London Mist – August One Photo Focus

London Eye by Robin Kent edited by Sherry Felix
London Eye by Robin Kent edited by Sherry Felix

Robin Kent’s original (below) was perfect. I straightened the Ferris wheel and darkened the sky in Lightroom. Then in Photoshop, added wisps of mist, and stars to make it mystical (above).

In 1956 when I was seven my mother and I moved to London. It was my job to light the coal fire in our flat at Queensborough Terrace, near Kensington Gardens. Central heating was not common then; therefore, London was a much foggier place. I remember fogs so thick it was hard to see a yard ahead. Coal fires helped create smog, a mix of smoke and fog. Yellow smog was tinged by the Sulphur in the coal. They were called “pea soupers”. The Great Smog of 1952 (Wikipedia) killed many Londoners. Dirty unwashed and untreated coals were eventually banned and smoke free coals and fuels used instead. Now central heating is the norm and fireplaces occasionally used to create ambience.

London Eye by Robin Kent
London Eye by Robin Kent

Created for Stacy Fischer’s August One Photo Focus.

Battery Park 2 of 2

The second part requires no words. I could use some hlep identifying some of the plants here and in Battery Park 1 of 1.

Battery Park map
Battery Park map

Battery Park 1 of 2

Located at the southern tip of Manhattan by the harbor and the confluence of the East and Hudson Rivers, Battery Park is where the history of New York City began. The Native Americans called it Capske Hook (from Kapsee, an Indian term for rocky ledge). The  Dutch West India Company began the settlement of New Amsterdam in 1625 nearby. The Dutch built Fort Amsterdam around 1626, and by 1689 the first of a series of gun batteries was installed.

Fort George (formerly Fort Amsterdam) was demolished in 1788. From 1808 to 1811, a circular fort known as the West Battery was erected 200 feet offshore, in anticipation of the war of 1812. It was renamed Castle Clinton in 1815 and ceded to the City in 1823.

Much of the present park is on landfill. In this way the park was extended further  from 1823 to 1872. By 1855. Successive landfills had enlarged the Park to encompass Castle Garden and the structure became America’s first immigrant receiving center from 1855 to 1890, welcoming 8.5 million people before the establishment of Ellis Island.

The Battery was a popular place for New Yorkers to visit in the early 18th century. The old fort, renamed Castle Garden, provided the setting for receptions, demonstrations, and performances. General Lafayette was welcomed there in 1824 and Hungarian patriot Lajos Kossuth in 1851. Samuel F.B. Morse demonstrated his “wireless telegraph” in 1842, and singer Jenny Lind in 1850.

Castle Clinton was the New York Aquarium from 1896 to 1941.

Much of Battery Park was closed from 1940 to 1952, while the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and the Battery Park Underpass was built. The park was landscaped and expanded by two acres, after a delay caused by WWII.

Following its near–total demolition by Robert Moses in 1941, resulting in a major preservation battle, the original fort walls were declared a National Monument by an Act of Congress in 1946. Castle Clinton was ceded to the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1950 and designated a national monument. In 1982 New York State designated Battery Park as a part of Harbor Park, a group of historic waterfront sites.

Battery Park monuments: Peter Minuit Plaza was added in 1955 and East Coast Memorial in 1963. In 1995 an American Linden (Tilia Americana) tree was planted as a tribute to singer Jenny Lind (1820-1887), whose performance at Castle Garden on September 11, 1850 was billed as the musical event of the century. Thanks to promoter P.T. Barnum, the arrival of the “Swedish Nightingale” caused a sensation in New York.

Restored to its fortification appearance by the National Park Service in 1975, the Castle currently houses a small interpretive display and the ticket office for the Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island ferry. Over three million visitors pass through its walls annually.

SeaGlass Carousel

While the Battery Conservancy was designing the park’s interior to reflect its rich history an aquatic carousel was proposed to recall 1896, when The Battery was the first home of the New York Aquarium. SeaGlass was designed by wxy architecture. The shape is inspired by the chambered nautilus. The spiraling pavilion of glass and steel brings art, architecture, music, and film to children of all ages. George Tsypin Opera Factory creates a mystical underwater experience. The rider sits within iridescent fish that glides through the sights and sounds of a 360° aquatic adventure.

More information and sources: NYC Parks,  Battery Conservancy and images of the Battery before and after.

Battery Park 2 of 2

Bronx Zoo Gates

Created for Norm’s Thursday Doors, July 14, 2016.

Fordham Road Gate, Bronx Zoo 7/11/2016
Fordham Road Gate, Bronx Zoo 7/11/2016
Fordham Road Gate, Bronx Zoo 7/11/2016
Fordham Road Gate, Bronx Zoo 7/11/2016

Rainey Memorial Gates (F on the map) are located at the north side of the New York Zoological Park in The Bronx, New York, New York. The bronze gates were built in 1934 in the Art Deco style and designed by noted sculptor Paul Manship (1885–1966), who started work on them in 1926. It is a memorial to the big game hunter Paul James Rainey (1877–1923). The gates feature 22 stylized animals and plant life including the a seated lion. Low bronze screens flank the gate and connect it to the granite gatekeeper’s lodges. The gates are topped by 26 ton slabs of granite. It is a New York City designated landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

The Bronx Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in the world. In 1898, the City of New York allotted 250 acres of Bronx Park to the New York Zoological Society to build a park aimed at preserving native animals and promoting zoology. The Bronx Zoo opened in 1899 and remains one of the largest wildlife conservation parks in the United States, housing 4,000 animals representing more than 650 species.

The area from the Rainey Gate entrance on Fordham Road (landmarked in 1967) to the far end of Astor Court at Zoo Center was landmarked in 2000. The buildings in Astor Court were designed by the firm of Heins & Lafarge, who also designed the original plans for the cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights and many of the subway station details on the IRT line. Another landmarked feature, the Rockefeller Fountain, was built by Italian sculptor Biagio Catella in 1872, donated to the Zoological Society by William Rockefeller in 1903, and moved to its present spot in. Another historic landmark is a souvenir from the Ice Age known as the Rocking Stone overlooking the Buffalo Range. The stone is a rough cube of pinkish granite, resting on a granite slab base; even though it is roughly seven feet high and 30 tons, it is balanced perfectly and cannot be moved. The zoo promotes the wildlife conservation by WCS.

Sources: and

Governors Island

I haven’t been yet this year—I’ll go soon. I don’t want to miss the City of Water Day.

Governors Island is a 172-acre island south of the Battery in New York Harbor. It is accessible by ferry and open to the public during the summer. In the near future there will be more parkland on the island called The Hills (see timeline).  For a PDF map: GI_visitor_map_download. And for more history see

The Ferry to Governors Island departs from the Battery Maritime Building, a 140,000 sq. ft. Beaux-Arts landmark building, completed in 1909 when ferries were still a vital means of transportation in New York City. It has nearly 8,800 elements of cast iron, riveted rolled steel plates and angles, sheet copper ornamentations, ceramic tile and stucco paneled walls, and a copper panel mansard roof system.

Common terns have recently colonized several decommissioned piers on the Governors Island waterfront; in 2013, researchers from NYC Audubon and Cornell University counted 181 nests and banded 100 chicks. The Tern Festival will take place from 10 am until 4 pm as part of Waterfront Alliance’s City of Water Day On July 16, 2016 and will feature speakers, a bird tour of Governors Island, a botany and natural history tour, family activities, and a common tern viewing station on Yankee pier. The Tern chick in the picture is taking shelter from the sun in an old phone booth.