Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Nature And The City (Pollen)

It seems that every week some tree is sending its seed out for reproduction. Last week the mimosa trees had a turn. They filled the air with a fragance of honey and summer. Already my throat was itching. Then the seeds fell in profusion filling every corner and crevice.

It's like a gathering of dust bunnies only pollen based.

I have only recently developed allergies to pollen. I try to ignore the itchies and scratchies because I enjoy the flowering of spring. So I rinse my eyes and drink lots of water. The pollen can be pretty.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Under The FDR Drive

This morning I walked alongside the Brooklyn Bridge out to the East River. These broken posts are under the bridge, I think they are the remains of an old pier. The river is actually a tidal estuary and right away I could taste salt in the air from the ocean.

The tide must have been moving in because some of the posts were disappearing under the water, looking a little like sea creatures.

The East River Greenway is all concrete, the rumbling of the FDR overhead competes with the sound of the tide slapping against the rocks. It is strange and beautiful with old men casting fishing lines from the walkway.

It ends abruptly with a long stretch of municiple storage buildings and parking which block the water. No more waves, no salt air, just the vibrations of traffic.

At the end of the buildings, a path returns, so old with a rusted handrail, beautiful decay.

I would like to go back in different light, maybe on my bicycle so I can span the sprawling distances. I want to explore the East River Park. There is a modern style band shell that has fallen on hard times. I would have photographed it, but there was a jogger running up and down the steps in the seating area, Rocky-style. It might be pretty in the winter.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

May light on plywood

I am working on an idea for the hanging tags, hopefully I will have something to post next week. In the meantime, here is a picture with some nice spring light like the kind we have today.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


I wanted to play around with resin. I found a footprint in the cement, placed one of my pictures and covered it with resin.

It was pretty easy to do. I went out too late (or early, after dawn) there were people everywhere, including a guy taking a slash against the wall. I have to find the quiet moment between the afterhours clubbers and the dog walkers.

I like the light on from this angle. Unfortunately the image in the resin is not as visible on the street as it is in the photos. I think dirt in the footprint got mixed with the resin. It's possible some of the ink on the paper bled into the resin as well. I have lots to sort out.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Nature takes back the city

Officers Row, Brooklyn Navy Yard

When I ride my bicycle out to the Manhattan Bridge, I like to slow down by the part of the Navy Yard where the Officers Row falls in ruins. I marvel at how quickly the trees and vines obscured the buildings which are rapidly crumbling.

I confess that I have a soft spot for entropy. Things fall apart, rust never sleeps, everything turns to dust, and I love to observe the process. Part of my grumpiness about the current wave of new buildings in New York is that everything is so clean and shiny. There is no discovery of beauty in the decay.

While I contemplate the overgrowth, my imagination is sparked. If some apocalyptic event emptied New York of the majority of its inhabitants, how long would it take nature to reclaim the terrain? The Officers Row is just a half dozen Victorian houses, still there are spots where it is difficult to perceive the buildings through the green.

As I ride past, the green plant smells wafting over the diesel fumes of the truck route, I imagine midtown Manhattan after a twenty-five year absence of humans. I see the office plants run wild, covering the sky scrapers. The streets littered with the glass of broken windows, the Chrysler building overrun with vines. How long before Central Park would move south? The asphalt would be broken by tree roots and weather. I can imagine Fifth Avenue looking like a bleached country road, with weeds sprouting up through the cracks right next to where Tiffany's should be.

I felt a mixture of sadness and desire as I took the pictures. Limited by the fence, I longed to go past the greenery and explore the disintegrating structures. Through some windows I could see the sky, but I couldn't get the angle to photograph it. I really wanted to get closer to this

The black vines against the white wall, the arched doorway, if only I could get closer.

The sadness overwhelmed me. It was not just for the faded buildings. Soon this wonderful mayhem will be razed and replaced by something fresh and new. The anarchy will be restrained and turned into luxury housing or a box store, who knows what. I accept that development must happen, but I will miss this place once it is gone. And I fear it will not last for much longer.