Blog Archives

one day in New York – sea to heights

The sky was falling that day – yet sparse little groups were coming for the refuge of the Atlantic.

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Rockaway floodtide

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on the other side of the city, perched on granite

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millions make their daily marks

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More photos here:  www.flickr.com/photos/mattron

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Fort Tilden Revisited – one year after the Storm

A century ago, guardian of the Atlantic approach to NY Harbor.  Artillery with a range of 25-miles pointed seaward waiting for the German ships that never came – save perhaps for a handful of shadowy U-boats, seen and unseen.

A patch of sandy desolation on the fragile narrow spit of the Rockaway Peninsula, which barely rises between ocean and the Jamaica Bay.  In the distance, a proud Manhattan skyline – a mirage of a completely different world – hazy and not quite existent.

Wars of the sea gave way to wars of the air.  The big guns were traded in for the Nikes, missiles designed to knock high-altitude Soviet bombers out of the Metropolitan sky.

And then, a few decades ago – total obsolescence, abandonment, and decay.  Gutted shells, overgrown and sinking into the sand, which in turn, minute by minute, sinks into the waves.  It’s lately been a playground of the fringes – artists, photographers, graffiti, and seekers of ramshackle ephemera.

The hurricane pummelled the city, and the peninsula took a huge punch, a slap in the face of human futility.  For that night, the peninsula did not exist, but became ocean and bay – Neighborhoods near the isolated base washed away and burned.  Sand piled high like snow drifts that never melt, overturned cars, buried homes and memories.

Pieces of Tilden dissolved into the waves.  But what is already ruined is hard to ruin again.  At this former fort, a few solid walls are down, the sand mounts high, and a faint, musty, low-tide smell still faintly emits from the ground below.  But the gun battery embedded in the bluffs still stares blankly into the sea, awaiting 100-year-old dreadnoughts and battleships that will never appear.  Since the Storm, it’s become barricaded, forbidden, heavily patrolled by the authorities – a no man’s land – A silent sentinel upon the wild dunes of a wild beach on the barren coastal fringes of the City.

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Startling Tales of the Ocean-Sea: 2nd in a Series

No. 2 – In which I receive a Revelation to let fall my Pistol and engage in Music to conjure the Maidens of the Ocean-Sea.

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me in front of the camera for once…

 

photo by Ron Gejon Photography

Startling Tales of the Ocean-Sea: 1st in a Series

No. 1 – In which I rain Fire upon the dread Squid so lately harassing our noble Shores.  Stand yo’ ground!

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me in front of the camera for once…

photo by Ron Gejon Photography

Sunshine and Shadow – January 2013

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– near the Gowanus Canal, near where the dolphin got trapped and died the other day –

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“end stop and frisk; hands off the kids!”

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Standing on what used to be the boardwalk of a much wider beach. The debris has been removed, and all that is left are the concrete supports.

They’ve caught sand in the wind and formed a sort of dune;

within it are scraps of tile and vases, smashed in the storm.
The neighborhood today was silent, frozen, locked-down.
Buildings still burned out, power still out in places – sand everywhere.
There’s still a long road ahead.

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Flipside of Seasons

In two days, on December 13, it will be St. Lucia’s Day- the patron saint of light, which I mentioned in a post from about this time last year.

As the Northern Hemisphere plunges into its darkest time of year, I’m once again thinking lightward, but this time in visions of this past summer:

Montauk, Long Island

Montauk, Long Island

Montauk, Long Island

Montauk, Long Island

 

Long Lake, NY

Long Lake, NY

 

Buttermilk Falls, NY

Buttermilk Falls, NY

 

Raquette River, NY

Raquette River, NY

Buttermilk Falls, NY

Buttermilk Falls, NY

Raquette River, NY

Raquette River, NY

 

Long Lake, NY

Long Lake, NY

Tarrytown, NY

Tarrytown, NY

Tarrytown, NY

Tarrytown, NY

 

These were taken throughout the Adirondacks and Hudson Valley of New York during the summer of 2012 – Velvia 100 (water-damaged) in a Holga.

Here are a couple of related posts:

https://ventilateblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/241/

https://ventilateblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/chasing-waterfalls-and-fleeing-lightning-adventures-in-an-adirondack-kayak/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cotton Candy – July, 2012

Cotton Candy


It was that sort of summer-
-wind that comes in
like a breath of cotton candy

From creaking boardwalks
and sand it comes,
filtered by the brilliance
of long long days, and even longer nights.

One Day on Isla Mujeres

The origin of the name Isla Mujeres is debated-  some theories assert that the name comes from the statues of the medicine and childbirth goddess, Ixchel, found at a Mayan temple on the south of the island.  Others say that the name comes from the fact that the Spanish explorers left their womenfolk on the island before heading into the Yucatán.

No matter the nomenclature, the island is truly beautiful.  Sitting offshore, it has maintained its incredibly chill vibe despite the proximity of frenetic Cancún.  It’s a decidedly Caribbean place, where the pace is determined by the sea and sand.

First, Playa Norte-

Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres

Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres

… it’s a gem of a beach.   Just off the main town, it is very well appointed with bars and bathrooms nearby.   For 150 pesos (13 dollars or so) you can rent a pair of lounge chairs and umbrella at the edge of the water for the entire day. You’d think there’d be a crowd here, but the place was wide open- at times I was the only one swimming.

The water is impossibly clear and blue, and very swimmable, despite a strong side current.  Towards evening a school of thousands of tropical fish appeared, racing along at crazy speed around my legs.

It feels as though one could spend an eternity here.

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As evening begins to fall and the heat becomes bearable again, people start lazily coming off the beach and into the town.  In the narrow streets, small restaurants begin opening their doors while street vendors, selling everything from jewelry to plastic toys, try to snag would-be shoppers.  Bicycles and golf carts (some packed to the brim) abound on the narrow, colorful streets filled with lazy markets and passers-by.

Outside the stores on the corner, people congregate for evening chats.  There’s a certain endearing eccentricity to this place-  at one point a beat-up old humvee rolled up, coughing diesel, driven by a huge shirtless guy with scraggly long hair.  He stopped to talk a while and then moved on.  Meanwhile, just out of view, local teenagers with a laptop were trying to tap into a rogue wireless signal…

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It was a really nice ride back to the mainland-

 

The scene felt like one giant sigh that comes after a day at the beach- huge extended families covering 3 generations posed for pictures, while couples stared up and watched the stars begin to appear.  The ship’s lights illuminating the bright blue water around us.   At some point between Isla Mujeres and Cancún -the lights of both twinkling far in opposite distances- in the middle of the dark bay, a salty breeze kicked up.  Above all the festivities and the blaring Mexican pop music and satiated joy, you could just make out the eternal serenity of a calm sea under moonlight.


Sunset, Isla Mujeres

 

Summer’s Final Rest

Rockaway Beach, Queens, NYC