Voyages to Darkness — Astronomy Theme Travel

[Big Sky Eclipse Caravan]

Marcy Pedas Sigler

“Real estate is my profession and eclipses are my passion!” says Marcy Sigler, a broker with the prestigious Manhattan real estate firm, Stribling & Associates.

In the early '70s Marcy, a New Jersey public school teacher, with her brother and husband launched Voyages to Darkness — the business of intercepting eclipses aboard cruise ships. In the process the Pedas-Sigler team transformed the 'snooze-and-booze' cruise into a vehicle for educational pursuits and were hailed in The New York Times as the "foremost eclipse impresarios of the Western world."

[Greek School] Born to staunch Greek patriots Marcy straddled two cultures in the ethnic enclave which rose amidst western Pennsylvania's booming steel towns.

Her father, Efstathios Tsimpedas, a shepherd from the Peloponese arrived on America's shores to raise dowries for his sisters. Like a true Spartan he obstructed his daughter's efforts to adopt an American lifestyle and sought to arrange her marriage.

The dowry, a mandatory Greek staple since Homeric times, was offered as a lure to families who were blessed with sons. Prospective grooms arrived in succession — Socrates a short-order cook from Youngstown Ohio was followed by Pericles. Alas, Marcy's dowry — a plot of land with unobstructed views of Carnegie Steel's open hearth furnace — was insufficient.

No longer marketable along the Pennsylvania-Ohio border — and teetering on the threshold of old-maidhood — Marcy was shipped to her aunt in New York (the entry point for Greek men immigrating to America). Weekly pilgrimages to Manhattan's lower east side with offerings to Saint Barbara to speed up the groom delivery process, proved fruitless. While waiting for her elusive Paris she secured employment in the travel industry — a business into which she would soon be thrust by the siren call of the total eclipse of the sun.

Upon being recalled to Pennsylvania Marcy—empowered with her brother's support and her MaBell paycheck— overrode her parent's objections and enrolled herself at Youngstown University where she met and married her Jewish professor. Ostracized by the Greek community and disowned by her parents she fled with her husband to Boston to reshape her life. The sky was not the limit.

[Marcy Sigler, Isaac Asimov] [Eclipse Over Big Sky]

Marcy joined her brother, astronomer Ted Pedas, at Trois Rivières Canada to witness the eclipse of July 20, 1963. Transfixed by the solar spectacle — and aware that the sun, moon and earth were to align themselves for a repeat performance in 1970 — they sought to organize an eclipse festival in Eclipse Virginia. The town fathers, anticipating a "Woodstock " type rock festival, demurred as did the overseers of Nantucket. To circumvent the objections raised by local authorities the idea of substituting a ship in lieu of terra firma as a platform for eclipse observation took hold. In 1972 the world's first eclipse cruise intercepted eclipse totality in the mid-Atlantic aboard the Greek Line's Olympia.

"When my real estate and eclipse worlds collide the result is stellar," explains Marcy, a schoolteacher turned eclipse impressario and Realtor. She sold a Fifth Avenue apartment to Patty Snyder, with assurances that the new home was full of good karma. This was not just New York real estate hype. Marcy introduced Patty to Scott Carpenter, one of the first astronauts she had invited to lecture aboard the Voyages to Darkness eclipse cruises. They were recently married — and of course bought a larger apartment through their favorite Manhattan real estate broker.

[Astronaut Scott Carpenter at 1080 Fifth Avenue]
New York City real estate broker and matchmaker, Marcy Pedas Sigler,
introduced Patty to husband Astronaut Scott Carpenter at 1080 Fifth Avenue.

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