WOODCLEFT CANAL, FREEPORT, LONG ISLAND – Marilyn Armstrong

Freeport, Long Island. It’s in Nassau Country, the closest county on Long Island to New York.

I grew up in the city. In Queens, which is a borough of New York. Each of New York’s boroughs has its own character and in many ways, is a city in its own right. Certainly, people who grow up in Brooklyn identify themselves as Brooklyn-ites and if you come from the Queens, Staten Island, or the Bronx, you will always identify that as your “home ground” rather than just “New York.”

Maybe it’s because New York is so big. Each neighborhood is like a city unto itself. Boston is like that, too. Maybe most big cities are.

Colorized postcard of Woodcleft canal with houses visible on the right side of the photo. Postmark: “” Merrick, N.Y, September 3, 1907″ Addressee and Address: “M.A. Hansen, 791 59th Street, Brooklyn” Message [on the front]: “” Sept. 1, 07. Have a good time. May” – From the Freeport Historical Society Postcard Collection

Between the picture postcard and our visit lay almost exactly a century.

People from Manhattan have a strong sense of superiority because they come from The City. For reasons that are hard to explain, but perfectly obvious to anyone who has lived there or even visited for any length of time, Manhattan is the heart of New York in ways that cannot be simply explained. It’s not just because it’s the center of business. In fact, that really has little to do with it. It just is what it is. Even when I was a kid growing up in Queens, when we said we were going “into the city,” we meant New York. Manhattan.

If we were going anywhere else in the five boroughs, we said we were going to Brooklyn or the Bronx or some specific neighborhood … but the city was Manhattan and no doubt still is.

I moved to Long Island in 1963 when I was 16 and had just started college. I never moved back to the city, though for many years, we went there for shows, museums, etc. And of course, work.

A few years of my childhood, before I was 5 and moved to Holliswood, we lived in an apartment house — really, a tenement — on Rose Street in Freeport, near Woodcleft Canal.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the area near the canal was decrepit. Living “near the docks” was not a good thing, certainly nothing to brag about. My family was going through hard times and it was the best we could afford.

My mother hated it. It was the middle of nowhere and she didn’t drive. For her, born in Manhattan, a lifelong resident of New York, what was Freeport? Long Island? That was farm country where you went to buy vegetables at farm stands. My mother, an urbanite to her core, understood poverty but being poor in the country was her version of Hell.

My memories are limited but I see in my mind a big white stucco building with no architectural features. A large white box that didn’t fit into the neighborhood. Even by the less stringent standards of 60-years ago, it was an eyesore. It hasn’t lost that quality. It is still an ugly building, but I expect the rent is higher.

We drove down Rose Street to look at it. I was curious if I would recognize it, but I did. Instantly. I think early memories are deeply embedded in our psyches. Then, having satisfied curiosity, we found out to the canal.

Reflections in the canal.

I shouldn’t have been surprised to find the canal lined with marinas and yachts. The road along the canal has the usual expensive restaurants featuring faux nautical decor. It was a trifle weird.

There were many huge Victorian houses in Freeport back in the 1970s that you could buy for almost nothing. A great deal if you had a lot of money with which to fix one of them up. Those grand old houses … there are still a few around there and here too, but restoring one is big bucks and maintaining them, even if you can afford the initial restoration, out of the range of most people. I’m glad that some have survived. They are magnificent, though even thinking about the cost of heating one is frightening.

Everything changes.

You can’t go back in time except in your memory. Sometimes, if you treasure the way it was, how you remember it, it’s better not to revisit places. Keep your memories intact because then, the places you remember will always be the way they were.

BURBLE: A WORD THAT SOUNDS LIKE WHAT IT MEANS – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Saturday – BURBLE

Not only do I love the word “onomatopoeia,” I love what it means. It’s a Latin root (I think, but it could also be Greek) meaning “a word that sounds like what it means.

Nothing says burble like burbling.

Manchaug – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Recently, we’ve been spending a fair bit of time around waterways. What else is there to do in this river valley?

I thought about using pictures from Manchaug, but that’s more rushing than burbling. It is too high a drop to burble.

I did find some excellent burbling where the river and the canal separate. It’s a unique place, too — an area where the river widened. They put in a flow area so the river runs off to the right and does river things. Meanwhile, the straight flat canal goes through a set of large locks, then runs straight on toward Rhode Island. This has been an unusually rainy summer, so the water was burbling happily into the river, still leaving more than enough water for the canal.

The long walkway was originally where the horses plodded pulling the barges down the canal. Now, they have become places to walk with dogs and kids and cameras. The picture of the small bridge taken at River Bend is the same bridge you can see in the distance from the start of the canal.

River Bend and the Canal are just about 1/2 a mile distant from one another.

Which means that River Bend is really on the Canal rather than the river, though the two rejoin a little further down the way, at West River. All of these are very loud burbles!

PAST MEETS PRESENT

THEN AND LATER


October 2014 canal and river

February canal and river (2017)

May – Canal and river (2017)

August Canal and River – Photo: Garry Armstrong (2017)

Canal and river October 2012

April canal and river (2016)

I’ve been watching square sky flying past me and decided I would give the next challenge a try.  These are the rules:

  1. Post at least two pictures, they don’t need to be #square!
  2. One of them though must have been taken by you and the second needs to be of the same view (or similar) as the first but taken days, weeks or years before.
  3. The second picture doesn’t need to be taken by you it can be a postcard or a painting.
  4. Don’t forget to use the tag #pastmeetspresent, and to link back to here.

Here are my past and present photos. Considering that I tend to shoot the same places repeatedly, this is a really good challenge for us!

THE ELLS HAVE IT – GARRY & MARILYN ARMSTRONG

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter L – Needs to have at least two syllables


Flyer in an antique airplane

Blackstone River and fall foliage – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Foliage along Aldrich Street

Dogs must be leashed when you walk along the Blackstone Canal — Photo: Garry Armstrong

Blackstone Canal – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Stainless steel

Little house and big maple tree