Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Anaconda Water Tower - Hastings-on-Hudson

This 80' tall, 75,000 gallon water tower overlooks the Hudson River from the east bank in the village of Hastings-On-Hudson, in lower Westchester County. It is one of the only remaining structures of the Anaconda Wire & Cable Company.

In its heyday, the Anaconda Company was a major industry in the area, producing wire for electric cable (and ammunition during World War II) on 27 acres of land from the end of the 19th century until 1975. Unfortunately, in those pre-EPA days, it was one of the worst industrial polluters on the Hudson, and that's saying something. The land and riverbed are severely contaminated with PCBs, copper, lead, and zinc, and is a Superfund site.

Most of the rest of the site was demolished by BP, the current landowner, in 2010, and environmental clean-up began in 2013. There are different ideas of how the site could be redeveloped, although the flooding that occurred during Superstorm Sandy has called a lot of those plans into question. One study recommended that the tower be preserved, but it would have to be disassembled and moved since remediation would involve excavating the soil around and beneath it to a depth of 12 feet to decontaminate it. I rather suspect that sooner or later, it is going to join the rest of the Anaconda Company in industrial Valhalla.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015


It's been a long, long time since I've done any live figure drawing. Spring Street Studios has been my primary spot for many years now, but I haven't been there for many months for various reasons. Recently, I found out via Claudia the model's Museworthy blog that the studio had lost its space. The news made me sad, though I wasn't surprised. It's a daily occurrence these days that some small, long-term business (and many big businesses) loose their leases due to insane rent hikes or planned real estate developments to provide more housing for rich people. Many of the wealthiest areas of Manhattan actually have a form of urban blight, blocks of empty storefronts, not because of failing businesses, but because commercial landlords will rather keep a space vacant, waiting for a bank or high-end retail or something to come along to pay exibortant rents, than keep it occupied by current tenants at a lower rate. So, I was actually surprised that that little drawing studio in SoHo lasted this long.

I had several classes left on my punch card, so I decided I needed to use them before the place was gone by the end of the year. But when I arrived, I heard that they already have another space on Broome St. lined up for the new year. An uncharacteristically happy ending to this type on story.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Martha's Vineyard Ferry

The Vineyard Haven Ferry Dock at Martha's Vineyard.

When I started this drawing, the ferry wasn't there. I drew these huge cubes in the water, not knowing exactly what they were. But when the ferry pulled in, I figured out that they are like big bumpers for if the boat goes off course.

As we pulled out of the dock, a man and a woman sat next to me on the deck and had the following exchange:
Man: You can be married or be happy, and I'm happy!
Woman: You almost got married.
Man: Not really.
Woman: Almost.
Man: No.
Woman: What about Eliza?
Man: Not even close. Not even close.
Woman: You bought her a ring. That's pretty close.
Man: Nah.