Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New York moments

Each year I return to Oslo after my annual trip to New York with so many impressions and memories of what I have experienced and seen. I guess because I am now a tourist in my home state, that each New York moment has become dear to me, no matter how small, mostly because I am together with good friends or with family when I experience them. I capture a lot of those moments in photos, as I am wont to do whenever I travel. I have already written one post about wandering around SoHo and lower Manhattan with Gisele, stopping in at small bakeries and cafes, shopping at Tierra, and photographing graffiti. Other moments included dinner with Debby and Eric on Long Island, lunch with Bernadette in Manhattan, visiting my brother Ray and his family, and spending time with Edith--my elderly woman friend who used to work together with me in my first Manhattan job. Photographically speaking, a major moment was photographing a large spider web (and correspondingly large spider) outside the kitchen window of my friend Jean’s house. On one of the evenings I was there, we stood watching the web and the spider’s activity for quite a while. This spider has built a web a short distance away from a wasp’s nest; nature doesn’t ignore golden opportunities. This spider was definitely big enough to tackle a wasp in its web.

Spider and its web
Closer view of spider

I also attended the Peekskill Celebration at the Riverfront Green Park on Saturday August 4th ( together with Jean and Maria; there was some great live music—one of the R&B bands particularly stood out—New York Uproar ( Lots of great old songs from my growing-up years from the likes of Average White Band, Blood Sweat & Tears, Chicago, Ides of March, and many others. You can find the complete song list on the New York Uproar website. The height of this evening had to be the fantastic fireworks that went on for nearly half an hour, sponsored by Entergy (see my short film of some of the fireworks here: I’m including the information from the website about this event:    
The Entergy Fireworks Extravaganza is the largest fireworks display north of the Macy's annual Fourth of July display and is one of the signature activities that make Celebration unique in the Hudson Valley. The pyrotechnic display is synced with music provided by WHUD 100.7 Radio. Whether from land or on water, the fireworks are an amazing sight to behold.

And then on Sunday evening, Jean, her sister Barbara, Maria and I ended up at the beautiful Boscobel Hudson River estate in Garrison ( for the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (, which has been an annual event for us for at least the past five years or so. This year Romeo and Juliet was on the menu—a modernized version of this tragedy—and it was very good. Much of the first act was played for laughs, which was unusual but not at all irritating. But I would guess that Shakespearean purists might find some bones to pick with this production. Nonetheless, it has a lot going for it, especially with the younger lead actors and actresses, who bring their youthful enthusiasm to their roles. It wasn’t hard to remember, when watching them, how absolutely overwhelming, giddy and confusing it was to really and truly fall deeply in love. You never forget those moments even though they get buried in the stuff of daily life, but watching this version of Shakespeare’s play really brought them back, a testament to the fine acting jobs.

View of the Hudson River from the Boscobel estate in Garrison

Tent where the Shakespeare plays take place

I always enjoy my time in New York visiting friends and family. Friends have commented on my packed schedule when I’m there, and the fact that I travel quite a bit around from one place to another, but it doesn’t feel rushed or stressful. I feel free, and that’s a great feeling. It’s summer, the sun is shining, the warm weather beckons, I’m on vacation, and life is easy. I found time to walk from Tarrytown to Irvington to meet my good friend Laura for lunch, and marveled at the beauty of these two adjoining river towns. I know I was privileged to grow up in Tarrytown, along the beautiful Hudson River. I talked about this with my friend Stef on my recent visit with her and her husband John. (Stef also grew up in Tarrytown but now lives in New Jersey, as I did for four years in the 1980s). It’s not something you understand as a child; mostly you just want to get away from small-town life when you are a young adult, and it wouldn’t have mattered how beautiful any aspect of that life really was then. You need to get out and see the world. I am speaking for myself, but I know of others who felt the same way as I did when they were younger. Stef picked me up at the New Brunswick train station in New Jersey, and drove me to where I used to live, an apartment complex in Somerset; it was interesting to see how much has changed since I moved from there. What was once open farmland that stretched for miles along Route 27, has been built up with shopping centers and housing complexes. I hardly recognized the area. However, my apartment complex looked the same, if a bit older and in need of a few renovations, but what I noticed most were the numbers of trees that had grown up around it. Lovely tall trees, providing shade in the summer’s heat. That’s the kind of progress I like, because it contributes to the creation of beauty. 

Somerset New Jersey apartment complex

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