Tag Archives: Fall

Boundary Conditions: Exploring the Hudson River in Autumn

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

As the season descends into Winter, we figured it would be good to post a long-overdue writeup of a trip that we took during the magical boundary between Summer and Autumn—a trip up the Hudson River in October 2013. 

Fall colors

In mathematics, a boundary condition is a constraint imposed on the solution of an equation. By imposing boundary conditions, you focus on a specific subset of solutions, rather than all solutions.

In ecology, there’s also the concept of a boundary—in this case, the transition from one habitat to another. Boundary conditions are then conditions at the habitat boundary. And as a tidal estuary, the lower Hudson River itself is a permanent habitat boundary, since it’s the interface between salt water and fresh, between the ocean and the rivers and streams that feed it.

The two meanings are different, but what they have in common is the notion of focusing on a particular part of the cosmos, one embodying flux, change, and intermingling of diverse forces.

That’s what we did one day this Fall when we drove north for an extended weekend of kayak-camping on the Hudson River, at our favorite spot, the Hudson River Islands State Park, about 20 miles south of Albany.

We set up camp
River view

For this excursion, we’d joined forces with Alex and Jean, fellow paddlers and fellow bloggers at 2Geeks@3Knots, who drove up from New Rochelle. And we were hoping to meet up with Mike and Julie, paddlers from Albany with whom we’d shared a lively correspondence over the past year but had never met. And also, with luck, with our friend David, who lives both in NYC and upstate, and was planning to be on the river up there that weekend.

All of us from different habitats, in other words, but with our common boundary—the Hudson River.

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Backlit

By Vladimir Brezina

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Yesterday afternoon in New York City’s Central Park (click on any photo to start slideshow)—

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More photos are here.

Happy Fall!

By Vladimir Brezina

DSC_0097 cropped smallThe Fall Equinox occurs this afternoon. So, although we very much regret, especially this year, Summer’s passing—Happy Fall, everyone! (Well, everyone in the northern hemisphere… for the others, Happy Spring!)

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Late Summer in the Park

By Vladimir Brezina

DSC_0341 cropped smallAfter the stasis of deep Summer, when NYC’s Central Park remains, it would seem forever, darkly lush and green, there are now unmistakable signs of the end.  It’s still sunny and warm, and busy insects are still feeding from the late-summer flowers. But new colors are appearing here and there, as the days now with increasing rapidity take us into Fall…

(click on any photo to start slideshow)

These and a few more photos are here.

Last Manhattan Circumnavigation of 2012

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

At the time, it didn’t seem like a big deal: On a sunny weekend in late October, we decided to circumnavigate Manhattan.

We didn’t anticipate, though, that, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, it would be our last circumnavigation of the year, indeed our last major trip in New York waters. And so this trip has a special resonance in our memories.

A Manhattan circumnavigation is usually a pretty predictable trip, though always a treat. It’s not particularly long by our standards, but packed with variety. The scenery ranges from the urban…

Midtown Manhattan from the East River

In the East River: the Empire State Building, with Vlad in the foreground (photo by Johna)

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to the bucolic…

Fall colors in the Harlem River

Fall colors in the Harlem River

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Ferries in the East River

Riding the chop and keeping an eye on the ferries down by the Battery

and the paddling conditions vary nearly as much: The water down by the Battery is often exciting (enhanced by ferry and other shipping traffic)…

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Up the Harlem River

Heading up the Harlem River

but  the  long glide up the Harlem River is usually tranquil.

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All in all, we looked forward to a lovely, if unexceptional trip.

Unexceptional except for being our last long trip of the year.  The following weekend, we toured the Gowanus Canal—a scenic, but short, excursion.

And the Monday after that, Sandy arrived.

Our Manhattan paddling home at Pier 40 was shut down, and the pier itself remains closed (though we’re hopeful it will reopen soon). In addition, there continue to be some restrictions on paddling in New York Harbor. So we haven’t been out (in New York waterways, at least) since.

Which made this “unexceptional” trip rather exceptional, after all.

So our recollection of this circumnavigation is tinged with a bit of melancholy and a sense of loss. As the graffiti has it:

Poetic graffiti in the East River

“Alas this bitter life filled with sweet dreams” — Poetic graffiti in the East River

But even an “ordinary” trip has moments of incandescent beauty, which will live on in our memories…

Yellow and blue nocturne

The George Washington Bridge: Yellow and blue nocturne

We hope to be back on the waters around Manhattan in 2013!

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The individual photos are here.

Favorite Spot

By Vladimir Brezina

Jakesprinter’s Sunday Post theme for this week, Favorite Spot, and the Weekly Photo Challenge theme, Mine, come together in this post…

On Sunday, Johna and I visited one of our favorite spots, New York City’s Central Park.

The trees are still mostly green, and late flowers are in bloom. But subtle signs of fall are everywhere.

We saw a late monarch butterfly, flitting from flower to flower.

Wandering through the park, we made our way, as we usually do, to our really special spot—the plot of ground that some time ago we picked out as the place where we could learn to observe and to see. And indeed, we saw there…

… a belated dandelion

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… somebody’s eggs

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… a strawberry?!

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It sure looked like a strawberry—a last lone strawberry at the cusp of fall.

We thought of how sweet ripe wild strawberries can be… And so, despite some contraindications —the strawberry plants bore, here and there, yellow, rather than white, flowers—Johna ate the strawberry.

It had very little taste. It wasn’t a true strawberry, but (as we determined afterward) a mock strawberry.

Still, it was a lovely early fall day at our special spot in the park…

Happy Fall!

By Vladimir Brezina

The Fall Equinox is later on today. Happy Fall, everyone! (Well, everyone in the northern hemisphere… for the others, Happy Spring!)

More photos are here. And a couple of earlier autumnal posts are here and here

Sunday Post: Autumn, Take Two

By Vladimir Brezina

This is a second post in response to Jakesprinter‘s Sunday Post theme of Autumn (the first post was here).

Fall is just starting here in New York City—but it’s unmistakably on its way. Here are some of the colors we can look forward to in a month or so…

Photos taken around New York City’s Central Park Reservoir in Fall 2011. More photos are here and here.

Sunday Post: Autumn

By Vladimir Brezina

For the last few days, Fall has been in the air here in New York City. The days are still warm and sunny, but crisp rather than humid, with those deep blue skies of fall. The nights are now almost chilly. And today in Central Park, I noticed for the first time some yellow and brown in the green mass of trees, and the first few fallen dry leaves scattered along the paths…

So Jakesprinter‘s Sunday Post theme of Autumn comes perfectly timed. I have many brilliantly colorful fall foliage pictures, and I’ll post a few of them, but I’ve always liked especially this more modest photo. I took it many, many years ago, in the last millenium, still in the age of film…

A second Autumn post is here.

Best of Fall Colors 2011

By Vladimir Brezina

Despite the hiccup of the Halloween snowstorm, Fall has had a long run this year. The colors in New York City’s Central Park have been glorious. But now, in late November, they are finally coming to an end. It’s raining, dark, gray, and the trees are rapidly losing their last leaves.

So, as farewell, here are some highlights of the Fall colors of 2011. Happy Thanksgiving!

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The individual photos, and many others, are here, here, and here.