Senator Gillibrand Presses Military Leaders On Sexual Assault

Update:  4/30/13–New York Times Editorial called “Next Steps on Military   Sexual Assults.” which is a followup to video below.

Below: Click on photo to watch our junior Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, from New York giving the Military hell in a Congressional hearing on the subject of Sexual Assault in the Military.  If you are not familiar with Kirsten Gillibrand, this will be a good introduction to what she is about.

Source: via Deedee on Pinterest

The Staten Island Ferry

Because I live in Staten Island, the Staten Island Ferry plays a big role in my life. The ferry takes thousands of passengers a day to and from Manhattan from Staten Island. From Staten Island it’s possible to take an Express Bus into Manhattan; however, the cost of the bus into Manhattan is $5.50, while the Ferry is free, besides many people enjoy the ride.

Traveling on the Ferry after dark gives a person a beautiful view of the city lights.

In the 1970’s when I first came to New York, riding the ferry was one of the first things I did.  Back then I think it cost $.25.  They kept changing the price of it until they gave up and made it free.  However, that may change again.

Kermit Rides the Ferry from Staten Island to Manhattan, 3-1/2 miles.

In movies I’ve seen, they make out the ferry as being very cold, but it isn’t.  It’s cool in the summer when all of the rest of the city is roasting, and in the winter it’s heated.  It also has a snack bar on board where you can get coffee and/or beer, or something more solid.  There are old ferries and newer ones.  The newest ones have four floors with an elevator to take you up and down.  I  like to ride on the top floor because it’s less crowded and I like the view from up there.

The Staten Island Ferry on its trip passes by the Statue of Liberty, offering the best view one can get of it for free. [photo by me (cerca 1995) (hand tinted)]

Before 9/11, the ferries carried cars to and from Staten Island, but after 9/11 they stopped doing that for security reasons. Driving from Manhattan to Staten Island, without taking the ferry, is rather an ordeal. One has to go through the Battery Tunnel and then around the Brooklyn shoreline to the Verazanno Narrows Bridge. Leaving Manhattan there are no bridge or tunnel fees, but coming into Manhattan, it will cost you about $15.00 in fees.

NYC Swim

This morning, I caught the #10 Express bus from Staten Island going into Manhattan. After exiting the bus at Battery Park, I began walking by Battery City on the boardwalk along the Hudson.  Soon I came upon this event, called NYC Swim that had just begun in South Cove:  thirty-eight swimmers attempting to swim around Manhattan Island.  It was a perfect swimming day–low humidity and about 80 degrees or so.

I made the above video and took a few pictures.  I also put the video on YouTube.  The YouTube version is less shaky and has a different sound track, but you’ve also got to tolerate ads.  To review the race results.

Swimmers and Kayakers on the Hudson Attempting to Circle the Isle of Manhattan
Fellow Blogger and Kayaking enthusiast Vladimir Bresina in red Kayak and Blue Shirt

For some really great photos of swim visit this blog Wind Against Current.

Staten Island’s Purple Martin Habitat

Purple Martins are the largest variety of swallow.

My Purple Mountain Habitat Movie.

One interesting aspect of visiting the habitat is seeing all the different styles of bird houses which is especially interesting if you want to build a bird house.

Staten Island’s  Purple Martin Habitat, located in Lemon Creek Park in Prince’s Bay, Staten Island, is the only sanctuary for purple martins in the 5 boroughs of New York city.  Prince’s Bay, the name itself, has a history.  This area was originally named by the English as Prince’s Bay, but then the apostrophe got dropped–carelessly undoubtedly–in writing, so it became Princes Bay.  Probably because someone thought that Princes was a misspelling for Princess, started calling it Princess Bay.  All the signs I saw in the area have Princess Bay as it’s name, but on Wikipedia it has its name as Prince’s Bay.  Whatever.

Purple Martin Habitat in Staten Island, NY. One sees such a great variety of bird houses that a person can get ideas of which kind they may like for their own yard. Besides birdhouses the habitat also has bird feeders kept full by local bird lovers.

Princess Bay, one of the nicest and most picturesque area of Staten Island, is located on the Atlantic Ocean and has a lovely beach area, a small park called Lemon Creek Park, and a boating dock where many Staten Islanders, who are lucky enough to own boats, moor their boats.  It’s one of my favorite places to visit in Staten Island and makes a lovely day in a park which includes a beach and things to see like the Blue Martin Habitat, and many kinds of birds. If you like to take nature photographs, this would be a good place to visit when you come to New York City.

If you visit Lemon Creek Park and Princess Bay, only a few blocks away is Wolf’s Pond, another wonderful nature site to see in Staten Island.  Wolf’s Pond also has a park, which is much larger and attracts many more families than Lemon Creek Pond.  Both parks have picnic tables.  One big drawback to Lemon Creek Park, that I can’t understand, is that it has no restroom facilities.  I have solved that problem, by using the restroom facilities at Staten Island University Hospital which is on Seguine Avenue on the way to the park.

A purple martin visiting one of the many bird houses in the Purple Martin Habitat.

Although a long trip, it’s easy to get to from Manhattan on public transportation.  After getting off the Staten Island Ferry in Staten Island, take the #78 bus to Seguine Avenue and then walk the rest of the way (it’s a long bus ride, but you will get a good tour of Staten Island).  On your walk there, you will also pass the Seguine Burke Plantation and probably see lots of peacocks.

Below are some of my photos of this area and things you will see if you should pay a visit.

Princess Bay Boating Docks. Located adjacent to the Purple Martin Habitat.
This is a scene you might see, as I did, if you walk from Hylan Blvd. up Seguine Avenue to Lemon Creek Park and the Purple Martin Habitat. The Peacock is on the back gate to the Seguine Burke Plantation.
Seguine Burke Plantation (built 1837)
On my last visit to Lemon Creek Park, I saw this Turkey Vulture who posed just long enough for me to get this shot before losing patience with me and flying away.  I hope he wasn’t after one of the purple martins.  The vulure was perched close to the Purple Martin habitat; however, it looked as if the Purple Martins were smart enough to vacate their premises until he left.  The drama of it all.  I feel the idea for a Disney Movie coming upon me, with the voice of Nathan Lane as the vulture.
Before my dog Mary died in 2008, we used to go to Princess Bay for an early morning walk on the beach.
Lemon Creek Park.  In the far, far distance is New Jersey.  Between Lemon Creek Park and New Jersey is Raritan Bay which opens up out into the Atlantic.

Life is Short Enjoy the Ride

Today, I took the ferry from Staten Island to Manhattan and then took the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn to do some shopping.  Bored while waiting for the subway,  I started taking photos and some video to entertain myself. Once home I put together the following video that incorporates the photos I took.  In Brooklyn at a thrift shop, I bought a kit to do Chinese Brush painting.  Something I’ve decided to learn.  I’m hoping it will improve my drawing ability.  Sometime in the future there will undoubtedly be a post on Chinese Brush painting.

Music by George Gershwin.

My MOMA Photographs

Below are a few photos that I took–that aren’t in the above video–last year, during some of my visits to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City.  Whenever I go there, I always take my camera and click away.  The building itself, like the Guggenheim, is a work of art.  These photos concentrate less on the art objects and more on the building and views of the surrounding neighborhood of midtown Manhattan, for me, one of the most visually exciting neighborhoods in the world.

MOMA Stairwell decorated with a Calder Mobile
A MOMA Interior
The Highrises from MOMA’s 53rd Street side
Looking out a MOMA window on 53rd St. That’s me in the reflection taking the photo.

SantaCon 2011 in NYC

Yesterday was SantaCon in NYC when people dress up like Santa Claus and take to the streets.  There is usually one primary venue.  This year it was the South Street Seaport.  Fun.  More pictures on my other blog One American Mind.

Occupy North Pole
Christmas Tree in Subway Station
Santa with Raindeer Leg
Ginger Bread Man
Nelia from the Ukraine with Friend

If you might be interested in seeing photos from SantaCon 2012 (Dec. 15, 2012).

88 Pianos Set Up on the Streets of NYC for Public Playing

Last Summer, New York City, including all 5 boroughs, had 60 pianos set up on the streets for anyone to sit down and play if so inclined.

This summer they are back and even better.  Besides being 88 this summer, each one is designed by an artist.

Today I saw two of them, the one located in battery park and the one in front of the Main Public Library on 5th Avenue.  When I arrived at the Battery Park piano, it was still quite early in the morning and no one was around to play. The decoration was a work of art. Above in the header for this post is a picture of how the keys on the piano were decorated.

The Piano in Battery Park at 8:00 a.m. It's between the Castle and the River.

My film I made from my day in Manhattan today. The sound is terrible because there was so much street noise.  After all, it was at 5th Avenue and 42nd St.  The film features Jeff Spurgeon and Naomi Lewin, who are DJs at the New York radio station WQXR, and who were the hosts of this event on Tuesday at the public piano in front of the main library.

Post Script: Below is another piano that is at Snug Harbor in Staten Island that I saw today on 6/26/11. They lucked-out to get a grand instead of an upright, but this piano was being completely ignored. I felt sorry for it. It wasn’t painted with the same artistic integrity as the other pianos I’ve seen.

Piano at Snug Harbor, Staten Island