Monday, October 30, 2006

A visit to St. Mark's Church in the Bowery

Death is just a place I have yet to visit. Unfortunately, the taking of photographs is strictly prohibited.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Happy 75th Birthday, George Washington Bridge!

Oct. 25, 1931 - Oct. 25, 2006
Thank you for broadening my vistas and bearing my clumsy footfalls with such grace.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cory, the Shar Pei Buddha

Cory, Ninth Street between First and Second avenues, Manhattan

I met Cory outside the Lower East Side boutique where her owner let her out to get some air. Cory was so perfectly motionless as I approached that I thought she was a very clever, very realistic statue. Then a dog passed near her and she passively inclined her head, ending the illusion.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

An Amish boy's dream

Drawing found on the simple playground (swing set, two outhouses) of one-room Amish schoolhouse, Maxatawny Township, near Kutztown, Berks County, Pa.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Great Falls

Paterson, N.J.
Home of Allen Ginsberg.
And Lou Costello.
And William Carlos Williams.
And Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.
Cradle of the Industrial Revolution in America.
Birthplace of Samuel Colt's revolver, the Colt Paterson.

The city was planned by Alexander Hamilton in the 18th century. The idea was to harness the tremendous water power of the Passaic River, which courses through the city, to run the mills and other industrial equipment.
It's the Passaic River that spills over the Great Falls, the second-largest waterfall on the East Coast (after Niagara Falls) and Paterson's premier attraction.
The city's decline began several decades ago. Most of the industry -- primarily textile mills -- left town long ago.

A restoration of Paterson's historic district, centering on the 19th-century industrial neighborhood around the Great Falls, began within the last several years. City and Passaic County officials are trying to persuade the federal government to turn this area into a national park.

But the Great Falls have transcended the city's rise and fall, the boom times and the urban decay.
I've been to the falls during dry summers when the flow over the cliffs is barely a trickle.
On Saturday, the falls were a torrent thanks to recent rains.
This is one of my favorite spots in my neck of the woods.

Friday, October 13, 2006

More Empire State foliage

I was back on the foliage trail Friday. In the span of 24 hours, the colors around Bear Mountain grew even more spectacular, thanks to recent rain and a sudden cold snap.
Instead of returning to Bear Mountain, where I had been Thursday, I headed up the Palisades Interstate Parkway just before the mountain to Seven Lakes Road, which I took west to Sloatsburg, N.Y. The road cuts through Harriman State Park and the scenery would leave a bard speechless.
These photos were taken from about 3:15 to 4:15 p.m., that part of the afternoon when sunlight has a warming effect on colors and when the line between light and shadow grows razor sharp.
I met other photographers who were taking advantage of this magical time of the day, and I truly felt part of the fellowship of the lens.
Pictures trump words, so here we go ...

Silver Mine Lake

Silver Mine Lake

Field along Seven Lakes Road

Lake Kanawauke

Bear Mountain Bridge

On Thursday I took a foliage-viewing trip to the Bear Mountain Bridge over the Hudson River. This bridge, the first to span the river south of Albany, N.Y., is just under an hour by car north of where I live in New Jersey. The views from the span looking north up the Hudson are incomparable, especially this time of year.

On the Palisades Interstate Parkway heading up to the bridge, there are several scenic lookout points. This one offers a view south toward the George Washington Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.

The Bear Mountain Bridge, completed in 1924

Looking west from the northern side of the bridge

Looking north up the Hudson

Friday, October 06, 2006

Call me Ishmael ...

On Friday, I visited Arrowhead, the Pittsfield, Mass., home of Herman Melville, one of my favorite authors.
Melville lived at Arrowhead from 1850-63. In the second-floor study, he wrote the novels "Pierre" and "Israel Potter" and several shorter works, including "Bartleby, the Scrivener," that were published in the collection called "The Piazza Tales."
At Arrowhead, he also wrote a little fish tale titled "Moby-Dick."

Arrowhead, built 1780

Detail of the piazza, or porch, that Melville ordered built after he bought the house. The views from the piazza of Mt. Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts, inspired him, and he loved to spend long hours sitting in his rocking chair, taking in the scenery. It was for this piazza that he named a collection of his shorter works.

Mt. Greylock from the piazza

Mt. Greylock from the window of Melville's second-floor study, the room in which he wrote "Moby-Dick." It is said that the shape of the distant mountain reminded Melville of a menacing whale and served as inspiration while he composed his masterpiece. The book was blasted by the critics, and Melville's career was ruined. It was only in the mid-1920s that scholars began to reassess this arguably greatest of American novels and accord it its due place in our literature.
By then, Melville had been dead more than 30 years.

View from the grounds

Melville's barn. Inside, he and close friend and neighbor Nathaniel Hawthorne would chat for hours on end, uninterrupted by Melville's bustling household of children and extended family.

Other scenes along the road ...

Barn, Canaan, Columbia County, N.Y.

Field down the street from my sister's house, Chatham, Columbia County, N.Y.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

East Village rainbow

On Ninth Street between First and Second avenues in Manhattan's East Village is a riotously colored emporium called Katinka.
Exotic clothing and accesories from the four corners of the world transform the interior into a rainbow of earth tones and neon hues and everything in between.
But these colors fade in comparison with the musical shopkeeper, who is immortalized in a mural next door.

Portrait artist, Central Park