Friday, April 24, 2009

That First Day

We have had a fair share of Spring-like days in the past several weeks, but last Saturday broke new ground. With the thermometer reaching into the 70's, it seemed as if everyone was outdoors. People were working in their gardens, children were flying kites, and shorts with a T-shirt didn't seem very out of place. West Beach at Hammonasset State Park was busy as well. I stopped by late in the afternoon, but there was still plenty of activity. The beach blankets were spread out and the sound of chatter filled the air that had been silent for the previous months. A few brave souls ran into the water, and a windsurfer made his way along the shoreline. There was a cool breeze off the water, but for the first time in many months, I could feel the heat of the sun on my back. The forecast for this week looks equally pleasant. Spring (not that fake 52 degree Spring) is really here. Hammonasset State Park SOUNDBOUNDER: Meigs Point CT Visit: Spring Bird Walks At Hammonasset Map

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Waiting To Go Round

Lighthouse Point Carousel, New Haven March 2009 New Haven Parks & Recreation: Carousel

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nantucket Lightship In Oyster Bay

To some, it may be just an obsolete hunk of steel that served it's purpose for almost fifty years. But for lovers of old ships and maritime history, viewing the Nantucket Lightship (LV-112) in Oyster Bay is one of mixed emotions. Something sad is happening here; like returning to a childhood home only to find it rundown and abandoned.

The Natucket Lightship (LV-112) served  the waters of Nantucket Shoals and was active from 1936 through 1983. She was built in Philadelphia and paid for by the White Star Line as compensation for the collision and sinking of an earlier lightship by the RMS Olympic (a sistership of the Titanic). She was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

The National Lighthouse Museum had hoped to restore the lightship and make her a floating addition to their proposed Staten Island location. But funding has fallen short and politics has reared it's head. The lightship arrived at the Jackobson Pier in Oyster Bay several years ago for a temporary stay. It is still there, and is presently for sale, slowly rusting away.

 Boston Globe: Lightship Can Be Had For One Dollar
New York Times: Mutiny In The Harbor
Nantucket Lightship LV-112
USCG Lightship Sailors Association: Remaining Lightships
Tugster: Nantucket Lightship WLV-612
Lighthouse Friends: Nantucket Lightship WLV-613
Lighthouse News: Lightship Deal Falls Through

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Playland Pier & Boardwalk

I like it here best in the Spring and Fall. Unlike many amusement parks, Playland Park in Rye is an attractive waterfront destination. Opened in 1928, this county park has many art-deco buildings, as well as a great deal of open space. It is an amusement park with an emphasis on the word park. I think the only major flaw is that the beach area is too small. Playland is scheduled to open for the season on May 9, which also means that fees and crowds will be a daily feature. I took these photos on a warm November day last autumn. Quite a few people were taking advantage of the weather, but the size of the park easily absorbed the small, off-season crowd. The pier underwent extensive renovations in the early 1990s. From the 1930s through the 1950s, large excursion steamers brought passengers to this pier. Two ships, the Americana and the Westchester carried passengers daily from Battery Park to Rye. The Wauketa traveled here from New Jersey. Despite the renovations, the pier still maintains the historic feel of an old ferry terminal. Playland Park YouTube: Dragon Coaster 1929 (?) YouTube: Polar Plunge December 2008 Flickr: Tom Hanks and Elizabeth Perkins in Big Flickr: Playland Pier Painting Rye:Playland Boardwalk My Rye: 1950 Aerial Photo

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oyster Sloop Christeen

In an ideal world, other coastal towns would follow the example set by Oyster Bay and their magnificent Waterfront Center. The non-profit organization offers a slew of activities ranging from kayak and sailboat rentals, to educational programs, as well as providing coastal access to Oyster Bay Harbor. The flagship of the Waterfront Center is the Christeen, a 40 foot gaff rigged oyster sloop. The Christeen was built in 1883 and is the oldest oyster sloop in North America. After surviving two sinkings and severe neglect, the Christeen was brought home to Oyster Bay in 1992 to undergo a seven year restoration. She is now available for harbor tours, sunset cruises, private charters, and educational sails. Oyster Bay Waterfront Center Christeen: Video Clip New York Times: A Link To The Past Thomas Cardone: Paintings Map

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cold Spring Harbor State Park

Along Route 25A on the Nassau-Suffolk County line sits Cold Spring Harbor State Park. This is a forty acre park that climbs the bluffs that surround this attractive harbor. The park also serves as the northern trailhead to the Greenbelt Trail that links Long Island Sound to the Atlantic Ocean. I have been delaying my visit here for several months. The entrance to the trails involves a steep climb that would be difficult with an icy or muddy ground. I also did not want to visit when the leaves were in full bloom, thus limiting the view of the harbor below. My timing paid off handsomely. The air was about 50 degrees, but the sun was strong, and I was protected from the wind by the hills to the south. It is easy to see why this area was so appealing to the industrialists who built their grand estates here a century ago. The deep harbors, wooded bluffs, and irregular coastline make for an attractive setting. I didn't get much hiking in. I climbed the hill and found an overlook that provided an excellent view of the harbor below. I sat myself down on a rock and took it all in. New York State Parks Map Loving Long Island: Cold Spring Harbor Explore Long Island: Cold Spring Harbor State Park Hike Long Island Huntington Audubon Society

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Eatons Neck 1953-2004

Zach at Old Long Island has found an excellent site. offers aerial photos of the United States dating back as far as 1930. Eatons Neck provides an interesting comparison. This portion of the north shore was spared from the rampant Los Angelization that consumed much of western Long Island in the post war years. By 1980 however, the southern half of Eatons Neck had become developed, as farms and estates gave way to suburban housing. It also appears that the Sand City operation at Price's Bend (SW) was still in existence. Just to the east of here, the Keyspan Power Station was still just an idea on the drafting table. Also, the entrance to the Coast Guard Cove (NW) was much wider in 1953. The houses along Asharoken Beach (East) seem fewer and far between. Meanwhile, the northern half of Eatons Neck appears to have changed little in 50 years. Historic Arials Old Long Island About Eatons Neck Newsday: Eatons Neck

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Watercolor Lights

During many of my coastal explorations, I have stumbled upon an artist quietly at work. The paintings shown here however, were discovered via the internet. I was looking for some information on a particular lighthouse, when I happened to discover Al LaBanca's enjoyable American Lighthouse Art website that showcases his work. Lighthouses are his passion and he calls them the vanishing castles of America, because so many are abandoned and neglected. Al hopes his artwork will bring attention to theses castles and create an awareness that helps preserve them. Painting with watercolors most of his adult life, he made it his calling to paint lighthouses 15 years ago, upon retirement. He has painted lighthouses from all over the world, but the lights of the Sound have been more than just an artistic subject for him. As a resident of Darien for over 40 years, Al and his wife Joan have sailed Long Island Sound and relied upon these lights many times (especially during some of his overnight races). They are the classic example of beauty combining with function. American Lighthouse Connecticut: Lighthouses New York: Lighthouses Rhode Island: Lighthouses top painting:Execution Rocks Lighthouse middle: Black Rock (Fayerweather Light) bottom: Stratford Shoal Lighthouse (Middle Ground) paintings are courtesy of American Lighthouse Art New York Times: Execution Rocks Lighthouse Sold

Red Sky At Dawn

Looking east towards Latimer Reef, April 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Orient Point Light

Orient Point Light (aka The Coffee Pot) First Lit: 1899 From the North Fork: Coffee Pot East End Lighthouses Lighthouse Friends (map) Marie Lorenz (photos from tower) Long Island Lighthouses SeaTheLights TwoFrog

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Party Boat Fishing

Bronx & Westchester 
Island Current, City Island
North Star II, City Island
Riptide III, City Island
Klondike, New Rochelle

Snow Goose II, Byram 
Middlebank II, Bridgeport
Black Hawk II, Niantic
Mijoy 747, Waterford
Sunbeam Fleet, Waterford
Sea Otter, Groton
Hel-Cat II, Groton

Long Island
Angler Fleet, Port Washington
Noli Eileen, Huntington
James Joseph, Huntington
Lori C, Stony Brook
Celtic Quest, Port Jefferson
Osprey, Port Jefferson
Captain Bob, Mattituck
Prime Time III, Orient
Peconic Star, Greenport

photo credits: photo 3 & 4 , Mikes Memorabilia Page