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Over 60 ... And Getting Younger: November 27, 2012

Mad Dogs And Englishmen, Part III

When our cruise ship arrived in Malta, there were no signs of Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet or the Maltese Falcon. Malta is a limestone-walled city, sitting proudly in the southern Mediterranean. It is Malta’s location, not its size that dictates its importance. You might have trouble locating Malta on a map, but its history is written in large letters.

Valletta, the capital of Malta, was built by the Order of the Knights of St. John. It has two deep channels that accommodate large vessels. The history of Malta dates back 7,000 years. Malta was conquered by the Arabs, Normans, Germans, French and Spaniards. It was also an important Crusader outpost.

In 1565, the Turks, under Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, attacked Malta with 35,000 troops. The 540 Knights of St. John repelled the Turks. During World War II, Malta was bombed daily by the Nazis. King George VI, Elizabeth II’s father, awarded the George Cross for Bravery to the entire island. An interesting note, the Duke of Wales and his bride, Wallis Simpson, honeymooned on Malta. The current population is 401,880.

We arrived in Venice, which is at the head of the Adriatic Sea. The heart of Venice centers around St. Mark’s Square, which has been called “a great marble salon,” open to the sky. The piazza is huge with covered galleries, luxury shops and cafes. St. Mark’s Square has always been a vibrant, dignified and exciting meeting place. Unfortunately, we arrived during the rainy season and the piazza was flooded. We rolled up our jeans, took off our shoes and socks and squished through St. Mark’s Square. The gondolas kept rowing and we felt that there is no more exciting place than Venice.

The graceful Bridge of Sighs links the Doge’s Palace with the dark old prison building. The name comes from the small windows on the bridge providing the last sunlight the prisoners would see for many years. The tall Rialto Bridge in the heart of the business district is arched to allow commerce and gondolas to pass beneath it. The island of Murano, known for its intricate blown glass, is a must stop for tourists. It certainly is easy to spend all your Euros in the bewitching city of Venice.

Back onboard the The Grand Princess, we waved goodbye to Venice and sailed on to Croatia.

News

One local playwright and his company — The Plainview Project — seem to be headed to the big leagues.

Claude Solnik of Plainview, the Plainview Project’s writer, is married with two children. While he has a master’s degree in dramatic writing from New York University, after graduating he ended up going into journalism, which currently remains his day job. But in his free time he indulged in his true passion, hammering out numerous play scripts until the day they he realized that he needed to stop sitting on these works he was creating and put them in the hands of actors that could give them life.

Even as they hoped the parties would reach a last-minute settlement, commuters across Long Island were scrambling last week to devise alternate plans for getting to work if Long Island Rail Road’s 5,400 workers go on strike July 20. And they were vocal in their anger with the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The strike, it seems, has roused commuter ire over a wide range of LIRR issues, from timeliness to cleanliness to costs.

“I’ll have to figure out a new way home from work,” said Marco Allicastro, a 20-year-old Queens resident waiting for a train home at the Bethpage station after a day’s work at the local King Kullen. “Long Island doesn’t really have a lot of options in terms of transportation. Maybe I should get a new job.”


Calendar

Sonny And Perley

Saturday, July 26

Women Artists You Should Know

Thursday, July 31

Adult Summer Reading Club

Through Aug. 7



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com