Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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Image: GrrlScientist 6 November 2008 [larger view].

As I’ve already mentioned, I am having a rough time right now, but I love photography, so I decided that I should view NYC through a shutter as a way to deal with my labile mood state. So as I walked down the street, I decided that I would photograph a rather colorful park that was nearby. Even though I’ve passed by it many times, I’ve never visited the Anne Loftus playground, so I spontaneously decided to photograph it.

I took this picture of the entrance to the playground as I approached the playground from across the street. I have always been impressed with the small stone building on the left side of this image, and that was the main reason I wanted to photograph this playground;

Image: GrrlScientist 6 November 2008 [larger view].

The Anne Loftus playground, which is located in the northeast corner of Fort Tryon Park in Inwood (Manhattan), was named in honor of Anne Loftus (1925-1989), who was a businesswoman and a neighborhood administrator. The park itself, which covers 67 acres, was named for Sir William Tryon, who was a Major General and the last British governor of colonial New York. Fort Tryon Park was transformed from a horse farm into a large public park by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., son of the co-designer of Central and Prospect Parks.

Image: GrrlScientist 6 November 2008 [larger view].

Does anyone know what that small building (above) is/was? It appears to be a gardener’s shed or something. It is made out of stone, and I wonder if the stones are recycled ships’ ballast, as was the origin of the cobblestones on NYC’s streets? Or maybe, because the earth was reported to be filled with stones, maybe the stones that were tilled from the soil were used to make fences and buildings?

Here’s some autumn leaves from several species of vines that are growing on the stone fence that I couldn’t resist photographing to share with you;

Image: GrrlScientist 6 November 2008 [larger view].

Here’s the little wild space next to the small stone building that attracted me to this park. This stone building is located on the east side of the Anne Loftus playground, near the entrance;

Image: GrrlScientist 6 November 2008 [larger view].

A closer look at some of those plants that were growing in a little garden area next to the small stone building I am so enamoured with;

Image: GrrlScientist 6 November 2008 [larger view].

Here’s a close-up of some of those red berries .. what species are these? Are these the same red berries that the cedar waxwings consume in the dead of winter?

Image: GrrlScientist 6 November 2008 [larger view].

On the opposite (western) side of the playground is this, much larger, stone building. Was this one of the original horses’ stables?

Image: GrrlScientist 6 November 2008 [larger view].

The large open space in front of this building is filled with water and made into a wading pond during the summer heat.

This large building looks not to be in regular use, and perhaps it is not used at all, except perhaps for storage. Here’s the stone work for the windows: it’s really beautiful, isn’t it?

Image: GrrlScientist 6 November 2008 [larger view].

This ancient deciduous London plane tree, a Platanus hybrid, stood next to me while I was photographing the stone windows. The bark of this tree, which is known as a sycamore tree in North America, looks like the detail of an Impressionist’s painting;

Image: GrrlScientist 6 November 2008 [larger view].

This pathway travels northward, away from the large stone building. As you can see, dusk is coming. Despite the failing light levels, the leaves on the trees are looking especially lovely, don’t you think?

Image: GrrlScientist 6 November 2008 [larger view].

If you turn your back on the pathway I just showed you, you will see this stairway that goes up to the top of that large stone building. I think it looks magical;

Image: GrrlScientist 6 November 2008 [larger view].

Okay, I’ll admit it: I am really proud of that picture (above). The more I look at it, the more I really like it!

These old trees stand on the southern side of the playground. Behind the trees and across the street, you can see lots of apartments, although these apartments are MUCH nicer than the building I live in;

Image: GrrlScientist 6 November 2008 [larger view].

I had to photograph some red leaves to share with you, so I found these at the entrance to the playground, just as I was leaving;

Image: GrrlScientist 6 November 2008 [larger view].

These leaves are growing on top of a stone fence, and in the background, you can see another, taller stone wall. As I was leaving, a red-tailed hawk flew up into the tree branches above my head. I snapped a few pictures, but didn’t get anything impressive.

The bird had a very pronounced dark-colored belly band and was very large. Due to the bird’s large size, I think it was a female. While I was trying to photograph the hawk in the dying light, a homeless man walked up and told me about her, saying that she lives here in the winter, and her regular roost is fairly low to the ground in fact (he showed me where she sleeps, so maybe I will return one day to snap some better pictures).


  1. #1 Joe
    November 7, 2008

    Nice pictures! I don’t know for sure, but it is possible that the stones for the small building are from the digging of the subways (that’s the construction material for the older buildings at City College).

    Here’s a nice history of the park.

  2. #2 "GrrlScientist"
    November 8, 2008

    the origin for the stones that the small outbuilding is made from sounds likely to me .. but i really don’t know for sure.

  3. #3 Heather
    November 8, 2008

    Oooooooooooh! I love your photoessays! Thanks for sharing.

  4. #4 Sally
    December 2, 2008

    What a great combination of botanical exploration and historical speculation! Thanks for sharing the moment in photos…

  5. #5 ann
    December 5, 2008

    Red berries are probably Nandina
    Red leaves are probably Virginia Creeper
    The bark photo is my favorite

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