Island of the Dead: New York City’s Hart Island

Panorama showing Hart Island (lower right) and City Island (left) in 2010. The large land mass at the top of the picture is the borough of the Bronx (Photo credit: wikipedia.org)

Unless you are a prisoner, you won’t have access to this island, at least for now. Hart Island is the story of what happens when an indigent or homeless New York City resident dies. This island has been used as the City’s potter’s field since 1869. Its grave diggers are the prisoners of Rikers Island.

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Confinement and Creativitiy

Al Weiwei in Alcatraz
Ai Wei Wei’s Dragon at Alcatraz (photo credit madashl, 2014)

Ai Wei Wei at Alcatraz.

I’m going to see this show next week and I cannot wait! If you are in the Bay Area, try to see it.

http://www.parksconservancy.org/about/publications/multimedia/ai-weiwei.html

 

Exhibition Review: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz
A prison cell at Alcatraz (Photo credit Architectural Record, 2014)

 

Jamaica, One Love/No Love

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Jamaican Iguana, from the Indigenous Fauna series, watercolor on paper 2014

I have learnt the warmth of the sun
A million adventures not yet begun

Heartbreak and poetry
…deep blues …

Now i know this is lonely country
It leads me only back to the sea

… Once there was beauty here for me
Once there was magic here for me ….

-words from Dido’s, “Northern Skies”, from the Safe Trip Home album-


I’m working on a series of artwork inspired by Jamaica, its history, its present. That includes reading the early texts and drawings about the island. My readings and research take me from the cave drawings of the Tainos to the writings of the Spanish, based on Columbus’ arrival in the “New World,” on up to the present. So many things, are done in the name of the church, the holy trinity, god and nation. 3 -in the name of the holy trinity

Video – Jamaica, a terrible place to be gay:

 

Fishing for Plastics

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(Photo credit: The Ocean Cleanup)

Did you know that there are plastics in many of our face washes, tooth pastes, shaving creams and shower gels? If the products you use contain microbeads, more than likely, these microbeads are made from plastics, not natural materials. These are not the only common household items containing microbeads. Microbeads can also be generated in your washing machines. All of these, end up in our water systems and make their way out to sea. Interested in learning more? Read on: Plastic Soup

Whales and Sharks Around The Big Apple

Dancing with glee!
Horse Head’s Happy Dance

Back in April 2013, I wrote an article that included information about the once terribly polluted Hudson River in New York State. Now the water near New York City is getting cleaner and the fish are finally returning. Now there are regular sightings of larger fish, like whales and sharks, that are following the food source. This is great news! Read about it here and also, take a look back in time at my April 2013 article, The River Road, Part Two.

For more of my Water series, visit: https://wewerenothing.org/category/water-2/

Thanks for visiting!

 

 

 

Down By the Bay, East Palo Alto Way

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From bay to landfill to garbage dump, to boatworks and now, back to bay.

Efforts are afoot to restore the area in front of Cooley Landing in East Palo Alto. Cooley Landing was once a wharf in the now defunct town of Ravenswood. The entire landing is made of landfill and is owned by the City of East Palo Alto. It was opened/reopened in 2012.

The area directly in front of Cooley Landing, was held for quite some time by POST (the Peninsula Open Space Trust); it has now been entrusted to the MROSD (Mid-Peninsula Open Space District). Only recently opened, this section of Ravenswood Preserve is also a part of the Bay Trail. Restoration continues on this area and will continue for years to come. In the meanwhile, the Bay slowly heals itself: marshes, tidal flats and wildlife are returning to the area.

To enter this section of Ravenswood Preserve and Cooley Landing, take Bay Road in East Palo Alto. Drive past an industrialized zone. The road here becomes riddled with potholes but once you enter the preserve, the roads are paved and in excellent condition suitable even for wheelchair access.

These open spaces, Ravenswood and Cooley Landing, include portions of the Bay Trail. The view here is incredible. Signs of wildlife, especially birds, are evident. So too, are remnants of garbage, including discarded tires. Still, revitalization of the space continues. This is not just a boon for flora and fauna. It also provides more open space for the residents of East Palo Alto and beyond.

Additional Information:

Welcome Back to the Bay!

5bWe are ten years into a 50-year restoration project along the San Francisco Bay — Salt flats are being returned to their natural state (0r as natural as we can make them). Wetland restoration continues on an area the size of Manhattan island. All of this is in the middle of Silicon Valley. There are three areas, Eden Landing, Ravenswood, and Alviso, on the South Bay, two of which I’ve visited. Here are some photos from yesterday’s visit to Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge (in Alviso) where I saw numerous birds including several phalaropes.

 

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Follow this link for some really good photographs of Drawbridge.

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