Sunday, April 27, 2008
The space-time coordinates: Saturday, April 26th, 2008. North Country Cultural Center for the Arts, Plattsburgh, NY. 7 PM.
What happened? Words fail me. All I can do is share these images from my mind-boggling, senses-shattering plunge into the Vortex.
Friday, April 25, 2008
As explained in a previous post, “Photos Verboten!,” I was hassled by someone for taking photographs of a building being demolished at the Georgia-Pacific paper mill. After I posted about the incident, I saw today’s (Friday, April 25th) edition of the Press-Republican. Right there on the front page was the same subject.
Did the PR photographer ask GP officials if he could take this shot? Did he report to the main office and get a permission slip like a good little boy?
Most likely he just took the shot because he was on public property, looking at something in public view. Just like I was.
Lee had a problem. He helps with the upkeep of the Trinity Church property, including the sidewalks that border the lot. The sidewalks were filthy, covered with dirt and litter. How could he quickly and effectively clean up the crap?
Broom-sweeping the stuff would remove some - but not all – of the dirt. Also, a broom would spread dust all over.
So he got out a garden hose and swept the concrete clean. The water pressure created a mucky tsunami that he could herd out of the way. Problem solved. The sidewalk was almost as good as new.
So maybe Plattsburgh should use water to clean up its downtown. It could rent one of those planes used for fighting forest fires.
A good water-bombing would do wonders.
“You can’t photograph that.”
Here we go again. Another person clueless about the law.
I tell the Guy-With-ID-Badge-Pinned-To-His-Shirt-Pocket that I’m within my rights. I’m standing on a public sidewalk and the subject of my photos is in plain view on the other side of the fence.
The Guy takes out his cell phone. “Let me check with someone. You should get permission.”
I snap off two more shots. I tell him I don’t need permission. If he doesn’t like it, then call the police.
Then I begin to leave.
“You’re not going to wait for me?”
No, I reply over my shoulder, I have to be somewhere.
“Well, you had enough time to stop to take a few shots.”
Who is this clown? My mother?
I don’t know who he is because he never pointed to his ID or explained what authority he held to prevent me from photographing a building being demolished.
What does the Georgia-Pacific paper mill have to hide? OSHA violations? Or maybe they’re trying to secretly relocate the skeleton of Jimmy Hoffa or some other notable missing person.
So what, you might say. Why should I be concerned that someone unjustly hassles you when you want to take a photograph? You’re just too sensitive about your civil rights.
Don’t come crying to me when you find yourself trapped in a police state.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Here’s another renovated storefront on Clinton Street. Ready for someone to open up a new business.
Of course, in business it’s all about location, location, location. And when considering a neighborhood, cleanliness counts. Someone has been sweeping up the litter-packed gutters on Clinton Street into nice neat piles to be picked up and hauled away.
But shouldn’t the crap on the sidewalk be given more priority with any clean-up?
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Renewal or rot?
Clinton Street in downtown Plattsburgh is at odds with itself.
Walk along and you’ll see a renovated storefront. A new façade, clean windows, fresh paint. Gentrification.
But a few steps away you’ll see the opposite: a trashed entrance with litter all over. Slumitis.
So which side is going to win?
Regarding renewal versus rot, both municipal and private entities are in a stupor, as if snorting too much model airplane glue. The city is wasting its time if it only fixes up a few spots and then forgets about them. It has to protect what it has rebuilt. New facades are useless when they’re trashed – windows are busted, fixed with duct tape and plywood - and dogshit creates a delightful obstacle course on the sidewalk.
The streets have to be maintained, cleaned on a regular basis. Whatever happened to violators – especially litterbugs and vandals - who had to do community service? I haven’t seen any sweeping up downtown in a long time.
There’s been talk about surveillance cameras downtown. I’m not fan of Big Brother but if such a system could deter the dogcrappers – the owners who don’t pick up after their mutts – then I could live with such a spy-eye system. Being observed sure beats scraping dogshit off your shoe.
And if the city pols can’t provide spy-eyes, then businesses should install their own. There’s one business with a surveillance camera in the Clinton Street area. It’s used to keep watch over its windows, prime targets for Saturday night berserkers.
Any business with such a system should be entitled to a reduction with its insurance premiums. And since tax dollars are available for many programs, including stupid ones, maybe grant money could be used to reduce the cost of surveillance camera installation by a business.
Whether it’s municipal or private cameras, photographic evidence can help make a case against a vandal. This would improve the overall situation -- assuming that enforcement follows. If no one goes after the violators, then why should they worry?
Steady renewal is Sisyphean if the same old problems are never addressed.
Wake up, Plattsburgh. You’ve been sleepwalking for too long.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
All images in this photomontage were taken within the city limits of Plattsburgh, most in and around the downtown area, from February 2008 to this date. This montage offers a sampling of what I have on file.
Members of the literrati may click on the image for an enlarged view.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Pat O’Brien doesn’t like dead ends.
Months ago he gave up repeatedly hitting the wall while working his way through the frustrating maze of mainstream publishing. As a writer-artist, he wanted to express himself. Retired from the graphics field, he used his experience to set up a home-based printing operation to produce his own books.
DIY: do it yourself. To hell with the mainstream gatekeepers.
Pat is against the dead end war in Iraq. He used to join the Thursday gathering of anti-war demonstrators in Plattsburgh, the “bu$h Bash”/peace march sponsored by the North Country Democracy For America group. But now he can’t make the weekly commitment.
Another dead end? No, he wasn’t going to stop expressing his opinion. When a grim milestone was reached, he created a bookmark that vividly illustrated the 4000 total of American soldiers who have died in Iraq. The Bush’s War Bookmark is large, but form must follow function. Row after row of black squares, 32 dead in each row.
One key date noted on near the bottom is “Mission Accomplished,” the day the president declared major combat operations were over, way back on May 1, 2003. After that date there is an explosion of black squares. The lie is exposed.
Near the top of the black rows a red question mark is superimposed. How many more will have to needlessly die for the president’s mistake?
Some war hawks might complain that the bookmark trivializes the death of each soldier, reducing each life to a black square. From my POV the White House is guilty of trivialization, racking up the losses like so many bullets. Soldiers as expendable, government issued material.
The weekly peace march in Plattsburgh is held every Thursday, 4:00 – 5:00 PM, Trinity Park, City Hall Place side. For more information, check out http://www.ncdfa.org/ .
A quiet secluded area, pine trees. All gone when a shopping complex that included Wal-Mart was built, leaving a tarmac plain.
For the Town of Plattsburgh it was worth it. More money rolling in.
But a vast parking lot means more run off when it rains. No forest floor to absorb the water. Also, such a lot is perfect for the wind to sweep away any trash lying around. The last areas of natural landscape catch the litter, tree and brush sentries.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
When he first took office Mayor Donald Kasprzak told WCAX-TV that he wanted to spruce up downtown Plattsburgh. With winter slowly giving way to spring, what signs of spruceness are to be found?
Now here's a delightful dump adorning the City Hall lawn. Please don’t ruin this doggone decoration by stepping in it.
And over at Trinity Park, you’ll find it also dotted with similar decorations around the Veterans Memorial. Talk about respect for the dead. It’s reassuring that brave soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the freedom of a self-centered dog owner to not perform his doody duty.
TAKE PRIDE, PLATTSBURGH!
NOTE: Remember – if it’s not there, I can’t photograph it.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Attention, drivers within the city limits of Plattsburgh. Do not honk at rude skateboarders. They rule the streets. They have absolute right-of-way. They can ride in any lane, going in any direction, any way they want.
Proceed slowly and allow them to obstruct traffic. Have your foot ready to hit the brake in case one suddenly swerves in front of your vehicle. It’ll be your fault if he’s hurt. Normal traffic laws do not apply to reckless skateboarders within Plattsburgh.
Don’t bother to pull over and park to call the police on your cell phone at 563-3411. After all, if skateboarders were breaking the law, the police would arrest them – right?