It is always a treat to be in D.C. The weather was perfect for baseball yesterday. Peter and I copped a couple of $5.00 seats (section 401, row M, seats 1 and 2). As far away from home plate as you can get, but for us, the best view in the house.
I have posted a Sulgrave Manor photo before, but I am always drawn to this particular entry. I really like this part of Connecticut Avenue. It was a lovely evening for a walk. So much is in bloom and the temperature is perfect.
Wishing all you Massachusetts residents a relaxing Patriots’ Day tomorrow. And to everyone, a happy and productive week.
Our time in Dublin was limited, and it was difficult to decide what to do for the last day and a half we were there. We were really interested in seeing the historic Kilmainham Gaol, as it was highly recommended. The only way to get in is with a guide, but Brian was really knowledgeable and we learned a ton about the history of Ireland.
My interest in institutional architecture and abandoned buildings goes way back, and it was a treat to be able to walk through this important historic site and have time to photograph.
For me walking through hallways like this is the best way for me to connect with the history of a place.
The building was abandoned for many years and left to deteriorate, but a group largely made up of volunteers has worked for years to make it accessible to the public.
The tour was fairly crowded, but it was pretty easy to hang back and photograph whenever I saw something interesting.
The main hall in the first photograph was built based on an idea of imprisonment that came from the Pentonville prison in England, whereby prisoners were isolated in individual cells rather than thrown together in large rooms. This was meant to foster a more peaceful environment to aid in rehabilitation , but conditions were still quite brutal.
The cross at this end of the yard marks the spot where James Connolly was executed by firing squad. If you get a chance to read about him in the link, the story of his life and death is very moving. I think the best thing about the tour of the gaol is how much Irish history we learned.
After the prison, a trip to the Guinness Brewery seemed like a good idea.
This is an enormous industrial complex in Dublin. Another tour, but this one was self guided but also quite informative.
It was cool to see this little monument to William Sealy Gosset since I had just seen an article in the Times of London about his work on probability and how Nate Silver uses the same basic model to predict US elections. The article is behind a paywall, but you might be able to sign up for a free trial. It is worth a read.
This is the handle of a big safe that held the yeast strain that is still used in making Guinness. / The tour ended with a complimentary pint of the black stuff, which as always, goes down a treat.
We had a few hours on the day we flew home so were able to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College. We were told not to miss it and it was amazing. No photos are allowed in the exhibit, but the tour does include a visit to the Long Room Library.
More crowds, but the room is stunning. Love the marble busts.
Here is old Demosthenes checking things out.
There is an active conservator’s lab that the public can view, and I was reminded of my work on the suitcases as the cotton string used to wrap the books is the same that the New York State Museum used on the cases.
Here is a piece of it tied to the grate that separates the conservators from the public.
We had a bit of time before catching the bus to the airport to walk through St Stephen’s Green and enjoy the beautiful autumn day.
Back home now to return to spending a lot of time editing the suitcases, and to begin reaching out to publishers and museums. Thanks for following.
Cris starts work tomorrow, so today was a day to walk around a bit. The earthquake damage is very obvious with piles of brick everywhere and scaffolding around many buildings.
These shots are all from around Durbar Square.
Cris would gasp just about every time we turned a corner in this part of Kathmandu. She came here first in 1979 as a Peace Corps volunteer, has subsequently come back to work in Nepal on a regular basis, and is really familiar with the city. It is really shocking to see the devastation.
As we were walking back to the hotel I started noticing pictures of Hindu gods that were about 3 feet off the ground and which were spread out about every five yards along a huge brick wall. They are evocative in the odd way that things that attract my attention are. I began taking pictures of them when I saw this next guy, who looked much more contemporary than the rest.
These next two are Krishna.
He is almost always depicted with a cow and a flute.
And often a milkmaid.
This sign was higher up on the wall and Cris was looking at it and smiling as I walked past her. It is amazing to come to a place like Nepal with someone who speaks and reads the language. It basically says, don’t piss or shit on the wall. Which is why the images of the gods are placed just about the height at which a man’s stream would fall. It seems a pretty effective deterrent.
The issue of public defecation is something that the current government has begun to work on (for obvious reasons).
We like Ganesh as he is the remover of obstacles and the patron of the arts and sciences. For some reason, we have always associated him with travel, which is something we do quite often. Finally, here is Hanuman, the monkey god.
Thanks for following. We are a bit sketchy on Hindu lore, so please pardon me if I have gotten anything wrong about the gods.
Peter and I used to drop off Cristine at this terminal when she would be leaving on some of her long trips to South Asia for work. After she went to her gate he and I would sit on a bench at curbside and record the names and numbers on the shuttle vans as they came past. I still have some of the notebooks that we used all those years ago.
On Friday I drove her to the airport for a brief trip to DC and on the approach road, this is what we saw. I guess I knew that they would be tearing it down at some point, but it was still a bit of a shock. / She flies in later tonight, but I came down early to try to get a shot. The sun went below the horizon within 30 seconds of taking this photo and the light changed completely. It is always amazing to me that a building once so full of activity could be reduced to this. It will be completely gone very soon.
Here’s another Connecticut Avenue apartment building. Clearly of a different era from the ones I posted this morning.
Cris and I are in DC for a few days visiting Peter. There are so many nice apartment buildings along Connecticut Avenue, and these two caught my eye this morning.
These residential prewar buildings are so common throughout the district. They sure don’t build ’em like they used to.
I was really happy to have an assignment in Stockbridge Hall today. It gave me the chance to visit one of the best public toilets in the area. The building was built in 1915, and most of this room seems original. One of the sinks on the left is missing but the space is otherwise mostly intact. Look at those urinals! / Here is a different angle↓.
It is really rare to find a bathroom in an institutional setting that hasn’t been completely destroyed by modernization. This room would be so easy to restore to its original state, but given that it is on the grounds of a public university, that is something that will probably never happen. Several years ago I shot a 360° panorama in here, and unbeknownst to me, there was a guy in one of the stalls!
After my fantastic visit to Wittenberg University I drove up to Kalamazoo, Michigan to visit my great friend Ken Schaefer. We were taking a tour of Western Michigan University, where he works, and I looked to the south and saw this. Amazing. The State Hospital has an interesting history, and dates back to the earliest of New York State’s asylums. The only building that remains from the original Kirkbride plan buildings is the water tower, and it is huge.
Driving back home tomorrow. It is about 14 hours and I might break it up back in Erie. We’ll see.
I moved to Berlin in January of 1986. I really needed to get away from Ithaca, and I had some issues which needed attention. I spent mornings at the Goethe Institute studying German and the rest of the day photographing. I was drawn to the city because of the division; one could see the extremes of Capitalism on the West side, then go through a checkpoint on the same day and see what the Commies were up to. It was like stepping back forty years.
I like the phrase “wer mauert hat’s nötig” which I always took to mean “whoever builds walls needs them”. Which is relevant here as the East Germans built the thing and then called it an “anti-facist barrier”.
In looking over my contact sheets this morning I realized that there are very few people in any of my wall photographs. It always amazed me that even on the West side, people stayed away from it (except the graffiti folks who must have worked at odd hours, as I never saw anyone writing on the thing).
I used to like to take the bus to Steinstücken and wander around. It was an odd little Western enclave almost totally surrounded by the East. You can read about it here. There was a rail line running straight through it and you could stick your head around a corner and be face to face with a guard tower. It always seemed a likely place for a crossing, but I never heard of one. / I met a lot of Berliners and was always interested to hear stories of unique situations with the wall. I was once told that at some locations there were gates where Westerners could use a key to access their gardens in the East. Probably not true, but interesting to think about.
Here is Checkpoint Charlie at night.
The wall has been down for 25 years now. I seriously doubt it was Reagan’s “Mr Gorbachev, bring down this wall” plea that had anything to do with it opening up. More like the East Germans made some really stupid mistakes, which is not surprising as they were running a completely effed up and vile organization.