Monday, March 21, 2011

200th anniversary of Manhattan's grid

John Randel, surveyor, drew the map for the City's
Street Commissioners
Sam Roberts reports in the Times about the 200 year old map that laid out Manhattan's street grid.
There is a terrific interactive street map from 1811.
If you look carefully you will see that the Spurten Duyvil Creek (over which the Henry Hudson Bridge now passes) leads into the tidal basin (now Inwood Hill Park and Columbia boathouse) and then heads back north over a kind of thumb. That "thumb" is now Van Cortland Park.  It was cut off by the ship canal which joined the Spuyten Duyvil and Harlem Creeks.  So part of Manhattan Borough is "in" the Bronx.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

James comes running

On Back River meadow, Friendship, Maine, March 2011

James is very happy that we bought the house on the Back River in Friendship, Maine.  He loves to run on the salt marsh.  It's Labrador Retriever habitat.

Back River meadow, late afternoon, super moonday

late afternoon March 19, 2011 super moonday

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Supermoon - March 19, 2011

Tonight is the closest full moon of 2011.  Some are calling it a supermoon.  It is a perigee moon - when the moon is closest to the earth, so its gravitational pull is stronger.  And Saturn is visible in the eastern sky.  Great info at

I rowed from our house to Friendship Harbor - leaving 1/2  hour before the morning high tide, the meadow at the edge of the river was flooded, and when I took James for a stroll on the same meadow in the evening the water had fallen 11 feet in six hours revealing a dramatically different landscape.  Those shots are HERE.

high tide - supermoon 2011
low tide six hours later - 11 feet lower

Friday, March 18, 2011

Building a lumberyard skiff: My summer boat building course

Here is the link to the course at the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin, Maine - wooden boat capital of the world.
16 foot skiff designed by instructor Walter Baron

Thursday, March 17, 2011

圣巴特里克节快乐 Happy St. Patrick's Day

圣巴特里克节快乐  Happy Paddy's Day!
This is how they celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Shanghai!  
The Green Dragon was the name of the Chinese-Irish entry in the round-the-world 2010 Volvo Ocean Race .  HERE are shots of the Singapore - Tsingtao leg.

How to view an ancient Chinese art scroll

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mammalian visitor

a harp seal behind across the Back River behind our house
photo by Kevin Burns

This harp seal visited for a couple of days, lounging about on the ice shelf in the Back River behind our house.  We assumed the seal was sick - because it moved around little.  But a call - by our neighbor Kevin -to the Marine Mammals Hotline at the Maine Division of Marine Resources disabused us of that notion. (click on picture to enlarge)

The seal - an adolescent she estimated from the pictures - would probably stay about 48 hours and move on.  which it did - gone on the high tide in the morning.  Speculation about what brought his this far up river starts with food.  This is spring and there are smelts up the back river.  Smelts are small ocean fish which spawn in fresh water.  Spring is when they spawn and head down river.  The creek in Thomaston - a similar body of water to the Back River behind our house - is home to a dozen or more ice houses every winter.  smelt is the catch.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japan's loss

Toshiyuki Tsunenari/Asahi Shimbun, via Associated Pres

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rob Salzman: homeless 51 y.o. ex-con finds work in film

Rob Salzman, of the Bronx, is an orphan, 51 years old.  Robbery, assault and drug dealing landed him in jail for most of his 20's and 30's.  Working out on the street, he discusses his life with good sense, and the good fortune that he has found work as an actor.  Very nice job from the Times.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Underway with the USMMA

Some nice footage and Irish song here from the lucky sailors of the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point.  The boat with the beautiful brightwork is their flagship Summerwind, which we saw last summer in Maine. h/t Bonnie at Frogma

Friday, March 4, 2011

Barcelona World Race leaders round Cape Horn

Loick Peyron and Jean Pierre Dick, Barcelona World Race leaders have rounded Cape Horn

Spring is here: first kayakers on the North River

at the GW Bridge  (click to enlarge images)