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Time Travel

05th August 2022

Time Travel
Photos that jog my memory

As long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in planes. I recall being excited about going to the airport to pick up relatives when they flew to New York to visit us. We’d usually arrive at the airport a few minutes early so we would run up to the airport’s rooftop viewing area to watch the planes takeoff and land. It was thrilling to see the flying machines.
Those who know me are also aware that I’ve been a longtime camera buff. Here’s an early photo of an aircraft that I snapped way back in the 1960s.
Aircraft such as this Boeing 707 Astrojet helped usher in the jet age. This plane was taxiing at Idewild Airport which is now called John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK). JFK is one of three major airports serving the New York City area, other two being Newark (EWR, about 25 miles away in New Jersey) and LaGuardia (LGA, about 15 miles from JFK).

I grew up in New Rochelle, a suburban city not far from New York City. Some of the older readers may remember the George M Cohan song 45 Minutes From Broadway which was a reference to New Rochelle. Others may remember this town as the home of television character Dick Van Dyke. New Rochelle is only a few miles from the New York City border.

In 2007 I traveled back to New Rochelle to attend my 40th high school reunion.

For me, this was truly time travel. I couldn’t help but feel that I was turning the clock back 40 years to the year 1967. I was anxious to renew friendships with former high school classmates with whom I graduated from New Rochelle High School.

I hadn’t flown into LaGuardia Airport for a few years and was surprised by my flight’s arrival approach. The pilot navigated our plane over some landmarks that were very familiar to me from my youth. With my camera joined to myself I was able to capture some of these landmarks.

Follow along and I’ll take you on this short time travel photo tour in the aircraft that took me over my youthful romping area.

Photo Tour of New York area

The aircraft chart for the New York City area shows the path of our arrival at LaGuardia Airport. Our plane traveled on a long downwind leg northeastward, past LaGuardia and over Long Island Sound about 16 miles. The base leg was short and the extended final leg brought us directly to Runway 22. The numbers on the chart roughly correspond to the photos below.

Excuse the quality of these following photos taken on an overcast day.


This mini tour begins as the 737 flies past LaGuardia Airport as we begin a long extended downwind leg. You can see that Runway 22 extends into Flushing Bay.

We’ll be flying northeast over Long Island Sound.


This photo shows City Island, a picturesque and vibrant neighborhood located in the eastern Bronx.

The restaurants in City Island are noted for fresh and tasty seafood.


Here we are passing by New Rochelle, my childhood home.

We’re now flying over Long Island Sound, an extension of the Atlantic Ocean.

The island to the left was known as Fort Slocum. It used to be an army base.

In the background, you can see another body of water. This is the Hudson River and is about 7 miles from the New Rochelle shoreline.


On the aircraft chart, this location is referred to as “amusement park”.

Its name is Playland. As a youth, we spent many evenings there.

Enlarge the photo and you’ll see the ferris wheel, roller coaster and mini-railroad (my favorite).


Playland is also known as Rye Beach.

With its large white sand beach and adjacent boating area, it is a popular recreation area.

It is located just to the west of the Connecticut state line.


Here’s a view of City Island again as we continue the approach southwestward toward LaGuardia.

It is a small island.

In my younger days, I dined often at the seafood restaurants that line the narrow streets.


New York City is composed of five boroughs: Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens.

This is the Throggs Neck Bridge which connects the two boroughs of the Bronx and Queens.


The Whitestone Bridge also connects the Bronx with Queens.

LaGuardia Airport is situated on the northeastern shore of Queens along Flushing Bay. The Whitestone Bridge is very near the entrance to LaGuardia.


After landing at LaGuardia, we’re greeted by a familiar sign.

The Reunion and Time Travel

Here is another place that I used to hang around when I was younger. You can see its location in Photo # 3.

From my childhood home, I would walk four blocks to Hudson Park where we would go to the beach.

This is New Rochelle High School.

With its castle-like towers, it is one of the prettiest high schools in the U.S.

I graduated in 1967 and the following year NRHS suffered from the nation’s biggest fire. For the next few years, students attended classes in portable classrooms.

The high school has since been rebuilt to pre-fire condition and as you can see it is very attractive.

This is another photo of New Rochelle High School.

The school entrance is flanked by two lakes making the campus magnificent.

Thanks to classmate Stu Soloway for this photo.

My visit to New Rochelle lasted only two days.

Upon departing New York, I snapped this photos of a squadron of F/A-18s.

These military aircraft were positioned on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport, most likely to provide for the security of the New York’s air space.

Final Thoughts

My time travel turned out to be very enjoyable.

I reconnected with most everyone that I expected; there were only a few faces from the past that I would have liked to have seen. But the reunion gathering was great. And so was the time afterwards when I was able to spend more time with so many friends.

To the left are some of the happy classmates that attended our 40th high school reunion.

With the advent of email – something that wasn’t available to us in 1967 – I am now staying in contact with many of these friends.

What I have learned is this: time travel really does exist.

Written by: Arnie Lee

NOTE: This is a reprint and was originally written in 2005.
I remember very clearly when Dad would pull out his large twin lens reflex camera, usually around a holiday, birthday or family event. He would lower his head and look into the lens hood while his hand would reach down to grasp the knurled knob on the camera’s side. I would see the bellows move back and forth as he zeroed in on his focus. Then he’d snap and the shot would be done. We’d wait weeks, sometimes months, to see the results. After all, a full roll of film had room for 12 negatives!
When the film was finally developed, we were thrilled to see the results. Here are two photos, one from the 40’s and another from the 50s, but they both share the same “feel” – the subjects are dressed up for a special occasion, some of them are posed comfortably and others more stiffly, but always in full black and white.

Aunt Emma, Aunt Millie and Mom circa 1940

I took this family picture as a youth circa 1957
In the 50’s, color photos were reserved only for special occasions – owing to the higher expense. While Dad sometimes shot color, the cost of the film and print processing was too extravagant for normal use. But for those special times when he did use color, he would send the exposed film to one of the discount processing services to save money. The downside: developing by mail took an additional week to complete.
I cut my teeth on Dad’s older twin lens reflex (TLR) and a Polaroid Swinger. Using the twin lens reflex was an exercise in patience. With only twelve exposures to a roll of 120 film, you made sure that you had a good shot before you released the shutter. With the Swinger, it was a blast to see instant photography. With today’s digital we’ve come full circle; we have another form of instant photography again.
As a youngster with sparse earnings, I made do with Dad’s second TLR and the Swinger that served as my equipment. I came into luck when Uncle Tom, who was in the Air Force at the time, agreed to buy a camera for me at a huge discount on the Air Force Base PX. This became a lesson in patience: I’d wait a whole year until he returned from service overseas to get my hands on a state of the art Canonflex RM SLR camera.
In the mean time, I learned to develop film and make my own prints. A small corner in the basement became my darkroom. I covered the windows to keep out the light, fashioned a processing area from discarded planks of wood and used Mom’s washroom sink to provide water for the chemicals. I spent many nights mixing developer, stop bath and fixer; processing film and making black and white prints. I started with a basic Testrite enlarger and later graduated to a fancy Durst 606 enlarger with a built-in color filter drawer. I was so immersed into this hobby that soon I learned to make my own color prints. It would take take three hours of preparation to make the first color “test” print and perhaps six hours to get an acceptable “final” color print. I can hardly believe that I had so much patience back then.
To further my interest, something wonderful happened. Mom arranged for me to get a part time job with John Margotta, her past schoolmate who was now a professional photographer. For three years, after school I would head to John’s studio to learn the photography business. In the studio I was his assistant. I would hold lights and set up equipment for weddings, bar mitzvahs, anniversaries, birthdays, modeling shoots, funerals (yes, funerals) and more. I learned about lighting techniques, portrait techniques, posing techniques, action techniques, view camera technqiues and wedding cake cutting techniques too. And of course John taught me many darkroom techniques. I used most of my earnings to purchase more equipment.
My photographic education continued. During high school I proudly served on the yearbook staff as one of the three student photographers with access to sporting and entertainment events. In the following examples, you’ll see that we continued taking black and white photos since the cost of color was prohibitive at the time.

The friendly cheerleading squad of
New Rochelle High School circa 1967

Motown’s Four Tops performing
at New Rochelle High School circa 1966
During my college years, I completed my formal photo training by working at two different high end processing labs servicing the Madison Ave advertising agencies. In the 60’s, a process called “dye transfer” was used to make photographic reproductions for the high quality magazines like Vogue and Harper. Here is where I learned processing from the ground up: making color separations from original transparencies for printing using cyan, magenta and yellow dyes. Despite commuting between my home in New Rochelle and the photo labs in New York City and the long working hours, I thoroughly enjoyed the job as I continued to learn different aspects of photography.
At college I taught at the photography club and introduced my girlfriend to darkroom techniques. By the way, Kris is now my wife and hates the darkroom. I was a staff photographer for several university organizations and earned extra cash by photographing fraternity and sorority events.
Following college, Kris and I were married and shortly thereafter, photography took a backseat to raising a family, putting bread on the table and becoming involved in the software industry. Although I took and accumulated thousands of photos during this period, the bulk of these were of family faces and of the scenic vacation variety.
Skip forward 30 years to the mid-1990s. My company Abacus, was involved with flight simulation software and I’m taking more and more aviation related photos. I now find myself dabbling in the new world of digital photography. The stars are finally aligned and I’m ready to marry two of my long time interests: photography and aviation. With digital, the equipment and processing techniques are radically different from conventional film photography.
Several years ago, I received a surprise email from John Margotta, my photography mentor from the 1960s. I was happy to hear that at an age of 80+, he’s still immersed in photography. He’s produced some artistic renditions of still life using his “Photoshop-equipped darkroom”. His approach to photography is a lesson that hi-tech isn’t reserved only for the young.
Lucikly, I’m finding that most of the basics that I started learning 50+ years ago are still relevant. After all of these years, I remain very excited and passionate about my love of photography.

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about a friendly face from the past. We knew her as Aunt Rita – an artist, a wife, a mother, a world traveler, an adventurer and a lovely woman.

Aunt Rita and her family lived on a Chinese junk, The Amoy which was moored in the harbor of New Rochelle (NY), a few blocks from where we lived.

Since my article appeared, I’ve had several email exchanges with Aunt Rita’s family which in turn made me go hunting for this classic painting that she gifted to my mother years ago.

I remember her painting vividly since it decorated our childhood home for many years. And when my folks moved to their new home, the painting was part of their spare bedroom.

Aunt Rita, Mom, my sisters and me

These photos are a pleasant way to enjoy the people and events from days gone by. Photos such as these should be a constant reminder to share your memories with others. Yes, photos matter.
Written by Arnie Lee


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