Wednesday, August 30, 2006

County PD Fleet Keeps Getting Cooler

Well, yesterday, as I'm putting my pack back onto Engine 170, after another run, what do I see? A Westchester County PD car, responding through Hartsdale (Bronx River Parkway was closed) with a "Highway patrol" bar. You know, the kind that has two arms that raise in the air. If anybody catches good shots of this car with their camera, I'd love to post on It was very cool looking car, County PD is highway patrol and should have highway patrol bars. Definetly a great addition because of the limited visibility, high speeds, and layout of the parkways they patrol.

Secondly, next month the Westchester County PD will take delivery of their new $3.25 million helicopter, and have $1 million in accesories, such as a thermal imaging system, stokes winch, and bambi bucket, from what I understand. In todays day and age, the assistance that this helicopter can provide is definetly a worthwhile asset...look how much use LA and other areas get out of theirs during rescues, not to mention how valuable they can be during (and even to prevent) crimes and natural disasters. And our County P.O.'s should not be flying around with what they have now.

What else is new with the Westchester County PD fleet? Seem like every time I turn around nowadays, they have something new and exciting fleetwise. They went from having a pretty boring fleet a couple years back, with plain old striping with a standard MX7000 lightbar, to having a diverse fleet of brand new cars and trucks with a awesome new graphics packages, great reflective striping, and LED's up the ying yang. I've been waiting a long time to see them add high-performance cars, and now they even have Dodge Chargers in their fleet! Yet, their fleet seems to be elusive to cameras......never anywhere to be found when I want photos.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Boring Morning In Queens

This morning, after I got off E-170, after a great evening working with Captain Vicari and Frankie "Fireman" Lacalamita, I drove Kris down to the LaGuardia Marriott for a short business meeting she had there. During the hour or so, me and my camera decided to pass the time by hunting out anything plane, train, truck, or boat. The weather was very blah, and we didn't have much luck. But here are the results anyways.

I found a neat, seemingly forgotten about NYC park that sits right below the Laguardia arrival path directly before planes touchdown on the runway, adjacent to the Grand Central Parkway. It's called "Planeview Park", a very fitting name. Due to the weather and planes moving very fast, I found it difficult to shoot, but managed to get some shots anyways. It's fun to sit and watch, the planes come in close and there are several different vareties. I hope one day to find the JFK departure version of this park, and maybe when I do my friend the sun will be out.

Across the street from Planeview Park (which, by the way, is at 85th St. and 23rd Ave. in Astoria) is the LaGuardia bus depot. I was suprised how old the Queens MTA bus fleet was, compared to the relatively younger Manhattan fleet. It was also interesting to see all the different types of buses under the MTA banner that they inherited from the private lines they took over.

While tooling around trying to see what else I could find, including the NYC*DOT yard with Mack Granites that apparently has no entrance, I found a really coo sanitation operations center (College Point Yard) that had all kinds of Sanitation trucks, including my favorite, the Orange Sander/Plows. It also had heavy shops for repair. I also saw a truck with a dual packer, I wonder what those are for? Also, I found it cool that Mack makes the chasis for the Sanitation packer trucks, I never knew that. It's actually a custom built for NYC (although there are some Peterbuilts, from what I understand)

And the only other thing I spotted during this short jaunt was an NYPD Queens North Command Post

Well, boring morning and dreary day, and off to work E-170 tonight. Only a couple more days before another awesome trip to LA begins, this time with Kris by my side, I am SO excited!!

Monday, August 28, 2006

ASVAC's Building Comes Crashing Down

Well, in a couple of swoops of an excavators claw, Ardsley-Secor VAC's building came crashing down today. The new building is scheduled to arrive on September 27th, and will be lifted onto the foundation on September 28th. The current building, which used to be a bank in Mount Vernon before it was trucked to Ardsley for it's current use. The new building will be a prefabricated building (also trucked into Ardsley!) with a meeting room, storage and decontamination rooms, and 1 ambulance bay. I'm not a member of Ardsley VAC nor have I ever been, but my grandfather helped start ASVAC in the 60's, and hellped arrange for their current building. Before the building that is being demolished now, when ASVAC first started, the ambulance was stationed at my grandparents house for a short period. So that is my connection. Here are some photos, as well as a couple extras from around the Village of Ardsley thrown in.

ASVAC's dilipadated, obsolete, and unsafe building as it stood earlier this month.

And ASVAC building as it looked today @ 10AM:

This is ASVAC's sole ambulance 50-B-1, or locally as 914. A 2001 Ford E-450/Lifeline Superliner, it is currently being housed in a temporary cage in a corner of the ASVAC property. When construction blocks the cage during the work day, it will be stored at the temporary firehouse. ASVAC is BLS, and their ALS is provided by Greenburgh PD*EMS Car 75 which responds from Dobbs Ferry Hospital.

Here, asbestos removal and demo prep work continue on Ardsley's old firehouse, and it is scheduled to come down within the next two weeks. Lots of memories, and a sad loss. Used to be the village hall, court and police station, where my father was an officer.

And finally, here is Ardsley Temporary firehouse. Work is complete, and this is the finished product. Functionally, in my opinion, it's nicer then the old firehouse and the location is very cool. It used to be the old Westchester Garage. It's on Saw Mill River Road/ Route 9A just north of Ashford Ave. The trucks fit better in here then the old firehouse above. They're expected to be here for 2 years at the most. I am planning on following this whole process photographically, so stay tuned. Congrats to both agencies, both projects have been long fought for!

Stamford's New Police Car Scheme

While in Stamford today, I captured some photos of Stamford PD's new patrol car scheme. Although SFRD49 sent in a spy shot a few months back, I'd never seen one up close and personal. Definetly an improvement, and now looks like a real city police car. And the lighting package is definetly more noticeable.

Here's the old:

And here's the new:

Black and white's sure becoming popular, and I am quite the fan.

Photos taken by me, x635, on Monday August 28th 2006 at 13:30hrs

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Greenville's Table Patch & The Greenburgh Retail Climate

One of my favorite parts of fire stations is the dining table. Over the years, I've seen many neat concepts for this very important piece of furniture. Recently, I got to see Greenville's. My favorite part of their table was how they had a glass overlay with patches underneath. One of the patches in the table is a concept patch, and is one of my favorite patches. I like the colors, the way it is designed, and how it represents the house very well.

So, I got some very shocking news yesterday. My local Barnes and Noble, the one on Central Ave. in Hartsdale, is closing. I always liked this Barnes and Noble, because it always had a good selection of books and a very friendly staff. Apparently, the landlord and B&N couldn't work out a deal to renew the lease. So the B&N I could walk to is closing. Very disapointing. And I hear Central Square Cafe, at the corner of Central Ave. and Ardsley Road, is in the process of being bought out, and the property will be turned into a Walgreens. So, basically, all you are going to have on Central Ave. in the future is banks, pharmacies, cell phone stores, and furniture showrooms. What do we need down to earth causal resturants for? They knocked down Mount Parnesse Diner after Commerce Bank offered them $3 mil from what I hear for the property. Oh wait, but they are opening the Mexican Sushi resturant and another Japanese resturnant. And where KB Toys used to be on North Central, where we had hoped for a casual dining chain....will be a T-Mobile Cell Phone store. Ugh. BUT...we are getting a Panera Bread-supposedly- when Nobody Beats The Wiz used to be. And we're getting a Christmas Tree Shops at the old Crazy Eddies/Bed Bath and Beyond site which is scheduled to open in October, that should be neat. Last, but not least, the town of Greenburgh has taken another property off the tax rolls and will be using it as the temporary libary site while they build their over $20 million dollar new libray on Route 119......yes, a $20 million new libary in the internet age, complete with a taxpayer supported "cafe". The former Franks Nursery and Crafts on Dobbs Ferry Road will be leased by the town and part of the agreement calls for no taxes to be paid by the property owner on this large and valuable piece of land. Rumor is that Greenburgh PD, EMS and Courts will move in to the former Franks site after the library moves out, which I do agree is a neat idea with the exception of a loss of ANOTHER tax generating property. I thought this would have been an awesome site for a nice supermarket or "Home Depot Express" or something to generate more property and sales tax revenue........but you'll never see that nowadays with all the NIMBY's in this town. Seems like if you want to build a business in Greenburgh, you get your balls broken.......yet if you want to build a church or other tax exempt property you are welcomed with open arms. And last but not least, Ardsley Athletic Club, my former gym, is going out of business under a very complex set of circumstances, including the new owner trying to get the fire chief and codes officials to shut him down due to "safety concerns". Now I wonder why the former owner recently gloated about refusing a buyout offer from New York Sports Club. Ha, poor business practices come back to bite you.

Friday, August 25, 2006

My First Video

After talking with Truck4 last night about the whole internet video craze, I decided to take an oppurtunity today to use the video feature on my tactical camera for the first time.

It was a shot of oppurtunity, and I admit it is quite a boring clip, it marks my entry into the online video world. It's of one of my local fire engines, Greenville Engine 150, backing into quarters after a run.

Now that I'm interested in shooting video after thinking of all the great video oppurtunities I have missed in the past, I may shoot more in the future. Thanks for adding yet another thing to my list, Mike, lol! It's funny how I could have caught a great clip of them responding today, but I wasn't thinking like a good videographer at that point.

Warning: Discretion is advised. Video contains content of an extremly buffy nature, and is very boring.

Filmed 8-25-06 at about 1200hrs by x635

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Weekly Train Ride & Chipotle Run

Today was a very good day. I got to work day tour Engine 170 with Bill Perritt and Capt. Kelley, and had a great time. After work, I had to run an errand which I interegrated into one of my weekly rituals.

As some of you may know, once a week I try and travel into the the city, for two main reasons. (Usually when Kristen's out of town or has a late night, and I have some free time. )

1, to ride a Metro-North train. (which, was, as usual for the Hartsdale 5:39 to GCT, an M-3)

2, to eat at my favorite burrito joint, Chiptole. Chipotle is the BEST burrito ever, and I am addicted. I have the carnitas burrito with black beans, rice, guacomole, cheese, and sour cream. All their ingredients are super fresh, and they custom make it right in front of you, with you choosing the ingredients. I go to the Chiptole on E. 44th street by Lexington Ave. Then I like to stop at the magazine store and see if they had the latest edition of Trains Magazine, but no such luck.

So, on this evenings train ride, I got to take a bonus trip. Kristen was flying to San Francisco this AM on business, and her car service never showed up (around 0430AM). So she drove herself to the airport. She's coming back on Friday, and I didn't want her to have to schlep herself home in annoying Friday traffic, I'd rather she take the car service provided by her employer and relax after being away on busy business. So, I made the best of this oppurtunity, and finally got to ride a LIRR M-7. I took the 19:04hrs train from Penn Station to Jamaica, where I transferred over to the Airtrain to JFK...a real easy thing to do. The Airtrain was awesome, I've taken it before but previously only inter-airport. It's wierd how it's remote controlled. One of the cool aspects of it iss the great views of the terminals and planes......I got to see real live jetBlue planes which made my evening. As far as the LIRR M-7 is concerned, it is a little different in several ways then the Metro North M-7's. They are also a lot more beat up and dirtier then Metro North's, and seemingly more packed. I plan to ride and photograph LIRR more in the future, they had some neat stuff I saw along the way to Jamaica.

Then, it was to my mothers house to move some furniture and re-setup her computer, which was basically uneventful except for me putting a couple holes in the wall with the furniture while moving it. I am cursed moving furniture at her house....I always damage something. So I got to spackle tonight as well.

And to top the evening off, I finally ordered a new computer....with all the work I'm doing now, my trusty 2001 Dell Dimension 8200 just isn't cutting it anymore, as much as I love it. On order is a Dell XPS 400 3.0GHZ Pentium Dual Core 2GB RAM and 2 320GB hard drives. As for the monitor, I ordered the Dell Digital Ultrasharp 19", with the intent of adding a second Ultrasharp 19" when funds allow. Also got the TV tuner card so I can watch TV on one screen while working on the other. I am currently using a 19" CRT monitor. It will be so nice to have the deskspace back! Delivery is scheduled for the first week of September. I am SO excited! It was a little more then I wanted to spend, but it was worth it and will serve my needs perfectly well into the future. Also have a Dell Inspiron laptop which I'm very happy with.

All in all, a very good day and evening, despite not feeling so great healthwise and Kristen is gone on business :-( . And tommorow is one week 'till we takeoff for L.A., I am PSYCHED for that! Plus to fly American Airlines, as I've never flown them before....also cool I will be flying in a Boeing 762 and renting a Jeep Wrangler when we get mentioned going to see Jay Leno and eating at Spago's...........and best part is Kristen will be with me. That's it for this entry, more blogging coming soon...hope you're enjoying......feel free to drop me a line

BTW, All photos seen in this entry were taken tonight by me.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Fall Is Travel Season For x635!

Well, as it traditionally is, Fall is travel season for me.

My upcoming trips include:
  • Los Angeles- A trip to LA with my fiance Kristen, at the end of August, to include a trip to Newport Beach, attending The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, and dinner at Spago's. This trip was an '05 Christmas gift from Kris, and is for pleasure, and not buff, err, enthusiast business like it usually is (but hopefully will get some photos along the way). (American Airlines)
  • Orlando- A trip to Orlando, FL with Kristen mid-September. I've never been to Orlando before. Kristen went to college there, and we are going to visit her awesome friends there. (jetBlue)
  • San Francisco & Los Angeles- A buff trip to San Francisco, then to LA for a week in early October (jetBlue) . While in LA, I will be staying, hanging out, and buffing with my good friend Orlando, and I hope to top last years trip which I know we will. I also am possibly riding along with LA City FD's Battalion 14, and of course, eating at In 'n' Out. I've never been to San Francisco or NoCal before.(jetBlue)
  • Oregon- Will be going to Oregon mid-October for a week with Kristen, and exploring the state. I've never been to Oregon before. (American Airlines)
  • Boston/Worcester- A New England buff trip scheduled for mid-October
  • London- Sometime in the Winter, to visit my sister who is attending (on a full scholarship) Oxford University for graduate school. And guess what? I've never been to Europe or even another country before!

As usual, my camera will be tagging along, and you will be able to find photos of my trips on And stay tuned to this blog for entries about the trip, and possibly some entries during the trip. I am so looking foward to the above adventures! Special thanks to Kristen and all the miles she accrues for business on American Airlines (the only reason I'm flying them!- jetblue rules!)

So, I've decided to start a blog

Well, after mulling it over and more specifically, putting it off, for a year now, I've decided to jump into the blogging world and start a blog, that I will try and update several times a week.

Previously, I've used this blog to detail some of my travels, of which you can read about somewhere on this blog. Now, not only will I use it to detail my travels, but to give a general insight into my life and going ons, and maybe post some photos as I get them along the way. I regret that I didn't begin this blog when I started probie school last year, as this has been an awesome year to write about. But, I guess starting now is better then never starting at all.

Anyways, stay tuned....