Monday, July 25, 2016

Uptown geese, downtown geese

Honk if you love geese! I saw this mating pair of Canada geese with their goslings on a lake next to my aunt's place uptown. We could see them from her living room window and every day we'd look to be sure they were there. There are signs up around the property instructing people not to feed the geese, but they get fed a little, anyway.

Above and below, the uptown geese and their five goslings feeding next to a small lake.


Downtown, at the Corning Preserve riverfront park, I saw a larger bunch of geese feeding on the grassy bank of the amphitheater that's built into the riverbank. There were no goslings in sight. The geese seemed indifferent to the pedestrians in the park. I made nearly a complete circle around them, staying on the paved walkways, of course.

Above and below, the downtown geese feeding on the banks of the Hudson River.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

The wedding tree

It's not quite Bilbo Baggins' party tree, but it did the trick. Four years ago, in May, Ken and I were married under this tree in Washington Park. It was a little fuller then; the weeping branches and leaves stretched all the way to the ground, and there was a picnic table nestled under the canopy. The park's groundskeepers have pruned it back quite a lot since. The picnic table is gone, and now there are ropes around the tree.
 
The wedding tree today. It's been pruned back, and the picnic table is gone.

I don't remember this little sign, either, but I'm glad it's there now.

It's a European Beech! Who knew?

Here's what the tree looked like back in May 2012.

Me, Pat, and Ken, under the wedding tree in 2012. It was much more leafed out then.

I got to see Pat, the woman who performed our ceremony, and her husband Richard, again on this trip. We got together with my friends L&L for dinner at a great little Italian restaurant called Café Calabria. We shared fried calamari (a recurring theme on this trip) and then I had chicken piccata with angel hair pasta for my main course. It was great to see Pat and Richard again!

Richard and Pat on the left. My dear friends L&L on the right, who were at our ceremony in 2012.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Geese on Washington Park Lake

I saw a lot of geese in Albany this time. Some had goslings, others were just feeding or swimming. Like these. I believe all the geese I saw were Canada geese. Most of the geese I encountered were relatively unafraid of humans and were hanging out in public areas with people around.

Canada geese on the lake with Madison Avenue and Albany's Park South neighborhood beyond.

I have no idea how the populations of geese in the northeast have fluctuated over the years, but I don't remember seeing so many on the ground before. I've always seen Canada geese during their migrations, flying in that distinctive V-formation far overhead. And I've heard them: honk! honk!

Friday, July 22, 2016

My little rental car

I rented a tiny Kia Rio Toyota Yaris* in Montréal for my drip down into New York. It was a great car, once I figured out how to open the gas cap and the rear hatch (I had to get the car manual out of the glove compartment for that). My only complaint was that it had Ontario plates instead of Québec plates. Oh well. *Ummm... it was to be a Kia Rio or similar. It was similar. I forgot about that.

My little Kia Rio Toyota Yaris on the streets of Albany.

The rental agent told me that it was a city car, and if I planned to go long distances I should upgrade to something larger. I just nodded and took the little car anyway. It did fine on the four-hour drive and back. It's not like I was going across country or anything. The people at Enterprise were friendly and helpful and this was the second or third very good experience I've had with them.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tulips

If you didn't know, Albany was founded as a Dutch settlement in 1609 when Henry Hudson sailed up the river that now bears his name as far as he could go. He met and traded with the local people, the Mohicans. Because of the city's Dutch history, a springtime tulip festival is held every year in Washington Park. I didn't attend the festival, but I did get down to the park to see the blooms after the festival closed. Here are a few of the flower beds I saw.





Each bed has a little sign that identifies the tulip variety. Most of the beds are concentrated in one area of the park. Curiously, they surround a statue of Moses parting the Red Sea striking the rock on Mount Horeb. Lordy Moses!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Americana

What American town/city/suburb doesn't have a scene like this? A very wide street, multiple turning lanes for vehicular traffic, oodles of parking lots, a half dozen or so car dealerships, signage for days, extremely pedestrian-unfriendly walkways, and visually displeasing utility poles with wires strung along both sides of the corridor. Not a very pretty picture. Still, I wanted a shot of (what I think of as) the historic Westgate Shopping Center sign. It's been at this spot on Central Avenue in Albany as long as I can remember.

Central Avenue (Route 5) in Albany, looking west.

So I googled it. The shopping center opened in 1957 which makes it just a little older than me. The sign is considered a local landmark, but I don't see any mention of an official historic designation. I do remember shopping here many, many times over the years. The name hints at the plaza's location; at the western "gate" of the city on NYS Route 5, a 370-mile long route across the center of New York State from Albany to Buffalo and the western border with Pennsylvania on Lake Erie.

From the north side of the street, still looking west.

I think I'm going to skip around a little with this part of the trip. I was so predictably chronological with my photos from Montréal. Time to change it up a little.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Albany on the Hudson

This is my home town on a bright, sunny day. I saw a version of this shot on a local television news station along with the station's logo and other stuff on the screen. So I wondered where they took it and started looking at a map. The next day, I drove across the river and found a boat launch and dock down on the water and figured that was the place.

Albany's modest, but impressive, downtown skyline, looking south from the eastern bank of the Hudson River.

There was a guy sitting in a lawn chair on the dock fishing. A couple were loading a small boat with their fishing gear. A cabin cruiser chugged by, going up river. It was a very peaceful scene and I took a bunch of pictures, without the boat.

A closer look. The black bridge is a railroad drawbridge. The state capitol building is the one with the pointed red roofs.

Gird yourself for a long string of photos from New York, mostly in and around this town.