2023 – Me & G at the GWB, 11-11-23
………………………………………(ignore April 30, 2017 publish date – this was published on November 17, 2023)
I haven’t seen my sister Geri for 10 years (she’s lived the last 40+ years mostly in Colorado and lately in South Carolina), but she had a high school reunion to attend here on November 11, so we made some plans.
On the 10th, we went out to dinner with our other sister Lorraine. On the morning of the 11th, I had a shoot to do near/on the George Washington Bridge – which I do every so often on Veterans Day for two reasons: it’s one of the holidays during the year when the largest US flag hangs from the New Jersey tower AND the view of the Palisades’ fall colors from nearby Ross Dock is at a peak when the morning sun is on it that day.
I didn’t tell her where we were going other than “a two-stop shoot” and to meet me at my apartment at 9am. Her only request was to stop by the house we grew up in in Teaneck – only a mile from where I live, so we did that:
Our family owned that house for the better part of last century and we sold it in 1998.
We have cousins who still own/occupy a house on the next block, so we decided to go past that and have a look.
For some strange reason, I decided to take a picture of it:
Mind you, I shot this almost two weeks after Halloween. I made a mental note to come back next Easter to see their Christmas lights.
On to Fort Lee! (specifically, Hudson Terrace – the easternmost north-south road in town). We went south on it a bit.
Off Hudson Terrace is a not-super-well-marked entrance onto Henry Hudson Drive, which would take us north to the Ross Dock Approach Road. But first, it would take us under the GWB.
HH Drive is paved, two-lanes with no curbing or shoulders (just rocks). You are NOT supposed to stop along the way because you’ll block cars, LOTS of people on bicycles and a few hikers.
Of course, when you approach the bridge, the view is too much to resist and since there were no cars, bikes or sneaker-wearers behind us, I stopped and stepped out to take this quick panoramic (PANO) shot with my iPhone:
I’d say it was worth it. And if you look in the bottom left side, you can see part of the Henry Hudson Drive ahead of us.
We parked (red dot), got out and walked to a place near the playground (nearest green dot) where I could try a super-wide PANO that included: the GWB and a small bit of the Hudson River to the south, the mighty Palisades and the playground to the west and the Hudson River looking north (with some of New York visible on the far right):
I had to do a pretty fast (and level) ¾ pirouette to get this shot. I should tell you that the Palisades is pretty level and does NOT become a mountain in the section nearest me. That’s just what happens with PANOs: whatever’s nearest gets exaggerated.
We continued to walk around that section of the park (green dots) and I took various shots that included:
– The New York tower of the GWB, New York City, the Hudson River, sun reflections off the river and the rocky New Jersey shoreline:
– Some object that needs a paint job and might have been identifiable had I bothered to look at the other side of it:
– Another PANO that shows most of the previous PANO shot, plus the Manhattan skyline, some of the Palisades and the path we were walking on:
– Closeups of the New Jersey tower of the GWB and the wind-blown flag:
As shown on the map, we walked back to the car (red circle)…….
………and drove the purple-dotted road to Hazard’s Dock, which is immediately south of the bridge.
Normally, I think you need to have a boat hitched to your vehicle to park there, but it’s off-season, so I had the parking area to myself. I’m standing on the pedestrian ramp that’s next to the boat ramp into the Hudson:
From the same spot on the pedestrian ramp, I took these two bi-state PANOs:
Moving closer to the bridge, I took this smaller PANO:
I think that the small, semi-circular, white structure with blue-green windows in the bottom center is the security post. I ALWAYS got questioned in the past by someone there, but not today. I wasn’t even sure if someone was in there, but Geri said she saw someone moving inside.
This was a difficult PANO to get. First off, though my phone is being held horizontally, it’s a vertical shot, starting at the bottom and trying to keep it straight as I’m going up and leaning backward:
I love this shot! How many people here have ever seen this view of the GWB? (as he hurts his arm from patting himself on the back)
That horizontal I-beam near the bottom blocks out most of the NYC-side view, but I got closer and crouched down to get this shot:
Did you know that the Little Red Lighthouse was there before the Great Gray Bridge? Did you know there’s a 1942 children’s book about it? Would you be surprised to learn that you can see and hear it on YouTube (assuming you have 13 minutes to kill)?
Would you also be surprised to know that I have an extensive George Washington Bridge collection?
So much for shoot #1.
Time to drive back up onto Hudson Terrace, where I got to ignore the parking meter because it was a holiday.
Normally, when I do a shoot on the GWB, I walk about a block-and-a-half to the entrance to the bridge’s south walkway – the one that faces lower Manhattan. But big changes are going on with the bridge’s two walkways.
The north walkway – which is usually closed – is now wide open to hundreds of bicyclists and a few pedestrians while the south walkway is closed for repairs/changes.
Ultimately – as I understand it – that walkway will be solely for pedestrians, while the north walkway will only be for bicyclists.
The north walkway – on the rare occasions when it’s been open – has always been the more difficult one to access on the NJ side with its series of staircases that even bicyclists had to use (picture a 4”-diameter pipe cut in half lengthwise with the bottom half installed above the pedestrian staircase hand railing, so bicyclists could walk the steps while hand-guiding their bikes along the bottom-half pipe railing).
It worked, but I imagine that the bike riders weren’t thrilled.
The multiple staircases are still there but ramps are now intertwined with them for bicyclists to use (and for pedestrians for whom stairs are a problem).
It’s somewhat confusing, but ultimately functional for the time being.
This shot was taken on a ramp through a tiny chain-link fence opening:
And this one was taken when we came to the last pre-bridge staircase:
Meanwhile, Geri and I had to look in all directions if we so much as stepped one foot out of the straight line next to a railing, lest we get bike-smacked (as I mentioned before, there were hundreds of them whizzing past us). This was true not only on the pre-bridge ramps, but also on the bridge itself.
My first on-bridge PANO:
A PANO of Geri, tower and flag (notice that the PANO motion process chews up the front end of the car nearest her):
And she takes a pic of me at work:
The wind keeps things interesting, as I get closer to the tower:
Geri made a great observation that the professional photographer missed: as the cars passed under the flag, it reflected on them for a split second. Finally – a shot that required some timing!
Speaking of timing…….…..it was time to walk to the sun side of the tower, but as I was walking directly under it, I noticed some sunlit parts of the semi-horizontal flag through the openings:
Full sun and wind!
Fully-horizontal, windy triptych!
Looks like I caught me an Amazon Prime truck with a PANO-altered logo (AND a sister).
One last flag-waving-goodbye shot before we head back:
Let’s see………………what did I miss while heading east? Ah, a look north to where we’ve been:
That’s Ross Dock sticking out into the Hudson, the Palisades (See? No mountain in the Ross Dock area), the road to Hazard’s Dock (seen just below Ross Dock), the shadow of the New Jersey tower (and its cables…………….and I think I see the two of us on the curved walkway shadow, just west of the tower shadow in the lower middle), and finally, Henry Hudson Drive (in the lower-left corner shadow).
I had to get at least one shot of some bicyclists whizzing by us (and there are 3 more in the background):
I have my own thoughts about what this looks like. If you do too, put ‘em in the comments section:
Is this connected to a urinal?
If so, maybe we’d better wave goodbye before our shadows get peed on:
And finally, an interesting perspective on the stars of the show – the bridge and the flag (the pesky humans came in a distant third):
That’s it………….hope you enjoyed it.