2012 was the year I really discovered Staten Island, where I have lived for almost 30 years, but never really got into exploring much, because Staten Island is so overshadowed by another NYC borough: Manhattan. The lure of Manhattan was the real reason I moved from California to New York, but I settled in the borough that looked the most like California.
From my view, this year was bookended with two tragedies: In January, 2012, was the fire on the corner of my street (Park Avenue and Castleton Avenue in Port Richmond, Staten Island). It was a huge, historic house, built in the early 20th century, that burned half way before the fire was put out by multiple fire companies from Staten Island and Brooklyn. The year primarily ends with another tragedy, Hurricane Sandy, which devastated my former neighborhood of Midland Beach, where I lived for 15 years before moving 3 years ago to Port Richmond. These I think are a few of my best photos from this year:
Fire on Park Avenue and Castleton Avenue in Port Richmond, Staten Island, Jan. 16, 2012
That is the fireman named Frank in that elevated contraption that is called a falcon. I learned all of this because I took a lot of photos and the firemen came afterwards to my apartment to see them and get some that I had offered. This one above was printed in the fireman’s magazine. I have another post devoted entirely to the fire called Fire Today of Classic Home in Port Richmond, Staten Island. On that post you can see a photo of the house before the fire. No one was hurt in the fire although 25 families, who were living in this 3-story house illegally, lost their home.
This is the street, Anderson Avenue, that bisects the street I live on, Park Ave. Every morning, about 7:00, I go out outside to feed the pigeons, usually many more than in this photo, then I walk a block to a deli where I buy a cup of coffee. Once home, I turn on my computer and drink my coffee. This is my wake-up routine that works pretty well for me.
This was the year I discovered the Greenbelt in Staten Island and how much it has to offer in terms of adventure. Whereas, Manhattan is quintessential urban, Staten Island is quintessential suburbia. I like suburbia, but I also like being only an hour bus ride from the Big Apple.
Although, I had been there before, this year I really fell in love with Blue Heron Park. This is one photo I took of an egret and a baby blue heron on Spring Lake, one of about 6 lakes in the park. Both egrets and blue herons visit the park together, but they seem to ignore each other.
This is a Staten Island family rowing to safety down a flooded street after Hurricane Sandy. The man in the orange sweatshirt was waiting for them with his car.
This building is a big part of my life. I walk that path from the bus to the center at least three times a week to work out in their gym. See my video on YouTube. On this 5 minute walk from the bus stop to the Center, I have seen a racoon, a rabbit, a deer, a turtle (whose photo is on another post), and something that I don’t know what it was.