement and murderous criminal to the British, once lived. Here is a rare photo of the famed Uncle David, who has his own personal connection to Staten Island and to JO'DR, looking pleased as punch about finding the site of the late hero and supposed ancestor's home.
Here is the view that JO'DR would have had from his home, minus the SUVs and tall buildings in lower Manhattan. This is a real slice of history, kids!
Um? Kids? I guess Finnian wasn't that interested in his own family history and preferred to read Tintin in the backseat of the car while the more adventurous among us took in deep draughts of the past made alive in this very moment. Sheesh. With a name like Finnian, you'd think he would have a little respect for his cultural heritage. Apparently not.
While we were there, UD treated us to a tour of Staten Island, including a quick visit to the campus of Snug Harbor Cultural Center. We visited the Connie Gretz Secret Garden, which was very sweet even in its January state of being. Although, as Finnian said, how secret can it be if there is a big sign over the door? The kid is sharp on some points.
We followed this with a driving tour of some other highlights of the island and then had a fantastic lunch at one of the several Sri Lankan restaurants that dot the St. George neighborhood. Staten Island is an oddball kind of a place but well worth a visit (speaking as someone who lives in two oddball places that are well worth visits).
And by popular demand...
...some better photographs of the afghan my mother knit us for Christmas. It is a beauty and worthy of more attention than my quick mention of it allowed. She knit it in three panels and then stitched them together.
We love it more than words can say.