Sunday, November 22, 2015

Link #2 - Great Hokule'a article in the New York Times!

Argh! It was such a good plan - link a day for the rest of the week and then I couldn't even keep up with that. What a week! Anyways, finally coming back with the second link, which is to a great article about Hokule'a in the NY Times (illustrated online with this beautiful photo by Na’alehu Anthony of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and ‘Oiwi TV). 

It's from a while back, I didn't have a chance to go look at it when the word went out among some of my friends at Halawai but fortunately Sam Low, author of Hawaiki Rising (that's his FB page, here's the Goodreads review), reposted it last week. Very good article, nice to see extensive mention of 'Iolani alumna Jenna Ishii! :D 

 Hokule'a is in South Africa now - I think I saw on the PVS website that they are now actually as far from Hawai'i as they are going to be, and it looks like they are having an amazing visit there. Continued best wishes to the wa'a and her crew, I'm so looking forward to her visit here in June! Click here for the article. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Good news for the Peking (with special bad food-pun)

So. Wow. Work. So much work. Albakitty came from some deep overwork silly place, I said something to someone who was looking for FB kitties about all the kitties being busy at the G20, and offered a nice fluffy albatross instead, and then I thought, "Hey, he actually looks a little bit like a kitty" and then of course I had to go play with him on MSPaint and there you go, Albakitty. Hoping things quiet down next week, I have about 3 sets of photos I haven't had time to go through yet. Figured I would post Albakitty just to confuse people and/or let folks know I didn't go anywhere (just my cubicle).  
For the rest of this week, I have a few links to share. I'll start with the good news about the Peking that's been circulating on the salty sites recently - the Peking has finally found a new home! Flat Stanley could so easily have gone off on another tangent when we visited the Peking in late October, but that post had already gotten way more complicated then I probably should have let it, seeing as Flat Stanley's post was supposed to be for first graders, so I didn't go into that.  However, with this new news, it's time to say YAY and share it!

As you may or may not know, the fate of that handsome old cargo ship has been up in the air for a time; the South Street Seaport has been in the retrenching process, oh, pretty much since Hurricane Sandy, and at some point in the recent past, they made the hard decision to let one of the three tall ships in their collection go and the lot fell on the largest of the three, the Peking. It's sad, I'll miss seeing her, but the substantial silver lining is that the Wavertree, their other really big tall ship (I'm counting Pioneer as a tall ship, so she's the third) is now off being overhauled - she's never really been open to the public, as far as I can recall, but I was lucky enough to get to spend an afternoon hanging out in her wardroom one winter when what was supposed to be a short stop to rinse out the Rosemary Ruth's water tanks ended up having to be extended until the current lessened (here was the trip report from that day, that was a fun one to write), and as I recall, she was really quite lovely, and I was tickled when I read posts on The Old Salt Blog and Tugster about her being sent over to Cadell's in Staten Island for some serious TLC.

But I was even more tickled last week when I read that the last loose end in the South Street Seaport shuffle of the ships was tied up and that the hundred and four year old (!) Peking had found a new home (and a wonderfully appropriate one) in Hamburg, Germany, the very city where she was built in 1911. Click here to read more about it on the Working Harbor Committee blog.

And to close, here is the worst photographic food-pun I've ever made. OK, I think it's the ONLY photographic food-pun I've ever made, but still. Get it? Get it? HA HA HA HA HA! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sunday, November 08, 2015

A little more subway art -

Big doin's at the club this weekend, the club succeeded in rolling the biggest boat we've ever rolled - on dry land! Plus I got to go paddling - never dreamed I would be back on the water just a month after my surgery but I was and although it was a short one, it was great. Will post about both of those soon, haven't had a chance to go through my pictures from the rollover yet, hope I can squeeze that in soon although I have a busy week ahead.

However, my last post (er, I mean the last Frogma post, by guest blogger Flat Stanley) talked a lot about the Arts for Transit program, and I thought it was rather serendipitous that one of the SD cards I used yesterday turned out to still have the photos from the fishless fishing trip I mentioned in one of my Hawaii posts but never actually posted about on it, so those got uploaded again, including a set of a subway art feature that pretty much stopped me in my tracks as I was heading for the boat. I rode the Franklin Avenue Shuttle from Prospect Park to get to Broad Channel; I'd never done that before and the stained glass installation there is absolutely spectacular. It's called Life and Continued Growth, it's by artist Eric Prior, here's the artist's explanation of the work, and here are my pictures. Click on the first one for better view, this is it for words today. Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Flat Stanley Visits NYC Part 2 - and now the more usual New Yorky stuff (plus kind of a lot about trains)

Note from Bonnie - once again today, I'm turning my blog over to Flat Stanley, who's visiting me from Ms. Rozell's class in Texas. Hi, Ms. Rozell's class! For more about who Flat Stanley is and why we're playing tourist, check yesterday's post. Take it away, Stanley!

Thanks, Bonnie! So at the end of the last post, we were just about to go down into the subway to head on into Manhattan. Brooklyn is a great borough and you could just visit there for a week and not get bored at all, but there are a couple of really famous NYC landmarks that we can get to really easily from Grand Army Plaza, and Bonnie decided that we should go see a couple of those too, so we're on our way! 

We're still in Brooklyn, but I just wanted to show you this neat subway art. This looks kind of old-fashioned but it's actually part of a program where the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority, the group that runs the public transportation) brings in artists to do station-wide art projects that make being in the subway a lot more interesting and fun. A lot of the older subway stations actually have beautiful mosaics and other decorations because they were built right around the beginning of the 20th century, when there was a thing called the City Beautiful movement, when city planners tried to make things that even everyday people used into something beautiful. 

Later in the 20th century, NYC fell on some hard times - have you ever seen pictures of subway cars all covered in graffiti? That was in the 70's when the city almost went bankrupt! The subways actually got to be scary places to go, and the stations that were built or re-done then were not beautiful at all, and the old ones that had been beautiful got all sad and dirty, but then the city started to recover and things got better. The nice old stuff that had was still there was cleaned up, and then somebody thought of doing this artist program to make the stations that were too dreary to do anything about look nice, and it's worked out great! Bonnie actually thought this plaque might have been from the old days but when she looked it up on Google she found out that an artist named Jane Greengold was invited to decorate this station in 1995. The little band of mosaic tile at the top is probably from the old days but the plaque is part of Ms. Greengold's station-wide nod to the Soldiers and Sailors Arch, just upstairs in Grand Army Plaza. You can read a little bit more about it here if you want to. 

Ms. Greengold called her theme "Wings for the IRT: The Irresistible Romance of Travel", but to a New Yorker, "IRT" also stands for "Interborough Rapid Transit", which was the name of the first company to run a subway line in New York City. The first subway line started in 1904 and it was only in Manhattan, but then it spread out, and the Grand Army Plaza station was part of that company way back when. New York's a big city with lots of people who want to get around, so another company came along to see if they could make some money doing that too; that one started as Brooklyn Rapid Transit and then when they started going to Manhattan they changed to Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit, "BMT". Then the city decided that they should actually run their own subway line too, and that was called the Independent Subway, which got shortened to "IND". The two other ones ended up not making their owners enough money after a while, and the city ended up taking them both over in 1940 and gradually blending the 3 systems (which had been built as totally separate!) into 1. You can tell somebody's a real old-school "Noo Yawker" if they talk about taking the IRT or the BMT instead of calling their line by a letter or a number (like Bonnie rides the B or the Q to work and she didn't really know all this stuff by heart, she sort of knew about it but we had to go to this site to get all the details).

Anyways, sorry, wow, that was a lot about the subway, wasn't it? But it's kind of neat how it got to be the way it is today. I'll try not to talk quite so much after this! 

Now we're in Manhattan looking down Wall Street. This is more what you think of when you think of New York City, isn't it? This is way way way downtown, but it's called Wall Street because a long time ago this is where the wall that marked the north end of the city was. Back then the city was still called New Amsterdam, it was Dutch too. This is where the New York Stock Exchange is, and although more people are starting to live down here (the real estate people love making up cute names for neighborhoods and they call this FiDi, short for Financial District), it used to just be banks, banks and more banks! If we had a little more time we could walk down and see the stock exchange but the day was actually going a little faster than Bonnie had expected it to!  

And what she really wanted to do was take me for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. This is a fantastic thing to do if you ever come to New York City - it doesn't take very long, the views are incredible (I'll show you some of those in a minute!) and it's actually free! 

Here we are inside the ferry terminal. Bonnie had actually had a day off from work the day we did all of this, but it was a work day and it was getting pretty close to rush hour - that's why there are so many people here, they're all waiting to get on the boat and go home to Staten Island (which is also full of houses and trees and is a much quieter place to live that Manhattan, which is really busy). 

The ferry boats are nice and big, though, so there's plenty of room for everybody. We're riding the Spirit of America today, getting ready to cross upper New York Harbor - there's somebody we HAVE to say hi to out there! 

And here we go! We're looking back at downtown; there's another ferry waiting to load up, at the height of rush hour a ferry leaves that terminal every 15 minutes! It takes about 25 minutes to cross the harbor so at rush hour you always pass another ferry going the other way. We're also looking up the East River - that's the river that runs along the east side of Manhattan, but it's also called the East River because that's the river a boat would take to go east out into Long Island Sound.
Further out in NY Harbor - I wish it was a prettier day because when the sky is blue and the sun is shining on the glass buildings, this is a spectacular view! Here you can also see the Hudson, which runs along the west side of Manhattan. The Hudson is also sometimes called the North River, because that's the river a boat would take to go north to Albany and beyond. The Lenape, whose territory this was at one time, called the Hudson "Muhheakantuck", meaning "river that flows both ways", because the Hudson (along with all of the major waterways that surround NYC) is tidal, coming in and going out with the moon - so for a little over six hours it flows north, and then it slows down, and stops, and then starts up again going south, and does that for a little over six hours, and then slows down and stops and starts up going north again and does that again and again pretty much forever. This is great for people in boats (especially little ones like Bonnie likes) because if you time your trip right you can go from Manhattan to, oh, say, the Statue of Liberty and back and have the current helping you out the whole time. If you time it wrong, it can be a huge pain, so most boaters around here know how to read their current tables! 
And speaking of the Statue of Liberty - 

There she is! The Lady in the Harbor. You guys probably all know a lot about her already, and of course everybody knows what she looks like, but how can you come to NYC without at least seeing her? Off to the right is a little bit of Ellis Island, where a whole lot of peoples' grandparents and great grandparents first came to the United States. We didn't go there today, that would be a whole extra blog post, but Bonnie's been there and when people ask her what they should do if they are visiting NYC, she usually recommends that. She's never actually been to visit the Statue of Liberty, but she's sailed and paddled past a zillion times and just never gets tired of seeing the Statue. 

We're playing tourist out here on the water today, and a lot of people do like to play here, but there's a lot of work that still goes on in NY Harbor, the city grew up where it did because of this beautiful sheltered harbor. Here's a tugboat not too far from Staten Island, probably waiting to go collect a barge they're going to take somewhere. Every Labor Day Weekend there's a big tugboat race up by Manhattan, Bonnie says it's fantastic! 

And this is the only shot we actually took ON Staten Island - there are some great places to visit on Staten Island but again, we just didn't have time - hint: if you ever mail yourself to NYC, make sure the person you mail yourself to has more than one day to take you around! We're getting back on the same ferry we just got off of - they make everybody get off of the ferry when it lands even if you're going straight back, so the crew can do a quick clean-up without falling over people. 

Looking up the Kill van Kull, which goes on behind Staten Island. You see the word "Kill" in a lot of place names around here, the Kill Van Kull runs into the Arthur Kill, which goes by the Fresh Kills landfill, and there's Peekskill and Fishkill and Catskill and Peterskill, but it's not because New Yorkers are really angry all the time (they can be sometimes, but mostly they aren't, just like most people), it's another one of those Dutch words, and it just means a creek or other narrow body of water. The Kill van Kull is still a very busy area for commercial shipping - you can see a few of the big ships that have to go in there to get to where they need to ti load or unload - Bonnie's been back there in a kayak and she says it's fun to see the big ships going by, but little boats have to be really careful because the big guys don't have much room to move in there! 

There's another Staten Island Ferry - now we're going back to Manhattan and they're on their way where we just were. 

When we'd started out this afternoon we thought we would finish with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, but we're running out of daylight, so instead we'll just walk up and take a picture of it. We passed the tall ship Peking on the way - this is a HUGE old ship and is part of the South Street Museum fleet - unfortunately they're looking for someone to buy the Peking as it's really expensive to take care of a ship like this, and the museum has another slightly smaller one, the Wavertree, that they've decided to concentrate on. She's off in drydock being fixed up now, should be beautiful when she comes back!

And you can just see the bridge in the distance. So we'll just walk a little further north - 

And there she is, the Brooklyn Bridge, standing here across the East River since 1883. It's really too bad we didn't have time to walk across, that would've been a perfect end to my day here!
Off in the background you can see the slightly newer Manhattan Bridge, which opened in 1909. You can walk across that one too but the Brooklyn Bridge is more designed with walkers in mind. Further north from there - can't see it from here - is the Williamsburg Bridge, which opened in 1903. A good way to remember the order is just to think of a fancy car - BMW! One more thing about the Brooklyn Bridge - remember how yesterday I was talking about how Brooklyn wasn't always part of NYC? This bridge being built may have been one of the things that helped make that happen; before that, you could only get to Manhattan by ferry and this bridge connected the two cities in a way they'd never been before.

And that was all we had time for in my day in NYC! I'll be heading back to Texas soon, I had fun during my short visit to NY and I hope you enjoyed my stories about the place!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Flat Stanley Visits NYC - Part 1 - BROOKLYN! YAY!

For the next couple of days, I'm turning my blog over to guest blogger Flat Stanley, who came to visit me all the way from Brown Elementary School in Whitehouse, Texas, where a young cousin-twice-removed of mine is part of Ms. Rozell's geography class, which is doing a project called "Where In The World is Flat Stanley?" If you haven't heard of Flat Stanley, he is the star of a children's book of the same name, written by Jeff Brown. Flat Stanley is a normal little boy until one morning when he wakes up to find that he's as flat as a sheet of paper; at first he and his family are perturbed but gradually discover that there are advantages, included avoiding plane fares by simply slpping Stanley into an envelope and sending him via the US Postal Service. In the book, the destination is California; in the geography class, the kids get to send Flat Stanley to whatever friends or relatives they choose. I'm tickled to have been chosen and it was tons of fun showing Flat Stanley around NYC - the big issue of course was choosing what to see, Flat Stanley Goes to NYC could be a multi-volume sequel to the original!

Mostly off the top of my head with a good bit of double-checking in Wikipedia. If any Dutch-speaking friends want to correct my spelling of Dutch place names, feel free.

And as always, click on any photo for a better view.

And that's enough from me - without further ado, here's Flat Stanley!


Hi everybody! I'm Flat Stanley, and today I'm visiting Brooklyn!

Brooklyn is one of the five boroughs of New York City. Originally this was all part of the territory of the Native American tribe called the Lenape (including a group called the Canarsie, after which the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn is named). As Europeans began to head this way, a lot of the Northeast was settled by the English, but the Dutch were some of the first European settlers in this particular area. There were several Dutch towns here at the end of Long Island that eventually grew together; the one that gave its name to the whole borough was originally called "Breuckelen". Eventually when the English took over this area, they changed some of the names to names that sounded more English, but a lot of the names around here still hark back to the ones that the Dutch gave them. See "Flatbush" there on the map? That was originally something like "vlack bosch", meaning flat woods, which is what was here back when the Dutch moved in. It's still pretty flat today (maybe not as flat as me, but I'm awfully flat!), but not so many woods now. Another Dutch name for this part was "Midwout", and the neighborhood we're actually setting out from today is now called Midwood.

We're riding the subway today 'cause Cousin Bonnie doesn't actually have a car. A lot of people here in New York City don't have cars - if everybody in New York City had a car, you would never be able to get anywhere in your car because there would just always, always, always be a traffic jam. It's like that sometimes anyways but not all the time, but Bonnie doesn't worry about it too much because she goes all over the place on public transportation, which you can ride all over the city. You can catch a cab or use a car service if you want to get somewhere in a hurry, but they're kind of expensive - and if you get stuck in one of those traffic jams you might have gotten there faster on the subway anyways! 

Here we are on the subway! Did you ever hear the song about New York with the line "The people ride in a hole in the ground?" That's the subway (although out here it runs in a trench, not a hole, and in some places it runs up on a trestle, but sometimes the people do ride in a hole in the ground). There are also buses and ferries and New York City is a great city for walking in! 

Speaking of walking, now we've gotten off of the subway for a little walking in the part of Flatbush that people call "Victorian Flatbush". I bet when you think of New York City you think of tall buildings, but there are quieter places too, with houses and lawns and trees and stuff. This neighborhood was built up in the early 1900's, that's why it's "Victorian". This was really one of the earliest suburbs ever and although every house looks a little bit different, if you walk around and look carefully you can see similar bits on different houses - it was kind of an early version of pre-fab where the houses were built for people one at at time, but they could say "Oh, I want this porch, and those windows upstairs, and so on" and the builders had some of the pieces already built and could put them together pretty fast. There were movie studios in the area, and Ebbetts Field, where the Brooklyn Dodgers played, was not too far from here. 

And speaking of movie studios - I don't think there are any actual studios left in the area, but it's still REALLY popular for making movies and TV shows - with all the old houses, if you can get the modern cars and people cleared out and bring in old-timey stuff, you can make it look just like the 20's or the 30's. Also, the owners of the houses here sometimes rent out their homes to movie makers who just need a nice place to be the home of their main character or something. I forgot to ask what movie these people were making but they had a truck full of lighting equipment that they were bringing into one of the local homes so they could shoot some scenes here. The best  thing was that the guy who's standing in the truck had met me before -- Bonnie asked if we could take pictures and explained why and he just lit up and said "Oh, I know Flat Stanley, I have a little cousin who sent me Flat Stanley too, we went to Harlem and rode the Staten Island Ferry and did all kinds of stuff!" That was REALLY cool! 
Here's one of the producers taking my picture, maybe they'll call me for their next movie!
It's almost Halloween, here's a house that's really dressed up! All the scary clowns and other characters are moving and making scary noises, it's pretty neat!

there isn't anything going on behind me that I should know about, is there?

Phew, this is much less scary! 

I am the king of Pumpkinland! 

There are some big grocery stores in Brooklyn, but there are also smaller places like this everywhere, most of the people who live here have one somewhere really close by so if they are going to have, oh, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and suddenly realize they don't have milk, and just they just can't eat their PB and J without milk, they can just run out and get some right around the corner. 
We've left Flatbush now and come across the park (by subway again, and now it's running in a hole in the ground, just like the song says - oh, and what park? Prospect Park!) to Grand Army Plaza.This is the Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch, in honor of those who fought in the Civil War. Sometimes you can climb up inside and there's a space where they have art exhibits but Bonnie was mostly thinking of Prospect Park when we came here, so we forgot to even go see! 
Here's the entrance to Prospect Park, the main park in Brooklyn. Parks are really important when you have this many people living close together and Prospect Park is a really nice one. 

It was designed by the same people who designed Central Park, super-famous park designers Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux. Supposedly they thought Prospect Park was better than Central Park because there were more places where it was quiet and you couldn't see buildings and you could imagine you were out in the country -- I don't know if that's true but that's what some people in Brooklyn say. This is Brooklyn's "back yard" - in the neighborhood where we started out, the houses do have little back yards, but more people live in apartment buildings (like Bonnie does) and when they want to get outside this is one of the best places to come! 

It's really pretty! Fall's just starting now, still a lot of green but some of the trees are starting to turn colors. 

I had to play in the leaves for a while!

And then I tamed a giant snake! He looked scary but I patted him on the nose and he liked it. He said he's just there to bother the people who bother the flowers - the people who take care of the parks in NYC put the flowers there for everybody to enjoy so if somebody picks them to take them home for themselves it's not fair.

Last stop here in Brooklyn, right in the same place - this is the main branch of the Brooklyn Library. Brooklyn became part of New York City in 1898. It's got the most people living in it of all of the boroughs and it would still be one of the biggest cities in the USA if it wasn't part of NYC. Brooklyn has its own library system, though, and Wikipedia says that it's the 5th largest in the country. This is the central branch, built in 1941. It's so dignified! 

There are a million more things we could've done in Brooklyn - we could have gone to an art museum, or a transit museum, or a botanical garden, or a concert, or the canoe club in Canarsie where Bonnie loves to go paddling, or Coney Island, or fishing on one of the fishing boats in Sheepshead Bay, or horseback riding at a stable on the other side of the park, or, or, or, oh, just so many things to do in Brooklyn, but there are a few more things that a visitor to New York City is just supposed to see, so this is it - time to head back underground and travel on into Manhattan! 

To Be Continued, SOON!