2018 – Family stuff: The Colorado Contingent
Ignore the above publish date (see main page for explanation). Publish date was June 28, 2018.
I have an almost-30-year-old nephew in Colorado named Brian (courtesy of my sister Geri +1) with whom I enjoyed great email communication as he was growing up, but I hadn’t seen him in person since last century, when he and Geri came east in 1998 and we attended a Mets game (Mike Piazza’s first game as a Met!).
Brian got married last fall in Colorado to a dear friend named Amber in a package deal that included a huge bonus named Charlotte (courtesy of Amber +1). BTW – Charlotte is NOT huge, but IS a 9-year-old sweetheart. Brian’s a doubly-lucky man.
He let me know recently that the 3 of them were coming east to visit NYC and, perhaps, an uncle.
Due to a computer problem on my end, I didn’t find out about their arrival until the night before he wanted to get together, so things were quickly rearranged and a meeting took place at their NJ hotel last Saturday, June 23.
We had nothing planned, but I came up with two possibilities that I ran by the boss and Charlotte picked The Great Falls National Park in nearby Paterson, NJ. It was the right choice for a variety of reasons:
1. History! Everyone’s recent friend, Alexander Hamilton, viewed the falls in 1778, foresaw the hydroelectric possibilities and was the impetus for Paterson becoming America’s first industrialized city.
2. It’s a pretty small national park – 42 acres – and the falls section is a much smaller part of that. You can easily do the falls area on foot in an hour or less. We did.
3. And that included visiting something else of historical importance that’s basically across the street from the park: Hinchliffe Stadium. Built in 1932 and currently in disrepair, it was originally home to teams in the Negro Leagues. Some future Major League Baseball players played there. Here’s an informative video:
Ever hear of Larry Doby? If not, you should have. Everyone knows who Jackie Robinson was and that he was known for being the first African-American to break the color barrier in the Major Leagues when he was signed by the Dodgers of the National League in 1947.
Doby was “the Jackie Robinson of the American League”, signing with Cleveland less than 3 months later. He endured all the racial epithets, etc., that Robinson did, but hardly anybody knows who he is.
Larry Doby was from Paterson, so his legend is pretty large around here. Here’s the lowdown on him: http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/news/larry-doby-cleveland-indians-second-black-major-league-baseball/16meya6khdy6e12zhulm8f6dtj
I’ve posted pictures of the falls in a couple of different posts here (including the previous one), but one tends to see different things on different visits and it was my first visit with family. I also hadn’t photographed Hinchliffe previously, so here we go:
There’s a lot of work being done in the main entrance/reception area (Overlook), so Hamilton’s statue has been boxed (to be temporarily moved?). However, since my visiting family members didn’t get to see it, I’ve faintly superimposed a picture of the statue that I took a few years ago on the box. It’s even facing the correct direction. I hope they all come back soon to verify that.
I told Charlotte to look beyond the unsightly construction to the pedestrian bridge above the falls and that we’d be there soon.
I led the group around the corner and up the street to a you’d-never-know-it-was-an-entrance entrance that would lead us to the bridge over the falls. On the way to that bridge, there were things to shoot as we followed the Passaic River to the falls.
I don’t know how these “pre-falls” came to be, but I find them interesting. Some people who come here for the first time ask, “These are the Great Falls? Pretty puny!”. Then they come upon the real falls and are impressed. Fortunately, I didn’t hear that on this trip.
By the way, the bridge you see here over the river is on that street that we just walked up (Wayne Avenue). It’s also the street that we’ll be coming down when we finish our counter-clockwise trek (and shoot the same “pre-falls” from the opposite angle).
One more thing – as I was shooting this through the wrought-iron fence, Brian came up somewhere to my left and did the same. Unbeknownst to me (and probably to Brian), Amber was somewhere behind me and to my right taking a picture of uncle and nephew doing the photographic waltz.
I was given a quick glimpse of her shot and hope that she sends it to me (along with others) to possibly add to this post (with full credit, of course). Better yet, maybe she can post them here in a comment (is that even doable?).
Never mind. A fourth member of the Colorado Contingent – who didn’t make the trip (Brian’s mom/my sister) – sent me the shot:
When I first saw it, I thought it looked like Brian was trying to bend the bars, which reminded me of a shot I took in the same area that’s in the 1991 post (and below):
I saw something else in Amber’s picture. If you look closely, you can see part of a third person in it. PhotoShop carbon-dating tells me that that part is about 9 years old.
Almost to the pedestrian bridge, I looked back over toward the Overlook construction area (Hamilton’s box is on the right), but couldn’t read the sign, so a closeup follows:
William Carlos Williams, by the way, is another local guy (Rutherford, NJ) and one of his more famous poems is “Paterson”. The pictured quote is from another of his poems, “The Botticellian Trees”.
Views from the other side of the bridge:
Me and the Bri-guy (taken by Amber):
By height: Brian, Amber, Charlotte (who likes to vary her facial expressions):
I was going for a shot of the mist, but I………mist.
Cinderella loses her slipper. In the animated film, Cinderella loses her left slipper. In the live-action film, she loses her right slipper, so this couldn’t possibly be a live shot.
That means that Charlotte is a cartoon (but don’t tell her). OMG! – that also means that Amber’s +1 is Walt Disney!
Re-slippered, Charlotte slides down the hill and nearly crashes into her mother.
We escape from the Park, but the only one of us who looked graceful doing so was Charlotte, so here she is (you wouldn’t want to see me or Brian doing this – trust me).
We made our escape all the way across the street to more history…………
Two layers of fencing couldn’t keep SOMEBODY out. She got in and took shots that I wanted to take (the field!) and got out (I hope she sends me that shot):
SOMEBODY ELSE wanted to emulate Mommy, but only a little bit:
I was content to shoot a football scoreboard that I could see from outside and a couple of interestingly-painted nearby buildings, but I WILL get inside eventually:
Stop-sign pole theft is apparently a problem in this area:
This is a corner of the stadium at the intersection where that stop-sign was. SOMEBODY looks like she really wants to be on the other side of the fence:
SOMEBODY gets her wish (and looks like a hardened jailbird):
Crossing the street to head back into the Park, I pointed out the bent sign (maybe someone tried to steal its pole too) and the lack of proper punctuation that changed its meaning. Placing an un-slow child in front of it provided the perfect contrast and made it a better shot.
Her pose was entirely her idea and it was the right one. I didn’t have to say a word…………she gets it.
Back in the Park, we came across the prosperous-looking Great Falls Development Corporation building. You can tell that Charlotte was impressed.
Behind the building, I did a 3-photo stitch that shows (l-r): the area where we did the family shots, the pedestrian bridge (with the lower Overlook area under it), the falls, the pre-falls and the Wayne Avenue bridge. Garret Mountain is in the background.
To view it full-size, click on the image. Once it enlarges, run the mouse over the image – it should become a plus sign – and then click again. You’ll need to scroll from left to right to see everything. To return to normal size, click on the image and then hit your back button.
We could hear a lot of noise on our short, inclined walk back to Wayne Avenue………..a parade? When we got there, we saw a crowd of THREE guys waving Mexican flags and yelling at passing cars. Apparently, Mexico had just won a game in World Cup competition.
On a nearby pole, I found a bright red Blocking Tag, but wasn’t sure what it was for. Maybe it was a penalty card for a catcher for blocking the plate and keeping a runner from scoring when he didn’t have the ball yet? Whatever it was, it made the whole background tilted.
Various angles/views of the pre-falls as we walked down Wayne Avenue:
AND THE WINNER IN THE 9-10 AGE GROUP IS………………
After a bite of incredibly-slow fast food – courte$y of some chick named Wendy – we were happily ushered out of Paterson by another of its famous sons………….an appropriate ending to a nice visit: