‘Zoom’-ing back in time with two historic taverns
by Ed Wendell
Sep 09, 2020 | 362 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A Zoom call with Mary Tsaltas Ottomanelli and Allie Delyanis (left) both of the Fraunces Tavern Museum, and Loycent Gorden, owner of our legendary Neir’s Tavern and yours truly (right).
A Zoom call with Mary Tsaltas Ottomanelli and Allie Delyanis (left) both of the Fraunces Tavern Museum, and Loycent Gorden, owner of our legendary Neir’s Tavern and yours truly (right).
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If I could go back in time, I’d take every penny I had and invest in Zoom. Has any business, with the exception of liquor stores, done better during this pandemic?

Everything from business meetings to birthday parties to school classes and press conferences are being held online, on Zoom or other similar platforms.

The Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society is joining the Zoom world by starting online presentations twice a month, the first and third Tuesdays of every month at 8 p.m. Email us at woodhavenhistory@gmail.com if you’d like to receive invites.

Over the past decade, I figure that I’ve given well over 100 presentations on Woodhaven’s past, displaying thousands of pictures and articles. And I have to be honest, I loved giving every one of them

It’s important to know the subject you’re giving a presentation on, but when you absolutely love the topic you are discussing, it’s a bonus.

There’s a lot of pressure involved in giving a historical presentation to Woodhaven residents because you’re giving a presentation to subject matter experts. If you slip up and make a mistake, they will let you know about it.

And that’s why it’s so important to listen to each and every comment, because sometimes a resident will mention something that leads to an entirely different line of discovery.

I’ve found that it’s hard to get that kind of rapport going with a Zoom audience, but maybe over time we’ll get better at it. One real positive piece of feedback I received was that everyone got a much better look at the pictures on their home computers than they did in person.

One major drawback to the Zoom meetings is that many of our seniors, many of those who have been regulars at our meetings for years, either do not feel comfortable on Zoom or do not have the equipment or connections.

We’ve had several conversations about how to resolve this and reach our seniors, and if anyone has any ideas, we’re all ears.

I recently had a really nice chat via Zoom with Mary Tsaltas Ottomanelli and Allie Delyanis, both of the Fraunces Tavern Museum, and Loycent Gorden, owner of our legendary Neir’s Tavern.

According to the museum website, Fraunces Tavern at “54 Pearl Street has been a private residence, hotel, and one of the most important taverns of the Revolutionary War.” And it just so happens that a single train ride connects these two famous historic taverns, the J Train.

It was an interesting discussion, which will be released online as a podcast. So while you won’t see our faces, you’ll hear our voices like a radio interview.

I’ve done several podcasts and phone interviews, but I have to say it’s much better when you can actually see the people you are speaking to.

At some point, they’ll be organizing a trip for residents to visit both taverns on the same day. Again, get on our mailing list if you’d like to be involved.

As for public meetings, I don’t see us having any for quite some time. So we’ll make do in whatever way we can, using the tools available to us.

But as nice as it is on Zoom, as nice as it is that we can have people who live far away attend our meetings, I really do miss the personal interaction. I miss seeing everyone.

It’s been a terrible year and I think we’re all ready to turn the calendar. New Year’s Eve is 115 days away as of this writing. I guess the question is, will we be celebrating it with friends and families in our homes or at bars and taverns or in the streets of Times Square?

Or will we be celebrating that on Zoom as well?
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