Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve Day stroll in Prospect Park

Finishing off 2016 with a nice quiet day in Brooklyn. Happy New Year all, and best wishes for a peaceful, healthy, and happy 2017. Let's watch out for each other - 
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(frogma kayak smiley, patent pending)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Holiday Empire State Building

Taken last night in Union Square on my way home from a hoedown.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Definite Last Session of 2016 -

Oops, thought I was going to have my annual holiday windows post tonight, but the friend with whom I always go to see them isn't feeling well today, so instead, here are a few photos from last week's music session. I was on the tail end of a cold, in fact I'd stayed home from work on Monday, but it was the night of the annual holiday party and the first in the Dempsey's session's new home at Slainte, and I didn't want to miss it. They make a nice hot toddy (just the thing for the tail end of a cold), the food was delicious, the tunes (led by guest musician Tom Dunne) were good, owner Tom O'Byrne joined us for a few songs, there was some good festive garb (sample below!)and although I did head out much earlier than I usually would have, I thoroughly enjoyed myself for the time I was there. Sorry I ran out of steam, but glad I was well enough to go for at least a bit.

I'm so glad the move has worked out - it was kind of sad leaving Dempsey's when it had been such a good home for the music for so long, but I've been really enjoying Slainte's excellent beer and cocktail lists (they have something like 19 beers on tap and they rotate 'em, so you can try something new every time), and I think I'm actually going more than I used to because it's a little closer to both my office and the subway; there've definitely been nights where the weather was such that I wouldn't have gone to Dempseys, but didn't mind going to Slainte.

This really is such a local treasure - there are other sessions, but Dempsey's is the one where everybody gets to play, and it's a lovely addition to a week. Hats off to John Nevin, who keeps it all together - that's him in the 3rd picture down, far right with the big smile.

In NYC, want to check it out? We're there most Tuesday nights, 8 'til late! 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Probable Last Paddle of 2016

I'm on the tail end of a cold and it would've been tempting to take another day to be a lazy git, but I floated the idea of a paddle with TQ and he was up for it, and it was a lovely day out there. Nothing dramatic, just out around Ruffle Bar and back, but it did feel good to get out there and get moving. There's always that point in a cold where you could stay home another day, but you know it would probably be better to get off yer duff and go do something. That was today, indeed. 

I was hoping for seals; no seals, but we did get a nice set of sundogs, and a beautiful view of the Manhattan & Queens skylines on this nice clear winter day, plus got to see tiny tug Emily (home-ported in Mill Basin, visiting the Paerdegat for dock maintenance work) and a peek in the Sebago boatshed at the Carnarsienne, the club's future safety boat, looking grand!

Happy Holidays! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Past Post Bonus Post - Holiday Train Show Norton Point Light meets Coney Island Norton Point Light - with Train Show Documentary

Today's post is just two pictures from sets I've shared recently (and in fact if you're a Facebook friend you might have see this over there already) (oops - update later - ok, that was all this was supposed to be when I started in on this post but then I had an afterthought that turned out to be WAY better than I planned - see below!). I think I mentioned in the Flickr album from the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show that there'd been a lot of changes since I went to see that with friends several years ago, and that my favorite new thing was the splendid Coney Island display.

One of the first things you see as you're walking in, if you walk in on the Brooklyn Bridge side of the display like I did, is a model of the Norton Point Light, and I love that because of that unexpected walk around Norton Point in November, I have a good picture of the real thing to show side-by-side with the botanical modelmakers' version. Here they are - whaddaya think, is this a nice job, or what? 
And here's the best afterthought-turned-grand-finale for a quick post that I think I've ever come up with. When you go to the NYBG to see the show, before you go into the conservatory, you see a short video talking about the work behind the scenes, and as I was waiting for the two photos to load, I remembered that and thought, "Oh, I wonder if that's online anywhere, that would make a fun ending to this post.

I don't think this is it, but this is even better, in fact it's absolutely marvelous. I wasn't planning on watching a half-hour documentary program tonight (I'm at the tail end of a cold but was feeling well enough by last night to go to the annual Dempsey's holiday party last night, didn't stay too late but I'm still feeling a little tired tonight, and was just going to pop this up and then turn in around 10), but once this started playing, I was in for the duration. If you enjoyed my holiday train show post, you're going to love this! I've embedded it but goodness, if you have a spare half hour, click on the title on the video here to go to You Tube and put it on full screen, then you can properly ENJOY this amazing production from New York's PBS station, WNET 13.  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

An Unusual Urban Hike Around Norton Point, Coney Island

Brighton Beach pup watching the world go by. 

This goes back a ways now, but this weekend ended up being quieter than I'd hoped due to getting a cold, so I'm circling back to it now. This was on November 19th, which was forecasted to be a nice day to get outside. I think I'd had ideas about going for a paddle, but didn't get my act together fast enough (always an issue in these days of limited daylight and ridiculous amounts of gear), so I decided to head out to Coney Island for one of my "urban hikes" instead -- and I was glad I did, because for the first time EVER, the western end of the Coney Island boardwalk wasn't the turn-around point!

Instead, my route was something like this:

I caught the bus down to Ocean Avenue to near the Sheepshead Bay subway station, then walked down Brighton 10, which angles over toward the boardwalk. I've walked this route before and I like it because it's got this old-school Brooklyn feel to it; so much of the borough is all this flashy new stuff but not in this particular section so far (although it's not that Brighton Beach hasn't been hit by the developers - in fact, quite the contrary - old post but interesting, I do wonder what the situation is now). Got to the boardwalk and headed west, stopping to take a couple of pictures at the old Child's Restaurant, which reopened this summer as the Ford Amphitheater. Interesting setup, the stage is built into the side of the building, with the seating area outdoors in the lot to the west. What caught my eye was that the beautiful terra cotta ornaments on the building are beginning to emerge from the renovation scaffolding, it was nice to see those again, I've always liked those, and it was especially interesting to see some of it up close - beautiful design and colors! 

After that stop, I headed on, expecting to turn around where the boardwalk ends at the Sea Gate gated community, but when I got there, the gate in the big chain-link fence that cuts off the Sea Gate beach was standing wide open. I'd never seen that before! I looked around to see if there were people working...nope! I've paddled around the point a few times, and I didn't recall a similar fence on the other side, so I decided I would see if I could walk all the way around Norton Point to Coney Island Creek Park on the north side of Coney Island. It worked fine, there was one section right at the tip that was all boulders, so a bit of a scramble, other than that, just smooth beach walking. Fun finally getting to see the Norton Point Light from a little closer, and the Verranzano Narrows Bridge looked beautiful at twilight. I finished my walk at the Stillwell subway station, just under 6 miles, and a very nice (and unusual) way to spend an afternoon.

All pictures after this, click on the first one for slideshow view. Photo with the red flag is the last one on the public beach at Coney Island - after that I'm in the part of Coney Island that's usually inaccessible. BTW I have no idea what the building in the last photo is, it just looked intriguing with the metal decorations on the front shining in the dark. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Pacific Voyaging Documentaries (Would Go Well With MOANA!)

Bit of a lunch hour copy-and-paste from Facebook today - but good stuff to share.

 What a wonderful night at Sebago last night. My last post leaving work was a good island thing - "Go home, cook rice". The rice I went home and cooked was to go with the chicken adobo I made over the weekend for a movie night at Sebago Canoe Club, first one for the winter of 2016-2017. I shared the documentary "Papa Mau", which I'd bought while Hokule'a was here - I hadn't gotten around to watching it yet and it was great to actually see it for the first time with my paddling friends. Great documentary, we loved it, and it made such a good pairing with Sam Low's "The Navigators", which I shared at the club last year (with the help of friends from Halawai) as part of the preparations for the Hokule'a's visit.

With all the buzz about Moana, I just can't recommend this pairing enough for mainland friends who have gone or are going to see that movie, and want to learn more about the real-life traditions that, through the efforts of the people you'll meet in the films, carry on to this day. You can see both for free online:

Click here for The Navigators, 
And here for Papa Mau. 

 And then don't forget to follow Hokule'a as she continues on the amazing Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage! Leg 25 just finished, she's back in Miami now and I would guess that she'll be continuing on south to the Panama Canal, looking forward to touching the Pacific again for the first time in a long time. What an adventure, I'm still so honored to have been able to join in on the welcome here in NYC.

Monday, December 12, 2016

NYBG Holiday Train Show - Flickr album + special Doodle Du Jour, NYBG edition!

What a weekend! Paddling got short-changed in favor of getting in some holiday fun; on Saturday I joined in on Holiday Hymns for Hounds, carolling in Union Square to raise funds for the Mighty Mutts shelter dogs for the second year in a row, and then on Sunday I went to see the New York Botanical Garden's amazing Holiday Train Show. The NYBG is a bit of a hike from deep in the heart of Brooklyn, where I live, so I've only been to see it once, years ago when friends from Seattle were visiting with their then-very-young children, who are now in high school (and one of them maybe college even? yikes!), but it's a spectacular thing, so when my friend Mandy mentioned that she and her friend M. were going, I asked if I could tag along, so yesterday she and I rode Metro North up to the Bronx (or is that properly Da Bronx?) where we met M. and M.'s friend T. for a fantastic afternoon. The exhibit, which consists of large-scale model trains running around amazing scale models of NY architectural gems of all sorts, with the buildings (and even a couple of the trains!) all being done in plants and fungi. It's definitely grown since the last time I was there, and I think my very favorite addition was an amazing Coney Island part, complete with Deno's Wonder Wheel and a Cyclone with passengers shrieking in terrified delight!

Great stuff, too many pictures for a blog post, click here for the Flickr album.

I can't resist pulling out an excerpt - with 50+ pictures I tried to keep the captions short, but there was one exception which I can't resist sharing as one of my "Doodle du jour" series. I got to doodle somewhere MUCH fancier than my usual doodling venues - check it out! 

This was really fun - after we saw the trains and took a tram tour of the garden, we stopped at the library building to see the "Redouté to Warhol: Bunny Mellon’s Botanical Art" exhibit, and found that the American Society of Botanical Artists had a table set up there with paper and pencil and various things to draw - and there were chairs free

T. and I turned out to be a like-minded pair when it came to drawing, we saw this and our eyes just lit up so bright that the folks who were working there pulled us right in. So we sat down at the table and had a great time while the other checked out the exhibit, which was just one room - when they reappeared we decided it was time to wrap up, we then went and had a high-speed look at the gallery. Good fun! I wish I had thought to have someone take a picture of the two of us holding up our drawings, we took very different approaches and they both came out well and that would've been a fun picture, as seeing our different takes was really interesting; I also wish I had gotten a picture of the watercolor that the artist was doing of that spiky seedpod thing under the light, it was beautiful!

Here's mine, though - "Mini Still Life with Almond, Cherry, and Hazelnut". MMM. Wouldn't that make a good chocolate bar? :D

Friday, December 09, 2016

Erie Canal Day 6 - Clyde to Hibiscus Harbor, our last stop.

10/15/2016 - So I think this was the only day where we did actually do fifteen miles - no mule named Sal though (oh, come on, I had to refer to that song at least once in this writeup!), and only part of it was on the Erie Canal - part of it was on the Erie Canal, part of it back on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, and the last leg back on Cayuga Lake. Locks 26, 25, and C-S 1. I forgot to write in my journal on this day, we had to hand Nameless Nomad back at 10 the next morning so I think we just got really busy collecting our stuff and cleaning up, and then I just didn't think of it. I did take all sorts of pictures though!

Morning in Clyde 

We were off to see the Mill Museum, which is run by the Galen Historical Society, and which was recommended highly in the touring info provided by Cruise-USA

Unfortunately, we missed the bit about how in the off-season you should call to make arrangements to see the place. There was actually a telephone number on the door which you could call if you wanted, but we didn't want to see it quite badly enough to call this person and ask them to drop whatever plans they already had for the morning, so we just checked out the farm equipment they had outside and then took off. 

The local fire department was having a demo day. I think if they'd set this car on fire, we would've gone down to watch them put it out, but there was no actual fire involved, so we watched from the bridge for a bit and then headed back to our boat. 

Erie Canal from the Route 414 bridge

Back on Nameless and heading east again. Never did get a shot of an Amtrack train but here's another CSX train passing a grain elevator, just outside of town.

Locking through at Lock 25. I must have been driving at Lock 26, no pictures there. Everything is so neat and well-kept along the canal (or at least the pieces I've seen now) - yesterday's "post post" was  just a joke, but I took the photo because I liked how even a simple stencilled sign like that looked so sharp in the canal system's blue and gold. TQ was lucky enough to even get a look at some of the lock machinery at one lock - we'd sounded our horn to let the lock master know we were there, and then nothing happened for a surprisingly long time, so TQ went ashore to see what was going on and found the lock master just finishing up some routine maintenance. He said it was pretty neat to see. 

Tender #1, just outside of the lock. I was sorry we didn't have the good luck to run into the Urger, but I was glad to get a nice shot of this smaller tug. 

Approaching our exit from the Erie Canal -

More NYS Canal System work vessels

Hello Cayuga-Seneca Canal,

So long Erie Canal. What a good visit.

Another hawk (and I would bet that there were more herons and kingfishers too, but the day before had been so good for bird photography, I think I was finally satisfied that I was bringing home some acceptable shots to share).

Lock CS1. From the Cayuga-Seneca Canal Page: "Lock 1 is in a scenic location and lifts boats 25 feet. The area and lock is traditionally referred to as Mud Lock due to the soft land (a former swamp) it is built upon. When leaving Lock 1 to Cayuga Lake be mindful of the buoys and your depth. This area is quite shallow outside the channel. Once in the lake, there is the option to continue south to Ithaca or immediately turn to the west and continue along the Seneca River to Seneca Lake." Our itinerary did give another overnight in Seneca Falls as an option, but with a good cleaning needing to be done before we handed the boat back over at 10 the next morning, we decided it would make life simpler if we just spend our last night at Hibiscus Harbor.

Back to Cayuga Lake

Home again home again jiggety jig

Sunset at our journey's end. Or at least the part of the journey that was on a boat. Where shall we go next? Hmmm. To be continued!


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