WHARF RAT

I googled the words “wharf rat” and to my dismay I found many references to those who were ardent followers of the “Greatful Dead”; not one reference to my assumption of that who wandered the docks attracted to the life on boats. Even in the International Maritime Dictionary there is not a reference to “wharf rat”. Naturally I then started to question my own idea. Was it self created; a figment of my own mind?

Continuing my internet search I found some references by Sven Carlsson about a man Jerry Warren; a self professed “wharf rat” stating it was a title one had to earn; a badge of pride.

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote ” When I saw the seafaring people leaning against posts and sitting on planks, under the lee of warehouses,–or lolling on long-boats drawn up high and dry, as sailors and old wharf-rats are accustomed to do, in seaports of little business.

Of course the quote from “Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame “There is nothing–absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” spoken by Ratty.

I had many of my own experiences on Newport’s Waterfront over the years; some of which I had the good sense to capture on film.

WILLIE, AFTER A DAY OF SANDBLASTING
WILLIE, AFTER A DAY OF SANDBLASTING
FISHING BOATS
FISHING BOATS
LOOKING FROM BANNISTER'S WHARF
LOOKING FROM BANNISTER’S WHARF
LOOKIG AT MATHINOS' YARD
LOOKIG AT MATHINOS’ YARD
BOAT REPAIRS
BOAT REPAIRS
AMERICA'S CUP YACHTS ON THE WEIGHS
AMERICA’S CUP YACHTS ON THE WAYS

 

 

SNOW WEEK IN NEWPORT

The SuperBowl is over and those who attended in person are now stuck in airports because of the weather.  Here in Newport is snowed all day, with the promise of more brought by a larger system starting early Wednesday morning and then another storm on Sunday. All of these will be sandwiched by cold weather.

I was astonished by the number of cars skidding off the road while we were driving around taking these photographs.

WET AND HEAVY
WET AND HEAVY
ACCUMULATING SNOW
ACCUMULATING SNOW
OLD STONE MILL IN THE SNOW
OLD STONE MILL IN THE SNOW
NEWPORT ART MUSEUM
NEWPORT ART MUSEUM

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DORIS DUKES'S CAMELS
DORIS DUKES’S CAMELS
SEAFARE
SEAFARE
THE BREAKERS GATES
THE BREAKERS GATES

THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST?

WELCOME CENTER ROILS TOURIST DESTINATION NEWPORT

— Jan. 26, 2014 2:09 PM EST

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Home » Gloria Vanderbilt » Welcome center roils tourist destination Newport

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — A proposal to build a visitors center on the grounds of The Breakers, the Gilded Age Vanderbilt family mansion and national historic landmark, is dividing Newport’s preservationists, neighbors, and even some family members in a seaside city where tourism is its lifeblood.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, the nonprofit group that owns the 70-room mansion, says the center is badly needed to serve The Breakers’ 400,000 annual visitors. Many opponents agree something is needed, but they want it across the street in the parking lot or elsewhere, not on the 13-acre grounds of the property, which they say would be irreparably damaged.

During the months since the $4.2 million plan was released, then rejected by the city’s Historic District Commission, the disagreement has devolved into a bitter fight, with opponents who once considered themselves allies of the Preservation Society now accusing it of steamrolling or cutting people out when they disagree. The Preservation Society says it has explored the alternatives, and its plan is the only feasible one to protect the magnificent home built by railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt II.

“We have hired the best people, the brightest people. They’re very sensitive to the issues. There is no steamroller. We believe we’re doing the right thing,” said Don Ross, chairman of the group’s board.

Both sides say they’re fighting for the future. Opponents set up a “Save the Breakers” Facebook page in August. The Preservation Society set up a competing page the next day, also called “Save the Breakers.”

On Friday, the National Park Service weighed in, siding with critics and asking the Preservation Society to reconsider a plan it said could damage the national historic landmark.

The Preservation Society will go before the city’s zoning board on Monday to appeal, and says if it’s again turned down, it will go to court. In the meantime, the plan has drawn some high-profile detractors, including designer Gloria Vanderbilt, who in a letter to the editor of Newport This Week last summer decried the possibility that visitors to the “magical kingdom” her grandfather built would be greeted by “plastic, shrink-wrapped sandwiches.”

The Preservation Society acknowledges some Vanderbilts are angry, but says others privately support the idea once they hear more about it.

The Breakers, named for the breaking Atlantic waves it overlooks, is one of the most popular historic house museums in the United States. The estate opened in in 1895, during a time when Newport functioned as the nation’s summer social capital, and became the crown jewel in a city populated by mansions.

By the middle of the 20th century, though, many of the once-splendid homes had fallen into disrepair. Some were razed. The Preservation Society was formed to save some of those buildings. It purchased The Breakers from Vanderbilt’s descendants in the 1970s and today owns 11 properties that collectively receive more than 900,000 visitors annually.

Those who visit The Breakers today must either pay admission at a small ticket booth or at a tent erected on the grounds during warmer months. Restrooms are in the basement or in portable toilets outside. Snacks are available from vending machines situated in an outdoor shed.

The Preservation Society’s plan calls for a 3,700-square-foot building reminiscent of a conservatory to be built inside a grove of trees, where it says it would not be visible from the house or street. It would include ticketing for The Breakers and other of its houses, as well accessible restrooms. It would offer a place to get out of the weather as well as a place to buy sandwiches and sit.

Opponents ask why it can’t simply be built across the street, where it would be close by while not disrupting the original plan of the estate’s designers, including architect Richard Morris Hunt, forester James Bowditch and his brother, landscape engineer Ernest Bowditch, who was a student of Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted.

The Preservation Society says the building would take up too many parking spaces, forcing more traffic into the neighborhood, which includes several other large residences, Salve Regina University, and an entrance to the Cliff Walk, itself an attraction that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. It also says building it in the lot would be too far from the house and could be seen from the street.

“That’s nonsense,” said Don Christ, chairman of the board of the Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust, which has given more than $10 million to the Preservation Society over the years and is among its largest donors. He calls the current plan inappropriate and says he doesn’t understand why a group that stands for preservation is pushing it.

He also objects that the group plans to spend so much on the project when there are other preservation projects at The Breakers that could use the money.

“If you go through The Breakers, it’s in woeful shape,” he said. “They overuse it because it’s the heart that pumps money through the Preservation Society.”

Among the plan’s supporters, however, are the state’s top economic development official, the local chamber of commerce and tourism officials. Rhode Island had an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent in December, but tourism is one of the state’s few economic bright spots.

Ronald Onorato, a Newport resident and University of Rhode Island professor who has published several books on Newport architecture, sits on a state preservation board that was asked to weigh in on part of the project. He voted yes. He says there is a tug-of-war in the neighborhood as more tourists have poured in. The Breakers is now a museum and must be run that way, rather than as a private house, he said.

But in its letter to the Preservation Society on Friday, the National Park Service pointed out that several historic homes have visitors centers set back from the main attraction, including Monticello. The group’s plan, the park service wrote, “constitutes a significant and intrusive change.”

CONTROVERSY IN NEWPORT

 

THE BREAKERS IN WINTER
THE BREAKERS IN WINTER

 

 

Monday evening, January 27th, the Zoning Board of Review of Newport Rhode Island will review the New Historic District Commission’s decision which would not allow the visitor’s center to be built on the property of the Breakers. The Zoning Board will review the decision as to whether or not the law was applied as written.

This has been a continuing heated issue in Newport. I cannot see how building this Visitor’s Center on the Breakers property is consistent with the Mission of the Preservation Society.

This will be a pivotal decision.BREAKERS 1 breakers 2 breakers 3

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES

drag queen ball3 10 97160

DRAG QUEEN BALL
DRAG QUEEN BALL

drag queen ball 10 97138

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES

drag queen ball2 10 97149 drag queen ball2 10 97148 drag queen ball2 10 97146

I was there quite by accident; filling in for another photographer who could not make it to the party. The guests did their best to make me feel uncomfortable; with humor. It worked; for both sides of the camera. The harder they tried, the better the photo moments. My recollection was that it was billed as The Drag Queen Ball.

Last night someone asked me for a photo from this night; which triggered a search and then a post.

NO SOLAR ECLIPSE HERE

ROUGH
ROUGH
CUTTING LEFT
CUTTING LEFT
PADDLEBOARDING
PADDLEBOARDING
CUTTING RIGHT
CUTTING RIGHT
STRETCHING THE RIDE
STRETCHING THE RIDE
EARLY BREAK
EARLY BREAK
HIGH TIDE
HIGH TIDE

The Solar Eclipse was supposed to happen at sunrise. I  laid out my gear; got up early and arrived at the spot I had chosen and waited for the sun. I never saw the sun that day as it was heavily overcast; however the high tide and an offshore storm coupled with an offshore breeze brought out all the surfers.

CONTROVERSY IN NEWPORT

Doris Duke foundation reinvents Newport’s Queen Anne Square

By Ellen Albanese

|  GLOBE CORRESPONDENT  MAY 25, 2013

The spire of Trinity Church is visible behind Queen Anne Square. This seating area, one of three that make up Maya Lin’s installation, suggests domestic life.

DORIS DUKE MONUMENT FOUNDATION

The spire of Trinity Church is visible behind Queen Anne Square. This seating area, one of three that make up Maya Lin’s installation, suggests domestic life.

NEWPORT, R.I. — The hiss of air spades and the rumble of cement mixers have ceased. The trees have been planted, and the sod placed. The shady, green square that offered rest and respite to travelers in Colonial times has come full circle.

When it reopens on May 31, Queen Anne Square will pay tribute to three women whose vision has left an enduring mark on Newport: Queen Anne, who ruled England from 1702 to 1714 and supported the Anglican Church in general and Newport’s Trinity Church in particular; Doris Duke, who created the foundation credited with preserving Newport’s Colonial architecture; and Maya Lin, one of the world’s foremost landscape architects, perhaps best known for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

The land between Trinity Church and Thames Street, in the area known as “The Hill,” was a center of village life as early as the mid-1700s. During the economic boom of the 1960s, a hodgepodge of commercial buildings spread across the space, nearly obscuring the historic church. In the mid-1970s, Duke, a philanthropist and summer resident of Newport, spearheaded the effort to create a park to be known as Queen Anne Square. In cooperation with Trinity Church, Duke’s Newport Restoration Foundation oversaw the removal of the commercial buildings and the site’s return to a village green.

Forty years later, the foundation has reinvented the square once again, with an eye toward honoring Duke’s preservation efforts, highlighting the role of historic preservation in community revitalization, and celebrating Newport’s history and assets.

“Doris Duke thought out of the box a lot,” said Pieter Roos, foundation director. “That has allowed us to think out of the box.”

Since Duke (1912-93) founded the organization in 1968, the foundation has restored or preserved 83 buildings and today owns one of the largest collections of Colonial architecture in the country. Most are rented as private residences to tenant-stewards. Buildings open to the public include The Whitehorne House, a Federal-era home with a rare collection of 18th-century American furniture; Prescott Farm, featuring 40 acres of green space and a collection of historic buildings; and Rough Point, Duke’s mansion on Bellevue Avenue, overlooking the Atlantic. The foundation also offers Newport History Tours, 75-minute walking tours, in conjunction with the Newport Historical Society.

Lin’s installation at Queen Anne Park, titled “The Meeting Room,” is a series of three seating areas designed to encourage rest, reflection, and conversation. Seating areas are set on stone foundations that form outdoor rooms representing the scale and type of materials used in Newport’s historical buildings, and each is meant to reflect an aspect of life in Newport. Stone thresholds at the entrance to each installation are inscribed with quotations from Newporters that capture the theme.

Describing her vision for the square, Lin wrote: “To be able to create a landscape that reveals the historic aspect of Queen Anne Square in which these physical structures, some of which have stood here for 300 years, hold the history of the people who lived and worked there through time, is an important aspect to me and the project. . . . I imagine it to be a place where people gather together and also can reflect upon how Doris Duke helped preserve so many of these significant historic houses.”

The smallest installation, which rests on a foundation the size of a modest Colonial Newport house (about 16 by 16 feet) and faces a stone fireplace, is meant to suggest domestic life. A passage from Franny Clarke’s 1867 diary reads: “Rained all day. Made jelly & did various other Housekeeping matters which consumed the morning.”

The second, on a slightly larger foundation, surrounds a water table, a typical element in Lin’s designs, and is meant to evoke commercial activity in the 18th and 19th centuries. Here, an entry from John Stevens’s 1726 account book reads: “To turning the arch, to the overplush of ye plastering, to laying five harthes.”

The third installation, about 36 by 22 feet, celebrates community life in the seaside village and includes an entry from the log of the ship Atlas, Henry A. Brightman, Master: “Light airs at 5AM, hove short & made all sail awaiting for the breeze.”

Nearly every element of the park reconstruction is home-grown. The three foundations are built from native Aquidneck Island stone, reclaimed from local historic houses that have been placed on new foundations. The benches are fashioned of local shale. Under the direction of landscape artist Edwina von Gal, who has collaborated with Lin on several projects over the last decade, new tree plantings were chosen based on native species that have historically grown in Newport. The inscriptions — including one from the Charter of 1663 (known as the King Charles charter) for the Colony of Rhode Island, the first document in the English empire to legislate freedom of religion and separation of church and state — have been hand-engraved by Newport artist and stone carver Nick Benson.

In conjunction with the reopening of Queen Anne Square, Rough Point is focusing on Duke’s philanthropy with a special exhibit entitled “A Career of Giving: The Surprising Legacy of Doris Duke.” Through photographs and artifacts, the exhibit paints a picture of the extraordinary range of Duke’s interests and largesse, from Little League teams to the Rosebud Sioux Indian tribe in South Dakota, who gave her the American Indian dress and accessories on display. As they leave, visitors can choose a charity to support from several representing Duke’s interests and cast their vote with chips. When the exhibition concludes, Rough Point will distribute money based on the votes.

Friday’s opening ceremony at the park begins at 10 a.m. It will include remarks by Governor Lincoln Chafee, Dr. Roger Mandle of the Doris Duke Monument Foundation board, and Mayor Henry F. Winthrop.

 

While I was sailing the Block Island Race, the controversial Maya Lin design for the Restoration Foundation’s Queen Anne Square was re-dedicated. This has been a hot topic for some time in the community. People seem to be resistant to change. I have included several photographs of what had been in place of the park before. I watched Doris Duke perched on a rock direct the placement of rocks and trees when she first decided to make the park.

I actually liked the Egan’s chimney and sign.

EGAN'S LAUNDRY ON THE SITE OF QUEEN ANNE SQUARE
EGAN’S LAUNDRY ON THE SITE OF QUEEN ANNE SQUARE
QUEEN ANNE SQUARE
QUEEN ANNE SQUARE
QUEEN ANNE SQUARE TODAY
QUEEN ANNE SQUARE TODAY

 

THE LOST NEWPORT WATERFRONT

EGAN'S LAUNDRY SIGN
EGAN’S LAUNDRY SIGN
FISHING FLEET
FISHING FLEET
FROM THE FERRY 2
FROM THE FERRY 2
FROM THE FERRY
FROM THE FERRY
LOOKING NORTH FROM THE MASTHEAD
LOOKING NORTH FROM THE MASTHEAD
LOOKING NORTHEAST FROM THE MASTHEAD
LOOKING NORTHEAST FROM THE MASTHEAD
LOOKING NORTHWEST FROM WELLINGTON
LOOKING NORTHWEST FROM WELLINGTON
SPAR SHED AT WILLIAMS & MANCHESTER SHIPYARD
SPAR SHED AT WILLIAMS & MANCHESTER SHIPYARD
BANNISTER'S WHARF
BANNISTER’S WHARF
UNDER THE DOCKS BY PERROTTI PARK
UNDER THE DOCKS BY PERROTTI PARK
WILLIAMS & MANCHESTER SHIPYARD
WILLIAMS & MANCHESTER SHIPYARD
WILLIE AT NEWPORT SHIPYARD
WILLIE AT NEWPORT SHIPYARD
ON THE DOCKS
ON THE DOCKS

PAUL MILLER OF THE NEWPORT PRESERVATION SOCIETY SPOKE AT IYRS ABOUT NEWPORT LOST; THE CHANGES OVER TIME TO THE CITY. THE CHANGES REALLY OCCURRED AFTER WW II. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO RECOGNIZE TODAY WHAT HAD BEEN AND WE CAN NEVER GO BACK. MANY PHOTOGRAPHS SHOWED THE NEWPORT THAT TOURISTS COME TO SEE NOT KNOWING THAT THERE IS NOTHING LEFT.

MY OWN PHOTOGRAPHS DATE FROM THE EARLY 60’s TO EARLY 70’s. THE CHANGES ARE STILL APPARENT.