Posts Tagged ‘hudson river’

I wish Pete Seeger were around for this story. The folksinger spent many years sailing his sloop the “Clearwater” up and down the Hudson River to draw attention to pollution. Today the river is in good enough shape to attract a whale chasing its dinner.

Recently, New York Times reporter Katie Rogers interviewed Dr. Rachel Dubroff, whose apartment overlooks the Hudson. She writes that the first time Dubroff spotted a whale swimming outside her living room window, “she didn’t quite believe the sighting was real,” but news reports in November confirmed that “the Hudson River has a resident humpback.”

Continues Rogers, “The Hudson, as scenic as it is, does not scream ‘whale habitat.’ But experts say cleanup and conservation efforts have led to cleaner waters and an abundance of fish. …

“A whale appearing in the Hudson is very rare, [Paul Sieswerda, the president of Gotham Whale, an organization that tracks marine life around the city] said, which is why he thinks this one is a solo traveler. But the whale still faces significant danger because it is swimming in traffic-laden waters. …

“ ‘When you have whales chasing the bunker [menhaden], and fishermen chasing the stripers that chase the bunker, accidental interactions between whales and vessels can occur,’ Jeff Ray, a deputy special agent with NOAA’s law enforcement division,” added.

I hope everyone using the river will watch out for whales and try to coexist. It would be great if the whale came back after the usual typical retreat to warmer breeding grounds in winter.

More at the New York Times, here.

Art: Amy Hamilton
A humpback whale like the one spotted in New York’s Hudson River in November 2016.

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Good news for Letterbox Farm Collective in New York State! The environmental nonprofit Scenic Hudson’s interest in protecting a Hudson River tributary has enabled the young farmers to purchase land.

Scenic Hudson’s Jay Burgess writes, “Scenic Hudson has acquired a conservation easement protecting 62 acres of productive farm fields and watershed lands in Greenport, just south of the City of Hudson. The easement’s purchase enabled a group of young farmers who had been leasing the property to purchase it, securing the future of their farm operations.

“Known as the Letterbox Farm Collective, the farm partners supply specialty vegetables, herbs, pork, poultry, rabbits and eggs to a variety of regional and New York City markets — local bakeries and food trucks, many restaurants (including New York City’s renowned Momofuku restaurants) and two farmers’ markets. In the spring the farmers will launch a diversified Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation. …

“ ‘Achieving the goal of Scenic Hudson’s Foodshed Conservation Plan — meeting the growing demand for fresh, local food in the Hudson Valley and New York City — depends on successful partnerships like this, which provides a stable base of operations for the dedicated young farmers in the Letterbox Farm Collective. We also thank these farmers for enabling a future public access point to our protected lands along South Bay Creek, which present exciting opportunities for Hudson residents and visitors to enjoy the outdoors,’ said Steve Rosenberg, executive director of The Scenic Hudson Land Trust. …

“ ‘We were lucky to have Scenic Hudson with us while we gathered our financing and at the closing table when the moment came and we were able to buy our land,” said Letterbox’s Faith Gilbert.” More here.

Thanks to Sandy and Pat for letting me know and congrats to their niece for being successfully launched in farming.

Photo: Nathaniel Nardi-Cyrus

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Yesterday my husband, my cousin Dennie, and I went to the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) to see a video installation of Icelandic musicians performing together but in separate rooms of a crumbling mansion on the Hudson River.

Museumgoers entered a large dark gallery at any point in the performance and fixed their eyes on whichever of the nine big screens caught their attention. We happened first upon the guitarist Ragnar Kjartansson in the bathtub singing at the loudest point in the cycle. We turned to each other with our mouths and eyes wide in a huge grin, it was so incredibly crazy and far out.

Here’s what the ICA says about the installation: “A celebration of creativity, community, and friendship, The Visitors (2012) documents a 64-minute durational performance Kjartansson staged with some of his closest friends at the romantically dilapidated Rokeby Farm in upstate New York. Each of the nine channels shows a musician or group of musicians, including some of Iceland’s most renowned as well as members of the family that owns Rokeby Farm, performing in a separate space in the storied house and grounds; each wears headphones to hear the others. …

“The piece itself sets lyrics from a poem [“My Feminine Ways”] by artist Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir, Ragnar´s ex-wife, to a musical arrangement by the artist and Icelandic musician Davíð Þór Jónsson; the title comes from a 1981 album from Swedish pop band ABBA, meant to be its last.” More.

From “My Feminine Ways,” by Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir,
“A pink rose
“In the glittery frost
“A diamond heart
“And the orange red fire
“Once again I fall into
“My feminine ways.”

I wrote about the crumbling Hudson River estate before, here.

My husband said Rokeby would have been a great setting for the Antiques Roadshow. Dennie, who is related to the owners of Rokeby, says her friends will never believe that she, a person who always disparages far-out art, was drawn in and ended up really liking “The Visitors.” We watched it twice. I’m still singing the most-repeated line,”Once again I fall into/My feminine ways.”

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I was thinking about houses this past weekend.

First, there is this house on the grounds of a private school near where I live. I snapped it on my walk.

Concord Academy Treehouse

Second, there is this house on a Hudson River Estate falling down around the ears of the latest, impecunious generation.

Photo of Rokeby, a 43-room house on the Hudson River, by Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times. New York Times story here.

Third, there is a tiny house that a Hampshire College student is living in as a senior project.

James Sullivan writes, “As a child, Hampshire College senior Nara Williams hated being told to pick up after herself. This semester, she’s learning to keep things tidy — very tidy.

“For her senior project, she is living in a 130-square-foot house to explore the realities and benefits of living small.

“A few weeks ago, Williams took delivery on a model home used as a showcase for the Tumbleweed Tiny House Co., a leader in the burgeoning ‘small house’ movement. …

“The housing project, Williams said, is her inquiry into ‘viable alternatives’ to the American dream. Blogging about the experience, she is raising questions about property ownership, material goods, consumption, sustainable living, and other issues in an era marked by housing and environmental concerns.”

Read about Rokeby, the Hudson River estate passed down through too many generations, and read about the tiny house, and pray that no one bequeaths you anything like the former. A tree house or a tiny house are what you want if you prefer to own property and not have property own you.

Update: Omigosh, a scathing memoir is just out on what it was like to grow up at Rokeby — reviewed in the Globe, here

Photo: Darren Durlach/Globe Staff
Boston Globe story here.

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Jim Dwyer writes lovely human-interest stories for the NY Times. On September 5, he wrote about a guy who plays music by the Hudson River for an audience of birds, fish, and whatever friends or strangers wander by.

On Tuesday morning, Jose Modesto Castillo, retired from a job in a plastics factory, walked just about as far west in northern Manhattan as it is possible to go, to the end of a long pier fingering into the Hudson River at Dyckman Street. A harmonica rigged to his head was just a breath away from his lips. Lashed to his hands with hair ties were 17 miniature percussion instruments made from items like a Snapple cap, the lid of a prescription bottle, a Spider-Man figurine, the shells of plastic eggs that once held toys from supermarket vending machines.

“Strike up the one-man mambo band.

“Mr. Modesto’s mouth danced across the harmonica, and his fingers made rhythm out of junk. He played and he bobbed. At the end of the nameless number, he raised his arms as if waving to the Palisades on the far shore. Suddenly, he noticed that he was being watched, and called out, ‘Hello señor,’ and burst into a laugh.

“It was the Tuesday after Labor Day, the first day after the spiritual end of summer, though not yet the true beginning of autumn. At the pier and tiny cove on Dyckman Street, calendars were beside the point. Mr. Modesto, 66, comes every day to play, even if only the birds and fish are there to hear him.”

Some artists can get joy even if no one is around. As a musician, Modesto sees potential in bottle caps and plastic eggshells the way a painter might see it in clouds or the sun on the subway stairs.

Read more.

Photograph: Marcus Yam for the NY Times

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I make an annual carrot cake. I have an old, tattered newsprint recipe living in a Ziploc bag, but this year the recipe was on a shelf several hours away from where I needed to buy the ingredients (long story), so I’m putting them here for future Internet access.

2 cp flour, 1 tsp baking soda, ½  tsp salt, 1-1/2 cp sugar, 2 tsps cinnamon, 3 eggs, ¾ cp buttermilk, ½ cp oil, 2 tsps vanilla, 1 8-1/2 oz can crushed pineapple, 2 cps grated raw carrots (no liquid), 1 cp chopped nuts, 1 cp flaked coconut

I will print the recipe, too, if you ask.

The question is always what to do with the extra buttermilk. I have used it for cornbread in the past. You can also put it in your blueberry pancakes the next morning. I don’t know anyone who likes to drink it.

Except Amelia Earhart.

I’ve been reading a 2010 self-published book called by Allene G. “Squeaky” Hatch, Real Pearls and Darned Stockings: Tales of the Hudson Valley, which includes a memorable visit that Amelia Earhart paid to Squeaky’s family when Squeaky was little.

Squeaky’s Uncle Clint was stowing away his biplane at the Hudson Airport one night when he saw storm clouds threatening. A woman approached him from her own plane, and he recognized the famous aviatrix. Writes Squeaky:

“ ‘Could you recommend a good hotel nearby for my co-pilot and me?’ Earhart asked.

“Clint’s answer was that the best place to stay was his farm.” He phoned the house, and Squeaky’s mother rushed madly around to get ready. Having heard that Earhart liked buttermilk, and having none in the house, Squeaky’s mom improvised, mixing viengar with fresh milk! At dinner Amelia Earhart took a polite sip of the “buttermilk.” She didn’t take a second, says Squeaky.

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