Jon Crispin's Notebook

Lock 12, Erie Canal / “Ward’s Island” Derrick Boat Decomissioned (EDITED)

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I got a call yesterday from my friend and sometimes patron Craig Williams.  Craig worked at the New York State Museum and was responsible for getting me access to the Willard Suitcases, as well as work photographing the panels and artifacts from the World Trade Center 9-11 attack, and a ton of other interesting photography projects.

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Craig has been really concerned with a plan that the NY State Canal Corporation has to scrap some historically important canal boats and sink them off the coast of Long Island to creat artificial reefs.  He asked me to meet him at Lock 12 in Tribe’s Hill, NY and take a few photos of one of the boats as it made its way Eastward.

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Above is the derrick boat “Ward’s Island” which is being pushed from Lyons, NY  through the Erie Canal System and down the Hudson to be sunk off the coast of Long Island.

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Craig and fellow supporters of Canal history are waging a bit of a protest in regards to the State’s decision to move ahead with this plan.  On the left is Will Van Dorp who has a great wordpress site having to do with shipping.  Here is a link that talks about the Ward’s Island.  Interestingly enough, the boat was commissioned by the NY State office of Mental Hygiene in 1929 to ferry cars and people from Manhattan to the Ward’s Island asylum.

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After about 10 years downstate, she was sent up to the Canal to begin life as a derrick boat, and was only decomissioned last year.  Here she is in the lock.  Note that this is the stern; she is being pushed backwards through the Canal.

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Here’s a detail of the stern.  She was sitting really high in the water as much of the weight was stripped out before the beginning of the trip.

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It was an incredibly beautiful day at the Lock.  I have felt for a long time that the Canal is a very underutilized feature of New York State.  Destroying a part of its history is probably not a good way to attract positive attention to it.

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Here’s the tug Lucy H pushing her towards Amsterdam.

The next boat scheduled for scrap is the tug “Urger” (Edit; Urger is not meant for scrap.   As of now the State wants to take it out of the water, beach it, and make it into a display at Lock E13. / Also, Will Van Dorp contacted me with a few more links about the Ward’s Island.  Here and here).  Here is a link to the Urger.  Let’s hope it is not too late to save her.

American Demographics / Hope and Feathers Exhibit (Image #2)

Posted in Art, Jon Crispin, photography, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 20/07/2018

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This photo was taken in Columbus, Ohio in late December of 1981.  I almost felt compelled to knock on the door and see if they wanted to interview me.   It was an unsettling time in my life. / Those Millar Mitts do go way back.

I’m working on my statement for the exhibit and will continue to post here whenever Hope and Feathers start putting details online.  Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for following.

American Demographics / Hope and Feathers Exhibit

Posted in Jon Crispin, old photographs, photography, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 11/07/2018

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I’ll write more about this later, but I wanted to start posting some of the images that will be in an exhibit at Hope and Feathers Gallery in Amherst this October.  The photos were all featured as illustrations for articles in American Demographics Magazine and were hand colored by the amazing Robby Aceto.  I put this photograph up on my Instagram a few days ago (jonkcrispin) and got a great comment from “thepunchandjudyman” identifying this fellow as Percy Press II.  Check out this amazing clip.  Classic Punch and Judy with a Christmas theme.

The exhibit opens on 4th October and runs through the month.  Opening reception on the 4th.  Hope (and Feathers) to see you there.

Victory Players / Whippy Dip / Fenway

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I had fun last week photographing a new musical ensemble that is sponsored by the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts.  The Victory Players are (from left to right) Han Chen, Giovanni Perez, Elly Toyoda, Robert Rocheteau, Eric Schultz, YuMi Bae, and Conductor Tian Ng.

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The top photograph was made at the Victory Theatre in Holyoke, which is about to be restored to its former glory, but currently has an abandoned feel to it.  The photo with the piano was shot on the Mount Holyoke College campus and in spite of looking totally staged, was really quite spontaneous.  Robert Rocheteau was taking selfies and it just sort of fell together for me.

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I also did individual shots of each of the musicians.  There is something about this photograph of Robert Rocheteau that really grabs me.  He has fabulous hair.

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On Friday night I went to a performance of the ensemble in Holyoke and stopped on the way home at Cindy’s in Granby for an ice cream.  I made it just before closing.  My friend Alex always referred to every summer roadside stand as a “Whippy Dip”, and this one is a classic.

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To end the week, my friend Lisa and I went to a Red Sox / White Sox game on Saturday.  She had gotten amazing seats for us and the weather was perfect for a 4:05 start.  I took this from our seats just after a J.D. Martinez home run, and I think he was still rounding the bases as I fired the shutter.  The (Red) Sox won 4-2.

Baseball in May

Posted in Baseball, baseball stadiums, Jon Crispin, Sport, sports, stadiums, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 23/05/2018

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It was a lovely day for a ball game.  The Nats had a 4:05 start and looked good until the 6th.  They ended up losing 3-1 to the Padres.  The weather was perfect and Peter and I were in our usual section 401, row M seats.

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I think the Nats were running the special “Pigeons in the Park” promotion.

White Lightning /Alex Ross

Posted in Friends, Jon Crispin, photography, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 23/05/2018

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I bought 3 Paul Buff White Lightning Ultra strobes sometime in the 80’s.  I always liked the company and Paul Buff designed them to last forever.  He was a really interesting fellow who started out on the West Coast doing recording and engineering work with Frank Zappa.  He saw a need in the photo industry to have a strobe system that was simple and powerful, so he moved to Nashville and started building these.  I still have my original 3 units, and they work fine.

At some point during the time I was shooting the suitcases my dear friend Alex Ross gave me 5 of his Ultra 1800’s, which are 3 times more powerful than my original set.  I used them for the majority of the project.  Yesterday, I pulled out one of them to do some quick shots and saw his somewhat cryptic notes on it.  It is never a bad idea to thank the people in your life who have made a continuous and positive impact.  I wouldn’t be the photographer that I am without Alex’s influence and support, and he might never really know just how much he means to me.  Thanks Ace.

Roosevelt Island Talk

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The Roosevelt Island Suitcases talk went really well.  Took this photo from the Tramway on the way back to Grand Central.

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I made it back just in time to get the 9.06 to New Haven.

Thanks to Judy Berdy of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society for inviting me back.  It was a lovely evening.

Julianne Wick Davis / Grand Central Station

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The evening at Joe’s Pub was amazing.  Julianne Wick Davis’ song cycle based on my suitcases photos was really incredible.  I was completely blown away by her talent and drive to get this going.  The project is still in the early stages of development, but it is so exciting to have been an inspiration to her. / I was so thrilled that my buddy from Wittenberg, Chris Brigham came out from Chicago for the event.  It was so great to see her.

I am on the Metro North train heading back to New Haven which goes in and out of Grand Central Station.

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It is quite a place.

The suitcases site has been having a slew of problems of late.  We are close to getting it sorted and it is currently back up and running.  It appears that it has been innundated with bot attacks attempting to take over the site.  Thanks to Steve Fox at Born Digital for all his hard work.  It has been very frustrating and costly, but fingers crossed we are working towards a resolution.  Cheers all, and thanks for following.

 

 

Ford Thunderbird LX “Roadster”

Posted in Automobiles, ephemera, Friends, Jon Crispin, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 18/04/2018

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I have posted here and here about my interest in how American car companies choose to name special models of their cars.  It seems like this was really popular back in the 80s and 90s.

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This T-Bird belongs to our friends Suzan and Max, and they love this car!  They are grad students from the Netherlands and did what many Europeans do when buying a vehicle in the States; get some serious “Detroit Iron”.  I couldn’t find a specific reference to this Roadster model.  I’ll have to ask Max if this is the 6 or 8 cylinder, and what year it is.

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I really love the Thunderbird logo.  It looks very Southwestern.

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It appears in several places around the car.  None more beautiful than the one in the grille on the front bumper.

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I wouldn’t think those are real turquoise stones.

I tried to explain to Suzan that the term “roadster” doesn’t exactly fit this style of vehicle. This particular model is from the 10th generation of T-birds which were produced starting in 1989.

 

New York City/Roosevelt Island Historical Society/Olive

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I had a quick 24 hours in New York City on Thursday/Friday.

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After a great lunch with Zoë Crossland (click on the pdf download media button) in Harlem I went downtown to the 9/11 Memorial.  It is really quite moving.

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The reason for going to New York was to hear Robert Kirkbride‘s presentation on asylums to the Roosevelt Island Historical Society.  I’ll be back there talking about the suitcases on the 10th of May.  Please come if you are in the area.

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It is always nice to take the Tramway over to the Island.

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Cheap as chips and great views as you cross the East River.  Plus Roosevelt Island is a really cool part of the City.

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Judy Berdy is the director of the RIHS and is amazing.  We crossed the street for drinks after Robert’s talk and she just happened to have a set of plans for the Goldwater Memorial Hospital building designed by Isadore Rosnfield.

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I stayed with friends Pieper and Merrill on the Lower East Side.  This is a view of Grand Street from the window of my room.

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I often get requests for more photos of the Olive, so here is a recent one.

Hope to see some of you in New York on the 10th.

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