Friday, October 30, 2009

Harriman Legacy to Palisades Parks - 100th Anniversary

100 years ago the Harriman family gave $1 million and 10,000 acres of land to the State of New York, forming the backbone of Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks - part of the Palisades Interstate Park.

The state had planned to build a prison on terraced land along the river at Bear Mountain. Historic Forts Clinton and Montgomery, as well as the scenic lands surrounding Bear Mountain itself, became a real possibility. Orange County residents Edward Henry Harriman and his wife Mary Averell Harriman ardently resisted this plan. Edward died unexpectedly at 61 and the gift was presented by his 18 year old son, the future Governor W. Averill Harriman. For more on the history, importance, sights, and facilities of the great parks, go the the Palisades Parks Conservancy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Dutch depart

Just one of Tugster's beautiful shots of the Flinterborg bound for sea with its cargo of traditional Dutch vessels. (click to enlarge thumbnail)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Steel arches: Harlem River Autumn Afternoon

The Harlem River was the Harlem Creek until the ship canal cut through the monolith at Baker's Field, making a deep water channel to the Spuyten Duyvil Creek and the North (Hudson) River. The marshes of upper Manhattan and Marble Hill are gone. What remains is a nautical industrial corridor which exposes the infrastructure of the City.

The river was in fine form today, as seen aboard the Alice, in search of blues and stripers at Hell Gate where the Sound River meets the Harlem Creek.

For the complete slide show click HERE. (click on thumbnails to enlarge)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Washington Heights Sunset

Sunset shots in our neighborhood usually focus on the dying sun over the Hudson River Palisades. But Susan Sermoneta turned her camera the other way, looking southeast from a Castle Village roof. This is the insufficiently appreciated view from the bedroom side of our apartment. At night, in the baseball season you would see the intense glow of the Yankee Stadium lights just to the right of the Hudson View Gardens Tudor-style water tower.

Washington_Heights_sunset-2 by Susan NYC.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Issuma: Full Force Gale

Richard Hudson reports a force 9 Severe Gale (on the Beaufort scale). That suggests mean wind of 44 knots, gusting 20% higher. He wisely headed beyond the continental shelf - to deeper water - where the waves are not as steep and are farther apart. 7 - 10 meters is what the scale predicts, according to Go Vision Quest - who do not recommend doing it single handed, like Richard did.

This shot was taken after the storm. He is safe in port now on the Rio Plata - near Montevideo, Uruguay.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Our Town: NY Times profiles Castle Village and Ft. Washington

The neighborhood is the Fort Washington section of Washington Heights (but some local boosters got the Times to call it Hudson Heights - to remove the stigma the Heights gained when it became Dominican).

It's a great neighborhood, my neighborhood since 1986. HERE is the slide show. And HERE is the article.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wine Dark Sea

It's always something - forgetting that master switch that drained the battery just when the dying wind and the ebbing current of the Rio Plata drive you back as you relax for a moment with an unlucky glass of wine as you arrive after a taxing voyage down from Brazil to the reassuring, familiar waters that are the eastern border of Argentina and Uruguay.

Check out the details at Issuma

Masters sailing at the Opera House

The Sydney Opera House, that is where an Agence France press photographer caught the similarity between the sails and the scoops of the famous icon of Sydney (the other being the steel arch bridge that is a near twin of the Hell Gate RR bridge in New York).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blue Fin Tuna - an endangered species?

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced that it will support placing the Blue Fin Tuna on the International Trade Endangered Species list.

I love tuna - as a food. My favorite - after peanut butter. In tuna salad, tuna steaks (rare/medium rare), in Italian tuna salad with capers, garlic, onions, oil & vinegar. It's a great food.

I remember the thrill of my Dad and Frank Sheridan returning with a bunch of blue fins landed from fighting chairs with Penn Reels on the black 40' Egg Harbor, which the two Navy vets piloted for the aging mafioso Terry Zappi, and his next door neighbor the Don - Carlo Gambino.

But the huge, primordial herds of these kings of the sea (savage beasts that they are) have been devastated by modern fishing methods. An 82% decline in the western Atlantic herds (which breed in the Gulf of Mexico) and 72% decline in the eastern Atlantic herds (which breed in the Mediterranean) have been reported.

NOAA reports that the western herds have stabilized but not the eastern. The U.S. says it will support placement of all herds on the International Endangered species list. The impression one gets is that "if only the guys on the other side were as good as us it could be managed). Maybe. But overall we can say that the announcement is a step forward, which could preserve a significant food supply - particularly in a time when climate change will challenge the viability of many species.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Issuma: Anchor breaks loose in Force 7 near gale

Issuma is underway, having left Brazil for an expected 1 week off-shore journey south. Richard describes HERE, in his typically accurate, matter of fact way, how the newly adapted anchor broke loose as the winds unexpectedly built, and how the sharp edges of the steel shank shredded the lines he used to secure the beast.

Force 7, a "near gale" on the Beaufort scale is average winds 28-33 kts. But gusts can be expected to exceed the average by 20%. So 28-33 gusting to 40 KNOTS is the picture. Add 1/7 to get maximum gusts of 45 mph.

The sea state in Force 7 conditions is
"Sea heaps up and white foam from breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks along the direction of the wind", and on land whole trees sway in the wind".
Wave height and period is a function of depth, wind, and current. Shallow coastal seas have swift currents, producing large, steep waves, close together - particularly if wind opposes tide.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

That's the reason for time...

That’s the reason for time. So that not everything happens all at once.

Garrison Keilor
October 10, 2009
Let Garrison Keillor Know About Minnesotan Ray Sandford's Forced Electroshock

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Heritage Cup Regatta 2009 - Hempstead Harbor

Dave Seroy and I went to the Heritage Cup Regatta. Tried to stay out of trouble as we followed the fleet of classic boats: Herreshoff S Boats, a P Class yawl, and others at the third annual event in the Woooden Boat Racing Series.

We cast off from City Island at 8:53 and were off the Hempstead Harbor Club dock at 10:23.

I feel like a salmon home to spawn - because that little cove at the mouth of the creek in Sea Cliff is where I first sailed. My father bought an 18' Cape Cod style centerboard sailboat. I remember my sister Kathryn as an infant in a car bed under the cuddy - the youngest of four, me, the oldest nine. And I remember the feeling of relief when I sailed with my father on Lou Peretti's Friendship sloop. That is what led us 40 years later to rent in Friendship, Maine - and now to own a home there on the Back River.

The race was under leaden skies and several showers - but we all got in before the big 4 - 5 PM tropical downpour. We headed home about 17:30 and tied up at our home mooring at 19:20.

Thanks to Mike Emmert and Golden Eye for organizing this year's event. Same time, next year, we hope.
Images: schooner approaching Hempstead Harbor,
an S boat and Friendship sloop Mara E passing port to port pre-start, Hempstead Harbor Club under approaching storm, Dave Seroy, my crew on North River 2, after the rain.