LABOUR OF LOVE – MATT GREEN HAS BEEN WALKING NEW YORK CITY SINCE AT LEAST 2012

When it comes to walkin’, no one can beat MATT GREEN, a former civil engineer and native Virginian.  He has already walked across the United States, from Rockaway Beach NY to Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Then he took on The Big Apple, all 8,000 miles of streets in all five boroughs.

<THE SENTINEL OF CONEY ISLAND – Parachute Jump>

I first came across Matt’s website in March, 2012. Since then he’s added a multitude of new photos, maps, videos and commentary. You can join Matt on his travels through New York at http://www.imjustwalkin.com

<DO NOT JUMP – an old painted plea for noggin safety at the 169th Street F train station.>

<12 WEST 129TH STREET – erected in 1863, stands as rare survivor of Harlem’e early history.>

<RED HOOK RAT PATROL, HICKS SQUAD – a feral cat condo on Hicks Street.>

<TOWER OF SHIPPING CONTAINERS @ Pioneer Works – the second floor is home to a recording studio and a number of what appear to be electric hairbrushes.>

<SMITH & 9TH – THE HIGHEST SUBWAY STATION IN THE WORLD, 191st Street in Upper Manhattan. Renovations are complete. Here’s a look at the finished station.>

<PREM BHAKTI MANDIR>

<LIVING BESIDE THE ‘A’ TRAIN>

<YOU & YOUR DOG WILL BE ON CAMERA>

COLLYER’S MANSION – named after New York City’s most famous hoarders. The reclusive brothers – Homer and Langley Collyer – lived out their lives in a jam-packed Harlem row house. The NYC Fire Department still uses the term “Collyers’ Mansion” to refer to a dangerously overstuffed dwelling.

***

“At its core, my walk is an oxymoron: an exhaustive journey through an inexhaustible city.”  – MATT GREEN

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ON MY VACATION – ADMIRING GLASGOW’S FASCINATING SKYLINE FROM ‘THE LIGHTHOUSE’

The Lighthouse, part of Scotland’s Centre for Design & Architecture, is just high enough to allow an uninterrupted view of GLASGOW’s city-centre skyline.

The multiplicity of architectural styles and building designs, all bunched up together, is quite wonderful.

The Lighthouse, completed in 1895, was designed by famed architect CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH. The building below was formerly the newspaper offices of the Glasgow Herald.

<Helical staircase to the MacKintosh Tower, accessible from the 3rd floorPHOTO by George Gastin/Wikipedia>

The sixth floor viewing room is only accessible by an elevator, and to access the MacKintosh Tower on the north side, the way up is a spectacular helical staircase.

The Lighthouse is one of the UK’s extraordinary observation towers, and old GLASGOW has one of the most complex skylines.

MY SHORT ‘STAYCATION’ IN KINGSTON, ONTARIO – HALFWAY BETWEEN TORONTO & MONTREAL

Where Lake Ontario meets the St. Lawrence River, at the mouth of the Cataraqui River, and the south end of the Rideau Canal sits KINGSTON, population 124,000. For its size, this city contains a wealth of Canadian history, art, architecture and public institutions.

KINGSTON was named the first capital of the Province of Canada on February 10, 1841, was home to Canada’s first Prime Minister (Sir John A. MacDonald), and of the Royal Military College, Fort Henry and Queens University – one of Canada’s oldest.

Above photos – Kingston City Hall, its stained glass windows and council chamber

KINGSTON is a city of many beautiful churches.  Photos above – St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral & St. George’s Anglican Cathedral

Bellevue – the home of Canada’s first Prime Minister (Sir John A. MacDonald) and his family from 1848-49.  Tours available.

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queens University, 36 University Avenue, http://www.agnes.queensu.ca

  As it’s always been, Saturday is market day behind City Hall

KINGSTON is well known for its architecture.  This building complex, The Kensington, incorporates Victorian-era buildings with a multi-level modern structure.  It’s wonderful to look at – but Prince Charles would no doubt have a fit.

Driving to KINGSTON from TORONTO – take the 401 east and three hours later you’re there. Exit Division Street.

Princess Street, KINGSTON, August, 2014, Julia McKay/The Whig-Standard

ONCE (FOR SOME) ‘GOING TO KINGSTON’ MEANT GOING TO ‘THE PEN’ – TIMES HAVE CHANGED

Kingston Penitentiary is closed to convicts, but open to tourists. British North America’s first penitentiary fronts onto Lake Ontario at 56 King St. West. It’s surrounded on three sides by some of KINGSTON’s better neighbourhoods. The Pen, as it’s commonly known, was constructed between 1833 and 1834 under the reign of King William IV. The first six inmates arrived on June 1, 1835.  Aerial photo by Rob Mooy/Metroland

My visit to The Pen began in fog, then drizzle and finally pouring rain.  Mother Nature was setting the scene.

Bungalows for private family visits – PTV’s

The Main Dome – ranges are below

Typical cell range

Limestone gray throughout – entrance to the prison shops

Aboriginal Grounds

In April/2012, the federal government announced Kingston Penitentiary would be closing for good in 2013 due to aging infrastructure and today’s complex and diverse offender population. Rain or shine there are daily 3-hour tours every 15 minutes, conducted by several former employees of the institution. Personal cameras are welcome but no tripods or heavy equipment. The buildings are not air conditioned.

For tour tickets ($42-$55) and detailed information go to http://www.kingstonpentour.com

Looking down on it all, the Penitentiary’s bell tower, which normally rang twice daily, more often in emergencies.  Guards were required to live within hearing range of these bells.

ACROSS KING ST. IS THE FASCINATING PENITENTIARY MUSEUM – ADMISSION BY DONATION

The former Warden’s house is now Canada’s Penitentiary Museum, 55 King Street, KINGSTON

Crossbow made by inmates

‘The Box’ – a cruel form of solitary confinement

‘Kingston Penitentiary is On The Air’ with permission of the Commissioner of Penitentiaries and the Warden through the facilities of CKWS, your Kingston Station. Those words opened a half-hour variety show that went out each Saturday night during the summers of 1952-55.

The program included an emcee, a swing band called the Solitaires, singers, a western group called the Hay Shakers, and comedians.

 Art created by prisoners

Straight Jacket

These tall easels were used to strap down prisoners when they were getting the lash. One is from the federal prison in DORCHESTER, New Brunswick.

Penitentiary Museum website – http://www.penitentiarymuseum.ca

At its peak there were ten (10!) penitentiaries operating in the KINGSTON area.

ALL ROADS LED TO OTTAWA THIS PAST WEEKEND FOR CANADA’S 150TH BIRTHDAY PARTY

I checked things out last week and, believe me, OTTAWA, Canada’s capital, has never looked better.

<PHOTOS ABOVE – looking down on the National Gallery & the chapel of the former Rideau Street Convent, 1880’s, National Gallery of Canada.>

<PHOTOS – Ottawa’s oldest bar in the By Ward Market & Changing of the Guard, 10 am each morning on Parliament Hill.>

<PHOTOS ABOVE – locks leading up to the Rideau Canal & security bollards behind the American embassy provide a nifty protected bike path.>

<PHOTO – the splendid Library of Parliament, oldest building on The Hill>

<House of Commons>

<Prime Minister’s Office Building>

<The Senate>

<The Supreme Court of Canada>

<National War Memorial & the Chateau Laurier>

<PHOTO – a Parliament Hill gopherRoss Winter>

Surrounded by several miles of green space the capital is home to some of Canada’s finest museums, a thriving music scene, super places to eat, drink and shop, a new bike network, and at the centre of it all – Parliament Hill.

Driving from TORONTO to OTTAWA take the eastbound 401 to either picturesque Highway 115 north at KINGSTON; or the much faster 416 north to the 417 into downtown OTTAWA. Exit at Metcalfe Street, and be prepared for bike paths, one-way streets and no parking zones. Advice – check into your hotel, leave the car and walk or take public transit.

PHOTOGRAPHER MICHAEL WOLF COMMENTS ON HONG KONG’S WACKO PROPERTY PRICES

“When will this spiral of ever-increasing property prices end? Most of HONG KONG’s youth can’t afford to rent, much less to buy their own apartments. Almost every person I speak with, who is under 35, lives at home with their parents . . . resignation abounds, a feeling of powerlessness to change the status quo.” <PHOTO ABOVE – Ross Winter>

“HONG KONG is the only place I know of when one moves, it’s always into a smaller space because the rent has become unaffordable. What’s next? 100-square-foot apartments for HK$5,000,000? I am sure the developers are working to make this happen.” – Michael Wolf

<PHOTO ABOVE – World Record: parking space in Hong Kong sold for $HK5.18-million (US$664,200 or CAD$881,195). The space is on the first floor of a luxury apartment complex near the harbourfront. Hong Kong Free Press>