Community Gardens of the Lower East Side

Back to the Lower East Side, this time to tour a very few of the scores of community gardens in the neighborhood. The flourish of greenspace cultivation started in 1973 with the Green Guerillas, a movement that began with a single seed bomb tossed into a vacant lot.  A reaction to the territorial divides brought about by the financial turmoil of the decade between the foreclosed, the city and urban pioneer developers, the movement quickly gained momentum. Gardeners educated themselves and began to organize; these urban oases sprang up all over the city, but are most concentrated in the East Village and the Lower East Side. This map lists 85 current and former gardens below 14th Street:

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http://www.earthcelebrations.com/garden-preservation/les-garden-map/

Noted on the map are several endangered gardens, and some that have been demolished, so the fate of this movement is still in question.

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Pennhurst Round 2

I took another trip to the Pennhurst School – a residential facility for children with disabilities that closed in 1987. The media had reported repeated instances of abuse and neglect, and the school did not keep up with advances in the treatment of mental disorders and differences. Most of the buildings and grounds of this immense facility are off limits. Here are a few images captured in the two buildings that are still open on occasion:

. For more information you may visit this site: http://pennhurstproject.com/

Round 2 – Catskills!

Cheryl, Cris and I spent an hour or so looking for Tamarack Lodge, a former vacation spot in the Catskills. The Lodge started out as a B and B and evolved into a resort that almost, but didn’t quite, rival Grossinger’s and Kutsher’s. The resort has passed through several lives in recent years, including one as an Indian Casino. It’s now owned by the local Yeshiva, and seems to be in line to become a condo development, but that remains to be seen.

We finally found the site and walked in to begin photographing. There was abundant decay, but in among the rubble also evidence of good times. It looked like it was once a really nice, peaceful retreat.

These are just a few of the images captured that day.

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The Elevator Shaft
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Bathroom Tiles
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The Pool
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The Pink Room
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The Blue Room
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Seen through the Air Conditioner Slot
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GasBoy: No Smoking
Passageway
Passageway

 

Headboards
Headboards
Poolside
Poolside
Overview
Overview

The Flight 93 Memorial: Stoneycreek Township, PA

I traveled out to western Pennsylvania for a workshop and found the Flight 93 Memorial on the way. I decided to stop and take a look. I had experienced the the devastation of the Trade Center towers up close, and the experience of reliving the events of 9/11 through the eyes of those who witnessed the path of flight 93 offered a new and sobering perspective.

It’s a long and winding road up to the site of the crash. I was immediately impressed by the landscape; the area looks different from everything around it, as if it was designed for a specific purpose apart from the farms and small towns surrounding it.

 

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The topography was reminiscent of Montana – not how one envisions Pennsylvania.

As you drive in toward the site, you are greeted by rows of trees planted in honor of those who perished on flight 93:

 

trees_72Next, the parking lot, flanked by a series of placards with historical information and describing the layout of the memorial and the plans for the 2200 acre site:

 

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since911board_72The memorial is a simple but powerful design, and it involves a journey. You can begin at the assembly area where docents tell the story of flight 93. I arrived too late for the lecture, which was fine with me.

 

Theater_72Visitors walk along a long, low, black granite wall that was designed to follow the path that the plane took once it hit the top of the hill. The plane had taken off from Newark, bound for San Francisco after a 30 minute delay. Because of this delay, some of the passengers learned of the attacks on the Twin Towers by cell phone around the same time the hijackers stormed the cockpit. They surmised that flight 93 was meant to be part of the attack, and realized the flight had taken an abrupt turn off course, toward Washington, DC. They rallied, forced their way into the cockpit themselves and brought the plane down to avoid reaching the terrorists’ target.

This is the path the flight took after turning upside down and hitting the field at 563 mph:

 

walkway_72Tourists like to photograph their loved ones at this site. Others leave offerings to the memories of the victims in niches along the way:

 

Niche_72

If you look closely you can see a golden boulder out in the field beyond the wall. This marks the point where the plane came to rest, in pieces strewn all along the path.

 

boulder_72The wall ends at a series of marble panels about 8 feet high. Each is marked by the name of one of the 44 victims. Visitors leave flowers and artifacts here, too.

 

beamer_72Walking along the black wall, envisioning what happened that day, witnessing the sobriety of the other visitors, and their silences was a powerful experience.

There is a lot of construction going on at the site. A museum is going up at the top of the hill, at the point of impact, seconds after local residents spotted the plane flying upside-down. At the bottom of the hill they are building a walkway. I’m not sure where that leads, or what purpose it serves, but maybe I’ll return one day and find out.

 

future_72One of the more striking aspects of my visit was that the day was so similar to September 11, 2001. Clear, warm and beautiful – it brought back that day with startling clarity.

A Few More Photographs from Grossinger’s

Outside Looking In
Outside Looking In
Full View Natatorium
Full View Natatorium
Broken Glass
Broken Glass
Chaise x 3
Chaise x 3
Red Apple Rest II
Red Apple Rest II
To the Locker Rooms
To the Locker Rooms
No Trespassing
No Trespassing

Our Trip to the Catskills

Cheryl and I took a wonderful day trip to the Catskills last week. Our first stop was at our favorite roadside restaurant. After spending the better part of an hour enjoying the peeling paint, signage, barbed wire and grapevines we headed up to our favorite resort. There we visited the greenhouse and potting shed, spent some time at the indoor skating rink and in the game house. We moved on to the natatorium where we relaxed and whiled away an hour or so by the pool. Finally we wound our way up to the hotel and visited several rooms. Not much happening there so – back outside to explore the grounds a bit before heading home. I love the Catskills!

 

the Red Apple Rest
the Red Apple Rest
Looking In
Looking In
The Greenhouse
The Greenhouse
Blue Gloves in the Potting Shed
Blue Gloves in the Potting Shed
Skating Pavillion
Skating Pavilion
The Shallow End
The Shallow End
Diving Board
Diving Board
Window Splendor
Window Splendor
To the Hotel
To the Hotel
Piney Mattress
Piney Mattress

 

     

What’s Left Behind

This was a school and home for children with disabilities. The institution closed in the late 1980’s, and in its sixty-two years thousands of children with myriad diagnoses were housed in the wards of several buildings that made up the campus. The institution was self-contained, with recreational facilities, play areas, gardens and greenhouses and treatment rooms. I was allowed access to two buildings and these are some of the images created.

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Back to the Factory

These factories hold their histories together with dust and concrete. Paint peels from the walls and ceilings, there is evidence of vandalism, artifacts are left to crumble. But rooms and objects in them are brushed to a soft patina by the spirits of the people who worked and gossiped and played here. Light filters through dusted, broken glass and breaches through walls and ceilings. Water finds its way to vast galleries to sit still as glass. Even as we pass through it we try not to cause a ripple; we hold a great reverence for the place and what it once meant to its people.ImageImageImageImageImage