Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Older than 50 years

Le Chateau Frontenac, built in 1892 is the centerpiece for Old Town Quebec.

Very French

Very French

It’s a huge building, so hard to fit it all into one frame. This image shows just a tiny bit; some of the lines and curves, windows and roof.

Definitely more than 50 years old.

To see other people’s interpretation of ‘more than 50 years old’ click on the link above, go over to Cee’s original post, then check out the comments there.


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The people of New York City

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I don’t have a perfect representation of the people that inhabit or visit NYC. These are only those the images I felt I could get away with undetected. Except for the girls in Little Italy that posed for me while I was trying to get a street scene. We laughed about it after, how the street was better looking with them in it. Which was true.

NYC is filled with such facinating people. I wish I was braver and could walk up to those interesting faces and ask if I could take their picture. Maybe I’ll grow into that someday.

Each of the images in this slideshow has a story. I could tell you what they were…but it’s probably more fun if you make up some stories on your own.

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Entering via Ellis

Ellis Island is waiting for you.

Ellis Island is waiting for you.


The best advice I can give you about visiting Ellis Island is to give yourself a lot of time because there’s so much to see. Take it slow and let all that history sink in. And try to take a ranger guided tour. (Check for times at the information center inside the building.)

Telling us the story.

Telling us the story.

In a short half hour guided tour you’ll get a great base of knowledge which will help you understand all the rest. Our ranger used the story of a sixteen year old girl’s experience as she traveled across the ocean and through the system at Ellis Island.

At the end he reveled that girl was his grandmother. And that his grandfather came across as a young man not too long after and lived only a few blocks away from his grandmother. And the rest, he says, is his family’s history.

People passing through Ellis Island today.

People passing through Ellis Island today.

Did you know that only the third class and steerage passengers had to go through Ellis Island? I didn’t either. First and second class passengers got the run of the ship, and were able to begin their new lives here in America as soon as they arrived. Those who only paid about $300 (in current dollars) for their passage were brought to the island to be inspected.

The luggage was left in the luggage room and they were sent upstairs to wait. As they climbed the stairs they were observed. If they appeared sick people at the top of the stairs marked their coats with chalk. Those people were examined more carefully.

Both the luggage and the passengers had to be inspected.

Both the luggage and the passengers had to be inspected.

The rest waited in benches in a huge and beautiful room.

The Grand Hall waiting area would have been filled with long benches.

The Grand Hall waiting area would have been filled with long benches.

Perhaps they had never seen such a place before, or if they had, as the ranger said, rooms such as this would have been built in castles, not for people like them.

Beautiful floors.

Beautiful floors.

But this was America, where anything was possible. Note the curved tile ceilings and the mosaic floors.

An immigrant could wait for a few hours, or days for their name to be called, but once it was they moved forward to answer the inspector’s questions. They were the same questions the ship company asked; What is your name, Where are you going? Where will you live? How much money do you have? If you answered correctly and passed the eye exam and a cursory physical you were allowed to leave and begin your new life.

Notice the beautiful tiled arches.  And the original fixture.

Notice the beautiful tiled arches. And the original fixture.

If you did not pass, say you forgot the address of the family member taking you in, you were sent to have a hearing. You could bring in witnesses to collaborate your story. Many immigrants had never seen government treat them so fairly. It was one of their first lessons about freedom in America, and ninety-eight percent of those that arrived were eventually allowed into the country.

Still, it was a terrifying experience, to travel in the belly of a ship, arrive in a strange place, listen to strange languages, be told where to sit, be questioned by uniformed strangers. What hope and strength they must have had to travel toward such an uncertain future.

Thousands of people a day.  So many faces.

Thousands of people a day. So many faces.

They told us that forty percent of Americans today can trace a relative through Ellis Island. Forty percent of us owe our lives to someone that took the risk and came to make a better life.

If you’re ever in New York take the time to visit this historic place. Look at the views of Manhattan from the windows of the grand building. Think about what it must have felt like to sit looking across that water at the place you’d dreamed about.

Over there was opportunity.

Over there was opportunity.

And think about all they had left behind; family they’d never see again, familiar homes and towns. Think about what it must have been like to have only a few possessions, a few dollars, to know only a few people here in the new country.

So many.

So many.

Then think about how lucky we are to have been born here. Regardless of your political views, regardless of the stress of an election year, regardless of economic times, this is still the greatest country in the world.

We should take time to appreciate that.

Freedom forever.

Freedom forever.


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The lady

Going to see a lady.

Going to see a lady.


You take a boat over to visit Lady Liberty. If it’s a hot July morning the boat will be filled with hundreds of people, all herded on board like steerage. Which seems appropriate when you think about it. But no one minds too much.

All eyes are on her.

Hey Lady!

Hey Lady!

You pay an extra five dollars to go up inside the pedestal and enjoy the view. It’s worth the money and the 200 or so stairs to enjoy the view and the breeze. Yes, you could use the elevator, but why, when there are stairs to climb just for the taking? Once out on the pedestal walk you have an up close and personal view of Ms. Liberty.

She's huge!

She’s huge!

Or, if you have a zoom lens you can get even closer.

She's ready for her closeup.

She’s ready for her closeup.

Once you go back down the stairs, don’t skip the museum. It’s not large, but it has some interesting details. Like how they built her.

Not an easy task.

Not an easy task.

And full size features of her face and her toes.

Beautiful detail.

Beautiful detail.

Afterward, tour the grounds a bit. Take some more pictures. It’s not an easy angle to get your family member and the Lady in the same shot.

Perfect angle.

Perfect angle.

But it can be done.

Enjoy your Statue of Liberty! She’s there for you.

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Paying our respects at the Freedom Tower

Pools and names.

Pools and names.


There are no words adequate to describe the sheer size while looking up at the tower gleaming against the bright blue sky. No words to describe the deep emotion running through a crowd that stands mostly silent around the perimeter of the two pools ringed with names of the nearly three thousand that died.

Reflecting somber thoughts.

Reflecting somber thoughts.

No words.

Each day memorial staff place white roses in the names of those victims who would have been celebrating birthdays. Their lives are remembered by their families still and now complete strangers linger to gently touch the letters of the names cut into the smooth stone. Showing respect. Honoring.

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Inside the museum our tour guide provides detailed history. She is careful of our feelings, telling us it’s a difficult story to hear, to have experienced, to remember.

Fire truck.  Cab is destroyed.  All died.

Fire truck. Cab is destroyed. All died.

She reminds us that there are those among us that were not yet alive on that day and that it is important to tell the story. To not forget. To pass the lessons on.

Part of the antenna from atop one of the towers.

Part of the antenna from atop one of the towers.

In the great hall there stands the last piece of formative steel to be removed from the site. Taped to it are pictures of some of those that died, put there by the construction crews and city employees working on the cleanup. A makeshift memorial captured and preserved forever.

Back wall is the original footings of the tower.  Last formative steel removed covered in heartfelt graffiti.

Back wall is the original footings of the tower. Last formative steel removed covered in heartfelt graffiti.

A long wall is covered in tiles, each of the 2,996 a different shade of blue, no two alike, because each of the 2,996 victims was unique. Blue, because the sky on September 11, 2001 was the wonderful clear blue of a perfect autumn day.

"No day shall erase you from the memory

“No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” -Virgil

There are things inside the museum that are hard to see but important to remember. There is a room with photos of each of the victims. Photos lined up, from floor to ceiling, row after row of faces smiling, eyes looking back, stories to be told, memories captured.

Hard.

But our guide reminds us that this memorial wasn’t built with hate. It was built with love. And that coming to visit is an act of love and respect and honor.

Old and new  can exist together in harmony.

Old and new can exist together in harmony.

So we swallow our tears and we promise to pass the story on to the next generation in hope and peace.

Wings of hope.

Wings of hope.

And then we move out of the museum and back onto the streets of New York City under a brilliant blue sky.

Never forget.

Never forget.


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Brooklyn!

I’ve seen first hand that more than one tree grows in Brooklyn. We’re here visiting friends and taking in a bit of city life.

Brooklyn after a storm.

Brooklyn after a storm.

During our first day we visited The New York City Transportation Museum here in Brooklyn. It has old buses and subway cars that kids can climb around and sit in.

Watch out world!  I'm driving the bus!

Watch out world! I’m driving the bus!

Oh yea. Adults can too.

We saw subway cars from as far back as 1912…

The seats had more padding in 1612!

The seats had more padding in 1612!

..up through 1961…

Mid-century modern.

Mid-century modern.

…and today. The today picture I took while riding on the actual subway out to Coney Island and back.

2016...last night.  But the museum had one from 2010 that looked just like this one.

2016…last night. But the museum had one from 2010 that looked just like this one.

After the museum we went for a walk along pretty tree lined streets, admiring the brownstones.

Beautiful old homes.

Beautiful old homes.

It’s fun to imagine what it’s like to live in one. But our friend made a good point. She said it was romantic to think about living in a house that old…but if she was going to spend that much money she’d want her new home to be brand new. These houses sell for millions each. Hard to fathom.

Someone suggested we see Coney Island. So that evening we hopped on a subway and went out to explore. Can’t beat a boardwalk along the Atlantic Ocean in July.

Fun stuff.

Fun stuff.

And the amusement park had some really cool rides. Oh, you ask…which ones did we ride?

Tempting...but crazy.

Tempting…but crazy.

Well..none actually. I’m pretty sure I’m at the age where anything remotely like this is going to make my sick. Well, not entirely sure, but sure enough to not want to risk it.

We walked out on the pier instead, watched people crabbing and fishing. And then we walked along the boardwalk for a long way.

Reflecting.

Reflecting.

It seemed like a perfect end to a very nice day. But boy did all that walking wear us out! Especially when we had to climb all these stairs at the Barkley Center to exit the subway on our way home!

Gotta get my flights of stairs in every day.  Sigh.

Gotta get my flights of stairs in every day. Sigh.

We were pretty tired. And sore. But will we take it easy tomorrow?

What do you think?

Peaceful evening along the Atlantic.

Peaceful evening along the Atlantic.

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