Thursday, August 28, 2014

Final New York City Hidden Harbor Tours for 2014

The final(?) three New York City Hidden Harbor Tours for 2014 have been announced and all are well worth participating in. In addition to the three tours, you can also board a Spectator Boat and cruise alongside the numerous vessels taking part in the 22nd Annual North River Tugboat Race and Competition.

The tours take in Port Elizabeth & Port Newark (on Saturday, 30 August 2014); Gowanus Canal Tour (October 5, 2014); and the Circumnavigation of Staten Island (October 19, 2014). The 22nd Annual North River Tugboat Race & Competition takes place August 31, 2014. Clearly, time is short, so if you are going to join any of these events you had better get busy and start booking your place. Here are more details about each event.
Photos © Mitch Waxman

Hidden Harbor Tour of Port Elizabeth and Port Newark, Saturday, 30 August 2014

Explore the working harbor and enjoy an insider’s view of how the harbors of Port Elizabeth and Port Newark really work, and learn about what all those ships and tugs do. You will get unique close up views of port terminals where giant container ships dock and unload their goods from around the world. This tour will be narrated by Captain John Doswell. Guest Speakers include Ed Kelly (Executive Director, Maritime Association of the Port of NY/NJ), and Captain Maggie Flanagan (Marine Educator South Street Seaport Museum).

Saturday, 30 August. Boarding @ 10:30 a.m. Cruising 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, Pier 83, West 42nd Street and 12th Avenue.

Adult Ticket: $40; Seniors: $35; Children: $26 (3-12)
WHC members: $35 (enter code WHCM5 in "Promotional Code" box)


Photo (c) Mitch Waxman, Gowanus Canal.
A new Hidden Harbor Tour from the Working Harbor Committee exploring Gowanus Bay (including Erie Basin and Sunset Park).

October 5, 2014 at 1 pm. This a two hour tour
Tour departs from Pier 16, South Street Seaport
Adults: $35.00; $30 Seniors, WHC members & kids under age 12.

This tour takes in the Erie Basin and Barge Center, and the Gowanus Bay Terminals. During the tour passengers will see the home of the historic ferry, Yankee, the giant slag ship, MV Loujaine, see behind the big grain elevators, and learn about the history and future of the Gowanus Canal and more. Special guest speakers from the Gowanus Canal Conservancy


Photo © Mitch Waxman
Circumnavigation of Staten Island, Including several Lighthouses.
Sunday 19, October, 2014. 
Departs 1 pm and Returns 5 pm

Boarding begins at 12:30 pm, at World Financial Center Ferry Terminal.

Tickets $55.00 Adult; $45 Seniors and WHC members & kids under age 12.

Suring this tours passengers will see several Lighthouses, Tug Yards & Drydocks, Giant Shipping Terminals, Graveyard of Ships and the former U.S. Navy Homeport, as well as get close up views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.


Photos © Jhoneen Preece-Doswell 2013
The 22nd Annual North River Tugboat Race and Competition
August 31, 2014 - Buy Tickets Today for the Spectator Boat!

Time: 9:30 am to 11:30 am

Be in the race! Enjoy great close up views of this exciting event on a Spectator Boat provided by Circle Line Sightseeing.

Adults: $25; Children: $12.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hey, Pablo, What’s In A Name?

I quite like how the French don’t just give you street names, but also include information about the people the streets are named for. For example Avenue De Camoens, is named for the Portuguese poet Luis De Camoes, whose monument stands on the street bearing his name.

I can't explain why the street name includes the letter 'n' in his name, while the monument does not (maybe it is a grammatical thing), and neither do I know why the French have honoured De Camoes in this way, but then why not?

According to Wikipedia Luís Vaz de Camões is considered Portugal's greatest poet. His mastery of verse has been compared to that of Shakespeare, Homer, Virgil and Dante. He wrote a considerable amount of lyrical poetry and drama but is best remembered for his epic work Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads), and the influence of this work is so profound that Portuguese is called the "language of Camões." As if that is not honor enough, June 10, the day of his death, is Portugal's national day.

Meanwhile, the Quai Louis Bleriot (below) honors the French aviator by that name who was the first to fly a plane across the English Channel in 1909, thereby winning a monetary prize of one thousand pounds put up by the England’s Daily Mail.

Rue Degas (below), is named for Edgar Degas (19 July 1834 – 27 September 1917). Degas was a French artist famous for his paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. He is especially identified with the subject of dance, with more than half of his works depict dancers. He is also regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, although he rejected the term, preferring to be called a realist.

Antoine Dubois was a French surgeon (chirurgien) whose main claim to fame seems to be that in 1811 he was given the responsibility of delivering the child of the Empress Marie-Louise. Following the successful birth of Napoleon II, the Empress's baby, Dubois was given the title of "baron". He is also credited with making improvement to a number of surgical instruments, including a forceps.

Finally, Rue des Grands Augustins is a street in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement. It is said that Louis XIII received the sacrament in Rue des Grands Augustins, one hour after the assassination of his father Henry IV. A notable resident of the street was the artist Pablo Picasso who lived here from 1937 to 1948. It was here that Picasso painted one of his most famous and monumental works, Guernica.

So what's in a name? Many things. Most of us (including myself), pay little or no attention to street names. They are seen only as guides that help us get to homes and businesses, monuments and landmarks, restaurants and cafes, hair dressers and chemists, and many other destinations. Without them, it would be impossible to find our way through modern cities like Paris, London, New York City and a thousand others. Surely even modern aids such as online maps and GPS navigation systems would be useless without street names.

So take a few minutes now to think about the name of the street where you live. If your street is named after a person, look the name up and try and find out why this man or woman is being honored in this way. You might be surprised by what you learn.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summer in Paris, France

For the past six days I have been on vacation in Paris from my vacation in Greece. That is to say, my two week side trip to the City of Lights, comes after the eleven weeks I have already spent on the Aegean Island, Ikaria.

It has been a real pleasure to renew my explorations of this wonderful city, in which every street must surely have an amazing history of its own. For now I will simply add some photographs of my wanderings around the city.

Above: Funeral monument at Pere-Lachaise Cemetery, and below, detail from the same sculpture.

Below: house boats line the banks of the River Seine.

I wonder if these can be hired for short term accommodation?


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