Scarlet berries against golden leaves.
Vibrant pallets of color illuminate trees.
Fall’s windy breath stirs the boughs to sway,
Tossing autumn’s designs every which way.
Persimmons and yellow pears, sweet and ripe,
Ready for picking in the warm afternoon light.
Gourds and pumpkins adorn porches and stairs,
Essence of apple, pine and nutmeg spice the air.
Home hearths reflect a welcoming glow.
Heartfelt Thanksgiving Wishes, sent to You All.
This just made my whole year. Rachel a.k.a. Lundygirl whose blog Could Do Worse which is full of homespun writing, recipes and photos documenting her life in London, has nominated me for Blog of the year 2013! Thank you very much Rachel. Cheers my friend.
Now it’s my turn to nominate:
http://thevariedgod.wordpress.com/ - writes “On the Human Experience of the Seasons.”
http://allysonmellone.wordpress.com/ - A jewelry artist writing of her inspirations.
http://northumbrianlight.wordpress.com/ - Great photos and musings from Northumbria.
I think you guys and gals are great!!!
Here are the acceptance guidelines:
1-Select the blog(s) you think deserve the Blog of the Year 2013 Award.
2-Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen — there are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required — and ‘present’ the blog(s) with their award.
3-Let the blog(s) that you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the instructions with them- (please don’t alter the instructions of the badges!)
4-Come over and say hello to the originator of the Blog Of The Year 2013 Award via this link:http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/blog-awards-2-/blog-of-the-year-2013-award/
5-You can now also join the Blog Of The Year Award Facebook Page. Click the link here:https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlogoftheYear
Share your blog posts with an even wider audience.
6-And as a winner of the award- please add a link back to the blog that presented you with this award- and then proudly display the award on your blog- and start collecting stars.
(As always, acceptance of this award is not obligatory.)
I read in the NY Times this past week, that the extraordinary 5Pointz building in Queens, the Graffiti Mecca of Long Island City, will be torn down to make way for a hi-rise apartment building. This week the property owner began by painting over the mind blowing graffiti art that completely covers every square in of this building, amidst the sad moans and sighs of the artists who created this one-of-a-kind representation of urban aerosol art. Below is my farewell eulogy to 5Points and a small selection of photos I have taken over the years whenever I was in the neighborhood.
A brick and mortar canvas enveloped in an explosion of brilliantly crafted graffiti art that dominated the neighborhood landscape with vibrant energy infused aliens. These beings climbed the walls and fire escapes, crawled across the roof, camouflaged windows and doors, giving a second life to an old factory, long retired from industrial duty.
These artworks, not satisfied with staying on the walls, ventured forth out on to the streets spreading over the sidewalks, curbs and fire-hydrants. Their colors poured through fences like light through cracks. They screamed out at the #7 train causing all heads to turn in obeisance toward this urban art Mecca and pay homage to the artists, their creators.
The walls of 5Pointz were alive with a world of vivid colorful comic book sex, youth’s anger and violence, love and laughter. Now those walls are covered, the building wrapped in a winding-sheet of white paint, the aerosol beings silent waiting to be buried among the memories and resurrected in photos that might grace the walls of a museum like so many mummies of the ancient past.
Saturday morning my lady friends and I were off again via the Metro North railroad bound for Hastings-On-Hudson, where we spent the day walking the Old Croton Aqueduct trail. It took us a bit to find the actual entrance – a bit meaning walking up San Francisco style hills – but once found, it was an easy trail to follow – meaning flat.
Not as scenic as I had imagined unless you count the back yards of people homes to be a scenic view but, the weather was gorgeous and there was still quite a bit of color on the trees that lined each side of the trail. Our goal was to walk from Hastings-On-Hudson, through Dobbs Ferry and ending in Irvington; a total of 7 miles. As we walked, the air was redolent with the smells of autumn, the breezes gentle and the sun lit up the trees like Christmas. We met locals running or riding their bikes, some with family and others with their dogs, all very friendly, making this trek in the country a hospitable one.
As I mentioned in the above paragraph the trees were the dominant photographic subject along the trail, therefore, my goal was to find trees that had not only color but abstract shapes or something different about them, like a green beard of ivy, or pronounced knot, or a huge corner shelf of brown fungus. In composing a few shots I used the trees to frame a distant view as seen only from the trail. Some trees were already denuded of leaves and the dark arthritic limbs stood out in contrast to any surrounding color and made for a “Halloween-esque” photo. We did find a spooky abandoned old home complete with peeling paint, broken boarded windows and doors and a forsaken wooden porch, which I just loved.
After a few hours our stomachs began to protest loudly and we left the trail walking through the town of Dobbs Ferry in search of a place to eat, drink and be merry; after all Olga and I were celebrating our November birthdays and we wanted a place that would delight our palettes. On Chestnut Street off of Main we found The Cookery and oh, what a find this place was. An incredible mix of flavors, the like we’ve never tasted before: French toast topped with fresh made smoked mozzarella and green tomato jam, cauliflower ravioli in lemon brown butter with candied pumpkin seeds that made me moan with every mouthful, a crostino of fresh ricotta and drizzled with sweet truffle honey, fried Brussels sprouts that were light, crisp and salty. Every ingredient was a taste sensation to the mouth and every bite savored, and those were just a few of the delectable delicacies on the menus. It is worth the time and ticket to take the train up to Dobbs Ferry just to experience a meal there.
Stomachs satisfied we waddled out of the restaurant and into the sunshine and made ready to get back on the trail and walk off the mountain of calories we happily consumed. I took a few shots of the town before we trudged up another of those steep, lung bursting hills where we found the trail again and continued our walk toward our final destination of Irvington. Wending our way along, the late afternoon sun shone with an Alpenglow that turned the leaves to deep rich gold, red and bronze. The trees cast long dark shadows along the trail and crows cawed as they prepared for end of day.
We exited the trail as the sun began its evening decent and entered the town of Irvington walking at a leisurely pace, enveloped in the small town atmosphere, eventually arriving at the train station which would take us back home to the hustle and bustle of city life.
After being cloistered in my apartment with a hellacious head cold for over a week, I bounded out into the sunshine Saturday morning, camera swinging from my neck and ready for a day of photography. My destination was the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, where my image Anable Basin, is currently on exhibit at Gallery Brooklyn. I missed the opening gala on October 27th due to the aforementioned cold, so I was anxious to see my work on display, and to take some photos of Erie Basin Park and the Red Hook waterfront.
As I walked down Ditmars Boulevard toward the train station, I smiled at the sun, breathed in the cool morning air – glad to be outside again – and pointed my lens at nature’s own autumnal displays hanging from branches of sleeping trees. Bright fiery red seemed to be the dominant leaf color and I can’t recall ever seeing whole trees ablaze like I’ve seen this year. When I reached the train station I took the N to 59th Street and transferred to the downtown #5 to Wall Street. Walking toward the East River and Pier 11, I stopped to take a few photos of the tourists happily wandering along this historic street before boarding the ferry at Slip-A sailing to Red Hook Brooklyn.
Exiting the ferry I, unlike the rest of my fellow passengers heading toward Ikea for a day of shopping, turned left and walked up to the cobble-stone covered Beard Street; a semi-desolate stretch of road that runs adjacent to the water front of historic warehouses and Erie Basin Park.
The remnants of Red Hook’s shipping heyday are everywhere as you walk along Beard Street. From the 19th to the mid-20th centuries this was one of the busiest shipping ports in the world. This same waterfront has now been incorporated into Erie Basin Park and has retained some of the old maritime decay to make it very appealing as a riverside park and an outdoor port museum.
When I reached Van Brunt Street my heart gave a little leap as I saw two colossal red brick warehouses known as the Red Hook Stores, originally owned and built by William Beard in the 1870’s. I spent two hours taking photos of them and what made these warehouses so alluring for me were the huge vaulted doors and windows framed by arched iron shutters, and the three aging trolley cars sitting at the foot of the warehouse facing the waterfront. I nearly swooned when I saw them sitting there in the sun. Although their paint was cracked and peeling and their insides were spotted with rust, they were beautiful to me.
It was time to head over to Gallery Brooklyn, which is also on Van Brunt Street, but further inland between Dikeman and Wolcott Streets. When I walked through the door of Gallery Brooklyn I was greeted by the curator Pauline, an art history student from France now living in Brooklyn, who happily informed me that Anable Basin SOLD, and on opening night too! That was the icing on the cake of a wonderful day!!! I spent about thirty minutes talking with Pauline and taking photos of the other exhibits. Once out on the street again, I continued to shoot around the neighborhood as I headed back toward the waterfront.
Pier 41 at Van Dyke Street was built by Col. Daniel Richards in 1873, and is where the last of these historic warehouses on the Red Hook Waterfront stands. It is home to a winery, a glass shop, a brass factory, a furniture maker and a restaurant where diners have unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty and the East River. People were sitting outside along the edge of the pier chatting, reading and just enjoying the day as I photographed a shallow beach dotted with old pylons and the broken remains of a now defunct dock.
Leaving the pier behind me, I walked through a parking lot and came upon a small corn field with tall dried stalks swaying against the blue sky, and a pumpkin patch with a few curly yellow flowers blooming between large green leaves. It did surprise me, but at the same time I thought it seemed right at home in this diverse neighborhood.
It was close on four o’clock when the clouds began to roll in and the sun, not to be pushed aside, sent forth a gossamer curtain of light that fanned out in illuminating rays, casting silver fire on the East River. I stood in awe watching these changes in the sky then pointed my camera skyward to capture the sun’s glory before the rain came.
A Gibbous Moon on Halloween Night,
Guides the way of the Wiccan’s flight.
Ascending upon the first stroke of Midnight,
With a cackle of laughter from high in the sky,
In a swirl of withered leaves, off they fly!
Veiled in phantom grey clouds,
and darkest nightmare shrouds.
Twiggy broom and pointed black hat,
A howl and a hiss of an ebony cat.
These are the harbingers of this eventide,
Oh, search if you will, there is nowhere to hide.
(c) Cate Franklyn, All Rights Reserved, 2013
At 9:54am Saturday, I boarded the first ferry from Hunter’s Point South Park in Long Island City sailing to Governors Island. This was my first time taking the East River Ferry from LIC and I enjoyed a 60 minute ride on the river instead of on the subway, making stops in Brooklyn and Manhattan before arriving, via the Buttermilk Channel in Upper New York Bay, at Governors Island.
The day was beautiful with clear blue skies and cool autumn temperatures and all was sublime as we sailed along until……..…we were boarded by Alien Bubbles of Hope from another planet!!! Yes, I’m telling the truth! There they were just waiting for us at South Williamsburg’s Schafer Landing. All green and bubbly with snow white beards, they clambered aboard and before we knew it we were surrounded. These neon green bubble beings claimed they came here to give hope to the people of planet earth. Fortunate for us earthlings the bubbles were very jolly and pranced and danced around the deck of the ferry making everyone smile and laugh. As we reached Pier 11 they said farewell and took leave of the ship running merrily down the pier towards Wall Street to spread more hope, and God knows Wall Street needs it.
We made it to our final stop, Governors Island without further alien intervention and as I walked up the path from Yankee Pier towards St. Cornelius Chapel, I saw a goat prancing on top of a steaming pile of compost. After the bubbles of hope this did not surprise me so, I wandered over to the chicken wire and wood enclosure for a closer look. The goat was a resident of the Earth Matters Composting Farm which sits across from the Chapel. This tiny farm offers urban composting lessons to children and adults and has a small “zoo” of 2 goats and a smattering of very colorful chickens. I was smitten by one chicken or rooster in particular, with an unruly feathered afro. Talk about an alien being. It looked like a feather duster with legs. It was quite fast and not at all a willing photography subject, the same could be said of the rest of the fowls, and I had to chase it around before I could get a decent shot. The goats were determined to escape the enclosure and made sure they stood right at the gate entrance. If anyone came in or out they would push past their legs and make their great escape only to be caught by the keeper and carried back in, complaining all the way. This went on all day long. The goats were indeed very sweet if slightly stupid with surprisingly soft hair and hypnotic horizontal eyes. When it was my time to leave I manage to back out an inch at a time with a goat snout pushing against my crotch. When I felt the gate was open enough for me to pass through I gave a final shove on the goat’s head, bid him adieu and made a clean get-a-way.
After the farm I walked through Nolan Park, surround by the stately old Governor’s mansions, where the Fete Paradiso was in full swing with children and their parents riding on vintage carnival rides and carousels. These museum quality 19th & early 20th century machines made their debut at Governors Island this summer. They are beautiful whimsical works of art and are a delight to look at as well as ride. The one-of-a-kind Bicycle Carousel was just gorgeous and my favorite of all of the rides. This was a truly unique attraction with a Parisian flare.
My final destination for the day was Fort Jay; here you step into a time capsule filled with the remnants from the Revolutionary and Civil wars. In the quadrangle you can walk on cobble stone streets, climb up to the porches of the old barracks and walk along peeping into windows or relax in a white wicker rocking chair. Walking through the old parade grounds one can imagine sights and sounds of soldiers being put through their daily paces. In its military heyday the fort was protected by 10” & 15” Rodman Canons. Today there are only a few still standing as sentinels but, at one time, these mighty canons lined the entire perimeter of the fort as evidenced by the many empty platforms encircling the grounds.
I had just finished taking some photos of said canons and was walking along a grass verge when out of the corner of my eye a wisp of filmy skirt floated behind a wall. I immediately followed it and saw a woman dressed in 19th century costume with a long white veil covering her face walking away. Did I just see a ghost? She moved quickly and seemed as if to disappear behind a door, window or wall whenever I was but a few feet from her. At one point out in the middle of the quadrangle, she flew right past me, her skirts and veil billowing out behind her. I fumbled with my camera and managed to catch her blurred image as she passed through an open door that led down to a dark, dank cellar. She beckoned to me and in trepidation I followed. As my eyes adjusted to the dark I saw I was in a cold damp empty circular room of crumbling brick, with black heavy metal doors in the walls. The ceiling was vaulted and crisscrossed with rotting timber beams. And then I saw her, a diaphanous figure searching in vain hope, for someone or something, I knew not what, and then she was gone. I looked around me and no one was there. I was all alone.
My girlfriends and I kicked off the advent of autumn with our first fall Metro North One-Day-Get-A-Way or ODGAW as we call it, with The Farm Fresh Organic Food, Prohibition Moonshine, & Fine Tea tour. The six of us met at Grand Central Station, purchased our breakfast goodies and boarded the train for a two hour trek up to Dutchess County. Upon arrival at the Wassaic station we were picked up by a tour bus that would take us to each of our three destinations.
Our first stop was in the Village of Millerton, where we stretched our legs while sauntering through a local green market with each vendor’s table spilling over with organically grown vegetables and flowers, bars of fragrant homemade soaps and my pick of the lot; sweet delicious maple syrup, a dollop of which I add to my morning coffee. As my friends were browsing the shops and talking to the locals, I wandered into a big red house known as the Florist Shop filled ceiling to cellar with twiggy baskets, dried and fresh flowers, potted plants, wreaths, knick-knacks & gim-crackery of every description. I was in a photographic wonderland and the proprietors were gracious enough to allow me to walk around and take my fill of photos.
Around 1:00pm we met at Harney & Sons, Fine Teas and settled down to a lovely lunch of tea and sandwiches. After a short while I left my friends to finish their meal so I could prowl the little shop, camera in hand. I spent a few minutes talking with the proprietor Brigitte Harney and with her permission took photos of the many delicate tea cups, saucers and pots decorating the room as well as the array of teas, sweet syrups, cookies and coasters on display and all available for purchase. With full bellies and a slight reluctance we left this place of cozy gentility and boarded the bus for our next adventure.
Our second port of call was the most intriguing of the three stops and located on a farm in Pine Plains: Dutch’s Spirits Moonshine distillery. When we arrived we were met by Lydia Higginson, the Deputy Director of Dutchess County Tourism and Ariel Schlein, president of the distillery. Ariel guided us on an incredible journey back in time via a maze of tunnels that had been dug out under the direction of the infamous 1930’s gangster, Dutch Shultz. Dutch created an underground bunker to hide his illegal but very profitable bootlegging business. This bunker has recently been designated a national historic place by the NYS Historic Preservations Office and Ariel is in the process of building a museum dedicated to the bootleg error of this part of the country. The farm acted as a natural facade to this whole booze making enterprise. The raw product was created in stills in an old cow barn and then the distilling, bottling, and distribution operations were done down in the bunker. The barn and a few dilapidated chicken coops are still standing and were all a part of the pretense of a functioning rural farm.
After the tour we were invited to a tasting of alcoholic beverages produced by Ariel’s company, Dutch’s Spirits and as we boarded our bus for the third and final leg of our trip, found ourselves in a very jovial frame of mind.
Last stop: the McEnroe Organic farms and as the name implies this farm produces organically grown produce and meats and are the makers of premium compost and soils. We were given a tour of the composting facilities and the green houses and nurseries, which were quite impressive and grew some of the biggest tomatoes I’ve ever seen. After the tour we had an hour to run around the farm and or shop in the McEnroe Market, but of course I chose to stay outside and photograph this peaceful farm-scape with acres of wide open fields and a sky filled with gray, white and purple clouds. A few minutes into my walk I found a few farm animals. A variable gaggle of gobbling white turkeys greeted me being very excited to meet someone from the city (and a vegetarian too!) and have their pictures taken. Right next to them on the other side of the fence was a whole pile o’ pigs, grunting and snuffling and eating a late day snack of over ripe mushy tomatoes tossed on the ground. Some of the pigs were shy and others pushed their muddy snouts up to the fence to investigate the camera. There were some sheep and they decided to keep their distance but I managed to get a nice picturesque shot of two of them in the foreground and actually looking toward me. The rest of the group just kept their faces buried in the grass. I took the hint and made my way back to my friends who were boarding the bus and we bid farewell to Dutchess County until our next ODGAW in October.
Enjoy the trip.
Where to go was the question that was on my mind when I awoke on Saturday morning and after a cup of hot strong coffee I decided on Socrates Sculputre Park, an urban open air museum at then end of Broadway bordered by Vernon Boulevard and the East River waterfront. I took the Q69 bus to 21st Street and Broadway and walked toward the park taking shots as I strolled through this urban neighborhood. It was my second visit to Socrates and the last time I was there it was in between exhibits but I was in luck this weekend as EAF13 – the 2013 Emerging Artist Fellowship exhibition was on, showcasing 15 new distinctive pieces of visual art.
Now, this was my kind of art; skillfully crafted from everyday stuff which is the “stuff” I love to photograph. The best part about this museum is the exhibits are not just for viewing but for touching, climbing, crawling and probing; a sprawling surreal art playground.
As I approached the entrance my eyes were drawn up to a painting of a dazzling African sunset poised on top of the gates created by artist Wangechi Mutu entitled “Broadway Billboard”. Upon entering the park I turned toward the right to a piece by Aida Šehović: “Obstacle Course.” This was very popular with the adults as much as the children. I watched as a women walked over to the exhibit, looking pensively at the rubber tires at the head of the course, then dropped her bag and showed off her dexterity by hopping through the old car tires with the agility of a 9 year old. Then satisfied that she still had it, picked up her bag and waltzed over to the Saturday morning Tai-Chi class near the exhibit.
The most intriguing was Justin Randolph Thompson’s “Brutus Jones,” a hulking creation of an old rusted wreck and an enormous jutting head glaring out at the visitors. I loved “Tree Wood” by Toshihiro Oki, an open wooden structure in the middle of a small grove of trees. I maneuvered my body within the frame work so I could look up through the beams and boughs and capture the sunlight peering through the leaves. I was delighted when I noticed a huge chandelier dangling from one of the roof beams giving one a feeling of being in an upscale tree house.
I walked around each piece looking through my lens for that special angle that would best showcase the size, shape, texture and color while marveling at how the artists turned a combination of wood, wire, stone, plastic, metal, paint, enamel, water bottles and canvas into urban sculptures. I listed all of the artists, whose work I loving photographed, at the end of this post.
As you wander through the park you begin to see that it is an urban photographer’s paradise. The main office or staff house is actually old cargo containers stacked one on top of the other and painted a dark forest green with a greenhouse topping it off. There were big wooden spools used as tables with tree stumps for seats. A wide open metal work shed for the artists to work in littered with the remnants of creation. But, my favorite spot of all was behind the shed where anything and everything that is used by the park staff and the artists is stored. Most of it was old and worn, some items covered in cobwebs, dust and rust. There were ladders, shovels, saw-horses, poles, containers of all shapes and sizes, winches and pulleys, ropes and rags, grease and glue and a hundred other tools. There was a huge white iron ball that I had to assume was an old buoy pulled from the East River and will someday be a part of an artists imagination and crafted into a new exhibit. Two pussy cats made this their urban abode; one napped on top of a container while another pair of golden feline eyes watched me from behind a leafy cover as I took my fill of photos.
When I exited the park I turned left and walked just a few feet over to Hallet’s Cove. A teeny-tiny strip of shore line and a great place to find grunge. It happened to be low tide and I walked about in the mire and the very pungent smell of the murky waters lapping at my feet. Sun blackened seaweed covered the rocky beach. Sticking up from the sand was a rotted wooden stump resembling an ancient worn totem pole. There were a few pieces of urban debris that washed up on a shore; a bottle without a message but with a seaweed beard and a lost smart phone cover. I climbed around on some boulders that are hidden during high tide, and looked for riparian treasures to photograph. I stumbled upon two large stone blocks, one with a seaweed hair pierce nestle in the sand and the other perched on top of a big boulder. Each had a large single letter carved on them like those children’s wooden ABC blocks. I have seen these blocks inside the park and I don’t know if they were carved by an artist or left over from when the park was an abandoned riverside landfill.
This was definitely a fun, unique and interesting day of urban shooting in my borough of Queens, and I hope you enjoy the images below.
- Thordis Adalsteinsdottir
- Diann Bauer
- Michael DeLucia
- Tamara Johnson
- Anthony Heinz May
- David McQueen
- Kenneth Pietrobono
- Aida Šehović
- Sandy Smith
- Edouard Steinhauer
- Chris Boyd Taylor
- Justin Randolph Thompson
- Hong-An Truong
- Gustabo Velazquez
- Myung Gyun You