West Point Foundry

According to the National Park Service:

Of the four historic ironworks selected by President James Madison to supply artillery to the U.S. military, only West Point Foundry remains. Operating from 1818-1911, the foundry gained renown during the Civil War by producing Parrott guns, cannons whose range and accuracy gave the North a distinct advantage (prompting a visit from President Abraham Lincoln in 1862). A technological marvel that helped spark America’s rise as an industrial superpower, West Point Foundry also manufactured some of the nation’s first locomotives, ironclad ships and pipes for New York City’s water system. Today, nonprofit Scenic Hudson is responsible for transforming the 97-acre site into an “outdoor museum.” Trails through the wooded preserve, located in a tranquil ravine, pass the significant ruins of foundry buildings. Interpretive features, including a full-scale representation of the boring mill’s 36-foot waterwheel, explore the foundry’s contributions to the Industrial Revolution, its role in the Civil War and the land’s astonishing ecological renewal.

I’ve been here a few times, but not recently. It’s easily reached by public transportation: there’s a trail that starts from the southern end of the north-bound platform of the Cold Spring Metro North station.

Walkway to the gun testing platform. I believe that at the time of my last visit the walls on the left were covered in vegetation and were barely visible.

The gun testing platform. From here they fired cannons across the marsh to make sure they were working.

Decoration on the top of the gun testing platform

This and the following picture are of Administration Building, the only intact building that remains. When I first came here the cupola was missing. It was on the ground being restored. It seems that they’ve done some more restoration: the brickwork seems to be in better shape.

This and the following picture show Foundry Brook


More ruins

Reproduction of a portion of the water wheel, over which Foundry Brook flowed and which drove the Foundry machinery.

For more information see here and here.

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Fuji XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS II

Strange objects in Manhattan

I came across these odd objects while walking around in Manhattan one day. I don’t really know what they are, but they look like some kind of emergency communications device. The second one below looks older than the one above.

After a bit more research I’ve discovered that they are indeed Police, Fire and Emergency call boxes. An article entitled: CITIES 101: RED FIRE ALARM BOXES IN NYC, DO THEY EVEN WORK? on Untapped New York provides more detail.

Throughout New York City, you may be familiar with these red fire alarm boxes that are supposed to summon the fire or police department in the event of an emergency. But how do they work? Many of them have been in the streets for over a century and for more than a decade, several initiatives have emerged to reassess their utility in today’s cell phone age.

The FDNY reports that only 2.6% of calls that they receive come from these boxes, which connect callers directly to their local fire dispatcher, as opposed to the 911 system which acts as a middle-man to the appropriate emergency services. However, 88% of calls from the City’s 15,000 fire boxes are false alarms.

The call boxes come in different shapes and sizes, representative of the decade during which they were installed. Most common are the stand alone rounded posts with a red torch on the top. Some are denoted by an orange bulb attached to a post above a box; these are some of the older ones, as the orange bulbs were used in the 1910s. According to The Works, by Kate Ascher, the oldest boxes date back to 1870:

“when the Fire Department installed fire alarm boxes on telegraph poles south of 14th Street. Though few boxes from that time have survived, a large number of those on the streets today still rely on the original technology: pulling a revolving coded-wheel mechanism sends a signal identifying the box number of the central office of the borough…and dispatchers there forward the alarm to the appropriate firehouse.”

The newer boxes are the ones with two buttons, specifying “Fire” or “Police,” and have a speaker system which the caller can use to speak with the emergency dispatcher. These were installed to lower the instances of false alarms, but pranksters still afflict the system even with these boxes. Posters featuring “Foxy the Firefighter” were pasted to the side of many fire posts in the 60’s and 70’s when false alarms were out of control (the FDNY reported 263,000 false alarms in 1977).

Since the mid-90s the City began to see the fire boxes as a nuisance and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani was the first to attempt to extinguish the problem. Mayor Bloomberg was a major proponent in favor of removing the City’s fire boxes as well (thousands of which are no longer working since Hurricane Sandy). But these removal attempts have received backlash from those who feel that they are crucial in the event of a power/telephone outage (like 9/11) or when servicing a deaf caller. “By removing this system, the city would be leaving our clients with no way to report emergencies from the street,” said Attorney Robert Stulberg, who represented the Civic Association of the Deaf of New York City in 2011 against the initiative. In 2011 it was estimated that the city would save $7 million a year in repair costs related to the fire boxes. To report an out of service call box in your neighborhood, call 311

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Fuji XF 35mm f1.4 R

2021 Favorites – Black and White

Pocantico Falls, Rockefeller State Park Preserve, NY.

Two Trees at Scarborough Station Park, Briarcliff Manor/Scarborough, NY.

The Bar at P.J. Clarkes, Manhattan, New York City.

Lonesome Pine, Rockefeller State Park Preserve, NY.

Icicles, Briarcliff Manor, NY.

Strange Creature at Times Square Station, Manhattan, NY.

Pigeons bathing on Park Avenue and 51st Street, Manhattan, NY.

Woman in Starbucks, Grand Central Terminal, Manhattan, NY.

Fabulous machine at the Black Cow Coffee Shop, Croton-on-Hudson, NY.

Eating lunch on Lexington Avenue, Manhattan, NY.

That’s the way you grind a lot of coffee

Awesome machine at the Black Cow coffee shop in Croton-on-Hudson. According to their website:

Michael and Peggy Grant opened the black cow on a wing and a prayer in 1995. they had two young children at the time, Peggy was working as a nurse and Michael as a contractor, and there were more than a few people who thought they were a little crazy to believe they could make a living selling cups of coffee. But they were able to do that and so much more. Since opening, the black cow has become the heart of our community in croton, and has expanded to build more community in Pleasantville and at Phelps Hospital. After twenty five years, Michael and Peggy have retired to Vermont to live out their other dream of doing nothing in a bucolic setting, and they are passing the torch on to close family and dear friends. in croton, Zoë (their youngest child) has returned to carry on the tradition of early morning cups and warm conversations. in Pleasantville, Michele (long time manager and face of the store) is nurturing the family of customers there as she has been doing for the past few years. and at Phelps hospital, Amanda (Michael’s niece and forever friendly face at all the stores) is carrying on with the tight knit community she has built among the hospital staff. No matter the faces behind the counter, our goal will continue to be, as it has always been, to take care of and nourish these communities that we love so much.

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Fuji XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS II