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.


2 thoughts on “Alien Bubbles, Goats and a Ghost

  1. So many enchanting images and a vivid chronicle to accompany them!!! Our intrepid photographer is quite the story teller. This is a walk back in time and a spine chilling encounter with lingering spirits still earthbound, not yet ready to depart this earth and standing in wait of tourists as a reminder they are watching just as the soldier in the window or the curious dark hooded shadow lurking at the 10″ Rodman canon. The beautiful carousel, the goats and chickens were a delightful and lighthearted departure from the otherwise unearthly spectres lurking on this historic site. There’s a quiet narrative present in each photo, whispering to the viewer and I certainly listened. Thanks for the adventure!


  2. Cate, that was wonderful! I felt like I was in a time machine traveling from star time slowly moving back into the 19th century. What a day! I surely miss a lot of life taking place in this City 🙂


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