Friday, September 30, 2011

Old Harbor

Sometime around Labor Day the light begins to noticeably change. It's subtle at first; only recognizable in the hours surrounding dawn and dusk. By the middle of September, however, it becomes obvious even to those not paying attention. Gone is the haze, the glare, the short shadows, and the long summer days.

Block Island in the summer sometimes feels like a spring break inspired theme park for the middle-aged. Old Harbor, with its ferry-terminal, and tipsy balance of Victorian architecture, bars and moped rentals grows too crowded, expensive, and commercialized. The views can be spectacular here, but they often go unnoticed as you weave your way between the taxicabs and foot traffic along Water Street.

In September, the tempo around Old Harbor begins to change. The ferries still run regularly, but the traffic, while steady, is no longer overwhelming. The carnival atmosphere gives way to a working waterfront which reappears from the shadows of waffle cones and Bacardi umbrellas.

Old Harbor once had a sizable commercial fleet, but the Great Depression, combined with the Hurricane of '38 provided a knockout blow. Now, the logistics of an island fishing industry are no longer economically feasible on a large scale. Seafood not sold to local restaurants and inns, needs to be transported again to distribution centers on the mainland. Today the fleet is more modest and specialized.

As the crowds thin however, the island's past image as an outpost in the Atlantic comes back into view. Commercial boats chased away by the limited summer space, will once again use the docks as a convenient layover port. Transoms which read Point Judith, Montauk, and Stonington lie berthed alongside the native fleet.

The light is different this time of year, the boats in the harbor are different too.

Boating Local: Destination Block Island
Providence Journal: Saving Block Island
Boating Local: Old Harbor Bulkhead Repair
Providence Library: Old Harbor Fleet 1930's
Soundbounder: Block Island North Light

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Cos Cob Pelican

Mianus River, Greenwich, September 26

Friday, September 16, 2011


My days in Greenport often include numerous visits to the commercial fishing dock. I never plan it that way, but after an early morning walk up Front Street for coffee and a newspaper, a short detour along the waterfront usually seems like a good idea. 

Many of the boats have already left for the day, but a few remain behind to work on their gear. One boat appears to have a never-ending problem with her starboard engine. I keep a low profile and linger for only a short time. Making my way to the end of the pier, I gaze across to Shelter Island and her approaching ferry reflecting in the sunrise.
Later in the day, I often walk this pier again; creating a matching bookend to my day on the North Fork. Many of the boats have now returned, leaving the docks wet and slippery, with the smell of fish filling the air. I make a conscious effort to stay out of their way.

Every so often, I'm recognized by a fisherman who saw me here previous times. They give me a strange look, and I am never quite sure if they think I am an inspector, or just some bored tourist who doesn't know what to do with his time.
I really should tell him that I'm just someone who likes old boats and fresh fish!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Phragmites Park

At the southern tip of Northport Harbor is the eleven-acre Phragmites Park. Wedged between some residential neighborhoods, the entrance to the preserve is easy to miss when traveling along Route 25A. Like many coastal access spaces, this nature area is known by several names, including Twin Ponds Park and most recently, Betty Allen Preserve-North.

Once used as a dumping site for the dredged spoils from nearby bays, this stretch of shoreline began an extensive wetlands restoration project in 2002. While I'm certainly not an authority on the subject, the results appear to be a notable success.

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the Northport area. It's a pretty harbor with an attractive and walkable waterfront, populated by a citizenry which appears committed to maintaining it. My afternoon spent at Phragmites Preserve only reinforced this belief.

Pbase: Northport Photos
Wikimapia: Betty Allen Preserve
NYNJCT Botany: Hiking Betty Allen/Twin Ponds
Note: I didn't visit the area south of Rte 25A. That will have to be done another time

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Beached Sailboat

Beached Sailboat; Early Street, City Island

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Summer House At City Island Yacht Club

Much of the destruction from Tropical Storm Irene has been well documented this week, but some damage  has gone largely unreported. The pier at the City Island Yacht Club is one such example.

Extending out over the waters of this century-old club, the pier, or Summer House, was more than just a launch-dock for boat owners; it served as a focal point for socializing too. On hot summer evenings, the benches here were a popular spot to relax while enjoying the breezes off of Eastchester Bay. The racing team from Columbia University kept their sailboats here, as well.
Back in my City Island days, I spent many evenings on this dock, gazing out at the mooring field with the East River bridges and Manhattan skyline twinkling in the distance. Good times!    

 Fortunately, plans for rebuilding are already underway.

City Island Yacht Club
City Island Sailing: More Photos

Monday, August 8, 2011

Starfish.... And Other Threats

"The fishermen are gone; the lobsters are gone.....
Shellfishing's the one thing that remains"

Wherever oysters thrive, starfish are likely to follow. When Bren hoisted the cage on board, several starfish  could be seen clinging to the grow-out-bag. They are an oyster's biggest predator, and it's a never-ending struggle to keep them from devouring the harvest. Combined with the threats from pollution, oysters are incredibly vulnerable in Long Island Sound.

There are more subtle enemies of the industry, as well.
In the early morning hours, Stony Creek has the look of a sleepy waterfront village that's somehow remained forgotten. For the most part, the houses here are relatively modest in size, and you don't see the usual assortment of seafood restaurants, gift shops, and other tourist oriented businesses which often dominate  many shoreline towns. If you're looking to buy a Life Is Good or Black Dog tee-shirt, this is not the place.

Stony Creek was "discovered" long ago, but a great deal of effort and money is spent preserving its understated aura. Once an eclectic mix of summer residents, artists, quarrymen, fishermen, and assorted tradesmen who serviced the islands, it's become increasingly one-dimensional in recent decades. There's a Currier & Ives existence that's still embraced, but it's ornamental. The working waterfront is now residential houses, with oars and fishing gear precisely accenting their entryways. The word "quaint" gets tossed around a bit too much.

These real-estate pressures mean that Bren has no garage or workshop in town to repair his gear, process his oysters, or store supplies. With only a parking space for his truck, he has overcome these obstacles through innovative self-sufficiency.
In the bed of his truck rests a solar and battery powered refrigerator he uses to transport the oysters from the waterfront to market. Used by the armed forces in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, this is an expensive piece of equipment allowing him to operate without access to waterfront electricity. It also meets the regulatory safety requirements for transporting shellfish.

Now, if only there was a piece of equipment to keep the starfish and pollution at bay.

Soundbounder: Stony Creek 6am (part 1)
Soundbounder: Just Your Local Oysterman (part 2)
Soundbounder: Hauling The Cage  (part 3)
Yale Sustainable Food Project
Our Ocean, Our Lives: The Last Oyster Haul?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hauling The Cage

Unlike the oysters growing in beds on the bottom of the Sound, Bren's are cultivated in cages which he tends to on a daily basis. These are rectangular, wire mesh contraptions resembling a large lobster pot at first glance. Closer inspection however, reveals there are shelves, or trays inside, supporting the oysters.

Oyster seedlings are grouped in a grow out bag, then placed inside the cage, and lowered into the water. As the oysters grow, they are switched to larger 'bags' with wider mesh to maximize waterflow, yet still restrict predators. It is not an exact science, so an ongoing degree of experimentation is always taking place. Some years, the oysters thrive inside the larger mesh, while in others, a smaller size is needed to thwart preying starfish. Through careful monitoring, the entire balancing act from seedling to harvest takes about three years.

Peter, Helen and myself were also seeking an equilibrium. We were trying to learn as much as possible, without interfering with the work at hand. Some moments were more successful than others!
As Bren began to raise the cage, we gathered around him for a better view. The boat immediately listed hard to starboard before we quickly moved away, providing some ballast. When you're on board with a small, independent, Thimble Islands oysterman, a balancing act can mean many different things.

Soundbounder: Stony Creek 6am part 1
Soundbounder: Just Your Local Oysterman part 2
Soundbounder: Starfish...And Other Threats part 4

Monday, August 1, 2011

Just Your Local Oysterman

Bren wasn't kidding when he said he never learned to swim. Raised along the shores of Newfoundland, the short summers and biting temperatures of the Labrador Current didn't provide many swimming opportunities. A rugged coastline with a strong maritime tradition, the connection to the sea there is mostly through labor, not recreation. How ironic I thought, for him to now be in Long Island Sound where the reverse equation often exists today.

A man of many hats, Bren worked a variety of jobs including longlining in the Bering Sea, 'sliming' in the canneries of Alaska, and lobstering north of Boston. When the crooked road of life brought him to Connecticut, he drove a lumber truck while also partnering with his girlfriend in a woodcrafting business which uses reclaimed materials*. About seven years ago, the Branford waters were reopened to commercial shellfishing, and he jumped at the chance to return to the sea.

His Thimble Island Oyster Company grows and harvests oysters along with some clams, on 60 aquatic acres leased from the state. The numbers fluctuate from year-to-year, but his annual harvest averages around 100,000 shellfish. While that may appear to be a large number, it is a relatively small amount when compared to other shellfish companies on the Sound. Bren estimates that his annual harvest is less than what Norwalk's Bloom Shellfish Company may harvest in a month.

Though a small operation, he is able to earn a living so long as he keeps his overhead costs low: no secretary or pricey boat.... no hired help to do the heavy lifting. Most important, he is doing what he loves - and that's not too shabby for a Newfie who can't swim.

Thimble Island Oyster Company
Community Supported Fisheries Program
Soundbounder: Stony Creek 6 a.m. part one
Soundbounder: Hauling The Cage part three
Soundbounder: Starfish...And other Threats part four

*Bren continues to supplement his income, partnering with his girlfriend Nicola in their woodcrafting business using reclaimed materials. Bleacher seats from the Yale Bowl are reincarnated as mirror frames, and wood from Brooklyn watertowers become flower pots. You can find them at the Union Square Market during the holiday season.
Nicola & The Newfoundlander
New York Times: Reclaimed Words in Fort Greene

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Stony Creek, 6 a.m.

Oystering on Long Island Sound is not always a large enterprise. Early Thursday morning, I arrived at the Stony Creek docks to meet Brendan Smith of the Thimble Island Oyster Company. This is an independent, one-man operation, with Brendan (or Bren) serving as captain, deckhand, marketing director, and part-time mechanic.

Finding a parking space along the narrow streets of Stony Creek can be a chore. The fact that I had a choice of several prime spots was a quick reminder of just how early in the morning it was. Bren was already there, and after some friendly small-talk, there were tasks which began to present themselves. We carried some gear and a large cooler full of ice to the end of the dock, to load into a small skiff which would carry us to his boat in the mooring field. But before we could do that, some rainwater in the skiff needed to be bailed.

Stony Creek is an attractive harbor with the Thimble Islands scattered just beyond its entrance. In the village however, most of them are obscured from view, as only two or three poke out from beyond the point. But as our loaded down skiff cleared the town dock, the full expanse of the granite island chain came into view.

I wasn't the only guest aboard for the day;  Helen Bennett and Peter Hvizdak of the New Haven Register were on hand as well. This was the first time I had met Peter, and prior to this, I had only "known" Helen and Bren through our communications on Twitter. I always have some apprehension meeting online acquaintances because they often are not the same person you thought they would be.

Within minutes however, it was clear this would not be the case today. Both Bren and Helen are every bit as nice in the real world as they are in the virtual world. These characteristics are important aboard a small boat.

The four of us motored through the maze of moorings until the red hull of a 22-foot workboat appeared over my right shoulder. Gliding alongside her, I grabbed a bow-line and fastened it to a cleat at mid-ship. It was about this time that Bren said something very bizarre.
"I don't know how to swim!" He said.
He had to be joking, I thought............right?

(More to follow)
Soundbounder: Just Your Local Oysterman part two
Soundbounder: Hauling The Cage part three
Soundbounder: Starfish...And Other Threats part four

Thimble Island Oysters: website
Helen Bennett on Twitter: @NewsGirlCT
Peter Hvizdak on Twitter: @NHRphizdak
Brendan Smith on Twitter: @organicOysters

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thimble Island Oysters

This morning, I had the opportunity to spend a few hours aboard with Brendan Smith of the Thimble Island Oyster Company. The next several posts will discuss Brendan's work, along with the challenges he faces as a small, independent, local oysterman on Long Island Sound.

Thimble Island Oyster Company

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dead Calm

When Long Island Sound is jokingly referred to as the Dead Sea, it is not because of its high salt content or lack of marine life. The Dead Sea remark pokes fun at the lack of wind here during the peak of summer. Hot, windless days with nearly a ripple on the water's surface.
Like all good jokes, there is an element of truth to this, but it sometimes become overstated. The winds most certainly die in late July and August, but on most days, the prevailing southwesterlies  pick up by mid-afternoon.
There are exceptions of course, and they can be lasting. The heatwave this past week brought a 24-hour hazy stillness to the Sound for several days. No afternoon breeze, no puff of wind in the jib, no sunset sails.

The Mystic Whaler , a 1967 reproduction of a 19th-century schooner, was rebuilt in Providence, Rhode Island in 1993. Based in New London during the summer months, she offers everything from sunset sails to 3-day cruises.
Keeping a busy schedule, Carina and I have crossed paths with her in Greenport, Stonington, and several other ports. She is a beautiful sight to see under-sail.
On this hazy evening however, she wasn't going anywhere fast. Just south of Morgan Point, I spotted her practicing that old 21st-century tradition of trimming the iron genoa.

Mystic Whaler Cruises
Cruising Guide To The New England Coast: General Conditions
Iron Genoa - a sailboat's engine

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Watch Hill Lighthouse

Watch Hill Lighthouse

Built: 1856
Automated: 1986
New England Lighthouses: Watch Hill Light
Lighthouse Friends (map included)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Restless Farewell

Others will enter the gates of the ferry, and cross
         from shore to shore.......
The others that are to follow me, the ties between
me and them
Walt Whitman: Crossing Brooklyn Ferry 

As gentrification continues its scorched-earth, forward march,
I've often found reassurances in the rituals and structures 
around us which remain constant. No, not silly nostalgia for 
some make-believe past, but instead a tangible connection to 
those provincial traits which help define the towns and people 
of Long Island Sound.
There are the baymen of Oyster and Huntington Bays, who 
still work their shellfish beds manually. The wooden 
oysterboats of Norwalk, Stratford, and other shoreline towns. 
Then there are the lighthouses; the 18th and 19th century 
villages; and the farms of the North Fork and the
Connecticut River.
 These are not museum relics, but instead, working 
links to our past which carry on. Stripped of them, we 
inch closer to every other shoreline town which sold its 
soul to postwar Los Angelization long ago.

The Rocky Hill-Glastonbury Ferry is believed to be the oldest
continuously operated ferry in the U.S. Established in 1655, it 
became a state operation in 1915, surviving the Great Depression,
the Floods of 1936, and several ill-conceived highway overpasses
in the 1950's and '60's. 
Just a barge pushed by a tugboat, she is highly functional, but never  
glamorous. Sadly, she met her fate with the budget-cuts this week. 

About 25 miles south of here is the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry. She is 
considered to be the second oldest continuously operated ferry in 
the U.S.. Linking a prettier, more affluent stretch, with museums
and parks overlooking the river, this boat is the more popular of 
the two. Somewhat famous, she is an appealing September/October 
fall foliage excursion, and provides an important transportation 
link along this 16 mile bridge-less stretch between Saybrook and 
East Haddam.

But pedigrees, logistics, and big-pictures don't carry much 
weight in Hartford. The Chester-Hadlyme Ferry has been 
axed along with her older sister to the north. There has been 
a lot of talk about how neither of these boats make money, 
but that argument is selective, penny-wise, and pound foolish. 
No form of transportation makes money without public subsidies. 
Highways, airports, shipping terminals, etc, all lose money 
without government assistance. 

Both ferries are scheduled to close on August 25.
I've thought about taking one final boat ride, but 
what good would it do? Maybe, instead, I'll go find 
some franchise restaurant along the CT Turnpike 
or Long Island Expressway which serves generic 
jalapeno poppers, hot-pockets, fish-a-ma-jig 
sandwiches, and booze.
I'll sit in one of those formica cubicles, partitioned 
by the glazed glass ovals depicting lighthouses, 
oystermen, church steeples, ferry boats, and 
everything  else we chose to abandon.

Chester-Hadlyme Ferry

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bright Sky, Big Erratics

I have a love-hate relationship with rocks. As they say on Facebook...."it's complicated"
Aboard Carina, I don't want to see them, yet I find myself thinking of them all the time. And when I don't see them, it only makes things worse: I know they are out there lurking just beneath the surface, ready to confront my keel when I least expect it.  Big rocks don't like me, and I don't like them. Even worse, if I were to run into them, I know I'll never win.
But once ashore, I can never stay angry for very long. I suppress the destructive, bad times and become seduced again by their polish and form. I take all sorts of pictures and send them to my friends......trying to convince everyone, including myself, things will be different from now on.

While glacial erratics are found throughout Long Island Sound, they are especially abundant along the eastern  portion of the Suffolk County shoreline. Walking the beaches of Wildwood, Wading River, and Horton Point  provides a crash-course in the geological history of North America. 
They are very pleasing to look at........  from shore.

Garvies Pt Museum: Geology of Long Island
Hofstra University: L.I. Geology
The Outer Lands: A Natural History Guide (Cape Cod to Long Island)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Working The Ledge

Something wasn't right! After motoring clear of some ferry traffic near the entrance to New London Harbor, I was about to hoist the mainsail when I spotted Escape circling east of the channel. Lobster boats are common here, and it was obvious she was hauling pots, but something wasn't adding up.
She appeared too perfect...too clean and orderly. Her yellow hull looked all polished and buffed, without the nicks and blemishes from the realities of lobstering. No diesel stains or grease marks - no rusty streaks.
The crew didn't seem legit either. There were too many of them, and their clothing stood out. Sure, they were dressed like lobstermen, but it was an L.L. Bean version of how a fisherman would dress. With the Ledge Lighthouse in the background, it was too choreographed a scene; straight out of a catalogue.

It turns out that Escape is indeed a commercial lobster boat, but she is a charter boat, as well. The smartly dressed people I saw aboard were customers, along for the ride. The fading lobster industry on Long Island Sound has led some creative fishermen to seek harvest  from other sources of income. This thirtysomething-foot boat from Groton offers not only lighthouse and sunset cruises, but working trips to bait and haul lobster pots too. 

According to their website:
"Ever wonder what it's like to make your living from the sea?  Why not learn firsthand from lobsterman?  As the boat leaves picturesque Pine Island Bay and heads out into Fishers Island Sound, we will share our 35 years of experience and knowledge as a commercial lobsterman. You will see traps hauled and baited, lobsters caught and measured, plus a variety of other sea creatures like crabs, starfish, sea urchins, and an occasional fish. Your active participation is encouraged."

Reality Tourism? Vocation Vacations? Carhartt Chic?
There's been considerable press in recent years highlighting farms and ranches which offer visitors the opportunity to work the land. It's only natural this niche market would find its way to the lobster industry, and I like the concept.
Anything which provides a better knowledge of where our food comes from, along with an appreciation of the labor involved, seems like a good idea. I only hope the day doesn't arrive when the words lobster-trap and tourist-trap become synonymous.

Rates: $30/person $20/under12; Reservations required. Lobsters are fished on the tide

Washington Post: A Knell for Lobsters On LIS (2007)
Jennifer Lynn: Lobster Cruise A slightly different version offered in Norwalk

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Miss Patty

Returning home, the lobster boat Miss Patty navigates the Mattituck Creek.

Soundbounder: Phyllis Ann

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Case Of Gansett

Good ideas on the drafting table don't always succeed in actuality.
Gansett, a converted and restored 50 foot lobster hull, plied the waters last summer between the harbors of Stonington and Watch Hill. Part-ferry service and part-tour guide, the 25 minute narrated trips served up such local favorites as Narragansett Beer and Del's Lemonade, while transporting passengers to-and-from Dodsons Boatyard and the Watch Hill Docks.

Upon first learning of this last year, I thought it was a wonderful idea. Though separated by just three miles of water, a trip by land between the two villages is nearly 12 miles, and includes the added hassles of beach traffic and parking. Arriving by car, day trippers and weekenders were likely to stay put.
Also, many travelling yachtsmen with a limited schedule visit one of the harbors, but rarely the two; preferring not to waste a day of travel on another nearby port. The Gansett provided the opportunity to visit both towns, regardless of where you dropped anchor.

So, I was saddened last week when I learned the Gansett has moved her operations back to Newport, Rhode Island for 2011. Disappointed, but not entirely surprised. With tickets priced at $25, the fares were too expensive for a short ferry ride.* 
As a tour boat, the trip seemed too limited in scope to draw mass appeal. While Gansett was the only excursion boat serving Watch Hill and Stonington, nearby Mystic offers a slew of choices ranging from schooners to 19th-century steamboats. It is a competitive field.  
Hopefully the waters of Newport provide a more lucrative home for Gansett this season. She is a pretty boat which has been meticulously restored, and I can't help but think she'll strike gold somewhere. 
As for a ferry serving Watch Hill and Stonington....I still think it's a good least on paper!  

New London Day: New Ferry Service (June 2010)
Grab A Gansett: Vintage Beer Ads

*Since each excursion/ferry boat offers something unique, prices alone are not always a fair comparison. Still, I thought they were worth noting. A one-hour tour of the Thimble Islands is priced at $10; a round-trip ticket on the North Ferry, connecting Shelter Island with Greenport costs $8; and a 2.5-hour sail on the schooner Argia costs $42. Of course, none of these boats serve Narragansett Beer.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mystic Drawbridge 7:45 A.M.

The lobsters will have to wait!
At 20-minutes before-the-hour, a whistle blows in downtown Mystic, and a pair of crossing gates stop traffic on Route 1. Moments later, the Mystic Drawbridge begins to rise.

A fixture in town since 1920, this counter-weighted, bascule bridge provides clearance for the ships of Mystic Seaport, as well as creating a spectacle for tourists walking the main street. On busy weekends, visitors with ice-cream cones and shopping bags stop what they are doing, to watch the drawbridge open for ships named Sabino and Argia.  The ships pass, the bridge is then lowered, and vacation-life resumes.
For the residents of Mystic, it is a more complicated relationship. There's an internal clock attached to every errand planned. You always seem to arrive someplace twenty-minutes early, or ten-minutes late. When you find yourself in an absolute hurry, the bridge will be open - guaranteed.
But these inconveniences have their sweet rewards. No matter the circumstance, and regardless of the true reason, residents all carry a solid, ace-in-the-hole alibi for when they are not on-time:
"Sorry I'm late, boss (honey, Mom, Your Honor, etc)...... the bridge was up".

Wikipedia: Mystic River Bascule Bridge
WTNH: Renovations for Mystic Drawbridge
New England Traveler: Mystic Bridge is a Real Draw

Friday, June 24, 2011

Beach Scene, New London

Beach Scene, New London, 1918
William J Glackens

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mill Dam Bridge in Centerport

Spanning the tidal-flats of Centerport Harbor, the Mill Dam Bridge has a history as old as our country itself. A tide-mill and dam were constructed here in 1774, which replaced an earlier mill built just south of this site in 1674.  Although the mill is long gone, the bridge and dam have been reincarnated several times in the last century. 
Its most recent form, built in 2005, may be the most inviting. Designed with accessibility and aesthetics in mind, there is stonework and detail often not found in public works today. At several points, the sidewalks widen to create viewing areas of both the harbor and the sluice gates below. Both ends of the bridge have small pocket-parks with benches, and various bric-a-brac. 

It's not just a utilitarian bridge and dam - it's a place to spend a little time. It's the Camden Yards of Long Island Sound bridges.

I suppose Centerport Harbor is one of those settings that would be beautiful regardless of the bridge which was built. Still, it is nice to see structures which compliment the surroundings, rather than detract. And it's especially heartening to see city fathers and planners trying to appeal to public-access kooks like me. 

Jarvis House: Mill Dam Bridge (Lori put together a collection of wintertime photos)
Boating Times: Centerport Harbor

photo credit: Wikipedia

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Quinnipiac River Park

North of Interstate-95, above the Ferry Street Bridge, the decaying industry along New Haven's Quinnipiac River gives way to this historic stretch of waterfront. With a high concentration of 19th-century homes, the neighborhoods of Fair Haven, and Fair Haven Heights are a modern day reminder of New Haven's maritime past.  
This was once a prominent oyster port, with wharves and sheds lining both sides of the river. Related industries, such as shipbuilding and barrel making, thrived as well. By the 1840's, the neighborhood became a leading center for processing and trading, as oysters arrived from as far away as the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. 
Today, things are a bit quieter here, but the oystering lives on, albeit on a lesser scale. Taking in the view from Quinnipiac River Park, I could see an oyster boat quietly at rest, with a tell-tale pile of shells rising behind her. A limited and diminished reminder of a once dominant past.

New Haven Preservation Trust: Quinnipiac Historic District 
CT Coastal Access Guide: Quinnipiac River Park
Mystic Seaport: New Haven Sharpie