Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More morning walk photos: focus on maritime heritage.

This photo is from a walk a couple of weeks ago. It shows the small tanker Commencement taking on bunkers from the barge Double Skin 32, brought to her side by the tug Oyster Creek. Commencement is docked at Port Authority Brooklyn Pier 7, near the foot of Atlantic Avenue. In recent years, it received ships carrying bagged cocoa beans, but it is now leased by a beer distributor which doesn't, to my knowledge, take cargo from ships there. It does serve as an occasional dock for ships, like Commencement, taking on fuel or perhaps just needing a parking space between charters. I took the photo from Pier 6, which is now part of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

This photo, and the rest on this post, is from my walk this past Saturday. This was taken at the Atlantic Avenue entrance to Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park.

After walking the edges of Pier 6, I took the path northward that leads to Pier 1. On the landward side of the path, near Pier 5, which is being made into athletic fields, I saw these bollards, forlorn reminders of when the pier was an active dock.

This is the ruin of Pier 4, which once received barges carrying freight cars from the railroad terminals in New Jersey.

The skeleton of the cargo shed on Pier 2 remains. It will be re-covered to house indoor athletic facilities.

The East River is actually a tidal strait that connects two arms of the Atlantic Ocean: New York Harbor and Long Island Sound. The tide was low during my Saturday walk. I believe that the greenish strip of rocks in the middle of this photo marks the normal high to low tide variance, while the grayish strip to its right marks the extent of two recent unusually high tides: one during Hurricane Irene, and the other a more recent "king tide", when the moon's and sun's gravitational pulls were combined.

The tops of these pilings were barely above water during Hurricane Irene and the "king tide." While most of Pier 1 was made into parkland, the deck of the southernmost portion was stripped off to expose the pilings, which provide a habitat for marine life and resting places for sea birds. The buff masts and spars towering over the white high speed ferry on the Manhattan side of the East River belong to the bark Peking, part of the South Street Seaport Museum's collection of historic ships and boats.

Saturday was the date for SantaCon NYC, and a crowd of hipsters in Santa garb thronged South Street Seaport's Pier 17.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lionel Train display at New York City Transit Museum Annex, Grand Central Terminal

The first Christmas I can remember--I think I was three--was when I was given a Lionel train set. It's still at my parents' house in Tampa, packed away. My daughter, now eighteen, wants it someday. She'll get it.

Every year the Transit Museum's Gallery Annex and Store at Grand Central Terminal has an elaborate Lionel layout on display during the holiday season. The clip above, which I made this past Thursday, shows this year's version. It features a mock downtown Manhattan, complete with Brooklyn Bridge, as well as some rural, mountainous territory.
There are also static displays of historic Lionel trains along the walls of the gallery. The steam (top) and electric (bottom) trains shown in the photo above probably were made in the 1920s or '30s.