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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Clouds at sunset

Taken on the ridge a little west of the city proper.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


On my way to take yesterday's photo, my son and I were walking down the street when he asked to use the camera. He's 6, but he has a pretty good eye, so I wisely let him use it for a bit, and this is the result.

This is looking at the street from the sidewalk, with the reflection of the top of the upper storey windows in the puddle.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Queen Anne's Lace

This time of the year, Queen Anne's lace is abundant along roadsides and here in the city, along untended sidewalks near abandoned buildings.

Driving to work, it looks like a snowstorm has been piled into snowbanks! They'll last for a month or so, although the state tends to mow them down alongside state highways when they get this tall.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Erie Blvd at Erie St

The famous General Electric sign. This is the Schenectady General electric Main Plant. At night, the sign is illuminated.

The rumour is that Erie Blvd used to be a branch of the Erie Canal, now paved over. It's certainly wide enough to be true. This view is a block south of State Street, looking south, away from the downtown business district.

Erie Blvd has many businesses on it. I got this photo after eating lunch at State & Erie: Bangkok Bistro. Excellent food and wonderful staff. I had beef Basil curry and my beloved had the Bistro Duck. Both were excellent!

I liked the imagery of the lamp posts marching off toward GE... or is it marching from GE?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Free lunch

I think the sign says it all.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Milkweed pods

The milkweed plants are transforming their flowers from a month ago into seed bearing pods. Right now, they're tight and packed with growing seeds. In another month they'll split open and cast their seeds to the wind.

I liked the beetle and the aphids!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Storm clouds

It's been raining lately; the missing spring ains have decided to visit in July!

This is taken in Vale Cemetery, facing St John's cemetery.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Music in the Park

OK, so it's really just a sign advertising music in the park!

If you're in the Schenectady area, it can be hard to know when an event is scheduled for the Central Park. It was very thoughtful of the City to put this banner up over the path behind the Music Haven.

The Music Haven is an outdoor concert setting. The building to the left in the photo is basically a stage with a bit of storage behind it. They store plastic chairs in there, and they come out on the lawn in front of the stage when an event is put on.

Special note should be given to Ruth Pelham and her Music Mobile. If there's anybody in the Capital District who deserves a medal for being civic-minded, it's Ruth. Her Music Mobile brings music to thousands of city kids. They make musical instruments, play them together in concert and learn about music as a means of social interaction.

Kudos to you, Ruth!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


This stone reminds me of the standing stones in the UK, or Brittany. Of course it wasn't erected by Druids, but it's still a mystery. I asked around, but no one seems to know the meaning of this marker, standing askew on Nott Terrace, below the museum. It's right next to the ALCO locomotive.

Schenectady International
, maybe?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More than roses

The Central Park Rose Garden has more than just roses... at one end is a rock garden with flowers, a small rock pool and native plantings.

The people who volunteer to care for this bit of beauty are to be commended. As far as I know, the City doesn't do any of the upkeep - it's a private effort.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sparrow on roof

I was playing with my little one and he decided to take the video camera outside to video some ants. Well, why not? Electrons are cheap!

In the course of setting the camera up for him I saw some sparrows flitting between the garage roof and the ground, where they were taking a sand bath. It turns out the video camera can take still photos too, and this is the best of the lot.

We see many of these little guys, along with robins, starlings and pigeons. Nearby, in the cemetery, are herons and red-tailed hawks.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cool walk on a hot day

On a hot summer day, one can still find some refreshment outdoors in Central Park's woods. This bit is somewhat off the beaten path. This path runs along the stream for a bit, then goes up the little hill away from the swings, facing Iroquois Lake.

I don't know why it's almost always empty... it's a lovely place.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Childhood memories

When I was a boy, the park had several... what to call them? Rides? Features? Attractions? Toys? Well, stuff in a space theme. Some of them are still around after all these years.

This looks like a Mercury capsule to me, or maybe a Gemini spacecraft. Either way, it's something of a time capsule... the park found some money back then and this was their idea of something fun and useful.

The good news is that they were right then. Although I'm a bit taller now, I can still climb through and slide down that slide. I wonder how many thousands of children enjoy this without knowing what it was modelled after?

I always wanted to be an astronaut...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Central Park Rose Garden

Central Park has a wonderful rose garden. I wandered through it today and took some photographs. It's a little late for some varieties, but this one is at the peak of it's season.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mohawk River

This is just west of the city, outside of Scotia (but still in Schenectady County!) The Mohawk River played a huge part in the establishment and early years of Schenectady.

The river brought fur traders here in the 1600s and was galled the Gateway to the West in the 1700s and 1800s, especially after Governor Clinton (no relation to the former President) had the Erie Canal built across the state.

Heavy industrialisation along the river brought pollution bad enough that there were massive fish kills, advisories against eating any fish and prohibitions on swimming in it.

Nowadays, the river is getting cleaned up. You can eat the fish (not too many) and can go for a swim on a hot summer day, or go water skiing, tubing and so on. Since most of the heavy commercial traffic is gone from the river (goods go by truck now) it's become a haven for canoes, kayaks and pleasure boats.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I was walking down the street and everything lined up for this photo of all the back porches. The properties on my street are narrow and deep. Each house has a back yard, and most of the houses have a porch that overlooks that back yard.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vale Park entrance

Vale Park is one of those hidden places that few seem to know about. It runs eastward from Nott Terrace to Vale Cemetery, which in turn runs east until it abuts St John's Cemetery, which runs to Brandywine Avenue. There's this large stretch of wood, water and nature that runs parallel to State Street for many blocks, yet few beside party-minded teens frequent it.

This is the official gate, at the Nott Street end. I like the deliberate lack of symmetry. If you come down here, there's a smallish playground for the younger kids and Stewart's Ice Cream is one block north on the opposite side of Nott Terrace.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Catalpa tree

The catalpa tree is almost the last tree to get its leaves, and the first one to lose them, but when it's canopy is full, it's a beautiful sight. Those large leaves provide plenty of shade and squirrels love to scamper among its branches.

This particular tree is in a neighbour's back yard. The long pods hanging down are seed pods. Many small catalpas will sprout in the spring all over the neighbourhood from those pods hanging down.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Blackeyed Susan

Native plants seem to be able to live anywhere. More often than not, we demean them with the weed label (Goldenrod comes to mind!) But not all native plants are undesirable.

These Blackeyed Susans are literally growing in a crack in the sidewalk. Tough buggers. I take pity on them and give them water during dry spells.

The other weeds get pulled up!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Modern sculpture

This artwork is on the grounds of the Schenectady Museum. If you drive here, go round the side overlooking the hill you drove up.

There's no name plate, no sign indicating the artist, the name or the year it was created. Very interesting.

It looks a bit like a large machine screw, truncated at both ends. It's resting on some gravel that's gradually being overtaken by the grass. It may have been painted once; maybe not.

It's a very appropriate symbol for what Schenectady has become. Industrial, but quiet, nature slowly reclaiming her own.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Car wash / reunion

My oldest had weekend leave, and the youngest decided it was time to help big brother wash the car. Which, of course meant fooling around with the camera. Well, electrons are cheap, so why not?

After washing and waxing, the car looked wonderful. I certainly never had a car that looked so nice, good for him!

Anyway, the little guy was taking all sort of photographs, and this one sort of grabbed my eyeballs. I wish I had his sense of proportion. I suspect he's one of those natural artists.

For anyone keeping track, yes that's a very old digital camera. It's a Nikon Coolpix 950. 2.1 megapixels. Yeah, I know it's like an antique, but it's my wife's hand-me-down. My previous camera (I still love it so!) is a 35mm Minolta SRT-SC2, made in the early 1960s. Full manual (only), I know every control on that old camera. We thought I should try to adapt to digital before spending money on one...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

City Hall

This was taken at the same location as the Great Northern #229 photo, looking down the hill (West North-West) from Nott Terrace.

In the middle distance is Schenectady's City Hall, in silhouette against a hazy July sky. Built in 1931, the clock tower gradually fell into disrepair until repaired in 1977. Further repairs to it's columns were made in 2006. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in October 1978.

In the distance, the Helderberg Mountains form the southern wall of the Mohawk River valley. Well, I think they're still the Helderbergs that far north! The river itself passes to the right of the frame.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Great Northern 229

Schenectady used to be the home of the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) and this is one of the locomotives built here. I believe this particular loco is an RS-3, built in 1953. Formerly owned by the Great Northern Railroad, then the St. Johnsbury and Lamoille County Railroad, then the Montpelier and Barre Railroad, I'm not entirely sure how it ended up here on Nott Terrace, not very far from the place it was built!

The locomotive is resting on a short bit of track down the hill from the Schenectady Museum. It might even be a museum exhibit: there's a concrete staircase leading up to it. Here's an overhead, courtesy Google Maps:

View Larger Map

Monday, July 7, 2008

Lock 8

This is a photograph of the Mohawk River / Erie Canal at Lock 8. I found a photograph on the web of the same lock in 1916, but taken from the other bank.

Not strictly in Schenectady, it's very close, located in the town of Glenville, maybe a 15 minute car ride from my house.

Here's an aerial view, courtesy Google Maps:

View Larger Map

Sunday, July 6, 2008

State Street

State and Broadway, on State Street, looking east.

The past 5 or so years have seen much construction in this downtown area. It's a very nice place to drive through, but like so many Schenectadians, I haven't walked through. Maybe this blog will change that!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day Lily

This flower reminds me of the fireworks last night. It's customary to celebrate the anniversary of American Independence (4th of July) by lighting fireworks and firecrackers.

Technically illegal for private individuals to do here, the night is filled with the sounds of rockets, firecrackers and Roman Candles going off.

I often attend one of the professional displays, but didn't get round to any this year. But I did enjoy the displays in my neighbourhood!

Friday, July 4, 2008

State Street hill

This is a typical view going down State Street hill toward downtown.

This is a combination of residential homes and businesses. Most everyone you can see here is passing by, on their way somewhere else. Normally, there is a fair amount of pedestrian traffic; I don't know where everyone is.

In the far distance are the hills that bound the valley of the Mohawk River on the southwest side - Rotterdam Junction or thereabout.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fountain at dusk

The fountain was on in Central Park yesterday when we were there at dusk. I had to hold the camera against a tree to steady it, and it still took three tries to get one worth submitting!

The lake has been treated with a weed killer; maybe the plants in the water will clear up a bit. The fish are very active, so it doesn't seem to have bothered them.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bugs in the city

Although we live in the city, there are many creatures we share our space with. We have many small green spaces and a few large ones. Almost every house has a yard where people garden, grow a lawn or just trees. In and among that greenery live a variety of animals. Perhaps the most obvious are the insects, like this grasshopper.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Theme day: 'No'

Today's City Daily Photo theme is 'signs with the word no on them.'

This one is in Central Park, behind the dog park. Nailed to a tree in the wood is a sign forbidding us to stand. Of course, there used to be a vehicle thoroughfare here, but all that's left is this lonely sign.
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