Friday, July 26, 2013

Hudson on the Art Trail

At the Public Works Committee meeting on Wednesday, DPW superintendent Rob Perry reported that a Hudson River School Art Trail rubbing medallion had been installed on Promenade Hill, marking site 9 on the art trail. The view of Mount Merino and the Catskills from this spot is almost the same as the view in this painting by Sanford Gifford.

Of course, the vantage point is not the same. In 1864, Gifford sketched the view from Bay Road, now Route 9G, heading toward Greenport.     


  1. Landscape painting is nearly a religion with me, and it's no exaggeration to say that American landscape painting began right here.

    Having established my creds, what were the credentials of the person who made the decision to plant a "rubbing medallion" post exactly there?

    On one side, the base of the post is less than 2 feet from the iron railing; on the other side it's hardly more. And it's right at the corner!

    Didn't our budding landscape architect notice that the ground all around was already thoroughly trampled?

    Whoever you are, please pay attention: PEOPLE WANT TO STAND THERE.

    From Melville's "Moby-Dick," page 1:

    "There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes ... Its extreme down-town is the Battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

    "Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall northward. What do you see? - Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-head ..."

    Owing to a powerful urge which delights me to no end, people of every sort are unconsciously drawn to the furthest promontory of our Promenade to look outwards. Only now America's first panorama park is being redesigned by someone with zero sensibility. Students of history, where is your sensibility? Why do we allow this?

    I'm not suggesting that the thoughtless party was the DPW. Consider the idiotic sidewalk pattern outside the hospital. The uneven dirt paths engraved in the grass borders show where people naturally want to walk, yet some expert lacking in common sense was paid well for his design.

    Or how about our expensive Kayak dock, which sensible kayakers would rather not use. Who'd know better what kayakers need than kayakers? But instead of asking local kayakers for their input, the city threw money away on out-of-state experts.

    This municipality can boast so many talented residents, but when will the city ever involve any of them in its decision-making?

    Move the "rubbing medallion" elsewhere.

    - A Landscape Painter