Saturday, June 28, 2008


Guess the location. I reported it a couple of times. Maybe it will be fixed soon. (I don’t want them in my pants.)

Flower Vandals

Lying in the middle of a sidewalk or lawn. Another uprooted and destroyed flower.

I’m impressed. It takes real skill and courage to hunt down and defeat a flower.

One person adds some color and life to a property. Another one ruins it.

Years ago. A muggy summer night. A beefy, sweaty troglodyte swaggers towards me. He grabs a carnation from a downtown bank’s flowerbox and throws it on the concrete. After making his point, he walks by me without a word or even a grunt.

He’s a man, not a pansy.

I’m impressed.

Friday, June 27, 2008

School Pride

A while ago I received an email from someone upset with the lack of attention given to the appearance of Plattsburgh High School. He wrote:

“Despite all the taxes, committees, faculty, and students, our city school entranceways look like hell. Check out the PHS. Weeds and overgrowth. Bare patches. Worse than a ghetto high rise.” (Quote edited for clarity.)

He had contacted someone about the problem and was waiting for action to be taken.

I didn’t have a chance until yesterday to check out the PHS entrance. Anyway, I wanted to give the school and the city the opportunity to fix the problem.

As you can see from my photos, the PHS entrance is indeed a bit weedy. I wouldn’t compare it to a ghetto high rise but it could use a decent trimming, especially with the milkweeds growing around the entrance sign.

Yes, we’ve had a rainy summer so far. But there have been some sunny periods. If weeds aren’t nipped in the bud, they take over. In another month monster milkweeds will obscure the front sign. In the fall the students can use the entrance to film a jungle movie. (How about a remake of Tarzan?)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Weedy Downtown Out Of Whack

Anyone got a weed-whacker? It’s time to cut down unsightly plant growth. One would think the city - or at least business or property owners - would fight off the jungle.

Plattsburgh Pride: It’s All In The Details. So don’t whack off: whack weeds.

What’s Eating The Library?

So far the renovated front entrance to the public library has held up. No more crumbling steps. But now each post of the center railing is corroding away around the base. Maybe it’s from all the salt put down in the winter to keep the stairway clear of ice. According to one theory an ingredient in the new concrete (lime) is doing the damage. Either way, it’s time to think about fixing the rail posts.

Or just let the rail fall over. Then it will cost more to repair.

In Mr. B's Hood

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bugging Me

I’m trying to ID these flylike critters. They act like bees, tapping flowers for nectar, flying from bud to bud. Any entomologists or bored reference librarians out there who could help me?

You Can Hedge Your Bet…

…by expecting the city to do squat for another year regarding shrubbery blocking the sidewalks. And to those property owners who do trim back their hedges – Thanks!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Raging Storm To Rainbow

Tuesday evening. June 10, 2008. A hell of a thunderstorm hits. After it passes, the setting sun produces a yellow sky in the west, a double rainbow in the east.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dancing Man

He’s something of a legend at the New York State Fair. Every year he shows up to dance. When there’s a free concert, it doesn’t matter if Johnny Rivers or Blue Oyster Cult is playing. The Dancing Man interprets the music in his own way.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In The Heart Of Downtown Plattsburgh

Maybe this can be called a case of heartworm.

A Cloudy Issue

I’m downtown, minding my own business. Glancing up, I notice the clouds look like they’ve been painted in the sky. I take out my camera and try to capture that impression.

Some guy with stylish shades stops near me. He turns in the same direction that my camera lens is pointed. Then he says to me in a flat tone:

“I was wondering what you were photographing.”

Really. And you are…? Homeland Security? Worried that I’m a terrorist casing the heavens, getting ready to blow up some clouds?

Me, I’m aimed at the sky. But these clowns point their cameras right into someone’s apartment window and no one is bothered?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Enjoy Plattsy’s Pizza

Plattsy sez, “It’s just yours for the taking. And don’t forget: Plattsy’s Pizza is Sidewalk Fresh ™.”

Points of Interest

Signs are important to point out stuff, legal warnings or helpful directions. Unfortunately signs have a rough life in Plattsburgh. Very localized tremors knock them over during the night.

Here’s a new signpost downtown. I wonder how long it will last in this state. What a surprise to see such an addition since the City of Plattsburgh says it has no money. Then again, it was paid for with grant money.

Too bad the city can’t get some grant money to fix this growing ashtray in the middle of Margaret Street before someone pops a tire or breaks an ankle.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Oval Proposal A Big Zero

Final score: 5 to 1.

Thursday evening the Plattsburgh Common Council shot down a proposal by a group of residents on the former air force base to make a street in their neighborhood one-way.

One of the leading proponents of the change is Luke Cyphers, a sports magazine writer who moved to Plattsburgh seeking the small town life.

Mr. Cyphers, welcome to the Burgh.

The street in question is called the Oval, a mile long circle on the old base. Cyphers laid out his reasons for the change in an opinion piece published Friday, June 6, 2008 in the Press-Republican’s Editorial section. He was responding to an editorial by the PR that disfavored the idea.

Cyphers and his neighbors wanted to change the Oval to one-way so that the inner lane could be opened up for non-motorized use, i.e., walkers and cyclists. He stressed the benefits of promoting exercise through a safer location.

His opinion piece in the Press-Republican is well written but smacks of dem dere big city notions. For example, he writes:

“It always irks me to see Burlington [Vermont] lauded as one of Outside Magazine’s top places to live for fitness and recreation enthusiasts.”

Apparently Cyphers has never taken a visual survey of the locals. Endomorphs, not mesomorphs, are the majority. Former mayor Dan Stewart proposed the opening of a Kripsy Krème doughnut shop downtown. Cyphers would be better off advocating that fat proposal for the Oval. Successful lobbying is assured.

In his essay Cyphers says that one-way traffic on the Oval would decrease the probability of an accident. With this point he invokes the term, “common sense.”

Common sense? In Plattsburgh?

Obviously Cyphers hasn’t dealt with too many of the provincials around here. Advising the typical Burgher to use common sense is akin to telling a dead man to work out more often at the gym to stay in shape.

If Cyphers stays here long enough, he will learn.

He will learn that he should’ve moved to Burlington.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Nighttime. Walking along when something in the corner of my eye grabs my attention. A black and white video monitor in someone’s front window, facing towards the sidewalk. In another window a sign informs me that I’m being recorded.

This is what it has come to. To protect his property a Plattsburgh resident has to install a home surveillance system to keep an eye on things during the hours of darkness.

So if I walk by this particular house, I’ll be recorded. OK, fine by me.

I’ll just make my image of me being imaged. I can’t see into the residence. I don’t want to. I just want to document how acts of vandalism and break-ins around the city have put some people on edge.

Maybe home surveillance systems will be popping up all over like satellite TV dishes.

The wave of the future.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Litter Shows Respect

All images taken Sunday evening, June 1, 2008.

Getting To The Bottom Of The Problem

Trashcans like this one ignore a basic problem: gravity.

Your tax dollars at waste – with waste.

(I could use the term “stupid Plattsburgh” – but that would be pleonastic.)