Race St Pier Park

The first sprout of new growth on the Delaware waterfront has appeared, and just like any sprout, it is slender and stretches out from the land with enthusiasm. My friend and I headed to Old City this morning to check out the brand new Race St. Pier Park. It reaches out from Delaware Ave. like a long, thin sprout of a new plant. This is an early installation of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia’s eastern edge. The formal plan will not be unveiled until June. This park is a a teaser, but the plan will call for similar public space projects every half mile along the river.

The Race Street Pier Park officially opened on May 12, 2011. During a pre-opening gala the night before Mayor Nutter called it “spectacular!” I would not be so dramatic, but I do agree, it’s a very cool space.

We got there in the morning and slowly walked the length of it taking pictures. One of the most immediate and dramatic effects of the park’s design is how its long, converging lines match the vanishing perspective of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge which arches high overhead. The Pier Park lies just south of and almost underneath the monumental sweep of the bridge, but the 37 large swamp chestnut oak trees (Quercus bicolor) on the park’s upper boardwalk and the rich green lawn on its lower level offered a living contrast to the blue metal of the bridge and slate-colored water of the river. It’s a very comfortable space in an otherwise industrial setting.

Inga Saffron, architecture critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, praised the “cozy new park” as a change in fortune for the city’s development efforts along the Delaware after “40-plus years of failure at Penn’s Landing”. The Race St. Pier Park was designed by landscape architect James Corner and his firm James Corner Field Operations, designers of the now famous High Line Park in Manhattan.

According to the Delaware River Waterfront Corp.’s own description of the park, mobile operator Clear is providing free 4G WiMax the entire length of the pier. That is an added but unnecessary incentive to spend time in Philadelphia’s freshest public space. I know that I’ll head over there now whenever I’m in Old City.

Tandayapa, Ecuador Photos

Cloud forest

Originally uploaded by Michlt

I’ve added an additional set of  Ecuador photos to my Flickr.com account. These are selected photos taken while we were staying at Tandayapa Bird Lodge. While there we birded on the old Nono-Mindo road and we spent the better part of a day at Angel Paz’ family farm. Their main crop is blackberries, but they also raise cattle and grow corn and ‘tree tomatoes’ (tomate de árbol). They supplement their farming income with eco-tourism dollars. The big draw is an Andean cock-of-the-rock lek and three different antpittas (giant, yellow-breasted, and moustached) which Angel, by means of extreme patience, has persuaded to overcome their renowned timidity…. for wages — he pays with clean and carefully cut up earthworms.

Philadelphia from the Schuylkill

Center City Left

Originally uploaded by Fen Branklin

Flickr contact Fen Branklin took this great photo from a kayak in the Schuylkill River. He has many exceptional shots of Philadelphia. Click on the photo to check out his Flickr album. (Thanks to him for allowing this photo to be blogged.)

Ochre wall – Passing of Winter

One of my Flickr contacts, Linda 6769, posted this and I was strongly drawn in by the fine reflection of trees, the contrast of colors, and the large-boned shadow of the bike.The bare trees and the ochre color are typically evocative of fall/winter but there is a quality to the light that reminds me of the springtime sun.

Thanks to Linda for allowing this photo to be blogged. She has a lot of really beautiful shots posted to Flickr and taking the time to browse through them is definitely worth it. Enjoy.

I’m curious if this photo elicits very different responses from other people. Drop a comment on this if you have a very different reaction to it.

Ben Franklin Bridge

Ben Franklin Bridge

Originally uploaded by chrisinphilly

It has been a while since I posted a Flickr Feature. Recently, Chris in Philly has posted come really impressive photos of Philadelphia taken from on high. I don’t know what building he took these from but the perspective and picture quality is exceptional. Thanks to him for leaving the ‘blog this’ button on to allow me to share these pictures and draw your attention to them.

My Cohorts

Original by Michlt

Dictionary.com lists one definition of cohort as:

a group of persons sharing a particular statistical or demographic characteristic: the cohort of all children born in 1980.*

Monday will be my 48th birthday and while browsing the net today I found a fun, quirky site that shows celebrity cohorts from ages 18-60.
If it is accurate then I am the same age as:

  • Danny Bonaduce (once when I was in LA I saw him driving a pickup truck, of course I watched the Partridge Family as a kid)
  • Fabio (sorry dude, at 48 it is way, way, way past time to have that hair cut)
  • Hugh Laurie (love the show, Doc, you’re such an ass)
  • Emeril Lagasse (seems like a nice enough guy, when’s the next book coming out? I’m a bookseller and we could use another one.)
  • Nigella Lawson (really? still cooking very nicely at 48! Waiting for her next book too $$.)
  • Ken Watanabe (love watching him act in any movie)
  • Kevin Spacey
  • Judd Nelson
  • Kyle MacLachlan
  • Flavor Flav
  • Simon Cowell (like Hugh Laurie, someone famous for saying things out loud that people think but don’t dare say)
  • Val Kilmer (really? cool. Don’t like many of the characters he’s played but have always enjoyed the actor)
  • Sheena Easton (what ever happened to her? she infects us with one viral-melody song then disappears)
  • Vincent D’Onofrio (Det. Robert Goren from Law&Order-Criminal Intent, attractive, quirky, fun to watch)

And I could go on. For example, I learned I’m one year older than: Amy Grant, Antonio Banderas, Bono, David Duchovny (like him and esp. like his wife Tea Leoni), Hugh Grant, Jean-Claude van Damm, Jennifer Grey, Timothy Hutton, and Sean Penn (a friend once said I looked just like him in Falcon and The Snowman which also starred Timothy Hutton. I certainly don’t look like him now though.)

Looking in the other direction, I’m one year younger than: Ellen Degeneres (so funny), Alec Baldwin (really enjoy watching him too), Andrea Bocelli, Bernie Mac, Kevin Bacon (a Philadelphia native, I’ve met his father but not him), Michael Jackson (no comment), Madonna, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michelle Pfeiffer (saw her in Hairspray just last night), Prince (if that is what he is calling himself now), Tim Burton, Tim Robbins, and Viggo Mortensen.

There is no meaning in any particular part of this but I do find the perspective very interesting. Most of these people I’ve watched or listened to for a long time but never thought much about any of them being side-by-side with me or each other as we walk, stumble, or trip through life. My cohorts – maybe I should invite them out to dinner and a beer some time.

Different Birds In Your Future

Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)

Originally uploaded by woodcreeper

The Birdwatchers Guide to Global Warming by the American Bird Conservancy and the National Wildlife Federation offers a model of how bird migratory and nesting patterns might change with the continued climate warming. There are state by state supplements that predict which birds you might see fewer of in the future and which you might see more of or even begin to see for the first time in any particular one of the 48 contiguous US states.
I think this is an important report but only to an extent. Although I don’t doubt the data and the integrity of the groups which compiled it, such modeling is purely hypothetical and can be no more accurate than a weather or climate forecast for 10, 20, or 30 years ahead. That there will be changes is virtually certain. What the actual changes will be is certainly not. It is however interesting and important to speculate on the magnitude of the changes we have set in motion by our unchecked carbon and pollutant dumping.
(Special thanks to Flickr Pro Woodcreeper for setting this beautiful photo as bloggable)

Surf´s Up in Munich

Rapids surfing/Wellenreiten

Originally uploaded by Michlt

Who would have thought you could surf in downtown Munich? A standing wave in the fast flowing Eisbach has become an amusement ride for city residents. Technically this is against the law but the law is apparently not enforced. The Eisbach is a man-made river that runs through Munich’s Englischer Garten.