Reaching to silence my alarm it was time for my Sunday long run. A quick check of the weather and I said forget it. I just wasn’t feeling it and longed to go back to bed. As I pulled the covers up I noticed the the days light peeking from behind the shades of our bedroom. I got backup and peered out the window and thought to myself this might be one heck of a sunrise. I quickly threw on some clothes, grabbed my cameras and was in the car. The windshield completely frosted over I was driving down the road with my head hung out the window just like a dog.
My initial thought was to head over to Hospital Hill in Binghamton and photograph downtown Binghamton as the sunlight illuminated it. I took a few sample images and was not thrilled. I wandered around the old buildings and noticed the light slowly creeping up over the tire tracks frozen in a dusting of snow near “The Castle” and immediately knew that this would be my shot. I fluttered around looking for my vision, patiently waiting for Mother Nature to set up her easel and begin to paint.
Jack Frost was nipping at more than my nose at this point, realizing I had left my parka in the car. No time to go back and get it as the show was about to start. The soft glow of red and orange highlighted the exterior while the widows appeared illuminated as if there was life inside this lifeless soul.
The way back machine has brought us to December 2010. I love this image of Max decorating our Christmas tree, his expression is priceless! Another great chrome in the family collection. Happy decorating!
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I’m offering two different prints of the Adirondack High Peaks for sale. These images are sized at 10″X20″ and look amazing when printed. These prints will make a wonderful addition to your home or office.
Each print cost is $45.00 which includes shipping within the continental United States. Outside the United States there will be an additional cost dependent on where you are. Please contact me for shipping information if you are outside the USA.
Payment information and instructions: Payments will be made through Paypal to: firstname.lastname@example.org Please specify which image and finish you would like in the message area of Paypal.
Please note: It usually takes 7-10 days to receive your item once the order is placed.
Glossy, Matte, Luster and Metallic
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With the invention of the automobile and Henry Ford’s mass production of the Model T, a new type of tourist was created, freed by the motorcar to explore at will. Facilities had to be invented to serve these happy wanderers, and a new generation of business owners realized that the middle-class nomads passing in front of their properties were a potential source of income. The most essential services for tourists provided gas, food and lodging. But in this explosion of roadside commerce, there was a fourth type of establishment, which had nothing whatsoever to do with fulfilling basic needs. A wide variety of tourist attractions were conceived as a way to divert travelers. They evolved not only to amuse the children in the back seat, but also to seduce the children living within the adults in the front seat. Roadside attractions were also important to travelers needing to stretch their legs, relax for a while, use the very necessary rest-room facilities, or just to have some fun.
The highway havens in the North Country were and are a microcosm of such marvels developed across the United States. Although they were condemned by many as being in bad taste or condoned by others as kitsch, a variety of destinations arose and thrived. The beginnings of the phenomenon are shrouded in the mists of the past, and just how these businesses began to appear is at best a matter of conjecture.
One theory is that some people involved in serving up travelers’ essentials added amusement facilities as a means of drawing attention and income and to distinguish themselves from competitors. One Adirondack example was a black bear kept at an auto camp near North Hudson in the 1920s. The bear was trained to guzzle bottles of soda pop purchased by passersby, and sometimes a man would wrestle the beast before the assembled throngs.
The earliest stand-alone tourist diversions in the region, as in many other parts of the country, began as operations devoted to raising animals for clothing and decorative items. Although it’s hard to imagine now, there was an ostrich farm in Saratoga Springs in the first decades of this century. Such farms of gigantic birds were commonplace in California, Texas and Florida, and the plumage was harvested to produce feather boas in various colors as well as pompoms, fans and novelties, all sold in shops on the premises.
But the Florida Ostrich Farm in Jacksonville—taking a cue perhaps from visitors who migrated with the seasons—launched a summer branch in Saratoga on Ballston Avenue. People became so fascinated by these creatures, which could weigh up to four hundred pounds, that the business was opened so that curious guests could gawk at chicks hatching from gigantic eggs; ride behind big ones in sulkies or up on their backs; ooh and aah as birds swallowed oranges whole, which would then be seen as round objects descending stomachward; or, in what was described as a “painless operation,” observe plumes being plucked. Among Saratoga’s most famous ostriches were one behemoth named “Prince of Wales,” and another, “Oliver W,” billed as “positively the only thoroughly harness-broken ostrich in America today.” Ostrich ranches, though, went the way of feather boas and disappeared from the American landscape.
Joseph S. Sterling, born in New Jersey in 1878—and who moved to Alaska in 1904, where he prospected for gold, ran a steamship line and operated trading posts—came up with the idea of raising captive animals for fur. He drifted back East, started a silver-fox farm in Schuyler Falls, New York, in 1915, and in 1920 established an exhibition farm at Ausable Chasm. The very next year Sterling opened another show farm in Lake Placid. The Lake Placid location, on Route 86, became the area’s major tourist attraction in the 1930s, and survived until 1976.
Out-of-towners were fascinated by Sterling’s foxes, mink, beavers, Hudson seals and so-called “wolf raccoons,” and he boasted in the early 1930s that visitors could “See 50 Alive.” Over the years, other species were added as the facility evolved into the Sterling Alaska Fur and Game Farm, popularly known as the “Home of 1000 Animals.” Many of the inhabitants were trained to perform tricks: bears did stunts in exchange for treats; “Peppy and Mike” starred in a daily chimp show; and children could ride llamas. Joseph Sterling died in 1959, but his wife, Martha, carried on, expanding and modernizing the facility.
(Note): The above text was taken from Adirondack Life ” Once upon a time in the Adirondacks, when theme parks ruled the roadside” by John Margolies.
The buildings still exist, with the main building on Saranac Ave. at the intersection, right before Whiteface Inn Lane. Sadly it is now an antique store.
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In a scene that cannot be replicated today, I was standing on the walkway of “Nick Tower” at 106th street in the Bronx. I was witnessing the tail end of the “Morning Rush” into and out of Manhattan. I was one of the signal maintainers stationed here from 0600-1400. There also was a 24 hour tower operator on duty as well. Not long after this image was captured it would be time to start the hibachi…..