July 2, 2015

The Shirt Factory

Posted in Explorations tagged , , , at 4:17 pm by chavisory

Out for a stroll between rehearsal and a show one night last week, I walked a bit further than I intended and wound up lost enough that I was starting to have doubts of finding my way back in time for my own call time.  (I did.)  Happily, though, I stumbled across a place I’d been wondering about, which I’d been seeing signs without directions for…and resolved to go back to explore on my day off.

The Shirt Factory is a charming, and weird, in the best way, multi-use space of artists’ studios, shops, and historical displays, converted from a closed shirtwaist factory in Glens Falls, NY.

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Preserved and restored sewing machines line the hallways, some of which were built in the 1910’s and used continuously until the factory’s closing in 1996.

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Flashbacks to my time spent working on a show about the Triangle factory fire…

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The whole place is quiet, and creaky, and feels slightly removed from time, not to even mention the constraints on space, and light, and quiet that I’ve gotten so used to in the city, where they’re not non-existent, but they are so expensive and hard to find.  I’d like to live somewhere that places like this are more possible again someday.

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I put a quarter into this machine just to see what was in it, and got a pin-back button with a shark’s tooth on it… outside this door…

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I wonder what this is about….

April 22, 2015

Early spring hike

Posted in City life, Explorations tagged , , at 12:07 am by chavisory

Our weather has been really nasty for a long time, I have had almost no break time over the course of the winter, and my apartment building has been under renovation so I’ve also been in construction noise hell.  I took advantage of a recent day off with halfway decent weather earlier this month to walk 12 miles or so.

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The Old Putnam trail in Van Cortland Park turns into the South County trail in Westchester County.  It follows the route of what was the Old Putnam Railroad from Putnam County to NYC.

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leaving nyc

That’s the end of New York City right there.

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Sadly, this route is marred by traffic noise for quite a bit of it, but a few sections are really beautiful and quiet.

I made it to somewhere called Grey Oaks, NY before I was really hungry and starting to figure I should probably make it back to NYC before dark….I also forgot how hard paved trails are on the feet.

Heart tree

May 30, 2013

The woods are lovely….

Posted in Explorations tagged , , , at 12:53 pm by chavisory

bear creek mt trail

I got to do a little hiking this past weekend.  This is Bear Creek Mountain, in Walton, NY.

August 30, 2011

After the storm

Posted in Explorations, Uncategorized tagged , , , at 12:02 pm by chavisory

The storm seemed to be over by late afternoon on Sunday, but power still hadn’t returned.  We’d had rehearsal as planned the day of Hurricane Irene despite the lack of a music source or coffee.  That evening, the company members were creatively assembling an elegant dinner for eight out of cold leftovers, in a dark farmhouse kitchen by candlelight, and I was out on the back porch snapping pictures of the sky after the hurricane.

A couple of us were chatting when I spotted the rainbow through the trees and we all dashed for our shoes and cameras to run out to the neighboring field for a better view.

The morning after the storm….

Believe it or not, this place is real.

July 26, 2011

New views from the High Line

Posted in City life, Explorations, Uncategorized tagged , , at 10:17 pm by chavisory

The High Line’s second section is open!  I visited recently and joined enthusiastic throngs of amateur photographers on a cobalt blue summer day.

This is the view towards 10th Avenue from a garden two stories off the ground.  The High Line is one of our newest parks, constructed on top of an elevated train trestle along the far west side that had been abandoned for many years.  Preservationists lobbied for years to have it refurbished as a park rather than demolished.

 

 

I love it for the unexpected view it gives of the city, and for the horticultural ingenuity it demonstrates, how people will try to grow stuff pretty much anywhere in this city.

The High Line is a fascinating testament to the endless adaptability and resourcefulness of everything and every creature in this place.

April 7, 2011

Cloisters

Posted in City life, Explorations, Uncategorized tagged , , at 1:18 pm by chavisory

I had an old friend in town this past weekend and we went to visit The Cloisters in upper Manhattan.  (The Cloisters is a museum of medieval European/Christian art and architecture, and the building is actually assembled from bits and pieces of ruined abbeys and monasteries from the 12th-15th centuries.)

I was smitten over and over by the sight of gardens, sky and light through multiple iterations of windows and passageways.

There’s a metaphor about confinement, revelation, seeking, labyrinths, and illumination hiding in there somewhere….

April 10, 2010

Explorations~High Bridge Park

Posted in City life, Explorations, Uncategorized tagged at 2:26 pm by chavisory

When you’re a freelance theater artist, you can often wind up with a very atypical and erratic work schedule.  Like this winter and early spring, I’ve been doing a lot of work for Juilliard on a 3:00-10:00 PM schedule, leaving my entire mid-morning free.  When I’ve worked a whole day and get home exhausted at 6 or 7 PM and it’s dark and cold out, I’m fine with fixing dinner, cleaning the apartment or other petty chores and curling up in my room with a drink to surf the internet or catch up on TV before bed.  But that’s no way to spend a gorgeous spring morning if you don’t have to go to work till 3:00.

So one of the things I’ve loved doing with my morning hours is seeking out places in Manhattan, and beyond, that I haven’t yet made myself familiar with in the five years I’ve lived here.

When I decided that I was moving here, I feel like my family thought I was nuts–being a very introverted person who treasures quiet and nature and open spaces–because a lot of people, when they think of Manhattan, automatically think of Times Square, or Macy’s and the midtown area, or 5th Avenue.  But most of New York City actually isn’t anything like that at all, and there are some uniquely charming, stunningly beautiful places here.

Today, my AEA day off from rehearsal for my current project, is a bright, sunny, blustery day which I wanted to be spending exploring Inwood Hill Park, at the northern tip of Manhattan, but alas, I’m at home fighting off debilitating monthly cramps with large quantities of coffee and Irish cream and ibuprofen.  Heating pads have never worked much for me, but the warmth of the Macbook on my lap is nice and soothing nonetheless.  So that’s why I’m home on a gorgeous day off, blogging about a trip to the park instead of being there.  This was my fascinating but slightly heartrending field trip to High Bridge Park on a nice morning in March a couple weeks ago:

High Bridge Park is named for the bridge between Manhattan and the Bronx which once carried the city’s fresh water supply along the Croton Aqueduct by gravity from north of the city.  It runs for about 30 blocks along the north-eastern corner of Manhattan.  I started walking south from around 178th St. along the Harlem River.

Walking through some of New York’s lesser-known parks can be a saddening experience.  NYC has a huge amount of park space to take care of, so the Parks Commission has its hands full to begin with, and I’m sure that between the recession and both city and state budget crises, they have to make some difficult decisions on priorities.  Additionally, Central Park suffered massive damage in a brief but fierce summer storm of a type known as a “microburst” last year, which they’re still cleaning up, and which I imagine will continue to be a drag on budgets for months still to come.

The result can be neglect for parks in less-traveled, and frankly, lower-income areas.

High Bridge has lovely architecture and landscaping–bridges, arches, tunnels, curving paths and steep winding stairways, old-fashioned street lamps.  But some of it is just in terrible shape.  Lamps are broken and gutted and look like they have been for quite some time.  I actually saw one street lamp with a thick clump of moss growing where its bulb should be.  Stonework is covered in graffiti.  Fallen trees and branches laid thickly across paths, and probably not from one of the most recent storms, either, as there were crocuses coming up deep in the depressions left by upended root bulbs.

Call me cynical; I just have a hard time believing that conditions like this in someplace like Central Park would be let go for very long.  I hope I just happened to hit High Bridge in an unusually neglected pocket, or that springtime cleanup wasn’t underway yet.

There’s a nice walking/biking trail overlooking the Harlem River, though.  And the jewel of the park is the High Bridge water tower, which once upon a time was used to control water pressure across High Bridge itself.

I was disappointed not to be able to go up inside it; it’s locked up.  Currently you can’t walk across High Bridge itself, either, though it was once a popular promenade for walkers and bikers.  It was closed to traffic after a couple of rock-throwing incidents in the 1970’s, but word is that plans are underway to refurbish and reopen the walkway to the public in 2011, for which I am extremely excited.