Page 1

All Along the Mohawk

August 2011

Rediscovering the Hudson’s Largest Tributary

Men vs. Women

Drivers How Different are They Behind the Wheel? 12

The Great

Rip-Off 4 PLUS

Red-Light Cameras: Safety or Cash Cow? 16 10-4! Once More, Bustin’ Dangerous Drivers 28

contents 16




Comments on New York’s 40 must-see sights, “Cash for Clunkers” and errant cyclists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2


Who’s better? Well, it depends… . . . . . 12



The new highway robbery: E-ZPass changes irk motorists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Safety? Revenue? Or both? We give you the whole picture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16


readers ask

How long do I need to halt at an intersection? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

The Mohawk, the Hudson’s largest tributary, is a working river full of characters, attractions and pleasant scenery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18


New “driving” word; accurate gas pumps; lasers to boost fuel economy? . . . . . . 6


Member News

Disney cruise line sale; Ocean City, Md., contest; AAA New York defensive driving course . . . . . . . . . . . 24


Highway Patrol, the ’50s cop show, was as much concerned with highway “crime” as it was with hoodlums. . . . 28

On the cover The tranquil Mohawk River flows from near Boonville to the Hudson River just north of Albany. Photo by Loreto Caceres.

Advertiser and member information: Turn to these pages for information from advertisers in this issue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Upcoming member events; theme park tickets; win an iPad 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Digital-Only Find these special bonus features in the August digital edition of Car & Travel: New York’s AAA Five Diamond and AAA Four Diamond Properties—Part 6 • Travel Desk Test Drives: 2012 Honda Civic • Car Doctor Q&A

AAA New York • Car & Travel • August 2011 Volume 17, No. 8 • Car & Travel (ISSN 1080-2290, USPS 383-120) is published 10 times a year by AAA New York, 1415 Kellum Place, Garden City, NY 11530-1690. Periodicals Mail postage paid at Garden City, NY, and additional mailing offices. Copyright © 2011 by AAA New York. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Car & Travel assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material and reserves the right to accept or reject any editorial or advertising material. Advertisements in this publication do not necessarily carry the endorsement of AAA New York. Subscription price of $4 is included in membership dues; nonmember subscription is $12/year, $20 foreign, or $2 a copy. Postmaster: Send address changes to: Car & Travel, 1415 Kellum Place, Garden City, NY 11530-1690.

C&T August 2011 1

letters 40 Must-see New York Sites…and Counting

The word “quirky” (Colorful, Charming, Quirky: 40 Drive-to Gems in New York State, June) immediately caught my interest. I really enjoyed reviewing your list. In New York, we’ve visited the world’s largest pancake griddle in Penn Yan, the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge (Walkway Over the Hudson) in Poughkeepsie and the world’s former largest garden gnome in Kerhonkson. We enjoyed the world’s largest kaleidoscope in Mt. Tremper (perfect for those staying at Kate’s Lazy Meadow Motel, #2 on your list). I also recommend Carmel’s tranquil Chuang Yen Monastery, home of the largest statue of Buddha in the Western Hemisphere. At 37 feet tall, the “Great Buddha Vairocana” sits serenely in lotus pose, commanding the silent respect of the 10,000 small statues of Buddha encircling him. Traci L. Suppa Hopewell Junction


I think that [the writer] was either joking or misinformed when he lauded “Cash for Clunkers,” which apparently succeeded only because it pulled forward sales that would have happened anyway. Car sales fell after the program ended. Joseph M. Severs Suffern

A government program that worked? I beg to differ. In fact, destroying I have taken my sons to Sam’s Point article called “Driving into History: 5 perfectly good, running, albeit inefIce Caves [formerly known as Ice Cave Perfect Places to Explore our Region’s ficient, cars is a moronic, wasteful Mountain] in the Catskills, and I’m sur- Past.” Lastly, the photo shown in the ar- disgrace. Even the program’s title was prised it did not get mentioned in your ticle for #19 is of The Inn at the Shaker lousy—just because a car gets poor list. Also, Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay. Mill Farm but was wrongly labeled mileage doesn’t automatically make it Robert Hoffmann as the Shaker Meadows B&B, which a “clunker.” I guess no one considered Mineola remains a perfectly pleasant place to that those who can’t afford a car could stay. The entry should have read The have their lives transformed with a I did a double take [when I saw your] Inn at the Shaker Mill Farm in Canaan. donation of one of these. #19 choice. That building [The Inn at Apologies to both inns. Joe Cesare the Shaker Mill Farm] is identical to Copiague the Snuff Mill in the New York BotaniConcerns on Cash for Clunkers cal Garden. The name “Snuff Mill” has There are too many old pieces of junk Rude Ride been changed to the “Stone Mill,” peron the road (Notebook, June) that Bicycle riders are a royal pain. They haps by Mayor Bloomberg who hates are not maintained because the cost weave in and out, never stop for signs everything about tobacco. Perhaps the of maintenance exceeds the vehicle’s or lights, wear dark clothes at night building at The Inn at the Shaker Mill value. If one of these vehicles causes an (train commuters who then bike are the Farm was used as a mill at one time? accident—this also relates to your article worst) and ride two abreast in the midMarty Malley (Issues, February) on the proposed dle of the car lane. And in New York Yonkers introduction (since abandoned) of a City they are a menace, often zooming “crash tax”—I would gladly welcome a out of one-way streets the wrong way. Editor’s notes—Traci L. Suppa writes a hefty fine placed on the operator, owner I bike. It’s great exercise, economical blog on interesting New York finds (see and so-called “inspection station.” If the and convenient, but the arrogance and As for police are at the accident scene, it would discourtesy I see in a majority of other Mr. Hoffmann’s letter, his two choices take only moments for the junk vehicle bikers is infuriating. Thank you for airare both excellent. Car & Travel did to be given a cursory inspection. ing the problem. feature Sagamore Hill, President TheoYou praised “Cash for Clunkers,” but Cintra Badenhausen dore Roosevelt’s home, in an Aug. 2010 now it’s time to go after the irresponRye Send letters! E-mail: Mail: Editor, Car & Travel, 1415 Kellum Place, Garden City, NY 11530-1690. Please include your name and e-mail and mailing addresses. Letters might be shortened or edited for space requirements. Letters printed here do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Car & Travel or AAA.

2 C&T August 2011


sible owners, drivers and inspection stations that keep these remaining clunkers on the road illegally. Thomas S. Wysocki Bay Shore




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issues “Rip-off” or “business as usual.” What you call the latest action by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority depends on whether you’re a driver or a revenue-hungry official. As we go to press, the Turnpike Authority plans to eliminate off-peak toll discounts to drivers with E-ZPasses issued by other states. Those with New Jersey-issued E-ZPasses will still receive the discount, which amounts to a whopping 34 percent. But what’s most outrageous is that this cash-grab by Garden State officials isn’t original. Our own New York-based MTA Bridges & Tunnels has been pulling a very similar scam since 2009. Unless your E-ZPass is issued by the New York E-ZPass Customer Service Center, you pay the “cash rate” at bridges and tunnels. At the Throgs Neck Bridge, as well as other major crossings, that means $6.50, not the $4.80 E-ZPass rate, an increase of 33 percent. For many years, E-ZPass has been touted as a convenience for drivers. Why fumble with cash and wait while agents make change when you can whiz through with an electronic system that automatically handles everything from charging your credit card to keeping records? And there are discounts for using your tag! Plus, your E-ZPass is good throughout a 14-state region stretching along the East Coast. But government schemers also have seen the system as a convenient way to rip off drivers. For instance, in 2005, a $1-per-month “account service fee” was instituted in New York. It was only under howls of protest—led by AAA—and action by the state legislature that the fee was repealed. Now these electronic pickpockets are declaring that all E-ZPasses are not created equal. As James Ferrara, president of MTA Bridge & Tunnels, said in a letter to AAA, “business rules regarding toll rates” can be set by each individual agency. Ferrara points out that there’s no residency restriction for a New York-issued E-ZPass. It’s the same for other local agencies. But if the MTA and New Jersey schemes catch on, getting all of the E-ZPass discounts would require signing up for, paying deposits on and installing on your vehicle at the appropriate time E-ZPass tags from a variety of agencies. So much for convenience. Clearly, these officials are well aware of the politics involved. Most New York tags are issued to New Yorkers. And the residency match-up is the same in New Jersey, as well as other states. So there’s little local outrage—or political pressure—when gouging drivers who possess out-of-state E-ZPasses. But as New Jersey is proving, the MTA’s scam is too rich for other agencies to ignore. There’s a “me-too” aspect at work here. Or as it’s known in law enforcement, a “copy-cat crime.” Help AAA fight this highway robbery. Go to and make your voice heard on this issue.

4 C&T August 2011


Readers Ask Road and Travel FAQs

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No, it is not true. There is no “two-second rule.” When the New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law requires a stop, there isn’t a time limit. The right-on-red law simply states that: “Traffic facing a steady red signal may cautiously enter the intersection to make a right turn after stopping.” With the proliferation of redlight cameras in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, drivers risk receiving tickets for failure to stop before making a right on red (See the article “Red-Light Cameras: Saving Lives, Costing Drivers?” in this issue). And remember, right on red is not permitted in New York City.

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Executive Editor

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Automotive Editor Graphic Designer Assistant Graphic Designer Production Coordinator Editor Emeritus

New-Word Watch

A new word we’ve recently discovered: Digi-necking v. State-of-the-art rubbernecking, i.e., slowing down while passing an accident to take pictures with a cell phone.

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C&T August 2011 7

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Sign up for the AAA Traveler at and receive updates and last-minute specials on hot travel deals and destinations. Disclaimer: Rates are per person, cruise-only, based on double occupancy, valid on select sailings, include service fees and are subject to availability. Airfare, government fees, fuel supplements and taxes are additional, unless otherwise noted. Shipboard credits are per cabin and applicable to select sailing dates only. Some restrictions may apply. Not responsible for errors or omissions in the content of this advertisement. Published prices are based on availability at time of press. *Bring us a legitimate cruise or vacation package quote for one of our preferred cruise or tour operators for any 2011 or 2012 vacation 3 nights or more. If we cannot match the price, we’ll give you $100 upon receipt of appropriate documentation showing completed travel. Not valid on internet or group bookings.

The Truth About Men & Women Drivers

photos by Dan King

photos by dan king:

Who’s better? Well, it depends…

Declare that one gender is better behind the wheel than the other, and prepare for an argument. But when the dust settles, it’s unlikely that either side can declare victory. We do know, however, that men and women drive differently, and those differences are significant. For some insights, we turned to Tom Vanderbilt, a frequent contributor to Car & Travel and author of Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do (And What It Says About Us).

and female drivers of varying experience levels attempt to park in a closed-off parking garage. Women took longer to park than men. Maybe that’s a risk thing—men took a chance by parking more quickly. But the men also parked more accurately, as measured by distance to neighboring cars.

What does that tell us? Of course, citing differences is easier than explaining them. Are there biological differences that give men an edge in handling a car, What’s the big difference between men and women on the or does it just reflect a wider societal road? Men take more risks. They tend to drive faster, closer to belief that men should be better at hanother vehicles, more often without seatbelts, more often under the dling a car? Some psychologists suggest influence of alcohol and accept shorter gaps when making turns that this belief itself affects the actual into oncoming traffic. In fact, the list goes on. performance, in a phenomenon called We even see differences in parking lots. One study had male “stereotype threat.” In an Australian C&T August 2011 13

gold spotlight Dutchess Auto Body & Service Center

Clip to Save Air Conditioning

32-36 East Main St., Pawling; 845/855-3115

“We do the right thing,” says John Ammaturo, summing up the business philosophy that’s been building Dutchess Auto Body & Service Center for 37 years. Set in the pretty Hudson Valley village of Pawling, this family operation, with its talented team of 12 men and women, covers the full automotive spectrum­—gasoline, mechanical work, autobody repair, inspections and AAA Roadside Assistance. Ammaturo started his career working alongside his father decades ago in the John Ammaturo an Bathgate area of the Bronx. Now, his son, 30-year-old John Jr., who grew up with d John Ammaturo, Jr. the shop and earned a business degree from Quinnipiac University, is assistant manager. Staying on top of the latest developments in the automotive industry is important to the Dutchess team. “Pawling and the surrounding community count on us,” says Ammaturo. “And we work hard to deliver.”

Expires 8/31/11

10% off (Most makes and models)

All air conditioning repairs and/or evaluation and recharging (includes parts and labor)

Approved Auto Repair Stations

Members-only coupon valid at all participating AAA-affiliated stations and for most cars and light trucks. Must be presented prior to service. May not be combined with other offers. 8-11


❚ Queens

Don-Glo Sunoco

Battery Special

Union Tpke Service Station 252-02 Union Tpke., Bellerose 718/343-7862

1280 Allerton Ave. 718/882-3432

Expires 8/31/11


Don-Glo of Manhattan II Service Ctr. 409 West 218th St. 212/567-1767


% off

New Battery, Parts and Labor Not valid for roadside installations.

Members-only coupon valid at all participating AAA-affiliated stations and for most cars and light trucks. Must be presented prior to service. May not be combined with other offers. 8-11

Oil Change

Expires 8/31/11




(Most makes & models) Drain oil, replace oil filter, refill (up to 5 qts.) with premium oil, lubricate chassis and doors. Special 11-point check of transmission, power steering, washer and differential fluids, engine coolant, tire wear and pressure, belts and hoses, battery, all lights. Members-only coupon valid at all participating AAA-affiliated stations and for most cars and light trucks. Must be presented prior to service. May not be combined with other offers. 8-11

Call 212/757-2000, 718/224-2222, 516/746-7141, 914/948-4600, 315/797-5000 or 607/432-1875 for station locations. 14 C&T August 2011

study, women in a driving simulator who were confronted with negative stereotypes about women drivers were twice as likely to collide with a jaywalking pedestrian than women drivers not given the stereotype.


Does this mean that men are better drivers? Yes—and no! In some cases, as in the parking study, male drivers show more technical proficiency. But it’s important to separate driving performance from driving behavior. It’s been shown that when young drivers take the in-car portion of the driving test in the UK, young males do statistically better than young females. But who goes on to be involved in more serious crashes? Those same “better” young male drivers. Men seem to take their slight edge in driving proficiency (as well as their greater tendency to declare themselves “above-average drivers”) and use it to get into more trouble. Where women, as some research has found, seem to report more crashes based on slips or lapses, men’s driving violations tend to be more deliberate and risky. When one insurance company looked at 12 months of claims data, they found that men were 3.4 times more likely to be cited for aggressive driving. What’s more, when men were involved in crashes, they were 27 percent more likely to be considered at fault.

Don-Glo of Manhattan II Service Ctr. 409 West 218th St. 212/567-1767

Family Auto Service 2157 Marion Place, Baldwin 516/868-8571 Complete Auto Repair 2720 Merrick Rd., Bellmore 516/781-0200

One Stop 86th 8202 7th Ave. 718/331-1207

T.N.T. Automotive Corp. 909 Second Ave., New Hyde Park 516/326-2396


54th Street Auto Center Inc. 415 West 54th Street 212/265-3120

Conlon Automotive 1150 No. Broadway North Massapequa 516/293-0654

Statewide Auto Repair 842 Nassau Rd., Uniondale 516/564-7770

AA Auto Tech Center 2285 Crompond Rd., Cortlandt Manor 914/737-5050


Cappello’s Auto Repair 184 Sough Highland Avenue, Ossining 914/762-0022

Klis Brothers Auto & Tire 3040 Jericho Tpke., East Northport 631/462-6677 CD Automotive 50 B Rocky Point Road, Rocky Point 631/744-2887 Double N Automotive 125 Mark Tree Road, Centereach 631/285-7636 Smithwest Service Center 789 Jericho Turnpike/Route 25, St. James 631/265-9885

Bay Street Auto Center 830 Bay St. 718/447-8917

S&S Repair Center, Inc. 30 Underhill Boulevard, Syosset 516/921-1300 S&S Automotive Center 325 S. Oyster Bay Rd., Plainview 516/933-7822

A-1 Car Care 47 Hawkins Ave., Ronkonkoma 631/588-6737

Colonial Service Station 2430 Richmond Rd. 718/351-1500

Jerry’s Auto & Towing 91 Powerhouse Rd., Roslyn Heights 516/621-6024

Westside Auto Tech & Tire 700 Long Island Ave., Deer Park 631/667-5268


Mid-Summer Saver Cooling System Service • Drain and refill cooling system with up to 2 gallons of coolant • Pressure-test cooling system and inspect for leaks • Check condition of cooling system components

Are these differences narrowing? Unfortunately, the fatal crash rate has been rising among women drivers, particularly young women drivers. Mostly, this is because more women are driving, and driving more, compared to past generations. Some evidence also indicates that, among women, speeding and other aggressive behaviors are on the rise.

Lube Oil and Filter

When all is said and done, how good a driver you are has little to with gender—and everything to do with focus and making good decisions.  A


• Up to 5 quarts of premium oil • 14-point system check

Tire Rotation & Brake Inspection • Rotate tires to manufacturer’s specifications • Inspect tire condition • Inspect front and rear brake system



Coupon good at AAR stations only.

Includes most cars and light trucks. Must present coupon prior to service. May not be combined with any other offer. Valid through August 2011.

A-1 Car Care North 639 New York Ave., Huntington 631/470-9542

❚ WESTCHESTER COUNTY C&C Auto Repair 90 Rockdale Ave. New Rochelle 914/235-4200

R.J.T. Motorist Services 101 Westmoreland Ave. White Plains 914/948-1100 Don-Glo IV Auto Service Center 179 McLean Ave., Yonkers 914/968-6779 Jefferson Valley Service Station 214 East Main St., Jefferson Valley 914/245-3333

❚ Rockland COUNTY

Dom’s Towing/The Garage 324 Route 59, Spring Valley 845/352-8237

❚ DUTCHESS COUNTY Dutchess Auto Body, Inc. 32-36 East Main St., Pawling 845/855-3115 Tire King of Wappingers, Inc. 206 Old Hopewell Road Wappingers Falls 845/298-8555 Jack’s Auto Service 4228 Route 22, Wassaic 845/373-9757 J & J Automotive, Inc 6787 Route 9, Rhinebeck 845/876-5300 Paul’s Motors 6 Fairview Ave., Poughkeepsie 845/471-4240

❚ ONEIDA COUNTY Mohawk Automotive Inc. 4952 Commercial Drive Yorkville 315/738-1707

Maugeri’s Auto Repair Inc. 510 Albany St., Utica 315/733-5033 Mercurio’s Automotive Inc. 450 French Rd., Utica 315/732-6098 Clinton Auto Service Rte. 12 B Meadow St. Clinton 315/853-5573 Panella’s Collision & Service 58 Henderson St. New York Mills 315/768-8100 Tallman’s Sales & Service 5176 Commercial Drive, Yorkville 315/736-2442 Tallman’s Sales & Services 1719 Genesee Street, Utica 315/732-6522

❚ HERKIMER COUNTY Skinner’s Sales, Inc. 700 Mohawk St., Herkimer 315/866-3530

❚ Orange COUNTY Dolson Auto & Tire 125 Dolson Avenue Middletown, NY 10940 845/343-6300

❚ PUTNAM COUNTY Chris’ Automotive Center 349 Rte. 52, Carmel 845/225-3054

❚ ULSTER COUNTY Erichsen’s Auto Service 170 Rte. 299, Highland 845/691-8837

Stations subject to change. Visit for the latest station listings. AAA approves and maintains a network of nearly 8,000 Approved Auto Repair facilities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 10 Canadian provinces.

Red-Light Cameras: Saving Lives, Costing Drivers? by John Owens

AAA supports the concept of red-light cameras because they save lives. A 2011 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that red-light cameras saved 159 lives between 2004 and 2008 in 14 of the largest U.S. cities. If all of America’s large cities had used cameras during that period, 815 deaths would have been prevented, says the IIHS. But as red-light cameras spread around the state and the country, questions of how the programs are implemented and what is the real priority become louder. Is each locality trying to maximize safety? Or income? Or what combination of the two? It’s no coincidence that the rise of redlight cameras has coincided with fiscal crises for governments at all levels. With millions of violations recorded each year at $35 or more, a red-light-camera

16 C&T August 2011

traffic light and camera image: Copyright © Media Bakery

As you read this, the City of Rochester is working toward installing redlight cameras at up to 50 intersections. Yonkers and Suffolk County, too, are on red-light-camera campaigns; and New York City, where cameras have been used since 1993, hopes to double the number of cameraequipped intersections to 300.

program can be a windfall for a cash-strapped locality. In Nassau County, 50 intersections have been wired over the past two years, and with $50 fines, 152 cameras were projected to gross $38.2 million this year. Officials may have been too optimistic about revenue (or too cynical about drivers’ habits), since the actual number might be closer to half that. But the county isn’t deterred, and if officials get their way, more cameras will be added, grossing another $23.3 million annually. Unlike traditional traffic tickets, these Robocop violations don’t add points to a driver’s license and aren’t reported to insurance companies. So for most motorists, there’s little incentive to fight; in Nassau County, the pay-up rate is 85 percent. The technological heavy-lifting typically is handled by outside companies. Among the leaders are Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions (ATS) and Redflex Traffic Systems, as well as Xerox-owned/Dallas-headquartered ACS. In Nassau, ATS installs and maintains the cameras and handles the lion’s share of the violation processing. In exchange, Nassau pays the company more than $8 million a year. This busy, densely populated Long Island county isn’t just a model of revenue generation, its red-light program also provides a state-of-the-art demonstration of the concept’s strengths and weaknesses. “It has saved lives,” says Christopher M. Mistron, traffic safety educator for Nassau’s Department of Public Works. “We’ve seen a reduction of 21 percent in roadway fatalities throughout the county since we started the program.” At some intersections with cameras, the number of crashes has decreased. At others, the number of crashes hasn’t gone down, but their severity has. “We have observed a reduction in serious crashes and crashes with injuries,” says Mistron, who estimates that the program prevents a couple of thousand injuries each year. Countywide, Nassau reports 41,000 crashes and 17,000 injuries annually. Initially, there was an increase in rear-end collisions at the camera-equipped intersections, he says, but drivers soon adjusted. And the severity of crashes has dropped not only at camera-monitored intersections but also in surrounding areas, something traffic engineers call “the halo effect.” “It has been set up to change behavior, and it does,” says Mistron. “People are driving more safely when approaching intersections.” “Nassau’s locations were picked based on the number of crashes, not necessarily the number of violations,” he adds, stressing that improving safety trumps raising revenue in the county’s thinking. Yet 38 percent of Nassau’s red-light revenue comes from right-on-red violations. That is, drivers who fail to come to a full stop before turning on a red light. Certainly this is an unsafe and illegal move, but when researchers count the lives saved, the vast majority is from preventing red-light running. Similarly, when county officials show videos of red-light violators, it’s a reel of deadly, red-light-running antics, not one of “rolling-stop right-

on-red” violators that are the county’s cash cows. “This is not a ‘gotcha’ program,” insists Mistron. “There must be the tell-tale signs of violation.” With Nassau’s cameras capturing both video and still images, there is little guesswork. Each presumed violation is reviewed three times—twice by ATS and once by members of the county’s eightperson validation team. Using stop-motion video, these county workers review each violation before the county issues a citation. County workers determine whether the driver really stopped, how long the light had been red, if the stop line is visible and other issues, including extenuating circumstances such as the presence of a funeral procession or a flagperson for a road-work crew. These kinds of questions weed out more than 50 percent of all images, says David Rich, assistant executive director of Nassau’s Traffic & Parking Violations Agency. The result is a violation notice that is very difficult to contest. Especially when each accused violator can go online and watch the video. Older camera systems such as New York City’s provide only a still image, which is compelling nonetheless. Rich assures motorists that county officials aren’t exempt. When a government vehicle is caught, the driver pays. With exceptions only for bona fide emergencies, everyone from sanitation-truck drivers to police chiefs have forked over their own money on “hundreds” of violations, Rich says. As for drivers who don’t pay, Nassau enlists a collection agency and recently authorized an outside vendor to “boot” or tow scofflaws. While an argument could be made for safety—after all, it’s difficult to run a red light when your car is booted or hanging from a tow truck—it’s clear that the county is reluctant to leave any red-lightcamera revenue on the table. A To see a video of outrageous red-lightrunning captured by Nassau’s cameras, go to  C&T August 2011 17

by Jeff Heilman

Long before I-90 sped travelers west, the Mohawk River, named for the Mohawk Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy, was the continent’s main thoroughfare to the Great Lakes. From its source in rural, outdoorsy Lewis County, the Mohawk, the Hudson’s largest tributary, wends 140 miles eastwards through glacial valleys and farmland before joining its parent just above Albany. Those are the Mohawk’s coordinates—but what of its personality? Accompanied by my sons and a reliable friend at the pump—the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SEL—I set to find out. From priceless art and engineering marvels to natural gems and jewel-hearted people, it would be a journey of “watershed” moments. Two visitor attractions beckon at the Mohawk-Hudson merger. Overlooked by two public parks, Cohoes Falls is the East’s second most-powerful cascade behind Niagara, while RiverSpark is a seven-community heritage area featuring 19th-century neighborhoods, Peebles Island State

loreto caceres /

All Along the Mohawk

Lazy days along the Mohawk

In the slow lane at Erie Canal Village

Looking for more things to do in our area this summer? Scan the code to read 110 Day

Park and, at the gateway to the Erie and Champlain canals, Waterford Flight, five locks dramatically raising and lowering boats 168.8 feet. With the heroic Erie Canal charting alongside the Mohawk to Rome—our ultimate destination some 116 miles to the west—we followed local roads along the Mohawk’s north bank to Schenectady, where the riverside Stockade District dates back more than 300 years. Then we chased Rte. 5 westward into the broadening Mohawk River Valley. It’s multi-modal today—a rail line, the Mohawk, I-90 and rtes. 5 and 5S run parallel to Utica and beyond—but for cen20 C&T August 2011

turies, the Mohawk and its interconnecting waterways were the highways. Before passing through pioneering river towns such as Amsterdam, Palatine Bridge, Canajoharie and St. Johnsville, Lock 9 State Canal Park in Glenville is a photo-worthy stop. Nestled in a deep gorge, atmospheric Little Falls instantly invites exploration, with attractions including Barge Canal (the Erie’s 1918 replacement) Lock 17, once the world’s highest canal lift, antiquing at historic Canal Place and rock-climbing on Moss Island, with its fascinating geologic potholes. We move onward into Oneida County and the city of Utica, where the spirit of pioneers—the Iroquois, Revolutionary War heroes, farmers, millers, Yankee entrepreneurs and industrialists—sustains the guardians of the city’s cultural treasures. After checking into the comfortable, family-friendly Radisson HotelUtica Centre, we repaired to the circa-1890 F.X. Matt Brewing Co.—one of America’s premier craft brewers (its line includes

loreto caceres /

Day Trips Within 150 Miles of NYC. If you don’t already have a code reader, visit to download a free app.

Saranac)—for a memorable tour that includes the high-speed canning operation and a root beer in the taproom. After dinner at Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse, we embarked the next day on an odyssey of discoveries, starting with the landmark Stanley Center for the Arts. With its Titanic-inspired staircase and breathtakingly cavernous theater, this updated 1928 movie palace embodies Utica’s continuing renaissance. The appeal continues at the celebrated Munson-Williams-Proctor Museum of Art. Housed in a strikingly uncomplicated 1960 building by Philip Johnson, the museum’s collection includes works by Picasso, Dali and Pollock, as well as one of Thomas Cole’s mesmerizing “The Voyage of Life” paintings. There’s interactive art for kids, and credit docent Joan Herrmann for captivating my video-loving offspring. Kids of all ages have their mecca at the joyful Children’s Museum of History, Science & Technology. Featuring four floors of exhibits, from Lego to an LED dance floor, the museum is executive director Marlene Brown’s “giveback” to the community. Fortified by lunch at waterside Aqua

Vino (Utica’s Italian roots run deep), we headed for Rome, first to tour Fort Stanwix National Monument, a re-creation of the 1758 British-built, then American-run, fort, besieged but never taken. It protected the “Oneida Carry” the gap where travelers once handcarried boats between the Mohawk and Lake Ontario-bound Wood Creek. A short drive away are Erie Canal Village, a reconstructed 19th-century settlement where construction of the original Erie Canal began, and Fort Rickey Children’s Discovery Zoo, where Len and Bobbie Cross share their love of animals. The Mohawk turns northwards from Rome to its source near Boonville—center of the legendary Erie-feeder, the now-defunct Black River Canal—and we continued west to charming Sylvan Beach, on Lake Oneida’s eastern shore. After stopping at its Canal View Café, we toured the town’s 1896 amusement park and joined Leslie Stewart for ice cream at Eddie’s, a (Stewart) family-run institution since 1934. Two stops on our scenic return via I-90: Gems Along the Mohawk in Herkimer, a unique visitor and retail center featuring riverside dining and Erie Canal cruises, and, nearby on Rte. 28, the Herkimer Diamond Mines and KOA Kampground. Both are passion projects of charming owner Dr. Renee Shevat, who is busy adding all-green, solar-powered, completely off-the-power-grid lodges to the campgrounds, voted North America’s “2010 Kampground of the Year.” Helped by husband-wife prospecting team Crystal Tom and Diamond Pat, we left with diamonds in hand—a fitting conclusion to our richly rewarding, multi-faceted adventure. A More Information:;; C&T August 2011 21




continued from page 8

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The Deal: Members save 25% on All Access Pass admission and 20% off merchandise of $10 or more all day at Madame Tussauds New York (on 42nd St. between 7th and 8th ave). How: Show your card at the AAA table Thurs., Aug. 25, between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m for a free gift. Fine Print: Limit 10 tickets. Discount is not valid for advance ticket purchases and cannot be combined with any other offers. The following exclusion apply: batteries, films, cameras, confectionary, drinks, Bobbleheads and glass cubes. For more details, visit

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Defensive Driving Course Saves Money and Improves Skills Take a defensive driving course through AAA New York’s Driver Improvement Program and lower your autoinsurance rates. You will also reduce any points on your driver’s license and sharpen your safe driving skills.

The Club offers a one-day, six-hour class or two three-hour evening classes ($39 for members; $32 for Premier and Plus members and members over 60 or between 16 and 24 years of age; nonmembers pay $49). Class size is limited, and reservations are required. The Club also offers discounts to groups of 20 or more. To register for the following classes, visit or call 516/873-2381, 914/286-4355, 718/279-7288, 212/468-2612, 315/624-3901 or 607/441-5021. The course can also be taken online through AAA’s preferred supplier, I Drive Safely. Nassau County AAA New York: 229 Seventh St., Garden City (Aug. 6, 13, 17, 21, 25 & 29—9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Aug. 8 & 10—6:15-9:15 p.m.) Four Points Sheraton: 333 S. Service Rd. (LIE Exit 48), Plainview (Aug. 27—9 a.m.-4 p.m.) Suffolk County Holiday Inn Express: 2050 Express Dr. S. (LIE Exit 56), Hauppauge (Aug. 26—9 a.m.-4 p.m.)


Since 1986, the first year of their issue, the Silver American Eagle series has established itself as the most popular series of legal tender silver coins ever minted in United States history. For collectors of United States legal tender coins, the release of the Year 2011 Silver American Eagles continues this historical tradition.

Staten Island St. John’s University: 300 Howard Ave. (Mahoney Hall, rooms 101/102), Staten Island (Aug. 14—9 a.m.-4 p.m.)

By exclusive invitation, you are eligible to order a brand new, uncirculated 25th Anniversary Year 2011 American Eagle Silver Dollar. Our entire inventory of 2011 Silver Eagles for this exclusive offer will absolutely sell out! Avoid disappointment and confirm your reservation today.

Queens Ramada Hotel Adria: 221-17 Northern Blvd., Bayside (Aug. 7 & 24—9 a.m.-4 p.m.), Aug. 10 & 11—6:30-9:30 p.m.) Italian Charities of America: 83-20 Queens Blvd., Elmhurst (Aug. 27—9 a.m.-4 p.m.) Bronx St. Catharine Academy: 2250 Williamsbridge Rd., Bronx (Aug. 13—9 a.m.-4 p.m.) Dutchess County Ramada Conference Center: 542 Rte. 9, Fishkill (Sept. 10—9 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Rockland County Comfort Inn: 425 E. Rte. 59, Nanuet (Sept. 24—9 a.m.-4 p.m.) Westchester County Hampton Inn: 200 Tarrytown Rd. (Rte, 119, I-287—Exit 1), Elmsford (Sept. 16—9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) Hampton Inn & Suites: 160 Corporate Blvd., Yonkers (Aug. 4—9 a.m.-4 p.m.) Radisson: 1 Radisson Plaza (I-95 Exit 16 via Cedar St.). New Rochelle (Aug. 20—9 a.m.-4 p.m.) Otsego County Oneonta Holiday Inn: 5206 State Hwy. 23, Oneonta (Aug. 16 & 17—5:30-8:30 p.m.) Oneida County Mohawk Valley Community College: 1101 Sherman Dr., Utica (Aug. 9 & 11—6-9 p.m.)

Holiday Notice: AAA New York’s administrative and branch offices and Telephone Travel Agency will be closed on Mon., Sept. 5 in observance of Labor Day. Member Services phone lines will be open on all three days of the holiday weekend. AAA Roadside Assistance remains available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

24 C&T August 2011

Genuine U.S. Legal Tender Each of your Year 2011 Silver American Eagles is guaranteed by the U.S. Government to be 1 full oz. of 99.9% pure fine silver and it is in pristine, gem brilliant uncirculated condition. Unlike silver medals, bullion or jewelry, the Year 2011 Silver American Eagles are genuine U.S. legal tender, and redeemable anywhere American currency is accepted. Legal tender status, coupled with the U.S. Government guaranteed silver content, means your Silver Eagles will never be worth less than their redeemable value; and will always remain popular with collectors and investors alike.

increase based from Jan. 2000 - June 2011


limit 1 per per coin household

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SIX REASONS TO BUY NOW The U.S. Mint may stop producing or selling 2011 like the

Silver Eagles at any time just  unprecedented 2009 suspensions.

Global economic uncertainty could send silver prices dramatically higher at any time, power boosting demand for these coins and limiting their availability to you.

The Year 2011 Silver American Eagles are not only a solid silver purchase, but they are also a true heirloom piece of American history to be enjoyed in your family’s estate for generations to come. Holding the Silver Eagles in your family’s estate

provides a lifetime of security in hard currency  treasures.

The Year 2011 Silver American Eagles can never be worth less than their legal tender face value, or the price of silver, and are always worth more to collectors.

The Silver American Eagles are the largest, purest and the first legal tender silver collector coins ever minted in United States history for true collector value.

24 / 7

This may be the only invitation for 2011 Silver Eagles like this you will receive from us this year. At only $41.00, plus free priority shipping, handling and insurance for the first 100 new customer orders ($7 Savings), our entire inventory should sell out immediately! A limit of one (1) coin per household will be strictly observed. Avoid disappointment by placing your order for the historic Year 2011 Silver American Eagles right now, by calling Toll Free (800) 336-1630. We cannot guarantee inventory will be available to satisfy collector demand, and if we are unable to fulfill your order, you will receive a prompt refund. So, don’t delay. Prices are subject to change, so order right now! The 2011 gem brilliant uncirculated Silver American Eagles... a tradition in monetary freedom since 1794.

Great Quantity Pricing

Discover the BEST GOLD OPTIONS for you with our comprehensive GOLD GUIDE.

Est. 1988



Since the U.S. Mint began first striking the Silver American Eagles in 1986, the Mint has been taking coins right off the press and placing them into special Mint rolls. We carefully removed coins from these rolls for you. A complete set of uncirculated Silver American Eagles can make a big difference in the future value of your collection. Now is your opportunity to diversify your portfolio or IRA with these one of a kind collectibles.

Exclusive Vault Invitation

Manhattan Holiday Inn: 440 W. 57th St. (bet. 9th & 10th aves.), New York (Aug. 20 & 23—9 a.m.- 4 p.m.) Park South Hotel: 124 E. 28th St., New York (Aug. 28—9 a.m.-4 p.m.)


From Original Mint Rolls

The Historic High-Flying Silver American Eagles

Hampton Inn Islandia: 1600 Veterans Memorial Hwy. (LIE Exit 57), Islandia (Aug. 14—9 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Brooklyn Best Western Gregory Hotel: 8315 4th Ave., Brooklyn (Aug. 17—9:30 a.m.4:30 p.m.; Aug. 6 & 28—9 a.m.-4 p.m.)

25th Anniversary Silver Eagle vault invitation...

Call today, before prices rise again, for quantity pricing & availability on investment-grade 2011 gold & silver bullion coins.


Chk / Money Order

1-800-336-1630 Vault Verification: FAACTRS0811

Offer Expires: 08 / 22 / 11


Authorized Dealer:

No Dealers Please

Please read important terms and conditions that accompany products purchased, including arbitration agreement • All statements or opinions herein are believed to be accurate to the best of our knowledge at this time. They are not guaranteed in any way by anyone and are subject to change over time. We advise you to independently verify all representations. First Fidelity Reserve reserves the right to void offer in the event purchaser has not complied with stated terms and conditions.• Texas residents add 8.25% sales tax to orders under $1000 • All coin customers will receive a five (5) year subscription to our newsletter or e-newsletter ($200 value) at no charge with order • We may contact you from time to time regarding items of interest • If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with your American Eagle purchase, then return up to 15 days after receipt of order for a refund. • NO REFUND PRIVILEGE ON QUANTITY SILVER AND GOLD BULLION • Due to the changing price of silver, ad price is subject to change. Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery after receipt of good funds. This ad may not be reproduced or represented in any other medium without the express written consent of the advertiser. Original hard-copy must be in hand to place order. Silver Basis: $37.00 | First Fidelity Reserve ® • 130 Shakespeare • Beaumont, TX 77706

Visit our free weekly Metals Market Report online: C&T August 2011 25

member news


(, and more!)

In Stores AAA Prescription Savings Banana Republic Factory Stores Gap Outlets LensCrafters New York & Company Payless ShoeSource Pearle Vision Reebok Outlets Sears Optical Target Optical

For a full list of member discounts, visit Check for applicable codes and availability. Some discounts may only be available online. All discounts are current as of printing. Some exclusions apply. Not responsible for errors or omissions.

how much will you save?

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Disney Cruise Line Sale

When: Sat., July 30, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Where: Westchester branch: 111 Brook St., Scarsdale What to Expect: Learn about Disney’s new, exciting New York itineraries for 2012. Don’t miss this informative presentation from a Disney Cruise Line representative. Book your next Disney cruise vacation at the event and receive additional savings. More information: Visit

Beach Retreat Contest in Ocean City, Md.

What: The winner and a guest will receive a two-night stay at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel, including a $150 meal credit. How: To enter, complete and send in the Reader Service Card (opposite page 23) or click Fine Print: Transportation, gratuities and other incidentals are the winner’s sole responsibility. The prize package is nontransferable, not redeemable for cash and valid until Apr. 5, 2012. Reservations are based upon availability; special events and New Year’s Eve are excluded. Certain restrictions and blackout dates may apply. All services are based on availability. Must be over 21 years of age to participate. This contest will not require a W-9 form to be completed as the prize package has an approximate retail value of $425.

eTourBook App AAA eTourBook guides are now available exclusively for AAA members on your eReader, iPad or smart phone. Guides now available include Orlando, Las Vegas, Anaheim, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. These eTourBook guides, offered exclusively for AAA members, provide detailed destination information and listings for AAA Approved and Diamond Rated lodgings and restaurants.

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International Driving Permits Valid in more than 150 countries and printed in 10 languages, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is a valuable form of identification should you need to communicate with foreign authorities, even if you are not planning to drive. Obtain an IDP at any AAA branch office or online at

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Visit today C&T August 2011 27

notebook 10-4! Highway Patrol’s Bustin’ Another Dangerous Driver

Highway Patrol, the ’50s cop show starring Broderick Crawford, is out on DVD, and recently I watched several episodes from its first season. I was surprised that the show was as much concerned with highway “crime” as it was with hoodlums, con artists and killers.

One episode–titled Reckless Driving– caught my attention. The plot involves a crackdown on speeders on a new stretch of highway in what was then still rural California. In the opening scene, Dan Mathews, the gruff, hard-nosed chief of the Highway Patrol (Crawford’s character), is standing over a map full of pushpins that identify the locations of a series of crashes. He says: “…in two weeks we’ve had four fatals, seven injuries and 14 or 15 fender-benders. If this keeps up, we’re going to run out of people before we run out of pins!” He orders a crackdown on motorists. How tough is Mathews? In one scene he’s grilling a serial speeder that he’s hauled into headquarters. He hands the guy his gun (it’s unloaded, of course); the guy recoils in shock, telling Mathews that guns give him “the willies.” Mathews explodes: “What about

28 C&T August 2011

your car? Your car outweighs this gun by 4,000 pounds, and it’s loaded the minute you turn the key in the ignition. Doesn’t that give you the willies? C’mon, c’mon, doesn’t it?!?” Then there’s Harry Brent, a salesman who’s been ticketed four times over 10 months. Not convinced that he’s a menace, he tells Mathews, “You know how it is with a good highway. The average driver is bound to speed up a little bit.” Mathews gets red-faced (you can tell even though the show is in black and white): “You’re a potential killer, but you won’t believe it. One of these days you’re gonna find out and you’re gonna find out the hard way.” Hint, hint. Brent, unrepentant, goes out and promptly racks up ticket #5. His license is suspended for 60 days. Now his wife has to drive him to his appointments, but not fast enough to suit him. The speed limit is 55, he says, to which she replies, “My speed limit is 45.” They stop for a bite, and their waitress accidentally breaks the wife’s glasses. She can’t drive without them, so Harry gets behind the wheel, and they’re off. He loses control of the car going 75, and his wife is badly hurt. A patrolman says to Mathews, “Poor guy. He’s still got the traffic court to face.” To which Mathews replies, “Yeah, but he’s already had his punishment—he’s got a lifetime sentence of living with himself.”

Another episode involves a hit-andrun, in which a pedestrian is injured by a woman driver who was distracted by a fight she’d had with her husband. Freaked out by the blood on the front fender, she flees the scene. Her mother—the cause of the fight between the daughter and her husband—tries to cover up the crime. When Mathews uncovers the plot, he bellows at the family, “What have you gone, temporarily insane or what?” The driver despairs to the point of attempting suicide, “all because she wouldn’t stop,” Mathews laments. End of story? Not quite. Just before the credits roll, when Crawford tells viewers to tune in again next week, he adds: “Until then remember, the careless driver isn’t driving his car—he’s aiming it.” In fact, as I watched more episodes I noted that Crawford ended every show—no matter what the plot—with a warning for drivers. Such as: “It isn’t the car that kills–it’s the driver” and “Leave blood at the Red Cross, not on the highway.” Never have I seen a TV show so concerned about traffic safety. It made me wonder: if Dan Mathews was so troubled by dangerous driving in 1955 California, imagine what he’d think about metro New York drivers in 2011.  A Peter Crescenti is this magazine’s executive editor

Image: © INTERFOTO / Alamy

By Peter Crescenti

All Along the Mohawk

August 2011

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Truly Unique

Time travel at the speed of a 1935 Speedster? The 1930s brought unprecedented innovation in machine-age technology and materials. Industrial designers from the auto industry translated the principles of aerodynamics and streamlining into everyday objects like radios and toasters. It was also a decade when an unequaled variety of watch cases and movements came into being. In lieu of hands to tell time, one such complication, called a jumping mechanism, utilized numerals on a disc viewed through a window. With its striking resemblance to the dashboard gauges and radio dials of the decade, the jump hour watch was indeed “in tune” with the times! The Stauer 1930s Dashtronic deftly blends the modern functionality of a 21-jewel automatic movement and 3-ATM water resistance with the distinctive, retro look of a jumping display (not

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True to Machine Art esthetics, the sleek brushed stainless steel case is clear on the back, allowing a peek at the inner workings. an actual jumping complication). The stainless steel 1 1/2" case is complemented with a black alligator-embossed leather band. The band is 9 1/2" long and will fit a 7–8 1/2" wrist. Try the Stauer 1930s Dashtronic Watch for 30 days and if you are not receiving compliments, please return the watch

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discounts Enter to Win an iPad 2 The Deal: A few minutes on the AAA Website could pay off. You can instantly win a $10 Visa gift card. Plus, everyone who plays will be entered into a weekly drawing for an iPad 2. How: To enter, visit

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continued on page 23

Send them on their way with AAA!

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Top left: © Dell Inc. / bottom right: Copyright © Media Bakery

Fine Print: Promotion begins July 1, 2011, at 12 a.m. EDT and ends Feb. 29, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Odds of winning a prize will depend on the total number of entries received. To participate, and for official rules and prize descriptions, visit

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C&T August 2011 9

Car & Travel  

August 2011

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