Tuesday, September 12, 2006

9/10

Su and I took the ferry over to Staten Island, where we explored Snug Harbor, a landmark of interesting national importance. When it opened in 1833, Snug Harbor was the first maritime home and hospital for retired seamen in the United States, a privately endowed institution where old sailors were offered lodging, food, healthcare, and companionship. Robert Randall was the institution's benefactor and his wealth had come from the sea and he left most of it to that class of men whose labor had built his fortune.

One of the highlights of our visit to Snug Harbor was the Noble Maritime Collection, which houses many works of the great and talented maritime artist, John A. Noble. Visiting the museum, I learned about Noble for the first time and was very impressed by his art. Many of his compositions are very compelling pieces. They remind me very much of Winslow Homer and JMW Turner, whose paintings often showed a restless, violent sea in which man was helpless and at the mercy of all-powerful Mother Nature.

In addition to Noble's works that were on display, there were also sketches and paintings by a motley group of contemporary artists, who composed impressive pieces of various vantage points around New York Harbor. We found them to be very captivating. They were all for sale too. Some showed the shore of Staten Island. Others looked towards the Verrazano Bridge. A few depicted the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Navy Yard. Unfortunately, there wasn't a companion book to go along with this exhibit, which I would have bought because it was just so engaging.

For me, the joy that I found in Snug Harbor was a real joy. It was totally unexpected, which is why in part I enjoyed it so much. I had no clue what I'd find there and that's why I think I found it to be so pleasant.

Our ride on the Staten Island ferry back and forth to Manhattan was a lot of fun. It had been many years since I was last on the S.I. ferry. I took several dozen photographs on the ferry with my new digital camera, which I bought recently with money that I earned working this summer. The ferry ride and our visit to Snug Harbor presented an excellent opportunity to test out my camera even further. Below are a few of the photographs from Sunday:







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