Wednesday, February 25, 2009


As familiar as I am with Bryant Park, I never once gave thought to who it was named in honor of. William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) was a poet, journalist, and an editor for the New York Evening Post. From what I have read, he was a man of many varied interests, and maintained an eclectic group of friends. His most lasting legacy may be his role in supporting the creation of Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum Of Art. His country estate known as Cedarmere, overlooks a narrow stretch of Hempstead Harbor in Roslyn. The house serves as a museum, which has limited hours during the winter months, but the grounds are accessible year round. There are 7 acres that consist of lawns, footpaths, and a pond. When not writing about political and civic issues, Bryant was known for his poetry that used nature as a metaphor. It does not take much stretch-of-the-imagination to think many of his words may have been written right here.
The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sere. Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the autumn leaves lie dead They rustle to the eddying gust,and to the rabbits tread; The robin and the wren are flown,and from the shrubs the jay, And from the wood-top calls the crow through all the gloomy day.
The Death Of The Flowers
William Cullen Bryant: Poems Cedarmere: Photos at Old Long Island Kindred Spirits (painting) Map

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Clinton Town Beach

"The ocean has always been a salve to my soul....the best thing for a cut or abrasion was to go swimming in salt water. Later down the road of life, I made the discovery that salt water was also good for the mental abrasions one inevitably acquires on land." Jimmy Buffett A Pirate Looks At Fifty; Random House, 1998 Clinton Town Beach Map

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Iona College Women's Rowing Team

Iona College Women's Rowing Team, Glen Island, October 2008 Iona Gaels: Website Glen Island Park

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Charles W. Morgan Restoration

In November, I posted a story about the Charles W. Morgan being hauled for a three year, 2.5 million dollar, restoration project. This week, on a Spring-like day, I was able to view the 19th century whaling ship from the intersection of Bay and Isham Street in Mystic. It was difficult to take photographs due to the sheer size of the ship. I walked a block or so away, only to be obstructed by houses, trees, and telephone poles. According to the Mystic Seaport website, the work performed so far has centered on the interior framework of the ship, along with the platforms and stairways that provide access aboard. Charles W. Morgan:WebAlbum New York Times: photo gallery New York Times: Historic Ship Hauled For Restoration Digg!

Meigs Point

Meigs Point Nature Area, Hammonasset State Park, February 2009 The Geology of Hammonasset State Park Trail Map (pdf) CT Coastal Access Map Friends of Hammonasset SOUNDBOUNDER: That First Day

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Salt Marsh At Sunken Meadow

Maybe everyone was watching football. The massive, 1200 acre Al Smith/Sunken Meadow State Park was practically empty when I visited on a Sunday morning in January. I too, had plans to watch the playoff games, but kickoff was not until around 4PM, and a return visit seemed like a good idea. Previously, I had walked along the boardwalk that lines the beach here, and learned of a salt marsh that is on the eastern end of the park. At the base of the glacial moraine that rises to the south, is the Sunken Meadow Creek that works its way east, and meets the Nissequoque River, before flowing into Smithtown Bay. The tidal flats and marshes that are north of the creek, form the sunken meadow that provides the park with its name. This is a transitional zone between the freshwater landscape of the inland areas, and the saltwater tides of the Sound. It is a rare day, to not come across another soul at a state park, in the western portion of Long Island. Sunken Meadow is designed to accommodate large masses of visitors. But this particular Sunday allowed me to fully appreciate Walt Whitman's words about "the long, bare, unfrequented shore that I had all to myself." A few birds hiding in the cordgrass, and a rabbit that went scooting by, were the only other visitors I saw. Salt marshes were once harvested for their hay, but in the early 20th century, they were viewed as undesirable land. Before we understood the role these marshes play in the ecological health of our waters, we had filled in a good portion of them. Many of the state parks and beaches are no exception; Sherwood Island, Orchard Beach, and Sunken Meadow were all created by filling in large marshes along the shoreline. Fortunately at Sunken Meadow, this remaining marshland did not become another parking lot, playground, or golf course.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Old Field Point Lighthouse

Old Field Point Lighthouse, February 2009 First Lit: 1868 Discontinued: 1933 Lighthouse Friends (map) Long Island Lighthouses (interior tower photos) Birds And Beacons Lighthouses Of Long Island Village Of Old Field

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Steel Point Oyster Fleet

Any of you who have followed the Steel Point soap opera in Bridgeport, know that the Pequonnock Yacht Club and Tallmadge Brothers Shellfish Company have been at the center of the eminent domain debate. Both parties were ordered to be relocated, to make way for a large residential and retail complex on this former industrial site in Bridgeport Harbor. Last week, the Steel Point project was scaled back, with residential housing no longer included in the plans. Last month, I visited the Tallmadge Brothers, Norwalk location that includes a replica of a 19th century oyster house. The Bridgeport fleet is located in a much more industrial area with chain link fences and barbed wire everywhere. I could not get as close to this fleet, and was forced to photograph the boats through a broken link in the fencing. I remember reading a story about urban renewal disasters that highlighted the city of Niagara Falls, NY. Portions of the town were demolished to make way for new shopping and amusement attractions. The buildings were torn down, but the money ran out before the new structures could be built. The business district was left with vacant lots, partially completed buildings, and empty pits. "There was a great plan for tearing everything down, but not a good plan for building things up." It does not appear that the Steel Point project will be happening anytime soon. Nonetheless, the yacht club and oyster boats are scheduled to be off the property later this year. STEEL POINT: Aerial Photos Map

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pardee Seawall

Earlier this decade, I spent a night on a mooring not far from this New Haven park, along Morris Cove. I had not planned on spending the night here, but daylight was disappearing, and I was tired from the long day on the water. It was an uneventful evening of leftover food, and watching the sunset reflect off the bluffs of trap rock rising from the shore. Pardee Seawall Park is a small, attractive, neighborhood park on the eastern shore of New Haven Harbor. It consists primarily of benches, lamps, and a walkway with a wrought-iron fence that lines the water. An interesting feature along the seawall is several sets of steps that provide access to the water below. I do not know if the gates to these steps are open in the summer months, but the stonework is attractive. The north end of the park meets a palisades-like rock cliff that is known as Forbes Bluff. From here, a trail climbs the bluff and continues north to Fort Nathan Hale Park. There are proposals to link all of the parks along the east shore of New Haven Harbor, and integrate them with the massive New England Trail, that extends to the Canadian border. My plans however, were much more modest. I climbed the bluff to take in the view of the harbor, before making my way back down the snowy slope. It was late in the day, and I was getting tired. Map

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls

The tide rises, the tide falls The twilight darkens, the curlew calls Along the sea-sands damp and brown The traveler hastens towards the town And the tide rises, the tide falls Darkness settles on roofs and walls The little waves with soft white hands Efface the footprints in the sands And the tide rises, the tide falls The morning breaks, the steeds in their stalls Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls The day returns, but nevermore Returns the traveler to the shore And the tide rises, the tide falls HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW