Approaching LaGuardia on a recent evening from the west and slightly south, I spotted Sandy Hook and the Verrazano. In the distinct black triangle of Raritan Bay, I picked out two lights, Old Orchard and West Bank; and recalled a cold but wonderful night last February, a six-hour sail between Tottenville and Jersey City aboard Rosemary Ruth. The airliner traversed the distance in a few spectacular minutes, defining a breath-taking arc a half mile or so above the Verrazano, lit like an elongated city itself green by its mercury vapor lamps and white by vehicle traffic, a spectacular arch over the inky water. But the two dim specks of Old Orchard and West Bank still beamed hope outward as they had that February night we sailed the winter bay.
The lighthouse above stands quite some distance from the Harlem River; in fact, it’s a corporate logo. But wait… the company is H. W. Wilson, the folks who compile the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature, possibly your savior back pre-Internet whenever you needed to write a research paper and you sought solace in the thick green volumes that always had their own table in a library. Wilson’s mission: “To give guidance to those seeking their way through the maze of books and periodicals, without which they would be lost.”