Long Island, 15&16
Today we goofed off at home and helped mom take down the Christmas decorations. I bummed around the neighborhood and snapped pictures of our usual haunts.
Our first stop?
Villa Monte, Old Bethpage, NY. 1:17 PM.
Growing up, dad always used to drive a mile to The Gallery in Plainview to get pizza. The only pizza at the stores by us was pizza from The Trio bar. We'd only get it from the Trio in a dire emergency. Trio became the Old Bethpage Inn.
Over the years, a small pizza place opened in the stores right by us. As this small place grew, The Gallery changed into La Piazza and kept raising prices.
Only after many years did it dawn on me that we can walk to the stores by us in about a minute and a half, instead of driving a mile to La Piazza.
Every time I visit, the once-small pizzeria next to us gets better and better and better.
As of September 2009, Villa Monte moved two doors down and is even bigger than ever.
Better than bigger, the pizza is even better and more varied. It's finally dawned on me that the best pizzeria in the world is Villa Monte, right across the street. I am so moving back into mom's basement!
Villa Monte is a family-run operation. The owners are working there every day (closed Sunday of course), and if you ask, they are from Napoli, Italy. They make pizza, they don't have a chain or a website - just fantastic pizza.
You can tell they love what they do. When I take pictures in a chain like Baja Fresh, they throw me out. After I took a few pictures in Monte, Tony said "hey, why did you stop!"
It doesn't get any better than this. This is what you see when you approach the counter (that's Tony on the right):
The Front Counter at Villa Monte, Old Bethpage, NY, 12:43 PM.
Walk around the counter to the left, and you'll see a little more:
The Counter at Villa Monte, Old Bethpage, NY, 12:43 PM.
There must be a million kinds of pizza there, all available as slices.
I don't think it's a secret any more. People are lined up out the door even at 1 PM for slices. Not to worry, there is no waiting — you should see Tony and his people fling out the orders!
Villa Monte, Old Bethpage, NY, 1:03 PM.
And this is why we come. You can't get this from pizza chains.
Pizza by the slice, Villa Monte, Old Bethpage, NY, 12:49 PM.
In case you haven't guessed, I love pizza. It's half the reason I visit New York!
Doctors Dave and Steve at Lunch, 12:49 PM.
My seat is on your right. What look like picture frames are actually wall cut-outs into to the next room.
After lunch, we walked by the barbershop:
Page Barber Shop, Old Bethpage, Long Island, 1:20 PM.
This is where I got my first haircut. They took our picture and hung it on the wall-of-fame. For some reason, all the photos were gone when we walked over. George, who has been there forever, says that the other owner had them, but he passed away. Everyone in Old Bethpage has their first-haircut baby photos on that wall.
Thank goodness there are still real barbershops around where you can get a real haircut instead of a poofy styling.
The Stores, Old Bethpage, Long Island, 1:30 PM.
To the left is what used to be the A&P, from which all our food came as babies. A&P went away and became WEO Auto Parts, from which I got parts in the early 1980s when restoring my 4-speed, 455 CID, 1970 GTO.
I don't know what's going in there right now.
Sunset over Haypath Road, Old Bethpage, Long Island, 4:31 PM.
When I got my first fancy camera as a kid in 1973, this is the view I used to photograph every night. I need to look at my Kodachromes and see if the poles used to be that crooked.
Old Bethpage Post Office, 4:38 PM.
This is our Post Office. I walked over to mail myself something.
At 5:30 PM, my friend Brett from high school picked me up and we met the gang at Majors.
Majors Steak House, Woodbury, Long Island, 5:47 PM.
That's Brett in the doorway.
Snapped with a hand-held 2009 Canon S90, Program Auto chose f/2 at 1/30, Auto ISO chose ISO 640, lens at 6mm (28mm equivalent), A3 AWB, no exposure compensation.
Mike and Larry at Majors Steak House, Woodbury, Long Island, 6:32 PM.
I've known Mike and Larry since high school.
Snapped with a hand-held 2009 Canon S90, Program Auto chose f/2 at 1/20, Auto ISO chose ISO 1,250, lens at 6mm (28mm equivalent), A3 AWB, no exposure compensation.
Mike, Brett and Larry after Dinner, 7:55 PM.
For this shot, I popped up the flash, and ka-pow, it did a decent job of balancing with the neon.
Snapped with a hand-held 2009 Canon S90, Program Auto chose f/2 at 1/60, Auto ISO chose ISO 500, lens at 6mm (28mm equivalent), A3 AWB,-2/3 exposure compensation, flash on.
Today I packed and headed back to usually sunny California. In fact, the weather was sunny and beautiful the whole week in New York, and rained continuously in California the next week as I returned and created these pages.
Old Bethpage Post Office, 12:30 PM.
Chicken Focaccia at Villa Monte, Old Bethpage, NY. 12:33 PM.
Of course we went back over to Villa Monte for more pizza. I had Chicken Focaccia by the slice, which is absolutely incredible. I also had a slice of Vodka Penne Pizza. Hey, I get excited by this stuff.
Canon S90 in macro mode.
Looking down the Pizza Counter, Villa Monte, 12:33 PM.
I have no idea what they call this, but it all looks great.
Canon S90 in macro mode.
My Tree, Long Island, 1:31 PM.
Yes! My tree has buds just waiting to pop for springtime. This tree was planted when I was born. Note the focus on the buds, blurring the background even at f/4. I could have put the S90 in A mode and forced f/2, but why?
Snapped with a hand-held 2009 Canon S90, Program Auto chose f/4 at 1/200, lens at 6mm (28mm equivalent), A3 AWB,-2/3 exposure compensation, macro mode.
Fan, International Aero Engines V2500 Jet Engine, 3:08 PM.
I got a little too curious, and my Canon S90 got sucked in, caused one heck of a fire and near-explosion, and that was it for the S90.
At least my SanDisk 8GB Extreme III SD card survived.
Snapped with a hand-held 2009 Canon S90, Program Auto chose f/2 at 1/2 second, I forced ISO to ISO 80 to get the slow shutter speed to blur the blades, lens at 6mm (28mm equivalent), A3 AWB,-2/3 exposure compensation.
That's it! No more camera!