Christo and Jeanne-Claude are already starting to dismantle their newest art project, the wrapping of the Seneca Road water tower near the Sea Breeze Water Authority headquarters. You had better hurry on up to the lake to take this dramatic sight in before it is all wrapped up. Each day provides distinctly different views. The top of the tower was partialy unwrapped on Saturday and it looked impossibly blue against the blue skies. Air flow is also a factor as the framework of the structure appears to bend as the sheets billow. The tower is normally fairly quiet as gravity has been harnessed to supply pressure to the residents below but during the installation you’ll be treated to something akin to a white noise soundtrack.
As is usually the case with the Christos, the securing of the permit, the town hall meetings and negotiations with the various neighborhood factions that are opposed to the project are all part of the art piece. In fact a documentary crew has been filming each of these related events.
In this case the town had to vote on the approval of the spending for extra security. The vote passed by a wide margin but because this is Irondequoit an outspoken stickler and member of the opposite party called the town supervisor’s attention to an “T” that wasn’t crossed and the whole town had report to the auditorium of Christ the King to vote on the tax expenditure a second time.
Back when we were moving out this way we stopped in Vic & Irv’s for dinner and ran into the then town supervisor, David Schantz. Not that we would have recognized him or anything. He just came up to us, introduced himself and started talking like a politician. He looked out over Irondequoit Bay and described his dream of turning this funky little area called Point Pleasant or Sea Breeze into Niagara on the Lake complete with hotels and a boardwalk. It sounded like a nightmare to us.
Well, a small part of that plan is taking shape this summer as construction crews are turning the 590 North expressway (that used to dead end at Marge’s) into a one lane in each direction street with bike/walking paths and wooden fences lining both sides. To slow the traffic down they are putting four traffic circles in between Titus and the lake. And when the road gets near the lake it will go straight right through the old drive-in on the west side of Bill Greys. When they fill in the old road there will be a small park overlooking the bay right where David Schantz was looking.
We decided to ride our bike over there yesterday to get a closer look. We were cutting through the park when it started raining so we ducked into the woods and waited it out. When we came out the sun was shining and the park road was steaming.
I met Monica this morning out by the mailboxes as I was grabbing the soon-to-be-extinct newspaper and she was heading off to work. She rolled down her window and said “Isn’t this a beautiful day?” Before I could say “yes” she continued, “I say that to people and they say, ‘Yeah, but it’s cold’ “.
I’ve talked before about the beautiful color of everything this time of year. Only a few early flowers are up and the buds have not popped on the trees and it has hardly rained in a while so there is very little green.
At first it bugged me that the town left these cones and black plastic here all winter. But I’m realizing that I am attracted to these construction sites at the same time as I am repulsed by the need to constantly mess with nature. In this case a housing project that the town allowed to go forward not only leveled the woods but altered the drainage and overloaded this low lying area so that it is now a certified wetland. They spent most of last Fall raising the level of this road so it will stay above water in the Spring. Just a little further up Hoffman Road from here is where we find most of the big Bud cans.
Anyway the cones look great against our gray brown world and I’m savoring it. I’m starting to think that these people at the Town are more creative than I give them credit for being. I’ve also noticed that I’ve been looking at the stuff in Home Depot like it’s all art supplies. I think they even sell these cones.
“Irondequoit ain’t just pretty. It’s my home.” Apologies to Bat McGrath and his “Naples” song. Bat was just in town for a house concert and we watched a few songs at the D&C’s website.
One of the prettiest sites in town these days is the town’s infrastructure installation over on 590. These things have been here all winter while construction on the four new traffic circles has been on halt. There are probably a hundred or so of these things over there of all shapes and sizes. I wonder if they are still going to call it 590.
There are a number of Irondequoit legends. One of them is about how the Kodak executives over in the Oakridge Drive area voted down the final leg of an expressway loop that would have crossed the northern edge of the town connecting the end of 590 with the northern end of 390 in Greece. I always thought it was pretty cool that 590, an expressway, dead ended at Marge’s. In fact we did a song about it on our Planetarium release.
I’ve been looking at these concrete structures all winter waiting for a sort of warm, hazy day to photograph them. They look particularly good with some snow around them but snow and sun make impossible to get the rich grays in these thing. I want to thank who ever is responsible for the installation. I’m not sure how long the show is running.
I was on my bike. In fact it’s visible in this photo. The only reason I am mentioning this is because of what happened on my way home. I came up behind three teenage girls who were walking home. One of them had bright red orange hair and it was course like Raggedy Ann’s. I didn’t want to get caught looking at them so I darted off the road down the embankment. Just as I did this I noticed the girls looking at me. My bike crumbled beneath me in the mud and I went over the handlebars. I tried to get up quickly but my handle bars were at an angle and my basket was all bent up. I hit my thigh on that post above the front wheel. It must have looked hilarious and I’m laughing as I type this even though my thigh hurts.
Keeping busy in the new economy is pretty easy. We spent most of the day yesterday trying to access our wireless access point at its default address. Our network just disappeared. Our Netgear MR814 wireless router lost its ability to broadcast a year ago but the Ethernet connections still worked so we bought a NetgearWG602 v3 Wireless Access Point and hooked it up to the MR814. That worked for about a year and now it has disappeared. Can’t even connect to it to re-set it up. I’m headed out to buy a new router and I’m hoping my purchase will stimulate the economy.
We took a walk up in the woods and came out on Hoffman Road where the town has just finished its infrastructure improvements to manage the wetlands that they inadvertently created when they allowed a housing project to go in off Titus. The Budweiser guy has been busy down here. He can drink and drive. I’m keeping his deposit.
It was beautiful weather this weekend for checking up on a multimillion dollar project that the Town of Irondequoit has undertaken. We walked down Hoffman Road to the Spring Valley area where about ten homes are. A creek call ONT-112 flows through this area and it overflows occaisionally. Some people around here think this area was always a wetland and the homeowners here should not expect the State to spend our money to protect their property. Other (some long time) residents say this area is used to be dry enough fo neighborhood gardens in the lowland.
But according to the press release posted on Senator Schumer’s website, the Town blew it when they approved the construction of a near-by housing development 15 years ago. That project allowed about a hundred houses to be built on a hillside with an inadequate drainage system. The runoff from this development overflows ONT-112 so the town proposed a mitigation project that called for realigning the stream, elevating roads, adding culverts and erosion barriers. After ten years of negotiations the project got Army Corps approval and taxpayer funding and is now in full swing. And the press release says “it needed it to be rushed due to New York State requirements that work on the project be completed by October 1, 2008 due to trout spawning in the stream.” It’s October 20th and we didn’t see any troat down there.
I did a post on this subject a while back called, “I’m Against It” and Pat Meredith from the Public Works Department asked me to contact him for all the facts. I may do that but for now it is more fun to speculate without the facts.
That Ramone’s song comes to mind all the time but life is too short to complain about everything.
I would guess about fifty Town of Irondequoit dump trucks have come up out of Hoffman Road in the last few days all loaded with rich, dark top soil. Because we are so close to Lake Ontario the soil here is usually orange and sandy so we had to go down in the holler to check it out. It looks like they are just helping themselves to the centuries old deposits of wet fertile soil at the bottom of the valley that runs out of the Sewillo Road development and into Spring Valley.
We hike through this area and I thought the property belonged to Durand Eastman Park but I guess not. It is wet and marshy but I don’t know if it is an official wetland. The town has cleared a hockey rink sized plot with a bulldozer and loaded all that earth in their trucks. As deep as they have gone, it is still dark top soil. Whatever the project is, I’m against it.
If you go down there to check it out you might have to hold your nose as drive by the Town of Irondequiot Cemetery where Hoffman begins. They put so much fertilizer on this property you would think they’re trying to raise these people from the dead. When it rains tomorrow all that chemical will roll downhill toward the lake. Does the town really pay those dudes to walk around each grave stone with weedwhackers while they they smoke cigarettes? What are they going to do when everyone has fogotten who all those people were?