Indianapolis – July 2018 – The Ruins of Holliday Park

If someone blindfolded you, put you on a plane, and took you to this field before taking off the blindfold you might say ‘are we in Rome – what ruins are those?’.

Needless to say they would be very surprised to find they are in the middle of Indianapolis.

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Surrounded by columns it is an impressive sight.

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But this structure is not a thousand year old Roman ruin. It is not even from Indiana. These are the remains of what is considered New York City’s first skyscraper – the St Paul Building.

Built in 1898 at 220 Broadway by Karl Bitter, a well known architect of the day.

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The building had three large statues made of Indiana limestone. These statues were called ‘The Races of Man’ and represented African American, Asian and Caucasian laboring together to hold the skyscraper up.

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By the 1950s it was decided to tear down this building to build a new, boring, glass and steel skyscraper. The owners of the building held a competition to find a new home for the sculptures, and Indianapolis won.

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The sculptures were relocated to Indiana and included in a reproduction of the facade. Over the years there were various modifications, and eventually the ruins, somewhat ironically, fell into disrepair.

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For almost 20 years they were roped off from the public.

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Fortunately in 2015 a restoration project began.

Today they stand proud in a promenade with other pieces including these 3 large stone ones with a portion of the declaration of independence carved into them.

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Holliday Park in Indianapolis is now a beautiful place to spend some time amongst the ‘ruins’.

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Chicago – July 2018 – Weekend in the City

With a chance to spend a couple of nights in Chicago, we went without any specific plans. Once we arrived in town late Saturday afternoon we headed out for a walk.

Our first stop was the beautiful marquee for the Chicago Theater on State Street.

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While Chicago is known for the El trains there are a couple that are underground downtown, including the Red Line.

The entrance to the subway station has a great art deco look to it – backed up by a mural of Muddy Waters!

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State Street had a number of public art features – this one backed by the former Marshall Field Department store clock.

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As we made our way to Millennium Park we heard music.

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And were pleasantly surprised to find a symphony playing music from Lerner and Loewe movies.

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On our walk back we had the fortuitous timing to be crossing the Michigan Avenue bridge just as fireworks started from the Navy Pier.

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The view down the river framed the fireworks with the buildings.

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The next morning we took a 4 mile walk up through River North and Rush Street.

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Stopping at North Avenue Beach.

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Our walk continued through Lincoln Park, where they have made good use of dead trees.

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As we approached the zoo we saw a very large group of people – playing Pokemon!

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Eventually we made it out of the Pokemon crowd to a more serene part of the park, near Fullerton Street.

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Chicago even has skyscraper bird houses.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon back downtown at Grant Park for the Taste of Chicago.

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They had cooking competitions. This one is a Puerto Rico – Chicago specialty – the Jibarito.

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We finished the day walking along the river.

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Often when I photograph Marina City I shoot up – totally forgetting that there is actually a marina in Marina City.

As always we had a great time in Chicago.

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Delaware, OH – July 2018 – Fun with Funghi

Our hot weekend continued with a visit to a local Metro Park – Gallant Woods – that was holding a ‘Mushroom Hike’. Lead by Kari, one of the Education leaders from the park service, we wandered through the woods for an hour while she and others spotted various types of mushrooms.

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Our group was small, with Kari and another family who was into foraging for mushrooms, making it very educational.

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Most of the mushrooms were quite small, but still very interesting.

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We found interesting growth on trees.

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A red one on a small twig.

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Mushy ones on another dead tree.

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It was fascinating how when you start looking closely how many different types there are. Much time was spent explaining how difficult it is to see the difference between poisonous ones and those that are edible.

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Kari would often pick them to give us a closer look.

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When you looked closely the details are amazing.

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One large tree had them growing all the way up the 50′ tall tree.

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While you are supposed to leave the mushrooms where they grow for others to enjoy, we were permitted to keep some since Kari picked them as part of our tour.

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Across the road is the original homestead complete with a restored 1930s farm house.

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The entire county parks system is featuring flight this year so one of the barns had a great exhibit with model planes.

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The exhibit’s planes were very impressive.

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We thoroughly enjoyed our hike with Kari, and the time spent with the other staff and volunteers afterwards in the farm house. The staff was even kind enough to share some mushroom quiche they had been preparing in the 1930s stove.

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Sands Point, NY – May 2018 – Sands Point Preserve

Our final stop on our tour of North Shore Mansions was Sands Point Preserve. This estate contains two primary mansions, the Hempstead House and Castle Gould.

Castle Gould was built to be a replica of Kilkenny Castle.

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Which from a distance has a strong resemblance.

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As with the other estates this one too borders the Long Island Sound. While these mansions remain much like they were 100 years ago, the others nearby have been torn down and replaced with modern houses.

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Back up on the hill you again get a nice water view.

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The Hempstead House features well kept gardens, although large tents mar the view (for all of those brides from Planting Fields I guess)

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This home too features a large turret.

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The entryway has massive wooden doors, with a smaller side door for actual use.

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Clearly if you are going to visit Long Island Mansions of the past, don’t do it on a Tuesday – they are all closed to tours.

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Lloyds Neck, NY – May 2018 – Caumsett State Park

Caumsett State Park is situated along the North Shore of Long island, with 1400 acres facing the Long Island Sound. Famed retailer Marshall Field built the estate in the mid 1920s, naming it after the Matinecock Native American’s word for ‘Place by a Sharp Rock’

The estate was purchased by the state of New York in 1961 as a park. The mansion itself is in need of some repair, although apparently birds like to live on the chimney.

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As noted it is along the Sound, with a picturesque view.

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Returning to our tour around the outside of the house (it is rarely open for interior tours) you can still see the details, as well as the need for some upkeep.

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Nearby a former garage serves as a gathering spot.

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Also on the property are other stately homes, although without the water views.

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One home is still in daily use.

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The estate was used for many equestrian events, as evidences by the many barns. Caumsett State Park is a nice place to hike with natural scenery, but with some investment the property could be brought back to be an impressive setting.

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Watkins Glen, NY – May 2018 – The Glen

While I have known that Watkins Glen, New York had a true ‘glen’, I had always known if for the racetrack (see previous posting). On this day we spent a couple of hours exploring the park – and it was well worth it.

As we started down the 400′ deep ravine we had no idea what we were in for.

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We went through a spiral staircase in a tunnel and came out to this – a nice 60′ waterfalls.

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Which the path lead behind.

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On the other side was a view further down the ravine.

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We opted to head up the gorge for an hour or so – a beautiful hike indeed.

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Cincinnati – October 2017 – Cyclocross

A ‘cyclocross’ (cross country bicycling racing) was held on a cold Sunday in the Cincinnati suburb of Fairfield. The event took place throughout the streets and fields of a park.

With teams from throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and beyond the pits were filled with an impressive collection of tents, trucks and bikes while the technicians readied them for the races.

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There were numerous classes, including this one the start of a multi-group female race. This race had under 23s and over 35s.

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Miles of blue tape outlined the course up and down throughout the park.

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Some racers were more bundled for the cold weather than others.

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Famed baseball player Satchel Paige had a quote ‘don’t look back someone might be gaining on you’ – clearly she didn’t head his advice.

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A sand pit results in some small jumps, although nothing like a BMX track would yield.

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It did however cause some of the racers to get a bit off course.

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Given Halloween is near a couple of riders dressed for the occasion, like the human taco.

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A few got hung up on a small hill and had to dismount.

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Racing to the finish.

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