Saturday, January 22, 2011

Two more winter photos from the South Mountain Reservation

Two more winter scenes taken in the South Mountain Reservation, this time Saturday afternoon, January 22, 2011. I love the light brown color of dead leaves still hanging from the trees. It snowed overnight on Thursday through Friday morning.
A SMR winter scene
A SMR winter scene
Snow has covered the ground since the Day after Christmas snowstorm here in the New York City metro area, longer than any other time since I came here in September, 2002.

The snow brings back memories of my idyllic childhood on a small dairy farm—80 acres—30 miles north of Duluth, Minnesota. I lived there through the 8th grade. The joy of these memories is that back then I knew I had a special, free life as a child, able to roam at will through the forests surrounding us, especially in the winter when the spring, summer, and fall chores of the farm were muted and I could get on my skis and just go.

Then later I spent the last few years of my working life in Fairbanks, Alaska, where once again I had the freedom to roam at will, this time in the vast Interior Alaska where the Yukon River forms an arc from the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve to the Denali National Park and Preserve.

Wandering through the South Mountain Reservation brings "memories from the corners of my mind", to borrow the phrasing from the lyrics of "Way We Were," and makes me realize how fortunate I am to have both the Reservation and the memories as I grow old.

Note: Cross posted on the Steese Review.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

No parking for Disabled?

Why did they have to "park" snow in the Disabled parking spaces closest to the entrance to the Maplewood NJ Transit Station on the Maplewood Village side? Many of the people with the "Disabled" designation for parking are in my age group, Seniors. Maybe someone is thinking that the Disabled don't use these spaces often enough to warrant maintaining access in unusual snow conditions. But isn't this precisely when the Disabled need them even more than in normal conditions?

Here are three views of two of the three Disabled parking spaces:

No parking for Disabled? #1

No parking for Disabled? #2

No parking for Disabled? #3

And here is a view of the third. Maybe they were thinking the Disabled would be riding a motorcycle?

No parking for Disabled? #4
Update January 23rd:
Disabled parking space cleared!

The snow has been cleared from the disabled parking spaces after we brought the problem to the attention of local web media. Mary Mann, Editor, Maplewood Patch forwarded our note about the problem to the DPW:
I've forwarded your note to the DPW director. I don't have a plow (but I'm thinking I should get one!).

Mary Mann
Editor, Maplewood Patch


A natural sculpture symbolic of the human condition in too many places ... a Rorschach test?

I found other natural sculptures as I made my regular rounds of the South Mountain Reservation on a winter day:

The Pretzel
The Pretzel

Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages

The Guardian
The Guardian
A stump stands guard over its fallen log.

The Beaten Path
The Beaten Path

Monday, January 17, 2011

Is a Memorial Park City good for Maplewood?

I have to sound the alarm. A final hearing and vote on EXPANDED DEVELOPMENT MAP FOR RESIDENCES ON DUNNELL ROAD by the Maplewood Township Committee (TC) is scheduled for tomorrow night—7:30 PM, Tuesday, January 18th—at the Maplewood Municipal Building, 574 Valley Street, Maplewood, NJ, according to a flyer distributed by a local zoning activist to this writer today.

This vote is one of the most important if not THE most important of the decade at the beginning of the new millennium because it has the potential of radically altering the character of the connection between Memorial Park and Maplewood Village, IMHO. Will the up to 50 ft. high apartment buildings with a density of 60 apartments per acre create a wall, a filter, or a what?

In fact, the Township of Maplewood Planning Board recognized the need for further careful review and planning before this momentous decision is made as recently as their meeting of January 11, 2011, when it made the following recommendations by a vote of 6 to 3:
On a motion by James Nathenson and seconded by Craig Miller the Board voted Affirmative (6) James Nathenson, Craig Miller, John Branigan, Tammie Haynie, Jenifer Steig, Chair Carlson, Negative (3) Victor DeLuca, Jerry Ryan, Edward Bolden, to make the following recommendations to the Township Committee
• That immediate application of the Parkside Zone be limited to those properties along Dunnell Road that are currently in the Neighborhood Business Zone.
• That inclusion of other properties in the Parkside Zone at this time would be premature.
• That the Township retain an expert planner to conduct a planning study of the area in question so as to provide guidance
- See
It is obvious from the flyer, a local citizen group's related website, and the above recommendation by the Planning Board that the Township Committee should NOT agree to the ordinance revising the zoning map of the Township of Maplewood for the purpose of expanding the development of residences along Dunnell Road.

And we the residents of Maplewood should come to the hearing before the vote at the Township Committee meeting tomorrow night at the Maplewood Municipal Building to help make sure the ordinance is rejected.

This post is referenced in a listing on:
- the calendar of the Maplewood Patch website.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Getting my hair cut reminds me ...

I got my hair cut on Saturday afternoon at the Village Barbers, my regular barbershop in Maplewood Village. It reminded me of the exceptional merchants and businesses we have here in the town where I have lived the past eight-plus years.

Besides the Village Barbers, there is Maple Leaf Diner—where I will go to have breakfast with an artist friend later this morning as a frequent event; Bagel Chateau—where on a typical weekend I will pick up a baker's dozen of mixed bagels; Maplewood Wine and Liquor—where I buy beer, wine, and alcohol for friends (Note: I no longer consume alcoholic beverages.); Kings Supermarket—where I buy our (the household's) fresh fruit & veggies, including bagged lettuce, from their produce section, and our sliced lunch meats from their delicatessan; Kororo, a wonderful gift and stationery store—where a friend worked part time for several years and I go for that unique gift for a close friend or family member; and Village Coffee—where I have that occasional meeting "for coffee" to help grease the wheels of some project.

There are other establishments in Maplewood Village where I occasionally shop or eat. For example there is Maplewood Theaters, the local movie house where I still can be enticed into paying an exorbitant—for me—price to watch something I think might be good in the movie theater format. But the above is a pretty good list covering one of the shear pleasures of living in Maplewood, away from modern malls and other huge retail complexes.