Wednesday, April 09, 2008

day +232

In thinking about spending the late summer in Montana and the West Coast, I realize that with regards to my Harlem River Bridges Project this works out quite well. If from the West Coast I went on to New Zealand and the Cook Islands as I had envisioned originally, this dream trip that I estimate to be about 4 months long would mean that I'd return to the US in mid to late December. That would mean that I'd miss the gorgeous fall which is a great time for photography in NYC. There are several parks and bridges that I'd like to capture during this lovely time. I'd also miss the 2008 ING NYC Marathon, which is scheduled for November 2nd. With the experience of having watched and photographed the marathon runners pass through the Bronx at 138th Street last year, now I see where I can get even better pictures of them this year. In fact, as the runners run west along 138th Street they cross into Manhattan via the Madison Avenue Bridge, one of the Harlem River Bridges that I've been photographing. Last year, I didn't get any great shots of the runners going across that bridge but if I'm here I hope to do so this time around. Indeed, the fall and the marathon (granted the weather is fine) are big incentives for an abridged trip if I hope to finish this photographic project of mine in 2009.

This project has become bigger than I had envisioned. The more I explore and read, the more interesting things I find along the Harlem River. I've stumbled upon some really interesting places and sites that I think could enrich my project. One of them is Highbridge Park in Manhattan which I've been visiting a lot recently. Though parts of it aren't the most inviting, with regards to my project it's a gem of a place from which to photograph. It offers some great views of the Harlem River, the Bronx, and some of the very bridges that I'm focusing on. Last night I was up there. Here are some of the photographs that I took last night in addition to a few days ago. You can see more of these on my Flickr page.

At the same time, many changes are taking place rapidly in the city which risk limiting the scope of my project. For example, the construction project to replace the 100+ year old Willis Avenue Bridge has begun and every time I pass by it, it looks as if a new beam or structure has been added in the surrounding ground. Due to construction, pedestrians can no longer walk on the bridge's southern walkway which I myself used many times. Months ago, I was able to walk freely through the zone at the base of the bridge where construction was going to take place but now that's almost impossible. Construction workers, trucks, and large machines have saturated that zone. Most interestingly, the large hill of salt (used for the winter) familiar to many who pass by this spot on the Harlem River Drive is gone now. I assume the Sanitation Department moved it elsewhere to free up space for the construction work there. Also, the Parks Department plans to renovate the Manhattan entrance to the High Bridge (the city's oldest existing span), which is supposed to reopen in about 2010. In some ways, I feel like I'm in a race against the massive renovation projects going on or planned around the city.

I feel that this project has some meaningful potential and if I continue to possess the enthusiasm that I have had up until now, that there may be some interest in what I've been doing. I guess the Patient Art Exhibition at Sloan later this month will be a barometer of sorts for both my talent and my subject material.


Comment Blogger Michelle J said...

Dude, these pics are amazing! Really, really great stuff Duane! May i use one of your pics in my blog with full credit to you of course? :O)

7:27 PM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Thanks for asking, Michelle. Please by all means share it. I'm glad you like them. ;)

7:53 PM  

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