Thursday, June 24, 2021

Waterfalls, Ithaca NY


Upper Falls, Tremane Falls State Park

If you love waterfalls, Ithaca NY is a great place to visit. Sitting at the northern edge of the Appalachian Plateau, the area around Ithaca is home to dozens of rivers and streams that cascade down to Lake Cayuga. In fact, there are three state parks dedicated to major falls within 12 miles of downtown Ithaca.

Taughannock Falls

In August of 2020, I visited the area to hike the falls. The walks were beautiful, and the weather was excellent. However, the amount of water in the rivers was low. The falls, while tall and extensive, were not particularly impressive, because the water fall was at a summer low. You can find my blogs about that trip here and here.

Lick Brook

When I returned in early May of 2021, I found very different sights. It had been a wet spring, and in fact it rained several times while I was there. This primed the waterfalls, and the cascades were extremely forceful, and very impressive. Here is a collection of the photographs from my weekend.  


Buttermilk Falls


 Taughannock Falls

Tremane Falls - 

Lower Falls

Upper Falls

Lick Brook


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Seneca Falls NY.


Seneca River

In New York’s Finger Lakes region, Cayuga Lake offers a wide range of experiences. At its southern tipis Ithaca, with Cornell University and Ithaca College, it has a youthful vibrancy that serves as an economic and cultural engine in the area. On the northern end of the lake is Seneca Falls. It is a sleepy town, one whose “better days” may be behind it, but a town with a history that is worth exploring.

The hamlet of Seneca Falls was settled in 1790 along the Seneca River. Which connected Lake Seneca, Lake Cayuga, and Lake Erie. In 1818, the river was partially canalized, especially near the series of rapids that the town was named after. This allowed for the passage of food and goods into and out of the area. 

A good place to start your exploration of Seneca Falls is at the Museum of Waterways and Industry, which also serves as the town’s visitors center. This three story storefront museum offers a look at the history of the industries that were the driving force behind the development of Seneca Falls. The top floor, where you enter from the Falls Street main entrance, offers a history of the canal and the growth of the town. There are murals, dioramas and some artifacts from canal life.

The second floor shows the history of industry in Seneca Falls. The river offered a source of water and power, and Seneca Falls had several businesses that called it home. From the original knitting mills, that date back to the early 1800’s, to the Westcott Rule company to several factories that made saws and pump, Seneca Falls was home to many industries between the 1850’s and the 1950’s.

Lathe Saw

The lowest floor of the museum is the welcome center for boaters on the canal. It does offer two exhibits, one is an old hand-pumped fire engine, the other is an industrial washing machine. The museum is also the visitor’s center, and is a great source of information for things to do and see in the area.

Industrial Washing Machine

Fire Pump

Seneca Falls is probably best known for its role in the history of the fight for Women’s Equality. IN 1848 the first convention for women’s rights was held in the Wesleyan Chapel in town. It was organized by Elizabeth Cody Stanton, the daughter of a prominent local lawyer, along with a group of Quakers. Over 300 people, including Frederick Douglas, attended and 100 of them signed on to the Declaration of Sentiments, considered one of the founding documents of of the Woman’s Rights Movement. You can visit the Women’s Rights National Historic Park to learn about the convention and the struggle for equality. There are several other historic sites in town, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s home.

Finally, Seneca Falls is also home to the National Women’s Hall of Fame, located in a historic knitting mill along the Seneca River. The building was constructed in 1844, and renovated in 2010. Today there are 293 inductees to the Hall of Fame, women from all walks of life and many professions.

Nuts and Bolts
Seneca Falls is 40 miles west of Syracuse NY, at the juncture of US 20/ NY5 and NY 414.

Museum of Waterways and Industry is open 7 days a week. M-Sa 10 AM-6 PM, Su 12 noon - 4 PM. Admission is free

Women’s Rights NHP - Visitor’s Center is open Tu and Th 10 AM - 4PM. Other structures are currently closed. Admission is free.

National Women’s Hall of Fame - Th - Su 11 AM - 4 PM, by reservation only. Admission is $7


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Alice Neel at The Met Museum


In June, 2021, the COVID infection rate in New York City are at the lowest they have been since the March of 2020, and that has brought the crowds back, in force. This was in full evidence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I went to see an exhibit of paintings by Alice Neel. But this exhibition was worthy of the crowds.

Alice Neel (1900-1984) was an artist who’s work centered on portraits of people in her life. She started painting in her early 20’s in Philadelphia , and quickly adapted the expressionist style of the “Ashcan School.” The Ashcan painters sought to portray the gritty reality of the lives of working people in the large cities of the United States. Neel moved to New York City, where she lived in neighborhoods that were centers of working class and left-wing political cultures. Neel had many friendships, and a few relationships, with members of the Communist Party U.S.A., and produced illustrations for both New Masses magazine and The Daily Worker Newspaper.

Alice and Jose 1938

Jose 1936

Fish Market 1947

Two Girls, Spanish Harlem 1959

Nazis Kill Jews 1936

As the art world in the United States shifted towards Abstract art in the 1950’s and 60’s, Neel remained steadfast in her belief that “People Come First.” She continued to paint the portraits that were always the heart of her work. Her style can take some getting used to, but I find her work captivating. To me, the faces of her subjects open up to their inner selves. The proportions may not always be perfect, but they draw me in and are the focus of her work.

The Spanish Family 1943

The Blue House 1963

Randall in Extremis 1960

Robbie Tillotson 1973

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian 1978

The Black Boys 1963

Picture of Alice Neel's apartment

This exhibit is the first major museum retrospective of Neel’s work in over 20 years, and it is past due. If you are in New York City between now and August 1st try your best to get to the Met and see it.

Self Portrait 1980

Nuts and Bolts:
The Met is located at 5th Ave. and East 82nd Street in Manhattan. Timed tickets are required to enter the museum, and can be ordered from the Met’s website

Entrance fees: NY State residents, and students in NY, NJ and CT can order a ticket on-line and pay what you want when to check in at the museum. All others - Adults $25/ Seniors $17/ Students $12.

The Met does not charge an extra fee for special exhibits, but you may have to wait on a separate line to enter the gallery.