Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Third Quarter of 2010 in Pictures

This is a follow up to The First Half of 2010 in Pictures starts with July but I could not squeeze in a half a year so this one ends in September.

Summertime and the living is easy. Have you ever played "Skully" on a July day. There was a time that it didn't get any better than flicking melted crayon filled bottle caps in the spray of a "Johnnie Pump" on a hot summer day.

Today there is a lot to be said for a rainy day in Central Park in early July with a book and a cup of coffee.

Things are slowing down. Take a quite walk with me through the summer of 2010 in the Big Apple. Greetings from the Bronx. You are a Yankee fan, right?

Well perhaps not but you look like you could use an egg cream on a hot summer day and I know just the jerks that will fix one for you. Soda Jerks bring back some fond memories.

That photo comes from the way I kicked off my July. I can't find any photos from July first so I guess that day didn't happen this year. On July second I drove to the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn to see if I could find any signs of the deep Italian roots I remembered from my youth.

There are so many unnoticed nooks and crannies to be found in New York City. Places that change and don't change. This year I began looking for those places that are just about to disappear.

On this personal day I was looking for the places that stayed the same and found what has to be the thickest concentration of Roman Catholic churches on earth in this neighborhood that has been both passed on to a new professional generation and at the same time still existing as an Italian American stronghold. There were these perfectly preserved brownstones but I think they call them floor throughs out there.

It's so hard to explain why I would be looking for such things and the thrill of remembering a neighborhood I originally got to from meeting Italian American laborers in the 1970's telling me "You gotta come out and see the neighb, it's God's country." The thrill of places that may or may not have been Italian Social Clubs straight out of "Goodfellas."

But I went back for the first time in thirty years and found a little bit of my young self. I saw President Street after so many years absent, a street that is meaningless to most unless you remember the Bob Dylan tune "The sun turned cold over President Street, and the town of Brooklyn mourned. They said, "A mass in the old church near the house where he was born." The view is far more diverse now.

I don't think you will find it to be quite the adventure that I did but I had one really great egg cream that day.

Here's a photo from July second that might be popular around here, the Brooklyn waterfront house that can be seen from so many places in Manhattan.

And here's a view of Manhattan on the drive home. My favorite view is from the Brooklyn Hts Promenade where I once lived. This one was taken from just below. I was driving the BQE with the camera hanging out the window.

The Cathedral arches of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Lower East Side.

Getting ready for the Fourth of July is a perfect time for a bicycle ride along the Lower West Side. Nobody calls it the Lower West Side, it's Battery Park waiting for a new shadow from the east.

Nobody wants the boroughs, least of all Mike Bloomberg. I kid the mayor, it was a lot of snow and he couldn't see it from his mansion. How about Chelsea on a summer day?

The Boroughs do get forgotten but I went back to Brooklyn for the Fourth of July. I was at the Coney Island Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest for the first time in my life. I was not alone.

Who Won? Who cares?

I was there to see the new Amusement Park. One of my best "Got a Happy Stories" was Got a Happy Story? Coney Island Edition because I got there just before Astroland died. I wanted to see the new Luna Park.

It still has a ways to go but it was a day at the beach.

Here's a sunset, July 15th, Hazy, Hot and Humid.

I guess I mark the beginning of the second half of this past year with a Tornado. This is one of the last sunsets I would see with the once very familiar tree line at water's edge.

I was caught up in The Riverdale Tornado about five blocks south of where 800 trees would be pulled out of the ground and many more would be severely damaged. I was in the greenhouse at Wave Hill with my camera and it was suddenly too dark to take photos. I walked outside and could see it was raining over the river.

The next thing I knew I was running for my life and people that were smaller that I am were actually being blown down. The scary part was the sound of trees breaking everywhere. It sort of sounded like a war zone. When it hit I was standing right at the southern edge of what would be called "Kansas on the Hudson." When I got home I found out the place that took the direct hit is the forest outside my window at home. I wrote a diary about the devastation.

After that I took you for an historic walking tour. Isn't running water great!

So I followed the footsteps of Edgar Allen Poe down to the High Bridge and gave a good government history of the New York City water supply.

And tried to introduce you to the "Acckey"

August in the Bronx.

V-E Day in Times Square this year.

Big Bambu on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum.

There were so many diaries that I started and never finished this year. I went out and explored both Hunter Island and the Twin Islands in the Bronx to write Friday Evening Photo Blogging: Joe Two Trees Edition. The text was going to be a recount of Dr. Theodore Kazimiroff’s encounters with “The Last Algonquin” on those islands. I knew the good dentist when I was young and believed every word. I never wrote the story but I took the pictures.

Another I never finished but might someday is Friday Evening Photo Blogging: Butterflies Are Free, a child’s guide to the indigenous butterflies of the northeast. This year I had collected quite a portfolio of butterfly photos, many at the Butterfly Zone in the Bronx Zoo. The text combines the value of teaching our children the names and habits of these beauties and an identification guide. I also want to retell the fascinating story told by Stockard Channing in The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies. But here is one taken in a Bronx forest this summer.

I did make it to the end of the line and on my bicycle, City Island.

Do you know about the little Cape Cod town we have in the Bronx? I'm neither "Clam Digger" nor "Mussel Sucker" but someday I could tell you an interesting history of City Island.

September was a great photography month for me.

September started out at not my first, not my second but my third Outstanding in the Fields dinner, a farm dinner on the Lower East Side. That's then friendly welcome from Leah Scafe (on the left) and Katy Oursler at the entrance of La Plaza Cultural-Armando Perez GreenThumb Public Garden. Jim Denevan is walking the tables in the middle photo.

I took my first trip out to Paterson, New Jersey and saw the waterworks that date back to Alexander Hamilton. Checked out the great falls.

And trespassed to takes some photos of defunct industry. I'll have to write about that someday.

I finally got the abandoned train station from the "Old Put" in a good light.

And did a little magic act to get a Cardinal Flower just right. The flower was in the shade of a shrub and there were specks of sunlight coming through the shrub all over on the ground. So I knelled down in front of the flower with my left leg extended to the base of the shrub. I moved the masking shrub around with the left foot until the sunlight was falling through on the flower just right. A few cheers for the left.

I wrote about that in a diary where I told the history of and showed photos from The Long Island Motor Parkway.

I also danced in the fountains that finally flowed again.

Here's a September view.

My favorite sunrise of the year, September 14th.

I remember spending the last week of September working on Friday Evening Photo Blogging: Doors and Windows Edition. This was a diary inspired by a popular poster from my early years. Having grown up in “Little Belfast” during an era when Northern Ireland had an image problem just about every business in my neighborhood had a poster to soften that image. So timed for when the Supreme Court reconvenes I was going to post the doors and windows of the Upper West Side as a tribute to the values of that great neighborhood and to soften the image of Elena Kagan. But I had so many to choose from that I never finished.

Another of my favorite photos of the year.

But I have a better closer.

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