The Watering Hole, Saturday, February 7th, 2015: Infrastructure!

Tappan Zee Bridge (photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Tappan Zee Bridge (photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org)

The Tappan Zee Bridge, which connects southern New York’s Westchester County on the east bank of the Hudson River with Rockland County on the west bank, was ceremoniously opened to traffic on December 15th, 1955, the day before I was born.

NY "Daily News" special Tappan Zee Bridge Edition, Wednesday, December 14, 1955

NY “Daily News” special Tappan Zee Bridge Edition, Wednesday, December 14, 1955

Like millions of others, I’ve crossed that bridge many, many times, and each time I’ve marveled at how the western end of the bridge seems to dip down so close to the river. In photos from the eastern side, more than three miles away, it almost looks like it’s descending into a tunnel. At its highest point, if one has a chance to look up and down this section of the river, one can – even with today’s manmade clutter – understand why the awesome Hudson River inspired its own art genre.

While not a widely renowned bridge – after all, New York has the infinitely more famous and familiar George Washington Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge – a lot more Americans are likely to become aware of its existence in the near future. And I have a feeling that a lot of Republicans will soon loathe the sight of it, simply because President Obama has put an image of the bridge on the front cover of his proposed 2016 budget.

President Obama's 2016 budget proposal cover

President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal cover (photo courtesy of the White House)

The Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement is one of the infrastructure projects now under construction thanks to President Obama’s Stimulus Plan. According to the Tarrytown, NY, online Patch newspaper, in a statement issued by the White House, the reason why an image of the Tappan Zee Bridge made the 2016 Budget cover is actually pretty obvious:

“If a budget is a reflection of our priorities as a nation, why shouldn’t the cover be the same? One of the President’s key priorities in his 2016 budget is to modernize our public infrastructure — something our roads, bridges, and ports desperately need. So instead of the plain blue budget cover that administrations typically affix to the budget, this year’s cover features the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York — one of the bridges that has benefited from the President’s previous investments in infrastructure upgrades.”

As a New Yorker and a Liberal, it pleases me no end that, when Boehner and other prominent stimulus-deniers do their usual routines of waving a copy of the President’s proposed budget while decrying the contents, they’ll be displaying not only one of the President’s successful stimulus projects, but one of the Empire State’s iconic bridges. So this is, to me, a great big New York “Fuck you, Pal!” to conservatives – sweeeeeeet!

This is our daily Open Thread. Feel free to talk about infrastructure, budgets, or whatever else you wish.

The Watering Hole, Monday, July 22nd, 2013: “Someone’s Got a Case of The Mondays”

Yes, even though I’m writing this on Sunday night, I’ve already got “a case of the Mondays.” The cumulative effect of the idiocy, racism, and total regression of our country into savage barbarism has caused me to become overwhelmed by depression, anger, hatred, frustration, despair and hopelessness. I’m at the point where I can’t even form a coherent rant. So I’ll just put up a photo or two that might help soothe the soul of others who are suffering from a “case of the Mondays.” Forgive me if I’ve used any of these before.

Looking west across Hudson River

Looking west across Hudson River

Fading Sunset Reflection

Fading Sunset Reflection

Skyfire Sunset

Skyfire Sunset

This is our Open Thread. Go ahead, talk amongst yourselves.

The Waltering Hole, Monday, June18th, 2012: Bannerman Castle, Revisited

I don’t often read the local “Southern Dutchess Focus” of the Poughkeepsie Journal newspaper, but this past Saturday’s cover caught my eye. The color photo dominating the page was headlined: “Concerts, tours set on island”; in the photo, a couple of tables full of people are dining near a hedge in the forefront, with part of a castle ruin looming beyond the hedge. I immediately thought of Bannerman Castle, about which our own WaltTheMan had once written, and a quick glance at the caption under the photo confirmed that it was, indeed, Bannerman Castle.

Bannerman Castle on Bannerman Island (officially “Pollopel Island”)

The historic castle, built in 1901 by military supplies dealer Frank Bannerman, was severely damaged over the decades by explosion, fire, and, eventually, neglect. In 2011, fundraising and lobbying efforts were begun by the Bannerman Island Trust. According to a February, 2011 article in Private Island News (always part of my daily reading, how ’bout you?):

The castle on Bannerman Island – also known as Pollepel Island – is under the domain of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The primary public action group is the Bannerman Castle Trust, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of the castle’s plight and stabilizing the structure itself – which has decayed more and more with every winter on the stormy Hudson. It will take a lot of work to bring the castle back to its former glory – but at this point, the Trust would be happy with just keeping its hollow remains standing…
Picturesque boat tours around the island are becoming popular, and the Trust offers “hard-hat” tours of the ruins with all proceeds going towards restoration.”

According to the Poughkeepsie Journal‘s article, this year the Bannerman Castle Trust’s goal is to collect at least $150,000 in donations:

“This summer will be an important one for the Bannerman Castle Trust. By Sept. 12, the group needs to raise $150,000 to secure a matching $150,000 grant from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund…To attract more visitors to Bannerman Island this summer, a new touring experience has been created allowing people to take a self-guided tour; afterward they can enjoy a boxed lunch from a local restaurant, and hear live music. The “boxed lunch” tours will be on the third Sunday of every month through October.”

WaltTheMan had made me aware of an historical landmark in my area of which I had been previously ignorant. I think that the least I can do to thank Walt would be to help the Bannerman Castle Trust reach its fundraising goal. By doing so, I’d feel that I was, in a very small way, making Walt proud.

This is our daily open thread — comment on anything you want!