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Archive for June, 2009

So I just finished reading Mark Kurlansky‘s The Last Fish Tale: The Fate of the Atlantic and Survival in Gloucester, America’s Oldest Fishing Port and Most Original Town. Before I go any further: I highly recommend it.

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that Sebastian Junger‘s The Perfect Storm made me want to visit Gloucester. With Kurlansky added to the mix the urge to visit is yet stronger. Adding even more to the desire to go to Gloucester was the coincidence that the prologue of The Last Fish Tale is all about the pole walkers of Gloucester—participants in a competition that takes place during the Saint Peter’s Fiesta, and the festival took place last weekend, right after I started reading the book.

This morning I was reading SOUNDBOUNDER, and I was intrigued by one of the comments, which was made by someone in Gloucester. Clicking the commenter’s profile brought me to his blog—Shooting My Universe—where I found fantastic pictures of Gloucester, including several of the pole walkers at last week’s Saint Peter’s Fiesta. I’m going to call this not-quite-so random alignment of Web and non-Web worlds a “webincidence.”

Following a link from Shooting My Universe—simply because I liked the name—brought me to Living in Brooklyn-Longing for Maine, where I found more photos of Cape Ann and Gloucester.  Another webincidence.

Go figure…

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It’s been an awfully long, wet spring. Today was the first time this season that we took Puffin out into Jamaica Bay. It was a quick jaunt over to Rockaway, then east under the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge (non-movable), where we got this view of the A train heading to Manhattan over this non-DOT swing bridge.

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Later, while we were docked at the Wharf, our favorite Jamaica Bay restaurant (because it has a dock), we saw the swing bridge open to allow a Sheepshead Bay party boat to pass through.

Here’s Puffin in her usual spot at the Wharf’s dock:

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We made a nighttime crossing of Jamaica Bay back to our marina and closed up the boat just as a few raindrops started to fall. A perfect day.

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At the end of last month I got to take a quick business trip to Chicago. The highlight was getting to spend my lunch break walking along the Chicago River, checking out its movable bridges. You’ve heard of Chicago-style pizza; well, there are Chicago-style movable bridges too. Chicago has thirty-six movable bridges, more than any other city in the world. Almost all are bascule bridges, some examples of which are shown on this page. New York City, by contrast, has four different types of movable bridges—bascule, vertical lift, swing, and retractile.

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Another difference between New York and Chicago bridges is that Chicago’s bridges only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and only during the spring and fall, whereas New York’s bridges can be operated 24/7.

Here’s an empty bridge operator’s tower.

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IMG_4988There was very little traffic on the river when I was there, but I did see one of Shoreline Sightseeing’s water taxis (not pictured), and the William C, one of Illinois Marine Towing’s boats. And here’s a link to a time-lapse video from Chicago Water Taxi that shows a round-trip voyage on the river.

IMG_4990Puffin is short enough to pass under all of Chicago’s bridges without waiting for them to open, and the bridges are so close together that passing under them all is probably only a one- or two-day event. Now all we need to do is get Puffin to Lake Michigan! (Karen and I were able to fix the steering problem; now it’s just a matter of fixing our schedules so we have time to use the boat.)

Finally, here’s a gratuitous picture of the Sears Tower, the tallest building in North America and the third tallest in the world.IMG_4991

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