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Archive for August, 2009

Gloucester!

We are currently touring New England with the kids. It’s a car trip, but we’re sticking close to the water. Today we arrived in Gloucester, MA. After reading The Last Fish Tale and stumbling upon some Gloucester blogs (see related post), I knew I had to come to Gloucester sooner rather than later. Joey of GoodMorningGloucester was incredibly helpful with advice on visiting his hometown. (His blog is a fantastic compilation of photos, videos, and news from America’s oldest fishing port.)

Upon our arrival in town, we made the obligatory stop at the Man at the Wheel, the Gloucester Fishermen’s Memorial.

man-at-wheel

From there we proceeded straight to Captain Joe & Sons to try to find Joey. He wasn’t hard to find:

joey

When we got there, he was busy crating up lobsters and herring:

herring

We chatted a bit, and he suggested some places to visit. So we headed off to the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, but first we had lunch:

roast_beef

There is a great pier behind the heritage center, and we sat there for a while as I took billions of pictures. Fishing boats of all varieties were headed out to sea:

heading_out_paint

boats_heading_out

Finally, heeding the call of our stomachs, we left the pier and headed for dinner, which we ate at Halibut Point, located in the building where Howard Blackburn had his inn.

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Here are some more pictures from our July trip up the Hudson River. There are seven lighthouses on the river; presented here are six of them. Do you know which one is missing? Here they are, from south to north.

First is the Little Red Lighthouse (nestled beneath the Great Gray Bridge). This tower’s light was first lit in 1895.

little_red

Next up is the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse, formerly known as the Tarrytown Lighthouse or the Kingsland Point Lighthouse. It was first lit in 1883. (This was taken on a slightly rough day, and we didn’t get too close; we were more interested in getting to that day’s stopping place—Alpine Boat Basin.)

sleepyhollow

Farther up the river is the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse. The first lighting of the current tower was in 1872. Note the guys in orange painting the building. They were a work crew from some prison (one of the sweeter gigs, I would think). You can see the guard just to the right of the building. He was watching very carefully as we came by and took pictures; he really had no idea what a lousy getaway vessel Puffin would make!

esopus

The Rondout Lighthouse is just outside Kingston, NY, the first capital of New York State. The first lighthouse here was built in 1838, but the current building dates from 1915. The Hudson River Maritime Museum runs tours out to this one.

rondout

The really cool thing about the Saugerties Lighthouse is that you can stay in their bed and breakfast (but you have to make your reservations way in advance). The first lighting of this tower was in 1869.

saugerties

The northernmost lighthouse on the Hudson is the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse. This is the original building on this site. It was built and first lit in 1874.

hudson-athens

For more information on these lighthouses (and to discover which one is missing from these photos), check out the Hudson River Lighthouse Coalition.

All photos, except the first one, by Karen

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Governors Island is host to many events. Last night’s was not the quietest (or driest). Water Taxi Beach was the venue for a late summer beach party with the B-52s.

The evening started off hot and muggy and clear. Here are Karen and the kids enjoying a picnic in front of the stage:

picnic

We had about an hour and a half to kill before the opening act, Meta and the Cornerstones (a Brooklyn-based reggae band). It was hot with very little breeze, but there were all sorts of craft plying the waters off the Battery.  Here’s Pioneer:

pioneer

Finally, the B-52s took the stage:

b-52s

They were putting on an amazing show and were about halfway through their set when the skies over New Jersey began to glow with flashes and occasional bolts of lightning. I turned to Karen and said they should move “Love Shack” up on their set list if they wanted to be sure they got the chance to play it. Nearing the end of “Roam” the music and singing stopped abruptly, followed by an announcement that they were going to take a break while the weather passed over.

Well, it passed right over us: bolts of lightning all around, heavy rain, and big winds. We stuck it out under umbrellas and towels and hoped it would clear quickly, but, alas, it was not to be. The rest of the set was canceled, and we marched our wet selves back to the ferry. By the time we got back to Manhattan, the rain had stopped.

Here are the bedraggled survivors waiting for their train home (Karen with the kids and her sister, Dina):

survivors

And we never did get to hear “Love Shack.”

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Tonight Karen and I saw the play The Report of My Death, a one-person show starring Michael Graves and written and directed by Adam Klasfeld.

The play itself was witty and wise. But the remarkable thing about it was the venue. This production is the latest in the new tradition (is that an oxymoron?) of staging theatrical productions on old boats. The trend started when an opera was produced aboard the Mary Whalen (scroll down the linked page for details), and tonight’s performance took place on the deck of the steamship LILAC, a decommissioned U.S. Coast Guard lighthouse tender moored at Pier 40 on the Hudson River.

The story of the play (or docudrama, as Klasfeld calls it) is Mark Twain traveling around the world by steamship and train, giving lectures to try to recoup his losses from a bad business deal. As such, it is highly appropriate to stage it on the deck of an old steamship. Here’s the set:

photo 081209 001

Set of The Report of My Death

The gentle rocking of the boat, the breeze from the river, and the threat of rain all enhanced the experience. Also adding to the ambiance was the presence of Iggy, the ship’s cat:

photo 081209 003

Iggy

Tugster has more on LILAC here. And Bowsprite shows off one of her amazing watercolors of the ship here.

The play runs for a few more days; follow this link to try to get tickets.

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On August 1 Karen and I made a triumphal (okay, maybe it wasn’t triumphal) return to Governors Island, this time with the kids in tow. Unfortunately, we were not able to take Puffin, so we joined the huddled masses on the ferry from the Battery Maritime Building, all yearning to breathe free on the lawns and promenade of the island.

In 1809 Washington Irving, in A History of New-York, from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty; Containing, among Many Surprising and Curious Matters, the Unutterable Ponderings of Walter the Doubter, the Disastrous Projects of William the Testy, and the Chivalric Achievements of Peter the Headstrong—The Three Dutch Governors of New Amsterdam: Being the Only Authentic History of the Times that Ever Hath Been or Ever Will Be Published, bemoaned the fact that Governors Island, “once a smiling garden . . . was now covered with fortifications” so that it “resembled a fierce little warrior in a big cocked hat, breathing gunpowder and defiance to the world!”

I’m happy to report that, although the fortifications remain, the gunpowder and defiance seem to be gone.

fort_jay

The island is aswarm with peaceful New Yorkers and visitors who roam everywhere by foot, bike, scooter, and other human-powered wheeled transport. In fact, it was the bicycles that lured us to Governors Island this time. We were hoping to rent one of Bike and Roll‘s quadcycles, but we were much too late, and there weren’t any available. Instead, we each got a bicycle—mountain bikes for the kids, and fancy, orange Dutch bikes for Karen and me.

gi_bikes

Riding the complete perimeter of the island is easy due to the lack of hills and the lovely breezes off the water.

gi_promenade

There are plenty of places to stop and lots of grass to rest on. If you go on Fridays, you can get a bike for an hour for free, and Bike and Roll has just added 50 more bicycles to its fleet. (Here’s a question, though: How come they get to charge for the orange bikes? They were donated to New York City by the Dutch government.)

At any rate, it was another thoroughly enjoyable afternoon on Governors Island. Next time we’ll bring our own bikes, though.

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