BICENTENNIAL FIREWORKS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I was lucky enough to have a truly remarkable and unique experience. It happened on July 4, 1976. It was part of the huge Bicentennial celebration in New York City in honor of the 200th Birthday of the Declaration Of Independence. There were festivities all over the city for a whole week.

There was a parade of old-fashioned Tall Ships from all over that majestically sailed up the Hudson River. I only saw that on TV but it was an incredible sight. (I did get to see a few individual ships in the harbor as we drove into the city, but not the full parade).

One of the Tall Ship-s sailing on the Hudson River with the World Trade Center in the background

The pièce de résistance of the celebration week was the fireworks display that was set to go off from the Statue of Liberty on the night of July 4.

At the time, my husband, Larry, worked at a law firm in New York City. The law firm scheduled a big office party on the night of the 4th of July. They booked the restaurant at the top of World Trade Center One, Windows On The World. The restaurant was on the 107th floor and had an unobstructed view of the Statue of Liberty, which was just a short distance out in the harbor.

When the time came for the fireworks, we all gathered around the floor to ceiling windows facing the Statue of Liberty. I’m short, so I was funneled to the very front of the crowd. There was absolutely nothing between me and the view outside.

Bicentennial Fireworks with World Trade Center

The fireworks display was, appropriately extraordinary. It was so close I felt I could reach out and touch the bursts of light directly in front of me. It had an eerie quality because I was 107 floors up in the air. So the fireworks were not only nearby and coming right at me, they were coming right at me at eye level. They weren’t coming from above, as they usually are. They seemed to be aimed right at me. I even flinched at first, fearing that the window would be hit by stray sparks.

Fireworks in color, with World Trade Center in background

Once I relaxed, I sat back and enjoyed a truly awe-inspiring show. I’ve always loved fireworks. Unfortunately, no display since then could even come close to rivaling that night.

Remembering that night is bittersweet. While it was a euphoric experience for me, it’s sad to realize that no one will ever again get that great view from the long gone tower at the World Trade Center. I’m sure the views at the new buildings on the World Trade Center site are magnificent. But for those of us who lived through 9/11, it will never be the same.

BOATS AND SHIP – THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE

A Photo a Week Challenge: Boats and Ships


Photo: Garry Armstrong
Hyannisport, Massachusetts
Photo: Garry Armstrong


Last of the Gloucester fleet – Photo: Marilyn Armstrong

THE BEAVER AT BOSTON WHARF: TRACES OF THE PAST

BLACK & WHITE SUNDAY: TRACES OF THE PAST Y3-04


The Beaver


The original brig Beaver, like the Dartmouth, was built and owned by the Rotch’s, an affluent Nantucket Quaker family. The Beaver was a whaling vessel built in 1772 by Ichabod Thomas at the Brick Kiln Yard on the banks of the North River near Situate, Massachusetts. Similar to other merchant vessels of the time, the Beaver was about 85 feet long with a beam of nearly 24 feet. The draft of the Beaver could not exceed nine feet because Nantucket Harbor had a sand bar across its mouth, which as a result, set the maximum size for vessels of that port.

From “The History of the Beaver”

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INDUSTRY OUTSIDE METROPOLIS

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Industrial

Forge House 11

It’s a matter of definition. For most of my life, I lived in or around major cities. New York, where I grew up. I don’t know if Jerusalem counts as a major city, but I was there a pretty long time.

hyannis harbor docks cape cod

Then Boston. Industrial in large cities is synonymous with “big.” Great brick factories belching smoke. Tall chimneys. Pollution. Cement. Traffic.

Old Mill No. 4

Yet, ironically, out here in the Blackstone Valley is where the American industrial revolution began. We are the home of the first factories.

Crown and Eagle mill transformed into elderly housing
Crown and Eagle mill transformed into elderly housing

The mills, built along the Blackstone River were where it all began. We are still cleaning up the pollution and the mills are either gone or converted to some other use.

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First they moved down south, where they could find cheaper land, labor, favorable tax laws … and they would be near the cotton fields.

path machines dirt hartford st

But industry remains. It’s not the way it was, yet it is industry. Small factories, cottage industry by comparison. And just as interesting as photographic subject.

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And finally, not forgetting our New England coastline, the docks and ships of our historic fishing fleets. Our first American industry!

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: BAD MOON RISING

There’s a bad moon rising over there, over the boats sitting at anchor on a flat sea. As the sun goes down, that giant moon hovers over all … making man and beast think strange thoughts … very strange …

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