10 April 2018

Sheltered In Memory

On Sunday, Bill, Cindy and I took the ferry from the Brooklyn Army Terminal, about a mile from Bill's apartment, to Rockaway Beach.   Perhaps I "read" the choppiness of the water into everything I experienced on the ride, from the wind skittering over sand and marsh grasses to the clouds scattered through the sky.

Don't get me wrong:  I enjoyed the ride.  It wasn't long, but the company and the vistas were pleasant, and sometimes interesting.

Saying that someone lives in "a house by the water" probably conjures, for most people, an image of its inhabitants gazing over expanses of sea and sky from an open-air balcony or glass-enclosed solarium.  But, really, it can mean much else, such as this

or this

The first photo probably is a better reflections of most people (at least those who've never lived in such places) have of living "in a beach house" or "by the ocean".   There is one difference, of course:  more color.  If anything, it might look more like South Beach, Miami than the South Shore of Long Island.

The other photo is probably closer to the reality of most waterside residents.  If you think you've seen it before, you probably have:  A couple of weeks ago, we rode by it when the tide was out and mud and other detritus oozed (where murky water would lap around when the tide is in) between those islands of marsh grass and houses.

We are still trying to figure out what the geared wheel is.  My theory is that there was a boat dock there at some point--perhaps as recently as in the days just before Sandy--and that wheel was part of some mechanism that towed boats in.  Now that I think of it, I recall seeing boats in the area before Sandy.

Anyway, on the way back to Bill's place, we rode through Sunset Park.  Many, many years ago, my grandparents took me to the top of this hill

in the park.  The view doesn't seem to change much.  Or maybe there is more change than I realize, and I just don't see it because I always look out, toward the harbor and Statue, from that hill.  It's as if some law of physics applies only in that spot:  My eyes cannot turn in any other direction. 

But at least that view is different from any other maritime or littoral vista I have encountered.  It has to be, even if someone  builds houses of the blue and green and terra cotta tiles--or gnarled bark-- between me and the expanse of harbor:  the one I saw with my grandparents more than half a century ago, and with Bill and Cindy the other day.

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