Greenpoint, October, 2015

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Esso-teric Westerly

A short holiday detour from the tour of Staten Island garages, living and defunct, to Westerly, Rhode Island...
Not designed as a garage per se, but rather part of the Smith Quarry operation, this handsome building from 1884 has not been used for many years.
Most recently, part of the former Ray Hoxsie Buick dealership on Granite Street, earlier markings suggest it was once an Esso station. According the Westerly Sun, the building may get a new life as a restaurant.
Please don't call it Le Garage.

Friday, December 23, 2016


Festive streamers beckon you to Kirk's, whose full name is Kirk's Staten Island Tire & Auto Servicenter.
Kirk's is located on Forest Avenue near Broadway, squeezed in between McDonalds and the McDonald playground. The playground, closed for renovations, is named for Austin J. McDonald, a Staten Islander killed in the war, rather than Ronald McDonald, veteran of the Burger Wars.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


The first in a (very) occasional series on garages on Staten Island. Nick's on Richmond Terrace and Elizabeth Street, on the stretch of faded but still active marine glory between Port Richmond and Snug Harbor.
Check out the red, white, and blue color scheme. Even the fuel tank!

Friday, December 16, 2016


I took this back in late November. A brave soul on Staten Island (North Shore). Recent revelations from the CIA just make him or her appear more prescient.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Wishing You an EZ Christmas

Santa takes the EZPass lane.
Goethals Bridge, S.I. (Photos: F. Someki)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Blue Boat

Under Silver Lake Cemetery, Victory Blvd., S.I.

Friday, December 2, 2016

BQE in Autumn

The onramp to the BQE from the Grand Central Parkway West provides an autumnal prelude to the ride.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Bayonne Bridge Open

The lanes are narrow, and you need to time it right, but when the Bayonne Bridge is open during its long roadway-raising construction, the views can be beautiful.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Red Truck Coming

Can a painting go viral, especially one from 1935? One of the pleasures of Michiko Kakutani's (the NYT book reviewer's) Twitter feed is that she often posts reproductions of paintings or photographs with no accompanying message. Yesterday, she tweeted Grant Wood's "Death on the Ridge Road." Joyce Carol Oates promptly retweeted that the painting had been used on the cover of her book, Telling Stories: An Anthology for Writers.
Is the painting telling a story? Or is it an allegory for what's about to happen to our domestic order as a big red T comes piling over the ridge? All I know is that America's most prolific writer and most prolific reader both have time to tweet a lot.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day

"Welcome to Concord." After a year plus of discord, it was calming to see this sign along with the World War II memorial at the intersection of Clove Road and Targee Street on Staten Island.

The plaque on the memorial reads:




Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Lane Shift

Can't help but thinking there is an analogy here to the presidential election yesterday. Is it a temporary aberration that reroutes us directly into oncoming traffic, not to speak of dividing us? Will we ever come back?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day

Polling place with a view.
The spelling is a bit off but the spirit is right.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Wall Weary

Looking something like a green submarine, the newest section of "uplands" takes shape and color in Brooklyn Bridge Park. It blocks the view of the harbor from the BQE, and I have yet to see a park visitor climbing its inclined path.
Perhaps its a prototype for Trump's wall with Mexico. I'd prefer the wall of Taco Trucks that assembled to protest Trump's candidacy at the Las Vegas debate.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Haunted House

Very scary...
Clove Road, Staten Island

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Be Here Now

Can you read the writing on the wall?
A fresco many years (decades?) in the making on the side of a house beside the BQE near Clinton Hill.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Love Is Not Free

Robert Indiana knock-off, or the real thing behind bars on Teleport Drive, S.I.?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bridge Update

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Time for some traffic problems in Greenpoint? Progress on the new Kosciuszko Bridge, Phase I, continues apace with some lane diversions but no cones in sight.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from the S.I. ferry.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Reading the Poles

Christopher Lane runs along the Staten Island Expressway. An unscientific survey was posted on the other side:

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Return of the O'Jays?

A colorful truck on a gray day. The artist's tag up top seems to read OJAES FYC. Immediately thought of the great American R&B band crossed with the also great British post-ska band Fine Young Cannibals.

Here's one from the O'Jays...

And one from FYC...

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Empty Diamonds

Clove Lakes Park, Staten Island
The Yankees season ended a while ago. The Mets' ended lasted night in the ninth inning against the Dodgers. The Red Sox and Cubs play on. Two minutes of the VP candidates' debate is all I needed to answer the question, why do we need baseball?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Missed It

Ferry commuters seem indifferent to the news that Kenny Rogers' "Final World Tour" will touch down at the St. George Theatre.
He just stopped in to see what condition his condition was in...

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Underground Lit

Riding the subway is always educative, though not always in a literary way. But last week I found myself sitting just below a young man reading Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons (in the centennial edition released by New Directions in 2014) and across from a  young woman hugging a plaster of paris figurine and reading The Book of the Courtier.

I had to Google that one to discover that Baldassare Castiglinone's book was a per-Amazon bestseller in the 16th century. A "courtesy book," it consists of fictional conversations among courtiers of the Duke of Urbino's court (of which the author was one). I think Gertrude Stein, seen below in the lovely little statue by Jo Davidson from Bryant Park, would have enjoyed sharing a car with her reader and this young woman, not to mention her companion, very much.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


From under the Gowanus Expressway, just before it merges with the Prospect Expressway.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Hidden Gallery

(Christine Osinski)
I made it down to the Alice Austen House museum yesterday to check out the recently opened show, In Conversation, which pairs early twentieth photographs of Alice Austen with photographs taken by Christine Osinski as she wandered around neighborhoods of Staten Island with her camera in the summer of 1984. Given Staten Island's culture, now as then, it's not surprising that cars figure in many of Osinski's photographs: Cars and kids, kids hanging around cars (like the one above), a guy adding oil from a punch-holed can to his engine, and so on.

The Alice Austen photographs in the show tended more to bicycles and long dresses. That is, until you enter the unmarked bathroom off the larger gallery room. Every photograph hung in this bright little room depicts an automobile Several are being tinkered with by their drivers. One, above the toile, shows guests arriving at or departing from the Ocean House in Watch Hill (Westerly), Rhode Island. What a life!
Are they by Alice Austen? Who knows? One of the pleasures of this little museum is that you sometimes have it to yourself. The door is wide open but the museum staff is nowhere to be seen, or asked a question of. They are probably out in the garden. What a life!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Jersey Love

(Time Life Pictures)
With Bridgegate rearing its Chris Christie-size head, reviving memories of "traffic problems in Fort Lee," bombs in Elizabeth and Seaside, New Jersey is having another rough month. It's nice to read a little old-fashioned Jersey pride. A nice piece by David Hajdu from the Chronicle of Higher Education tells the story of his early infatuation with rock and roll, picked up in large part, listening to the table-side jukeboxes at the Gateway Diner on Route 22 in Phillipsburg, where his mother was a waitress. (His father was toll collector on the bridge across the Delaware River.) According to Hajdu's mother, the Beatles dropped in (or maybe it was the Stones...). Leonard Bernstein loved the pudding. A fun read. Makes me want to head west....

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Riding with the King

(September 2016)
Something is up with the Antenna King. For months, I've been passing the iconic sign on the Gowanus Expressway in Bay Ridge. Was there always a faded "Play Free Win $" sign underneath the phone number. Finally had a chance to have the boys in Research Bureau check it out. They went back to a photo from the post "Six Minutes to the Antenna King" from October 2012.
(October 2012)
As I suspected, the Antenna King part had been moved up to make way for the new (old) message. What's the motivation for moving one tattered sign to make room for an equally tattered one? I guess I'll just have to stop in and ask the King? (NB: No area code on the phone number.)

I always think of the Antenna King sign as the poor man's Kentile sign. Who's with me in fighting to landmark it?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Friday, September 9, 2016

BQE Skyline

I never really thought of Brooklyn as having a skyline until I started seeing it from the Staten Island Ferry. Certainly not something you'd see from the BQE as you burrow your way under the Heights promenade. (BTW: Traffic appears to be moving well in both directions.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Storm Sputter

The boardwalk at South Beach was open for business on Labor Day as Hermine twisted out to sea, though the concession stand was closed (I wanted a dog), and red flags warned bathers off going into the water.
No action on the diamond either.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


It's pretty common to see helicopters from the balcony of our building, often hovering over Silver Lakes Park. Once even dangling a frogman over the reservoir. Maybe, like real birds, the whirlybirds are drawn to green and water. This shot at sunset makes me think of an Apocalypse Now - J.M.W. Turner mash-up.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Trump vs Trotsky

Silver Lake Park
Staten Island is not known for left-wing politics.
An ironic comment in the land of Trump?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Days of Wonder

Hate the bread, if it is technically bread, but love the trucks.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Signs of the Season

Passing the Marly ("horsepower" in Chinese) sign on the BQE.
Summer is speeding by.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Way Back Nine

From his post outside the Fountains cooperative apartments on Clove Road, and across from the Silver Lake Golf Club, Marcus Aurelius has seen a lot of poor putting and tee shots.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Trump Truck

I caught site of this proud, flag-waving Trumpmobile as I was crossing Clove Road. Too late to snap a photo. This being Staten Island, I passed it parked on a side street half an hour later.
The Trump flag: No more _____. Lies, I suppose. (We've entered that Orwellian world, when all lies equals the truth.)
(Photo: Evan Vucci, AP)
Earlier this week, another Trump flag appeared briefly (and was quickly removed), according the the New York Times, at a rally in Kissimmee, Florida.