Tag Archives: Islands

The Dry Salvages

By Vladimir Brezina

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… the ragged rock in the restless waters,
Waves wash over it, fogs conceal it;
On a halcyon day it is merely a monument,
In navigable weather it is always a seamark
To lay a course by: but in the sombre season
Or the sudden fury, is what it always was.

T.S. Eliot, The Dry Salvages

The Dry Salvages is the third of T.S. Eliot‘s Four Quartets, a landmark of 20th-century English poetry. In a prefatory note, Eliot tells us that the Dry Salvages are a group of isolated rocks offshore in the Atlantic Ocean, but in the body of the poem they are never  mentioned again by name. Rather, their symbolic reach expands immediately to encompass one of the larger themes of the poem, that of water as the eternal agent of birth and death. It might seem, therefore, that the Dry Salvages are a mythical place.

But they are real, and a couple of days ago we paddled out to see them.

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The Other Islands of New York City: A History and Guide, by Sharon Seitz and Stuart Miller

By Vladimir Brezina

The Other Islands of New York City: A History and Guide, by Sharon Seitz and Stuart Miller. Third Edition 2011.  The Countryman Press, Woodstock, VT; distributed by W.W. Norton, New York.

How many islands are there in New York City? Even lifelong New Yorkers would have trouble answering this question. Several of the islands, of course, are home to millions.  A few other islands have mythical fame: Liberty Island, Ellis Island, Rikers Island… But next to them, sometimes just a stone’s throw away, are many other islands.  Some have long supported their own small human communities; others have colorful histories but today are inhabited only by birds and rats.  This unique book tells the histories and human stories of 45 of the “other” islands of New York City.

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