Thursday Doors – Riverside Park Boathouse

Boathouse Doors

For my Thursday Doors, a close up the front doors to the Riverside Park Boathouse

As I was researching the story behind today’s doors, I discovered more about the common thread between my adopted city and my home town. So, in addition to doors, today I am writing about the special relationship a city has with its river.

Although it’s always tempting for me to write about Pittsburgh, today I am writing about Connecticut’s capitol city, Hartford. The common thread? I had the privilege of living in both cities when they began to recapture their riverfront. In Pittsburgh, I know, I’m not writing about Pittsburgh, they had the idea to turn three struggling polluted industrial lifelines into a major tourist attraction well ahead of the national trend.

They began their riverfront recapture program in the mid-to-late 50s. John Connelly had the assignment to begin that process. Luckily, he also had the vision for a way to begin, by putting people on the river(s) for sightseeing and dining. Mr. Connelly founded the Gateway Clipper fleet. I worked on his boats for a while and I’ve been on them as a tourist when I’ve traveled back to see Pittsburgh’s thriving waterfront 60 years later.

About the time that Pittsburgh was trying to clean and rediscover its rivers, Hartford was busy building a permanent barrier between the Connecticut River and the city. Interstate 91, as it was originally constructed, ran atop a flood control dike that was protecting the city.

The highway would prevent people from accessing the river for about 40 years. Hartford began its own Riverfront Recapture project in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until 1999 that the City of Hartford was reunited with the beautiful Connecticut River.

It's taken over 30 years, but the bulk of the riverwalk is complete.

It’s taken over 30 years, but the bulk of the riverwalk is complete.

Hartford’s recapture plan required lowering I-91 to grade level and building an elevated plaza over the highway to provide pedestrian access to the river for sightseeing cruises and concerts. Also, a series of walkways along the riverbank and across a couple of bridges would link the plaza to three different parks. It’s been over 30 years, but the work is almost done and the results are good. These days, over a million people are visiting the Hartford area waterfront each year.

You can read about all of the attractions in the descriptions of the photos. Riverside Park, the park with the boathouse whose doors are featured here today, is on the north end of the City of Hartford. The park provides access to the river via a public boat launch, as well as playgrounds, sport fields and picnic areas. The boathouse is the base of a significant community rowing program and the upper floor can be rented for social events. The lower floor houses about 65 rowing sculls and was designed to withstand the annual flooding that puts most of Riverside Park underwater during the spring.

The rivers that had appeared to have outlived their usefulness to the cities that were built nearby, are once again playing an important economic role. Abused for centuries, we have finally reached a point where we appreciate the natural beauty of these magnificent waterways. It was a long time coming in Pittsburgh. The rivers that powered the industrial age in my hometown are now urban playgrounds. For longer still, Hartford had hidden it’s river from sight but has now welcomed it back into the landscape and the economy. Great River Park, where I begin many work days is apply named.

This post is part of Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors series. It’s easy to participate, you really only need one picture of one door. See the link for more information.

Posted in Attractions, New England Life, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Walk Among the Monuments

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Originally posted on No Facilities:
I spent most of the past week in Washington, DC. I’ve been to Washington several times, but my trips have always been of the in-business-out variety, including prescription nightlife. This time, I had a couple…

Gallery | 19 Comments

Krispy Kreme

socs-badgeOK, the “K” and the “E” aren’t together. I hope Linda doesn’t smack me with the virtual SoCS yardstick. I know, “stick” was last week’s prompt.

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “ke.” Use the letter combination at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the word you choose to base your post on. Heck, make up your own word if you’d like! Enjoy!”

Donuts

No, theses aren’t Krispy Kreme donuts. The closest Krispy Kreme shop is 42 miles away, tucked inside a casino.

Well not a lot of words start with “ke” as far as I know. I’m sure there are tons. I’m sure that there are tons more that end in “ke” but I’d have to look them up. Looking them up is inconsistent with the idea of stream of consciousness. Krispy Kreme starts with “K” and ends with “E” (I’m sure you caught onto that) so I figured it would work. I like (ooh, like ends with “ke”) Krispy Kreme, the donuts and the words. I like the words because the donuts are a kind of crispy cream. I like words, phrases, titles, etc. that make sense (make also ends in “ke”).

I have always considered “fireplace” to be one of the most perfect words. Think about it. A place for fire. It’s so simple. Words like fireplace, riverboat, light switch, paper towel and bottle opener just seem to flow from the page or speech right into my brain. Other words and phrases are a bit curious, they cause me to stumble on the trip from page to brain. Smart phone has never seemed to me to be a good phrase to describe the device it is associated with. The phones aren’t smart, they’re capable.

I also don’t like the misuse or misapplication of words and phrases to aid in marketing (hey, there’s a ‘ke’ in there) and sales. “Not in my wheelhouse” is one that is making me shake (ooh, there’s another) my head.

Do you have a wheelhouse?

Have you ever been in a wheelhouse?

Would you have the slightest idea of what to do if you were to be placed in a wheelhouse?

No, of course not.

My daughter has an entire list of expressions like this. She’s in marketing but she hates those expressions. Just say what you mean, you don’t have to use a currently-clever phrase that is bound to sound trite and stupid at some point – maybe the exact point when you use it..

Kale

I tried one of these. Very light. I don’t think I’ll be chowing down on a big bowl of them during a football game, but they’re OK.

Well, I wanted to keep (ooh another) this short. I’ve been posting a bit more frequently since I joined the Thursday Doors group and I want to give my readers a break. I’ll wrap up with another word that starts with “K” and ends with “E” but isn’t as good as Krispy Kreme – Kale. My wife likes kale. She recently bought some kale chips. I saw them on the counter. I didn’t open them. I don’t think they are something that I’d like, but she’s a keeper – ooh that’s a good one!

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Thursday Doors – Enfield Town Hall

Town Hall Doors

I took these pictures on a stormy Sunday. No people, but no entry to the building either.

Memorial Day is right around the corner here in the States so I thought I’d feature Enfield’s Town Hall because it sits adjacent to a war memorial.

Memorials like this are common in the US, almost every little town has some section set aside to commemorate those who have died in service to their country. In my town, we actually have a building called Memorial Hall that was built after the Civil War. Most of our memorials are on the lawn of that building. I haven’t featured the doors of Memorial Hall because they are usually closed, with the stark white shades drawn and they aren’t all that attractive like that.

Enfield is two towns to the north of where I live. Depending on your route, it’s either north of East Windsor or northeast of Suffield. It’s on the other side of the Connecticut River from us but it’s only about a 10-15 minute drive. That’s New England, a bunch of small towns knitted together. Connecticut is the third smallest state, but we have 169 towns. Enfield is the 21st largest town by population, with 44,895 according to the 2008 census.

The pictures are described in detail, so I won’t repeat that here. If you’re interested, you can click on any one of them to start a slide show. This post is part of Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors series. If you find doors as interesting as we do, snap a pic and join the fun.

Posted in New England Life, Prompt, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , | 29 Comments

on markets and mark twain

Dan Antion:

This started with John but now seems to have a life of it’s own. This is a great example of Dan’s (not me, the other Dan) mind at work. It’s why I love his blog.

Originally posted on itkindofgotawayfromyou:

conserve for war 1943 posterIt’s nice to be reminded from time to time that our plight in this world , for better or worse , is most likely shared by plenty of others .There’s comfort , somehow , in that . What is it ? Misery loves company ? Whatever . Mark Twain said : All generalizations are false , including this one . 

I was reading the latest post written by another Dan , over at his blog No Facilities , about markets , and shopping , and marriage , and life , and college , and cooking . Yeah ; all of that , and no doubt scads of other stuff , too ; but I’m a sloppy reader and miss lots of detail . I’m not a detail guy ; by no means a perfectionist . That’s just the way it is . So , sue me . As Mark…

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From Corner Store to a Block of Market

Jules

Formerly the home of Jule’s Market (and Jule I think).

A few weeks ago John Howell (one of my favs) wrote one of his “10 things not to do” posts on the subject of grocery shopping. Having violated several of those rules, I dredged up my notes on grocery shopping. I love it when other people decide what I should write about.

Up until the time I was about 10 years old, we lived amongst a handful of neighborhood markets. There was Jule’s, B&I, Gloria’s and Baldini’s. Jule’s was my favorite, because they had a very large candy display that was as easy to navigate as it was enticing. Penny candy was on the top shelf. Below that were two shelves of candy that sold for a nickel a piece and below that were the premium items – the Nestles, Hershey and other candy bars that were a dime each. My mother would often give into my “can I borrow a dime” pleas, so I could buy 10 pieces of penny candy. I preferred that to a single Mounds Bar.

I remember when the hard part was deciding between banana and cherry.

I remember when the hard part was deciding between banana and cherry.

Sometimes I went to Jules just for candy or a Popsicle but sometimes I was running an errand for my parents. “Run up to Jule’s and get a pound of chipped ham and a pack of Pall Malls” or “Go down to B&I (brothers Bernie and Izzy) and tell Bernie I want four nice pork chops, and a pack of Pall Malls.” Mom and Dad knew which store had the best meat, which had the products they liked, which were running sales and whose bread was likely to be fresh. They all had Pall Malls. We had supermarkets back then, Giant Eagle and A&P, but the corner market filled an important void, especially the ones with a good butcher.

Convenience took over my life when I arrived in Morgantown, WV for college. I lived on a hill above campus, and at the base of the hill was a Thorofare Market – yes, that’s how they spelled it. For most of my first year in that apartment I didn’t have a car, so I bought everything from the Thorofare. Did Thorofare have good meat? The right brands? Good prices? It didn’t matter, I wasn’t going anywhere else. I did my laundry at a grimy place in the next block. When you have to walk, your options are limited.

I let proximity guide my grocery store selection for as long as I was buying food. I was a pretty good cook, but a lousy shopper. I bought dinner on the way home from work; a clear violation of John’s rule – no shopping while hungry.

Fortunately, I stopped shopping for food about 32 years ago when I got married. Not only could my wife cook way better than me, she knew how to shop and she shopped for ingredients, not dinner. She could probably feed our family of three for a week on the amount of money I would spend in three days, two if I was hungry.

I say “fortunately” because 32 years ago supermarkets weren’t all that super. They sold groceries, but they didn’t fill prescriptions and process mortgage applications. You might pick up a bunch of cut flowers, but you went to a florist when you wanted something nice.

The other not-so-super thing about markets 32 years ago was that they were smaller because there were fewer things for sale. Oh, they sold the same stuff, but there were fewer choices – way – fewer – choices. I won’t go too deep into this subject, but if I were 10 today and my dad sent me to the store for “Triscuits” I’d never get it right. I’m 60 and I wouldn’t get it right if my wife sent me for Triscuits today. ‘Cuz there’s eight million kinds of Triscuits! And soup, and bread and English muffins – seriously, there’s an English – Muffin – Section in our grocery store! I probably couldn’t even get the right Pall Malls today.

My wife shops at the smallest market around here but her favorite small supermarket went out of business about 10 years ago. Chester’s was as close as it came to B&I and Jule’s in Connecticut.

I did the grocery shopping once when my wife was on crutches and in a cast with a broken foot. I went to Chester’s, with a list and I still screwed up. I bought two tubs of ketchup because they were on sale “2 for $3” – the Mrs. explained that “they are always two for $3.” I was turned away from the checkout because:

That’s not the brand of soup your wife buys.”

But, this is way cheaper.”

There’s a reason. Go back and get Progresso, like it says on your list.”

The butcher was the best:

What are you looking for?

My wife wanted pork chops but I don’t see any.

Don’t worry, I’ll cut some nice ones for her. How’s she doing with that foot?

If I were shopping for myself these days, I’d be a prime target for the new trends in supermarkets. I’d either be shopping in the “Man Aisle” or I’d be buying nothing but prepared food.

The man aisle is actually a pretty good idea: put the chips, dips, salsa and barbeque sauce right next to the beer. Toss in a few brands of toothpaste and a razor or two and we’re good to go. The prepared food might be a problem though. Ever since Brad Lewis shared this article, I’d rather avoid buying the food that is about to spoil prepared food. It makes sense for the store, “cook and sell a chicken today or throw it out tomorrow” easy-peasy decision there.

This weekend is Memorial Day. I’ll be at the grill for at least one fine meal. I wonder what my wife is going to buy.

Posted in Family, Humor, Nostalgia, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , | 65 Comments

Stick This

socs-badgeWhen I saw that the SoCS prompt was “stick” a bunch of my father’s favorite expressions came to mind. These would be the kind of expressions that Evelyne suggested we should avoid sharing during her A-to-Z month of French idioms and their English equivalents. I’m pretty sure you’re all aware of the expression hinted at in the title so we won’t go there. There. You know, where the sun doesn’t shine. Oh, I guess I went there.

Oh well, “stick” has some other meanings to me, including two different but important ones from when I operated my cabinet shop. One task that was very important in the winter was to “stick the tank” in order to tell if it was time to buy oil for the furnace. The (oil) tank was outside and it didn’t have a gauge. Measuring meant inserting a stick into the tank and comparing the height of the oil stain to the line that represented the order point. Very scientific.

This is a glass door, but since I was mounting a painted mirror, I elected to treat it like a wooden panel and assemble the frame around it. Also, since it's in our bathroom, I wasn't worried about stray baseballs breaking it.

This is a glass door, but since I was mounting a painted mirror, I elected to treat it like a wooden panel and assemble the frame around it. Also, since it’s in our bathroom, I wasn’t worried about stray baseballs breaking it.

The other, and hopefully more interesting woodworking “stick” is part of a very common woodworking joint used in making panel doors. The joint is referred to as a “cope and stick” joint.

The joint is formed in a woodworking operation that involves cutting one piece of wood with the inverse profile of another piece so they can be joined together. The resulting joint is very strong. The interlocking parts give the joint a certain mechanical strength. In addition the large amount of surface-area gives the glue a chance to work its magic much more effectively. Craftsmen, used to cut this by hand using specially formed molding planes. Woodworkers today use a router or a shaper.

This

This “illustration” shows the interlocking nature of the joint and the increased surface area for glue. It also shows how the cutter forms the profile. Imagine the blue is a cutter and the red is the result.

Both of those machines spin a round bit or a cutter set (in the case of a shaper) at a very high speed. The shaper is stationary and a router would probably be set into a router table to make it stationary so that the wood would be pushed into the spinning bit. The diagram at the right not only shows the resulting joint, but the cutters as well. A cutter shaped like the red side will produce a piece of wood that looks like the blue side.

On a panel door, the top, bottom and sides are all “sticked” so that they can receive the panel. Technically, the top and bottom are called “rails” and the sides are called “stiles.” Where a rail meets a stile, the end of the rail is “coped” to match the profile of the stile. You can see this if you crank your head under or over a raised panel door and look close at the corner. The joint is elegant, strong and, once the machine is set up properly, easy to replicate on a large number of doors.

The joint is cut with a

The joint is cut with a “rabbit” at the bottom so the glass panel can be replaced.

You don’t only use this joint on doors, you can also use it on windows. The panel, in the case of a window would be a pane of glass, and to be able to replace the glass when it breaks, you cut the joint differently as shown here. The glass would be set into a thin bed of glazing compound (putty) and then more putty would be applied to hold the glass in place.

Glazing is one of those simple tasks that takes a million years to learn how to do correctly. A skilled glazier makes it look simple, 1-2-6-done. I have puttied lots of glass panes into place. It’s never been simple and the results never looked as if a pro did it. When I made the windows for the Victorian Turret, I was dreading the task of glazing those 15 little panes of glass. When I took the window to a glass shop for the glass to be cut, the owner asked “do you want me to putty them in?” I didn’t even ask how much that would cost.

I found router bits to match the profile in those Victorian windows. These were very hard to see when spinning at 20,000 RPM.

I found router bits to match the profile in those Victorian windows. These were very hard to see when spinning at 20,000 RPM.

Anyway, I used this style of joinery when I made those windows. I had to buy special router bits to match the historic profile. Sticking (along the side of the curved pieces) was pretty easy. Coping the tiny ends of the individual sections was hard. Those little bits were hard to work with and everything had to be done freehand and – there – were – so – many – little – pieces. It was tedious. I got careless. I forgot which way the bit was spinning. Instead of pushing the wood section against the rotation of the bit (like you’re supposed to), I pushed a piece the wrong way. The bit grabbed the wood and propelled it and my index finger right on through.

You may not know this, but you can whip blood. You can. I looked at the side of my finger and it was covered in whipped blood. It’s the consistency of whipped cream, but pink.

I’ve injured that same finger many times. I’ll spare you any more gore since you’re probably struggling with the image of whipped blood. I’ve stuck with woodworking as a hobby. I enjoy using hand and power tools and turning sticks into furniture and useful objects.

This post is part of Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “stick.”  Use it as a noun, a verb, or add stuff to it to make it an adverb or an adjective. Have fun!”

Please join us in the fun.

Posted in Prompt, SoCS, Woodworking | Tagged , , , , , | 71 Comments