USA | NYC
 


Day 1198

Catching some rays

April 11th, 2015







I saw a number of turtles sunning themselves on the rocks of Kissena Lake today.

Day 1198

The ol’ fishin’ hole

April 11th, 2015



Perhaps expressing a yearning for a simpler life of rustic pleasures, these young fishermen are spending this sunny spring Saturday sitting beside Kissena Lake, their lines idling in its still waters. The gentleman on the left is clearly the leader, as indicated by his camouflage hat and authentic overturned five-gallon bucket. (Note the rinky-dink kitty-litter pails that his more citified companions are perched upon.) As I walked by, a country song — about fishing — was playing on their portable stereo.

UPDATE: A few months later, nutrient-rich runoff that was washed into the lake by a flash flood triggered a bloom of blue-green algae that killed at least 150 fish.

Day 1198

Kissena Velodrome

April 11th, 2015



The Kissena Velodrome, one of 29 or so velodromes in the country, hosted the 1964 US Olympic track cycling trials. By 2002, however, after years of neglect, it was in such poor condition that an article in Bicycling magazine declared it "the nation's worst cycling track". It was rededicated in 2004 after being renovated as part of NYC's failed bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics, but now, more than a decade later, it appears to have sprouted a nice array of cracks once again.

Day 1198

Does anybody know

April 11th, 2015



when park closes?

Day 1198


Day 1176

Shelter from the storm

March 20th, 2015



at the Church of the Holy Family

Day 1176



Day 1176

Weighted down

March 20th, 2015


Day 1176

Northerleigh Park

March 20th, 2015



I think it goes without saying that this park, located in the northerly part of the neighborhood of Westerleigh, had its playful name bestowed upon it by Henry Stern.

Day 1176

93 Waters Avenue

March 20th, 2015



We're back in the picturesque neighborhood of Westerleigh, formerly known as Prohibition Park.

(Looks like I've already photographed this house once!)

Day 1176

Spring is Here…Finally!

March 20th, 2015



(Spoke too soon.)

Day 1176

Roadside memorial flowers

March 20th, 2015



(I assume this is a memorial.)

Day 1176

A snowy woodland

March 20th, 2015



Standing at the western edge of the College of Staten Island, I'm looking into Willowbrook Park.

Day 1176

4:37 PM

March 20th, 2015



After taking the previous picture, I went inside to meet a friend here at the College of Staten Island. Five hours later, I came out to find the world looking a little different than I remembered.

Day 1176

A Promise Fulfilled

March 20th, 2015



This plaque at the College of Staten Island, dated September 17, 1987, reads:

A PROMISE FULFILLED

The institution once known as the Willowbrook State School, which occupied this site for thirty-six years, was closed in 1987.

The end of this institution symbolizes the success and appropriateness of New York State's commitment to provide an extensive and comprehensive program of community living opportunities for its citizens with mental retardation and developmental disabilities.
What was the Willowbrook State School? As we learned a few months ago:
The Willowbrook State School was the country's largest state-run institution for the mentally disabled. By the 1960s, it had over 6,000 residents, 2,000 more than it was designed to accommodate. Underfunded and understaffed, it "offered a mean, often desperate existence" to the people who lived there. After a visit in 1965, Bobby Kennedy described the place as "border[ing] on a snake pit".

But it wasn't until 1972 that the wretched conditions at Willowbrook were brought into the national spotlight, when a TV reporter named Geraldo Rivera snuck into one of the wards with a handheld camera and documented the awful scene: "children lying naked on the floor, their bodies contorted, their feces spread on walls".

This prompted a lawsuit that led to the eventual closing of the institution in 1987. Many of the buildings were taken over and renovated by the College of Staten Island, which opened a new campus — the largest college campus in the city — on the site in 1993.
So that makes two plaques here at CSI that acknowledge Willowbrook's existence. One, half-hidden behind a rose bush at the back corner of a building, does at least pay tribute, albeit in very vague and euphemistic terms, to all the helpless people who suffered abuse and neglect at this state-run institution. The other plaque, above, located in a little treed area near the middle of campus, makes no mention of the poor souls who lived here but instead just offers the state government a nice pat on the back for finally shutting the place down (after being sued into submission).