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The other side of the boro . . . the strand on Coney Island, sees a visitation of finnyfolk, who briefly leave the water for this sun festival. Enjoy this field guide to western North Atlantic merpeople. These came in a replica of Nefertiti’s royal barge.
Labor Day weekend is upon us again, but I can’t remember when it seemed quite this polarized, although if you read the first two sentences in the section here called “history,” maybe the celebration of the day was born in conflict, polarization, and then reaching out for solidarity. Check out the Post editorials from the Washington and the Huffington. I liked this foto essay in the New York Times Magazine here.
For many of the first 20 years of my life, living on a farm where Labor Day was a holiday in name only since harvest had to be taken then, I heard that on “labor day” one labored. End of story. And that was not such a bad way to spend the day. Work challenges,
Al fotos by Will Van Dorp.
Janis Joplin did my all-time favorite rendition of Summertime. I like how she takes it furiously into flight, almost like these boats, her sibilants and band’s cymbals in places like electric cicadas.
If your daddy’s rich . . . or at least willing to put some money into a boat . . . that is if he can after the S & P downgrade . ..
Or if you’re lucky when you play the flight board . . . with StndAIR…
Then you really might finally spread your wings and (leaping over the East River Ferry) . . . .
take the sky… topping the crown of Queens.
That’s Will Van Dorp’s version, who took these fotos. Here’s Janis Joplin’s, once when she kept it together and did nothing to harm herself. A seaplane on the East River appeared here quite long ago. Still, these booted seaplanettes pale in comparison with the old Aeromarine airships that used to link the North and Raritan Bay with Florida.
Some interesting postscripts:
1) BRBRbrooklyn caught FDNY’s greeting SUNY Maritime’s Empire State return this morning . . . while I was still drinking my coffee!!
2) Hats off to Stephen Askew, superintendent of North River Waste Treatment Plant, for his recent heroic captaining of a raft, a true friend of all denizens of the sixth boro.
3) News about the “troop carrier” found buried deep in the foundation of the World Trade Center . . . . Revolutionary War troop carrier that is.
A WTF!@#@! postscript too”
Lady Liberty appears in many fotos on this blog, including one above. Do you know what Rev. John Benefiel thinks about Bartholdi’s lady? Fie!!!
All fotos here were taken by Scot Surbeck and come thanks to Julian Marsano, who blogs as PioneerSailing. The moral of the story is that extreme weather can move in quickly, as happened two weeks ago when a squall galloped into the sixth boro at 30 mph, bringing in 45+ mph gusts. Manhattan Sailing School J-24s were racing in regular midweek evening regatta under the flag of Manhattan Sailing Club. Gusts hit Great Republic first, the boat with GR on the sail, knocking her flat.
Thanks much to Julian for these pics and this story.
Question: any guesses what/where this structure is? Answer follows.
Dry Tortugas Light on Loggerhead Key–three miles from Fort Jefferson– first illuminated navigators in 1858, this month 143 years ago.
The first light in the Dry Tortugas-a place to stock up on turtle meat-was first lit in 1826, but according to the tour guide, that brick light tower was razed in 1877 because its location too often directed approaching vessels over reefs to their doom.
Fort Jefferson-the unfinished coastal fortress also known as the second largest masonry structure on Earth (after the Great Wall of China)–would never have been started if the US government had heeded the 1825 recommendation of US Navy Commodore David Porter (adoptive father of the future Admiral David G. Farragut!!) because of its lack of fresh water and stable bedrock for foundations. Four years later, the US government accepted the recommendation of the next Commodore–John Rodgers–and began construction of the structure that failed in the ways Porter predicted and was obsolete before it approached completion.
By the way, Porter had an intriguing career, including being prisoner of both the Barbary pirates (1803-5) and the British Navy (1814) but also Captain of US naval vessels, court-martialee after his unauthorized invasion of Fajardo, commander-in-chief of the Mexican Navy (1826-29), and US ambassador to the Barbary States and Turkey. Imagine someone trying to do those things in that order today.
In the foto below, notice the different colored bricks.
The bricks of different colors reflect the origin of the brick: again . . . according to the tour guide, bricks produced in the South before the Civil War have resisted time well. After 1861, bricks came here from Maine (!) and have fared less well in this climate.
If you imagine you see window air conditioners where guns should be, you are NOT imagining that. National Park Service employees live inside the Fort and have added contemporary creature comforts.
Key West Light–through various remodelings– has stood here since 1847.
Less than a block away is the house where Hemingway lived in the 1930s.
You might call it a “cat house” today, where the dozens of poly-toed cats have names like Picasso and Dickinson and Truman . . .
Time for a few Hemingway quotes? “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” And “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
But check out this title! I’d imagined he’d say something like “There is no way to make good pictures . . . the best way to make them is . . . to make them.”
At least Hemingway had taste in naming his boat . . . which I hope to see some day, not easy to do because Pilar is at Finca Vigia in Cuba. More fotos here. Pilar was once in Brooklyn! Brooklyn’s Wheeler Shipyard (I believe it was in or near the Navy Yard) made out a bill of sale to the writer on April 18, 1934 for a “38-foot twin cabin Playmate cruiser” with “one [75 hp] Chrysler Crown reduction gear engine” and “4-cylinder Lycoming straight drive engine” for trolling for a grand total of $7455. For a thread on a discussion board related to Pilar, click here. Pilar was Hemingway’s q-boat.
My question is this: How did Pilar get from Brooklyn to Key West? Did someone make a delivery by water? Ship? Train? And does anyone know if Valhalla, Pilar’s sistership, has been restored after its accidental sinking in 2007?
So that first building . . . here’s the rest of it as seen from Jacksonville Beach. It’s the 1946-built Art Deco life saving station, not a lighthouse at all. A beauty though.
All fotos by Will Van Dorp.
Coney Island–the reef–has existed within the sixth boro since time immemorial, this gathering has occurred since 1983, and tugster has blogged it since 2007, drawn by the natural beauty of creatures–like this one– with
breathing behavior in dry–if muggy- air, and … more.
But I couldn’t help noticing yesterday that . . . as the mermaids school on this reef, so does another species . . . camera-bearers. Even chief-liaison Dick Zigun has cameras turned on him.
And mermaids themselves sport cameras, maybe as mimicry.
OK, all fotos here by Will Van Dorp.
Totally related: in the third foto from end above . . . one mermaid sported a tugboat atop her hear but my shot was blurry. Also, I missed a shot of the “librarian mermaids,” which, if anyone got, I’d love a link or a copy.
Bowsprite tattooed my back about two years ago, and I never felt a thing, didn’t even know about it til a few days later. See evidence in the eighth foto here. The tattoo she incised had the best feature: dynamism. Without washing or submitting myself to laser-burn or chemical-peel ink removal, that design–beautiful as it was– disappeared; pristine skin prevailed and could morph again.
Being a tabula rasa is the beauty of the sixth boro as it exists today. Not pristine as 500 years ago, it’s nevertheless mostly cleaner than it was 50 years ago. And unencumbered. The land right down to the sea’s threshold submits to the struggles and gainful laborings of planners and builders, but the water resists. Change is constant here, like light.
May the two above paragraphs exorcise the defensiveness I’m feeling these days. Repeatedly I feel restored by the surprises borne in and out upon the expanse of water I call the sixth boro. Like this, yesterday. I dismissed it at first as a replica.
One goal I had yesterday was to get a frontal shot of the figurehead on Eos, but not finding a conveyance, this is the best I could get of Anh Duong‘s work. Today these eyes behold . . . the cliffs of Hoboken; some months from now they may look upon the skyline of Moorea Bay.
Trawler Fluke . . here today . . . who knows where next month.
Ventura lives in North Cove and sails here outside the Narrows.
All fotos taken in the past weeks by Will Van Dorp.
If you were leisurely drifting down the river on your air mattress and you saw this, how concerned might you be? (Doubleclick enlarges.)
But that just wouldn’t happen. Better to see this sight from an even faster boat. What’s this? It’s the race, and again, thanks to Captain Matt Perricone of Cornell, I enjoyed an upper deck view of my favorite Labor Day event. And without much ado or text or research, here are some fotos.
humbles and inspires awe.
of stunt drivers.
All fotos taken by will Van Dorp.
Vessels included (in no particular order … and correct me if I missed one) Cornell, Atlantic Salvor, Bronx, Mary H, Maurania III, W. O. Decker, Vulcan III, Sea Wolf, Cheyenne, Meagan Ann, Catherine, Susan, and Shawn Miller. Viking took part in the pushing contests but not the race. More fotos tomorrow.
Actually I’m creating the mystery, but I uncreate it after the fourth foto. You might try to guess what’s happening. I put in some lovely distractors. What was happening on Coney Island this morning between 7 and 930 am? Man with red shorts, a swimmer, and tug Edith Thornton (1951, ex-Signet Defender, J. K. McLean).
then Bowsprite approaches with camera; yellow kayaks and NYPD as background. She didn’t say, “We have you surrounded.” This could mean only one thing: click here and find out. Here’s the site for CIBBOWS.
Long Island City Community Boathouse spotted, as did the jetskiers.
Cristian read the rules.
And the first wave went in, heading for the first
The second wave (white caps) began their one-mile race to the Coney fishing pier and
Bowsprite served as beach-spotter at the finish line, where here arrive the first finishers in green caps. After
five kilometers in one hour and 18 minutes it was this close.
This was my first swim race; I plan to attend the one in November. About the Aquarium, it served as venue for registration and celebration; as we prepared there for the race in the wee hours before sunrise, I overheard some flush pinnipeds wagering their fishy breakfast on race outcomes.
All fotos by Will Van Dorp.