Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy's Aftermath - Midwood, Brooklyn, 10/30/2012

Delighted to say that this is the extent of damage to the building. Not bad! Midwood was in fact a good neighborhood to be in last night, as I'd mentioned, we never lost power and never had any flooding.
We did lose a lot of trees though. Saw a lot of this sort of thing when I went to walk TQ's dogs this afternoons, he works for parks and he's on a 12-hour shift today so I took care of the critters. I'm making some turkey soup out of a couple of ginormous turkey legs I cooked yesterday, I'll take some over to him for dinner this evening.
Dinosaur-leg soup! 

For more from my neighborhood, click here to go to a flickr set I put up this morning.

A couple of other good links - Sebago Sailing Co-Chair Jim has posted photos from the club - it's messed up but it looks like the boats are OK, looks like this weekend's fun will be clubhouse cleaning - here's Jim's album. And then my friend John should have changed his blog's name to "Weather Geek", just for a few days here - he went out to Coney Island and he's got photos & videos from before and after - click here to go to Control Geek, and search for "Sandy" to get all of the posts about the hurricane.

I am very, very sad to say that a couple of the storm deaths were in my neighborhood when a couple walking their dog last night got hit when one came down - please note, that was to my north, all of my photos are from the area couple of blocks south of me, my photos are only of trees that damaged property (or just missed damaging property, as in the case of one incredibly lucky car owner, who lost a bit of his back bumper!).

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Update

So far so good here at 10:45 pm. I'm glad I live in Midwood. We're sort of boring here. As you can see in the video, the trees behind my building were lashing about, and I'm sure that some of the fine old trees that line the streets here have gone down (and they can do a lot of damage when they go), but generally speaking, we're doing pretty well compared to a lot of places in the city. We've got lights, we've got internet, I look out the window and I see pavement, not water...boring? Well, boring is awesome.

So far so good, fingers crossed it stays that way. Good luck to my friends who are in places where things are not so good.

11 am gust, Sandy over 200 miles away.

Safe at home, looking out my bedroom window. This was a gust around 11 in the morning - main storm is still a couple hours away. This one's going to be rough. I'll be fine, I'm fairly far inland in Brooklyn (I am actually in an evacuation zone, but I'm in the last one, which only gets cleared out for a Category 3 or worse - Sandy was Category 1, last I checked), and I'm all stocked up for a day or two at home.

Here's a status update I just shared with a Facebook friend who was wishing us luck:

We're totally shut down here - schools closed, stock markets closed, bridges and tunnels closing at 2:00, no public transportation, evacuation zone A (low-lying coastal areas) got cleared out, I think they started yesterday. This morning's high water came up to what Irene gave us last year, they expect tonight's high plus surge to add another foot, and Irene was about 6 inches from overtopping the bulkheads around downtown.

Anybody ignoring the evacuations had better have their water wings. I'll be fine, I'm just barely in evacuation zone C, we're high and dry still - mostly worried about friends who live closer to the water (and of course boats that friends weren't able to haul out). Here's a view outside a bit before 3:00, when I realized that I was about to run out of cough suppressant - that was stupid, I have asthma that only really kicks in when I have a cold, but I've had a cold and I should have thought of this as part of my hurricane prep. Really need to keep the coughing quelled, that gets the asthma going & then it gets into a vicious cycle and I just didn't want that to happen with this storm going on. Fortunately this is where the city beats the 'burbs hands down - I don't have to drive to a store, the stores are just downstairs! The drugstore on the corner was closed, but the Rite-Aid a few blocks away was still open, the manager was getting ready to shut down and send his people home (good for him!) but I was able to get my drugs. Figured I'd take my camera! Tonight's appetizer - "Sandy Salad" (2nd to last of my garden's ripe tomatoes with a little)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Storm King Art Center, 10/20/2012

Glad Gail and I got our foliage fix in when we did - the foliage here in Brooklyn hasn't really begun to "pop" yet and we've got a little storm named Sandy on the way. Now, if the worst Sandy does is mute our fall colors, well, that would actually be quite wonderful, but I'm still glad Gail invited me along, because Storm King Art Center was just spectacular last week!
First stop - Coffee at the Lookout Inn Snack Bar.Lookout InnGail, her coffee, and the Lookout Inn Snack BarLookout Inn Snack BarNext stop - West PointWe're slightly lost now, but it's really pretty so who cares?
And here we are at Storm King Art Center!ART!Mark Di Suvero - JambalayaThree Elements, Ronald BladenPyramidian, Mark di SuveroYOUNG AMERICAN!
Young America (2nd view)Bees Making Honey (1)Bees Making Honey (2)Bees Making Honey (3)Bees Making Honey (5)Bees Making Honey (6)
bees making honey (7)bees making honey (8)Bees making honey (9)bees making honey (10)bees making honey (11)Bees Making Honey (12)

Monday, October 22, 2012

My third and final dinghy race of 2012 - A little better. Phew.

Please forgive my laziness, I'm just lifting a few comments I made in a Facebook post tonight! I wasn't planning on posting tonight because there's more green tomatoes plus some green onions and peppers to cook, yay (tonight I'm going to try making Green Tomato Fried Rice, now I'm totally winging it, making things up based on what I've got on hand! :D), and also a debate which I'd sort of rather not watch but am going to because I can't quite bring myself to look away. However, this afternoon O-Docker made a comment on the picture below, taken while heading out to J-bay on Sunday, that elicited a not-half-bad little nutshell review of Sunday, and then also something about whether I'm eventually going to morph from paddler who sails into sailor who paddles (short answer - probably not, but I do enjoy the sailing!), and it hit me that that would actually make a not-bad quick blog post. So here's that:
O-docker: Last thing you saw after the hiking strap broke?

Me: And I had the presence of mind to whip out the camera and snap a picture as I tumbled into the briny! Amazing, right?

Better racing this week - had poor starts for the first 3 races (first one I was just confused, 2nd I mistook the starter's shout of "Two over!" for "Do over!", and the 3rd I tried to be a little more aggressive but just got myself blocked), 4th was actually a really good start & I stayed with the pack & actually came in 4th of 6 sunfish, last start was not as good but I did stick with people better. Wish the Sebago/Yonkers paddle was on Saturday 'cause I'd love to do the last race - last weekend I was just flailing, we had similar gusty, shifty conditions yesterday but I felt like I was keeping things together better - but I just haven't paddled with my friends in Yonkers in so long, and the foliage up there is so pretty now, I think I'm going with that.

O Docker:I wonder if paddling is drawing you into sailing.

I first thought about sailing while having to row a rubber raft back to shore from the middle of Lake Tahoe against a stiff wind and chop. Around me, sailboats were making it home without paddling a stroke.

And they looked to be enjoying their damned selves.

Me: Funny, I was just thinking that with the help of the folks in the Sebago Sailing Committee, I have actually turned into a basically competent dinghy sailor - but my choice to paddle next weekend says I'm still really more of a paddler! Although if the paddle was anything other than a paddle with the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club, where I have a lot of friends I haven't paddled with in ages, I would do the last dinghy race of the Fall Dinghy Series instead. I think last year was more rewarding because I was able to do most of the series, I probably did the same with a horrible first race, getting it together for the 2nd & then doing better for the rest (we do six or seven, I think it is). Schedule just didn't work out for me this year.

Me: PS - Why were you rowing a rubber raft in the middle of Lake Tahoe?

O Docker: It was before I knew anything about little boats and wind.

I didn't start out in the middle, the raft just went there all by itself.
OK, there we go, a post in ten minutes - time to go start cooking!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Little More Yonkers Fun (plus that mermaid boat for Baydog)

Just wrapping up a very fun & busy 3-day weekend - aside from that lovely redtail, who I couldn't resist sharing, I didn't want to post any more pictures from this one 'til I finished LAST weekend!

One more very nice stop before we moved on to what I'd really come up to see - we paid a visit to the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club -

Very nice to see it looking very much as it always has. There was a period of time when someone or someones in the Yonkers government was not the biggest fan of recreational use of the waterfront, but the people in charge now are embracing the river as an asset and the YPRC is held in good regard. Also nice to hear that they are back to teaching rolling at the Yonkers YMCA - that was such a sensible relationship and location, but something happened with a former manager there that sent them in search of a new venue. They were up at Sarah Lawrence College, which was a beautiful pool but harder to get to than the Yonkers Y. Nice to hear they're back in the place where rolling actually became FUN for me, after a long stretch of being a competent but somewhat fearful roller (due to a near-dislocation of a shoulder from a very bad roll early on in my rolling career). 

Then it was on to the Hudson River Museum. The thing that FINALLY drew me up there last weekend, when I've been vaguely thinking this would be an interesting place to visit for years,  was of course the Hudson River Explorers exhibition (click here for Times review of some of the preliminary works that Sebago's sailing co-chair Holly Sears had created in making those beautiful panels up at Tarrytown.
The panels were printed in layers -- Holly would do multiple paintings for each one, and then, as she explains it in the catalogue, "the original paintings were digitally reproduced, enlarged, combined, and then layered together to create the laminated art glass panels that were fabricated by Tom Patti Design".

When she was telling us a bit more about the process after the dinghy races last Sunday, she said that this was a really unusual way for her to work, she more ordinarily paints her subjects in context - in an environment of some sort - but in this case, the animals were all painted on their own, with the background added in later, and she found she liked the effect of the animals hanging in white space.

That's what was on display at the Hudson River Museum. Here was Hawks - 

Here's a detail from Passengers

Passengers at Tarrytown.
What I think I really liked about the prints at the Hudson River Museum was the way they drew attention to the incredible detail that Holly put into every plant and animal. Another thing she told us last week that I wish I'd known to look for is that she actually worked in different scales for the subject paintings and the backgrounds - she said she tried one-eighth for the subjects at first but at that scale she couldn't get the detail she wanted to have showing when the works were enlarged, so she went to quarter-scale for those - but stuck with one-eighth for the backgrounds, so in some cases the texture of the paper actually shows in those misty distant vistas. I think you can see a hint of that in the final version of Hawks above, but I don't think my camera could probably really catch that like the eye could -- if one's eye were slightly more observant than mine, that is! Anyways - all absolutely beautiful and I'm glad I caught the exhibit.

Besides enjoying Hudson River Explorers, we also had a blast browsing the Red Grooms Bookstore. Check this out!

We were warmly welcomed to the Glenview Mansion and given a bit of a personal tour by a museum guard who knew everything about the place...
And the Hudson Riverama room was fascinating - I think any paddler would really enjoy it!

Final special treat of the day - on the way up to Tarrytown, Pat and Mark decided to stop and show me the Palisades landslide. Yikes. Good thing it happened at night while nobody was on the park's Shore Trail!
And that was pretty much it for last weekend's pictures - dinghy racing, the forecast was too gusty for me to even bother with a camera! But here's a picture for Baydog, who wanted to know if I saw the mermaid boat yesterday -- yes, I did!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Red-tailed Hawk at the Storm King Art Center

Finally got a chance to try my zoom lens on a bird! I'd had birds in mind when I bought it, but I only ever seem to use it for TUGBOATS! :D

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hudson River Explorers

Back to my MetroNorth day now!

 Seeing the newly-"daylighted" Sawmill River and the science barge were bonuses enough to merit their own post, but the real purpose of my trip last weekend was a visit to the Tarrytown train station and the Hudson River Museum to see an absolutely beautiful new public art installation (a commission from MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design) by Sebago's own sailing committee co-chair, Holly Sears, and a related set of prints at the museum. The museum exhibit is gone now (Sunday was the last day) but the beautiful glass panels in the overpasses at the Tarrytown train station are up for as long as they last, and if you're ever in the area, they're really worth a visit. Don't forget - click on any picture for detail!


Holly's a great sailor and a great sailing instructor, and she and her husband and co-chair Jim have done amazing work in building a small-craft sailing program at Sebago (I may have been bummed out about how I did in Sunday's sail but really, the chance to learn to sail a whole entire boat all by myself was a big draw for staying at the club even after storage reopened at my abruptly-shuttered original home base in Chelsea, and although I'm still a much better paddler than sailor, I really, really enjoy this different way of playing on the water). On top of that, she's an amazing artist, too. You can see more of her work at hollysears.com.


First time I really saw any of her paintings was a few years back when they had a winter meeting of the sailing committee at their apartment -- she had a couple of big pieces hung in the living room and they were just gorgeous, that was a while back but I'm picturing sort of floating assemblies of shells and stones and driftwood, sharply, cleanly detailed, the surface of the painting absolutely smooth and glossy but the image deep-looking, like you were looking into very clear pool on a day without a breath of wind - only of course hanging on a wall.

This effect is created by her choice of medium; she herself describes it like this on her site: "Oil glazing tends to create a mirror-like surface that can produce a luminous depth and at the same time shows the history of the making in the surface of the painting - a plastic effect that allows a painting to engage the viewer in an abstract and formal way upon close inspection." I haven't got the art vocabulary to think of it that way, but now that I've read that...yeah, that's it. You can get some idea from her website but even the best monitor can't really do a painting justice.

According to the catalogue she gave me, Holly actually got the commission in 2010 - I suppose I should be surprised that I didn't know anything about it until this summer except that I'm really not! Holly's a fairly reserved person - really nice, but not one who goes around tooting her own horn much; I don't tend to ask a lot of questions myself (it's not that I'm not curious about other people, and if you've been reading this blog a while, you know that I definitely like art, it's just that I don't like to be nosy), and besides, at the club, I think we all really have this tendency to sort of shed our other selves at the gate - we're all there because we love boats and boating, and that's just naturally what we all end up talking about. 


Looking out at the river and the Tappan Zee Bridge on the stairs down from the North Overpass. South next!

Partway through the summer, though, with the panels installed at Tarrytown and the public and press began to rave, Hudson River Explorers started to appear on Holly's facebook page with increasing regularity. I think the first link I saw was a Tarrytown Patch article with pictures that once again just made me go "Ooooh!" - then there were more reviews, more friends of hers congratulating her, then swimming elephants began appearing in the subway...really great stuff!

Owls (sorry I cut this one off so badly!)

I started to make vague plans to go see this sometime. I have a good friend who lives in Wappingers Falls, was thinking maybe I'd stop to check it out sometime on my way up to visit her - 

Hawks, Tappan Zee Bridge, and Owls

but then I found out that there was an exhibit at the Hudson River Museum ( http://www.hrm.org/ ) that was closing on Sunday the 14th. Now, the Hudson River Museum has been something I've been interested in visiting for a very long time; they have a great collection of Hudson River School paintings (what local paddler isn't a total sucker for dramatic stormscapes in the Highland?) and they also have a scale model of the entire Hudson River called the Riverama that I'd heard was really neat. It's a ways away though, and when I have been going to Yonkers in the past, it's usually been for a paddling thing, and I was never quite willing to take a train ride just to see the Riverama. But with Holly's exhibit and installation added to a prospective itinerary, I thought that might make for a really nice day! 

Elephants (this is the one that's been on all the posters)

I was originally going to go weekend before last, but then I thought of another thing I really wanted to do if I was going up that way - namely, catch up with a couple of old friends from the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club ( http://www.yprc.org/ ). Knew they were both out of town the original weekend I'd been leaning towards; Pat was available this last weekend and that's how I ended up getting all the Yonkers extras!

It was actually tons of fun having Pat and Mark (Pat's S.O., he'd originally thought he would be working so wasn't part of our plans, but when it turned out there'd been a schedule foul-up, he joined us). Pat gave me the great mini-tour of Yonkers, we had lunch at Guapo, the Mexican restaurant that had taken over the space formerly occupied by the Mexican restaurant we always used to go to after rolling sessions at the Yonkers YMCA. A bit more upscale, but the food was still good (I got brave and had a tongue taco 'cause Pat said it was good, and it was!), they still had our traditional post-rolling beer (Negra Modelo), and it was still very reasonable. Then we headed on to the museum and station and that was REALLY neat. Pat is another wildly talented friend - she's a textiles engineer and works for Consumer Reports, and for fun, along with being an excellent paddler, she spins, dyes, weaves, quilts, knits, and her stuff is also all gorgeous. She's got a wonderful eye and it was tons of fun watching her look at Holly's stuff for the first time. I'd already become somewhat familiar with it - my first "Wow, that's amazing!" moment was back with the Patch article, I still loved it but Pat and Mark were seeing it for the first time, and Pat was just loving the weird size juxtapositions...

the mysterious proximities (are the porpoises flying, or are the little birds diving?)...


And just the way the panels glowed. She actually caught on more quickly than I did that seeing the panels in different lights would be interesting, too - we were up there a bit before 4, I think, and I just thought we'd caught the perfect time with the panes all lit up - Pat said she thought they'd probably change in interesting ways in different lights, and then on Sunday Holly really got to talking about the work and how she got the commission (an absolutely grueling competition, she was one of 9 who were in consideration, she said she spent 400 hours putting together her proposal, I assume that's work that the artist doesn't expect to get reimbursed for...) and when I mentioned the light, Holly said almost exactly what Pat observed, that the panels weren't just meant to be observed in the direct illumination of the late afternoon sun, but in all sorts of lights. 

Swimmers (again, wish I hadn't cut this one off...), Tappan Zee Bridge, and Swoop - leaving the South Overpass. 

I have one more set of pictures to share from this trip - Holly's exhibit plus the other neat stuff at the Hudson River Museum - but it's getting very, very late and I need to turn in now, so I'll save those for another day!

And once again - if you happen to find yourself in the vicinity of the Tarrytown train station with a few minutes to spare, I really recommend a trip across the overpasses. These pictures just don't do it justice!