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Fog and Sublimity along the Hudson

This afternoon I took a short ride on the Metro-North up to the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers where I saw the temporary exhibition – Industrial Sublime: Modernism and the Transformation of New York’s Rivers, 1900-1940 – before it ends next week.

It was my first visit to the Hudson River Museum and I was impressed by both its permanent collection (especially, its Hudson River paintings of the Yonkers area) as well as the temporary exhibit, which I had traveled to see.  Industrial Sublime was made up of paintings representing all three area rivers: the Hudson, East, and Harlem.  While I was most interested in seeing the artistic representations of the Harlem River, it was inspiring to see them all.  In fact, many of the exhibition’s most memorable images were of the Hudson and East Rivers.

butler-theodore-brooklyn-bridge

Brooklyn Bridge (1900) by Theodore Earl Butler

On the Hudson at Newburgh

On the Hudson at Newburgh (1918) by Gifford Beal

As with any art exhibition, it is always a thrill to see and examine images in person that you might have seen previously in a book or magazine.  I had the opportunity to do this with a few of the Harlem River paintings there.  However, the majority of the works were new to me.

I left the museum rejuvenated inspired by the sublimity of the region.  The lower Hudson Valley is such a majestic place and Industrial Sublime did a great job at reminding visitors of this.  The train ride north along the Hudson River to Yonkers also brought this point home.  With temperatures hovering in the mid-50s coupled with high humidity, a blanket of thick fog and clouds covered the area offering very little visibility all day.  I had never seen the Hudson so magical.  From the Metro-North train, one could see the enveloping fog billowing just feet above the Hudson River creating a most incredible and unique sight.  It looked like steam was rising from the water just as sheets of ice varying in size and thickness moved downriver with the tide.  The Palisades of New Jersey were obscured noticeable only for seconds in the small pockets of visibility that appeared and disappeared amidst the thick fog.  It was an incredible scene: both ghostly and beautiful, eerie and curious, strange and captivating.

If only I had my camera gear with me, I could have gotten off at Spuyten Duyvil (right where a Metro-North train made national news when it derailed a few weeks earlier) on the ride north and photographed this spectacular sight before hopping on a subsequent train to continue my journey.  Despite not having the opportunity to photograph today’s magical weather, it gave me a lot of photographic ideas for the future.

Traveling While Black

I was pleasantly surprised to find Farai Chideya’s story titled Traveling While Black in Friday’s New York Times. As a African-American, who shares a similar thrill for the road (especially international travel), it was reassuring to read about the travel experiences of Chideya and other people of color.

Ever since my 2002-2003 Watson Fellowship year, I have had the wanderlust bug and during recent years, photography has become an increasingly important element of my travel experiences abroad.  Many of the observations that Chideya state, I myself have been a witness to and have wondered about.

Definitely worth reading.

High Bridge Article Published at Curbed NY

Last week, my article – The High Bridge Reclaims Its History With $61M Restoration – was published at Curbed NY.  It’s a historic piece that dives into the origins of New York City’s oldest bridge and its rise as an important recreational destination; its most difficult period beginning in the 1950s, and then, its long desired rebirth beginning in 2001 and culminating in the present work to restore and reopen it for public use next year.

I hope you enjoy it.

Harlem River Speedway and Washington Bridge

Below are two wonderful images from about 1905 that I found at Shorpy.com, an historical photo archive website. On the left is Highbridge Park and the Harlem River Speedway (the Harlem River Drive today) and dominating the center is the beautiful Washington Bridge.  I love the carriages!

View of Harlem River Speedway and Washington Bridge, c. 1905

View of Harlem River Speedway and Washington Bridge, c. 1905

2013 MSKCC Patient Art Show and BRIO Award

This past Monday was the opening show of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s 60th Patient Art Show, where I’ve been displaying samples of my work for the past few years.  This year I displayed two photographs of the Wards Island Bridge on canvas.  At the end of Monday’s opening night, neither was sold but I found out from a dear friend that by the end of Wednesday, the last day of the event, both had been sold.  So, this was great!

Later this week, I received an email from the BRIO (Bronx Recognizes Its Own) Awards Panel, which stated that I was not selected to be a 2013 BRIO recipient.  I was very hopeful that I would win one of their $3,000 BRIO awards given annually to selected Bronx-based artists in a variety of mediums.  I had hoped to use the award money to purchase a new camera, the Nikon D800.  At the same time, the recognition of A BRIO would be a fantastic way to get my name out there and make meaningful contacts.  Nevertheless, I will apply again in November when applications for the 2014 award become available.  One can’t give up.

Postcards of Harlem River Bridges

I’ve found and added a number of different paintings and photographs of the Harlem River Valley into my archives, but until only a couple of days ago I hadn’t thought much about postcards as sources.  It turns out that postcards are great sources!  They offer a historically accurate but also popular representation of each subject.  They are also fun to look at.  Below are a few of these postcards from the early 20th century.  Stay tuned for more.

Washington Bridge, New York

Viaduct 155th Street, New York City

High Bridge New York