You are currently browsing the daily archive for July 17, 2018.

It’s been a while since the first in this series . . . and to convince you to look at that link, here’s another photo I took the same day below. See the Seatow with a dead houseboat? Midsummer is a state of mind that resists mustering up and focusing energy.  Janis Joplin’s “Summertime” comes to mind.  The photo below I took on June 10, 2011, and yes that’s Blue Marlin in the distance with its cargo of equipment formerly operated by Reinauer.

I recalled midsummer of 2011 when I saw the photo below on Birk Thomas’ FB feed.  Since this triggers today’s post, I’ll let you ponder that shanty boat a bit, and tell more about it at the end of the post.  But if you’re downstream from Kingston NY, you’ll see this vessel head downstream at some point soon.  It’s currently in the Rondout.

Earlier this summer, I was walking along the west side of the island, and I spotted two stone cows’ heads!

Walking in the midsummer zone, I figured a rational explanation existed, it wouldn’t be Bordens, and I’d not panic.  Encounters like these are one of the joys of living in this city, and one of the reasons I usually carry a camera.  Here’s the background story, and here’s a story from June 2018 about incorporating these heads into a post-modern park monument.

So then there are these . . . an army of re-enacters?  A tent revival featuring a successor to Charles G. Finney?

Scouts with only white tents?  A cult?

Nomads?   An apolitical movement? A set for one of the many movies shot in the lands around the sixth boro?

Nope.  It’s actually a glampground.  You know . . . a place to go glamping, a business catering to folks who want to tent out differently, I guess.

So . . . the shanty boat is the vehicle for Wes Modes’ adventures, some of which he records here.

A brief story about an incident from 2004, I think, a day I didn’t carry a camera.  Midmorning I arrived at Pier 16 to see five law-enforcement helicopters circling the Brooklyn Bridge, a dozen of so emergency boats closing in on the Manhattan side bridge pier.  Then a small rowboat broke out of the cordon and made for Pier 17, surrounded by police.  Once tied to the pier, as many police as could board his boat without sinking it, handcuffed the kid in the boat, and started searching the contents of the boat, not much . . . a tarp and some large plastic bags. After grilling him for the better part of an hour, the police undid the cuffs and left him to his boat.

Later I asked him–maybe 20 years old if that– what that had been about.  He said he was from Albany, had built a small dory himself–and it looked it– with a tarp for a sail and wanted to  take it down to the big city and then return, a variation of Huck Finn.  He’d turned in at Spuyten Duyvil, taken the Harlem River to the East River, and as the tide was pushing him under theWilliamsburg and Manhattan Bridges, he decided he was going too fast and thought to tie up to the next bridge if he saw any protrusions.  He noticed some bent steel rods and  . . . grabbed one and tied his boat off to it.  And then the excitement started.  It was 2004 after all.  The theme of the interrogation was terrorism, understandably.

Still, I think he was just a contemporary of Huck Finn, definitely naive and maybe stupid.  It wasn’t, but it could have been my grandkid .  . or my friend’s son.  I wonder whatever became of him.  I wish I’d had a camera that day, but even if I had, the drama might have been elusive.

It’s summertime.  Enjoy it.  And make the world a friendlier place in the process.  Smile at the unfriendly person, but never smirk. I said smile.

One photo here by Birk Thomas;  the others by Will Van Dorp.

 

 

 

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