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.

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.

 

Opening Day

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I will often go to Fenway without a ticket in the hope that something will pop up (no pun intended).  When I got to the park I was amazed to see the line for the “day of game” tickets was quite short so I queued up and snagged a cheap (for the Sox) ticket out in the right field  grandstand.

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It is always special to walk into Fenway, especially on opening day.

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The NESN sideline reporter was ready for the cold, but it warmed up nicely.  By the 4th inning I took off my jacket, down vest, and wool sweater.

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I am including this shot for Peter Carroll.  Look closely and you will notice that the “camera” on the tripod for this guy’s live feed is an iPhone!  Amazing.

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The Sox were playing the Pirates, and I am including this shot for my son Peter.  We joke a lot about the 1970s Pirates hats, and this gentleman was totally decked out, including his Willie Stargell jersey.  He wasn’t so happy at the end of the day, as the Sox won 5-3.

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I ended up sitting in the second row of right field box 88, and had a really enjoyable time with the usher in that section, Bobby the Brick.  It was a blast to watch him work the game; keeping people moving, and bantering with the crowd.  He would randomly ask folks what the score was, how many runners were on base, etc, just to make sure we were all paying attention.  He is a totally great guy who grew up in the North End and loves his job.

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I always like to look around between innings.  My seat was just under the retired numbers of famous Red Sox players.  Love that blue sky.

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This was the first time I had taken the Commuter Rail to the park.  There is a new stop just steps from Fenway and it was great.  I love trains.

Atlanta

Posted in Architecture, Jon Crispin, public transport, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 07/03/2017

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I’m in Atlanta for a few days.

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Cristine is at the annual CIES conference and I am editing photos in the morning and exploring in the afternoons.

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This was the entrance to a parking garage in Buckhead.  I think it was connected to an AMC movie theatre complex that advertised that you could eat a meal and watch a movie at the same time.  What is this world coming to?  (I just checked and here’s a link.)

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This is the Peachtree Center MARTA stop.  I love that the walls are left to show the exposed bedrock.

For those of you who might be interested, I post mostly goofy stuff on instagram.  Just go to the top of this page, and under the sites links on the top right, hit the “Jon’s Instagram” link.

Howth

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We have been spending most of our time in busy cities on this trip, so we decided to take the DART train to Howth yesterday and spend some time on the coastal path.

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This is a lovely seaside  fishing village, and since it was Sunday it was a bit crowded, but we really wanted to walk, so it was worth it.

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As we walked through the carpark at the beginning of the path, we saw a guy in a superman costume get out of a taxi.  We didn’t think much about it at the time since it was a few days before Halloween.  We started our walk, and some minutes later looked down to a little island just off the coast and saw him jump off a diving platform.  He is in mid-flight in this photo but it is a bit difficult to see him.  Look for the red spot on the left.  Wild.

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It was a lovely day.  Not too hot, not too cool.

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Ireland is really green, and like Cornwall has a really interesting variety of plants.

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I can never keep these things straight, but I think this is gorse.  So lovely.

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There were amazing views throughout the walk.  In the foreground is an entire field of ferns that are just starting to turn brown.

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At one point the coast path crossed an enormous golf course.  We were instructed to stay quiet.  We obliged, and we did see some golfers teeing off.  It would have been a lovely day to play 18.

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But by far the coolest part of the walk was when we went through the Bog of Frogs.  It was boggy, but not noticeably froggy.

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We walked well over 10 miles, and it was spectacular.  It was great to get a pint and some fish and chips once back in Howth.

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As we waited for the train to Dublin, a Carphone Warehouse advert kept scrolling through this sign at the station.

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Once back in Dublin, we stopped at Mary’s Bar and Hardware for a whiskey.  They really love JFK here.  And the whiskey was nice.

DC / Van Ness

Posted in Cities, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 20/09/2016

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They have been working on the escalators at the Van Ness Metro stop for quite a while now.  Two down, one to go.  The LED lighting is very nice.

Sanphebagar Schools / Nepal

Posted in public transport, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 02/08/2016

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I have been all over the place this summer and posting here has been irregular.  Nepal was a while ago and I still have photos to share, but it is difficult for me to play “catch-up”.  I like being able to post immediately and when I put it off, I often lose interest.  But I do want to share some of this.

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Our second full day in the Western Hills started in Sanphebagar.  We visited two different schools and it was amazing.

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There are two types of education in Nepal; public and private.  Kids who go to the public schools wear blue uniforms.

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This  young fellow is at the Khaparmandu Primary School (Sanphe municipality-2, Goyal Pani, Achham).

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I often had to quietly enter the classrooms because the kids were very interested in my presence.  I didn’t want to disrupt the lessons, but there was always at least one kid who wanted to see what I was up to.

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They eventually got used to me though.  This little girl was especially connected to what was going on in the classroom.  She was really paying attention to the teacher and seemed to have an answer to any question that was posed.

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Males in Nepal often have a comfortable physical association with each other.  It is really nice to see this kind of connection.

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I like this photo of the bus.  It doesn’t really fit into the narrative, but here it is anyway.

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The second school we visited was the Saraswoti Lower Secondary School (Sanphe Municipality-2 Loli, Achham).

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The classrooms are only illuminated by window and door light, and it is amazing what digital cameras can record in such low light.  This is a pretty typical room with fabric covering a dirt floor.

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Everyone leaves their shoes outside.

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The classes featured a bit of participation by the kids.  Often, one child would come up to the front of the room and be asked to recite a lesson.

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The kids were so sweet.  As I noted earlier, they were very interested in us, and quite open. It is likely that they haven’t seen any Westerners at their school before.  Sanphebagar isn’t particularly on any trekking route, and especially during the recent Maoist uprising there wasn’t much contact with outsiders.

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The monsoon began in earnest as we were heading back to Dhangadhi.  Driving is always interesting in Nepal, and in these conditions was quite thrilling.

There will be one last post on the trip, which I hope to get up soon.  I spent a day in Sindhupalchowk, which was devastated in last year’s earthquake.  There are some very interesting projects there that World Education Nepal is supporting and I am eager to share them here.

Thanks for following.

Kathmandu / Dhangadhi /Dadeldhura

Posted in Animals, driving, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 30/06/2016

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On our way to visit schools in Achham, we flew from Kathmandu to Dhangadhi on Buddha Air.  It is only about an hour and fifteen minutes by air.  It was quite warm when we landed, and the monsoon hadn’t quite started yet, but was very sticky and humid.

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Our first stop was for breakfast at the Hotel Redsun Plaza.  Most meals in rural Nepal are dal bhat although this place made us some nice omelets.

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After breakfast, we immediately started climbing out of the valley towards our first night’s lodgings in Dadeldhura.

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I did a lot of shooting out of the front window.  The World Education driver, Nanda Ram, had driven out from Kathmandu and met us at the airport.  It took him two days of driving to get there, a distance of  about 670 kilometers (415 miles).

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The scenery is beyond breathtaking.  For us, calling this area “The Western Hills” is a bit of a misnomer as these are the biggest hills I have ever seen.  But compared to the Himalayas, they are small.

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Again, this was just pre-monsoon, but the rice terraces were a beautiful green.

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Goats are everywhere on the roads in Nepal, as are dogs and cows.  This is for my friend Tania Werbizky who loves goats.

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This is a major crossroads near to our hotel in Dadeldhura.  Helen Sherpa mentioned that these plinths used to hold statues of the King, but after the monarchy ended, local politician’s likenesses began to appear.

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I like the graphic on this sign that was stuck to the wall of our room at the Raino Hotel (amazing, they have a Facebook page!)

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Cris and I usually travel with my grandfather’s cribbage set.  I especially like the Michigan Abrasive Company playing cards.

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It was a beautiful evening with a full moon.  The bazar was hopping.

Tomorrow, off to our first school visit.

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