Tag: #Troyny

“Fat, Drunk & Stupid… No Way to Go Through Life”

IMG_20160311_164042003 (Web)Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I’m a bit of a cycling nut.  As evidence of my “cycling addiction” I offer the following; In conjunction with the American Diabetes Association’s Tour De Cure, I’ve ridden a half dozen or so “Centuries” in as many years (that’s 100 or more miles in a single day); rode the Adirondack Mountain Club’s “Ididaride”… twice! (a 75  mile ride in the heart of New York State’s Adirondack Park); solo rode the Whiteface mountain Veterans Memorial Highway “just because” (that’s a climb of approximately 3700 ft over a distance of 8.5 miles which is comparable to Alpe d’Huez of Tour de France fame.); rode from the Western NY Veteran’s Medical Center located in Buffalo NY to the Samuel Stratton VA Hospital in Albany and in the process visited four other veterans hospitals in between located at Batavia, Bath, Cananadaigua, and Syracuse NY. (At least this was for a good cause… namely to raise funds for the Honor Flight Network!).  Finally, and if I’m lucky, I’ll typically ride between 1,800 and 2,000 miles on my carbon fiber “go fast” road bike… my beloved 2012 Trek Madone!

Now, please don’t misunderstand my intent in relating the above.  My goal is not to “sing my own praises” or to tout my proficiency as a cyclist (Truth be told and generally speaking, for your typical avid cyclists, my exploits, such as they are, are decidedly unremarkable!  However, that being said for me… a 59 plus year old guy desperately trying to maintain a respectable level of fitness I think I’m doing OK!  So, earlier today I dusted off my bike, donned my early spring cycling kit (that’s “cycle-ese” for spandex leggins, windstopper shell jacket, booties, and full fingered gloves!) and headed out for my first outdoor ride of 2016!

Full of enthusiasm I set out in the cool air and abundant sunshine to ride one of my “standard” mid-distance routes through rural Rensselaer County.  One of the things I really enjoy about living in New York State’s Capital District is that within literally ten minutes ride I can be rolling over lightly traveled, quiet country roads surrounded by fertile farmland and meandering streams.  All this, set against the stunning backdrop of the Rensselaer escarpment… Life is Good!

About 12 or so miles into my planned 17 mile route, and with my legs and “backside” beginning to feel the “BERN” ( just kidding!)… I mean “Burn”, I turn onto Menemsha Lane heading for home!  Now this end of Menemsha is quite exposed as it is situated more or less along the top of a ridge lying between an extended meander in the Poestenkill Creek.  Beginning the gentle climb up to the height of Menemsha Lane a sustained head wind starts to blow!  As I struggle on uphill and into what seems like an ever strengthening gale, the scene from that 1978 classic movie, National Lampoon’s “Animal House” wherein Dean Vernon Wormer “dresses down” the Delta house boys over their mid-term grades comes to mind.   Channeling Dean Wormer’s admonishment to “Mr. Dorfman” (Flounder), I hear “…riding uphill into a headwind while 15 pounds overweight is no way to start a cycling season son!”

Guess I had better start skipping desert!

From Forging Horseshoes to Cultivating History Education

Burden Iron Works fnlThe former office of the Burden Iron Works, located in Troy NY’s south end is all that remains of the once sprawling Burden Iron Company’s “Lower Works” complex where more than one million horseshoes per week were manufactured. In this image the distinguished brick Romanesque Revival building which served as Burden’s main office is juxtaposed against a “ladle car” used to transport and pour molten iron during the facilities heyday. The office building, originally constructed 1881-2 is presently the home of the Burden Iron Works Museum operated by The Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway.  This magnificent structure, which is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places now houses a cultural center and an industrial history museum celebrating Troy’s rich manufacturing and engineering heritage and its pivotal role in the American Industrial Revolution.

(Note: The Burden Iron Works Museum is open to the public most weekdays from 10 to 6, and other times by appointment. For more information on the museum contact the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway, Burden Iron Works Museum, 1 East Industrial Parkway, Troy, New York 12180-5942, (518) 274-5267.)

From Shirt Collars to Software Development

FCDC-140919-028This weeks post showcases one of my commissioned images from a recent architectural interiors shoot at the offices of Apprenda.com.  This adaptive reuse project by First Columbia real estate/development company converted an entire floor, approximately 30,000 sf, of a former factory and warehouse building located at 433 River Street, Troy NY to support the office needs of a software firm, on the cutting edge of Enterprise Platform development.  This 9 story former high bay manufacturing and warehouse facility, located on the banks of the Hudson River was once the headquarters of Cluett Peabody & Company, a longtime manufacturer of shirts, detachable shirt cuffs and collars. What was once a largely vacant eyesore and symbol of urban decay has been re-named (as Hedley Park Place, re-imagined (as a model of urban waterfront development), and re-purposed (as a multi-use business, technology, innovation and governmental center).  As such it now represents what can be accomplished through creative development, and adaptive reuse of existing building stock.

@firstcolumbia, @hedleydistrict, @apprenda, @RenscoChamber, @TroyBID, #hedleyparkplace, #retailspace, #officespace, #troyny

 

Eagle Encounter

_DSC1382Prior to returning to photography full time and while still working as the Director of Design for DASNY (Dormitory Authority of the State of New York) I began commuting by bicycle from my home located in Troy, NY to my office. On most days of the work week, I would set out before dawn on my wife’s re-purposed Schwinn “Sierra Runner” which I had converted into a commuter bike for the 10 or so mile ride down the Hudson River to Albany. My usual route would take me through South Troy, and over one of the area’s best known river crossings, the historic Troy-Menands Bridge. Built in 1933, the main span originally featured two towers (long since removed) that lifted the central span of the bridge to a height of 135’ above the water surface to allow tall ships to pass. Recently, the Troy-Menands Bridge was altered to include a pedestrian/bicycle lane connection to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail which from this point south runs along the western bank of the Hudson River.

Always a peaceful ride, the section of the bike-hike trail located along the Hudson is particularly enjoyable as it rolls along easy grades and gentle slopes just yards from the river’s tree lined shore. Each morning, oftentimes with the faintest rays of the day’s first light over my shoulder I would approach the westernmost end of the bridge and cross high above the river’s shoreline barely visible below. Swinging first north then south and north again before making a final sweeping turn to the south I silently coasted down the double switchback ramp from the bridge onto the bike-hike path below.

Some mornings the beam of my headlamp would expose a small group of deer grazing on nearby grasses or a rabbit would scurry from the brush and dart across the path just ahead of my beacon as I arched through one or the other of the switchback turns. This particular morning however held no such drama, or so I thought.

On this particular Fall morning I remember a “stillness” in the air, and the soft “snapping” sound as my 1.75” x 26” tires rolled over dried leaves scattered on the asphalt paved path. Propelling myself forward up a slight rise while crossing under the bridge the rapid and rhythmic “tick, tick, tick, tick, tick…”sound of the freewheel faded into the dawn as I applied pressure to the cranks, crested the rise and accelerated down the other side of the incline. Perhaps it was the sound, or the movement that first caught my attention… I’m really not certain… but as I glided across the smooth pavement just beyond the tree line and very near the river’s edge I sensed something moving in the dim morning light.

Looking to my left there it was fifteen or twenty feet at most above the still, glass like surface of the Hudson… a bald eagle wings stretched wide gliding silently in the pink light of dawn! Appearing to match my speed and direction the eagle and I moved along on more or less parallel courses as we “soared” silently through the cool early morning air. As I marveled at this magnificent creation, warm orange light from the rising sun dramatically illuminated the streamlined torso, tail and enormous wings of this beautiful bird. Each fine movement and subtle adjustment of tail and wingtip feathers clearly visible as the eagle maintained a steady course. Then without warning, and with several flaps of its powerful wings, the eagle broke formation and silently rose up and away while turning east toward the opposite shore.

As I continued south along the bike path to my office and the challenges of the day I watched the eagle steadily move off into the distance and thought to myself how very fortunate I had been and no matter what else happens on this day, today will be a very good day!