February 5, 2012

At Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn

 It's sometimes hard to remember that New York is a port city, surrounded by water, since I am so focused on its buildings and people. On my trip into the city last week I stopped at Sheepshead Bay, which was one of the magical places of my Brooklyn childhood, along with Coney Island, which I wrote about here. When I was young, my parents sometimes took us to Sheepshead Bay to look at the fishing boats, pulled up at docks across the street from stores and restaurants and apartment buildings, a strange mix of concrete and water, the mundane and the romance of the sea.

 I was thrilled to see a pair of swans floating gracefully in the bay. The big birds I am used to seeing, wild turkeys, have a funky, waddling charm, very different from the elegance of a white swan in dark water.

Of course seagulls are numerous, keeping watch, like finials on seaside posts. 

 My eye was attracted to the tension of twisted rope....

the rhythm of draped rope alongside textures of wood and dried grass...


and the casual flinging of rope across a piece of burlap, all alongside water.

Lastly, a subtle arrangement of color with geometric form, found on one of the docks. It was a pleasure to visit one of my childhood places and find images there for the adult to savor.


  1. I can already see some of these images painted by you. Especially the last, its almost one of your paintings already - though I suppose it was in how you composed it.

    1. Valerianna, I thought the same about the last image, that it might make a painting. It may be a little too complex, but I'm keeping it in mind.

  2. Your photographs are gorgeous, as usual!

  3. Always a treat to see what catches your eye.

  4. Love the rope images and esp. that last picture. Another thoughtful post, as usual. The same thing is true of Milwaukee. Even though we are usually there visiting MAM and looking at the water, I only remember the city's role as a port as we are driving towards the museum and see the turnoff for "Port of Milwaukee." Having grown up on a Great Lake, it is still sometimes hard to think of their role connecting the heartland with the East coast via the long linked waterways. Especially if you aren't seeing any big boats you forget the role of the lakes and the scale of them. Also, years ago in NYC I drove my van down to the docks with another art friend to get whatever old ropes we could scavenge for a weaving installation. I can still feel their sharpness and amazing size and strength.