Saturday, August 31, 2013

Gantries and Grasshoppers

A gantry with some serious LI pride.
     On Thursday, my good friend Shannon and myself hopped on our bikes and rode across the Queens border to Gantry State Park in Long Island City. It is very much like the High Line meets Brooklyn Bridge Park. You have repurposing of railroad tracks and ties, gardens full of flowering plants, and amazing, unobstructed views of Manhattan. The centerpieces of the park of the towering gantry cranes. These cranes used to lift rail cars off of car float (literally a floating track with rail cars pulled by tugboat) and place them back on rails to continue their journey out onto Long Island. Also, another sight within the park is the iconic "Pepsi Cola" sign. The sign is on the Northern end of the park and marks where the Pepsi bottling plant used to stand.
     The park itself I give a 4 out of 5, Shannon had me rate the days events on a scale of 5. I gave it a 4 because I wish the park had more trees and shady retreats. The park is very open and very concrete-y. I prefer grass over concrete. I also like trees, it keeps me from getting crispy, and boy did I get crispy, especially with my fair skin.
     The wildlife wasn't very diverse, but I did enjoy the grasshoppers. They were very abundant and beautiful in flight, their spread wings were black with a yellow border. Some of these grasshoppers were very large, I always get a kick out of seeing them. They remind me of my first grasshopper encounter when my dad brought one to me in an old baby food jar after mowing the lawn. I had never really seen grasshoppers on Long Island growing up, so they always seemed so novel to my sisters and myself. Anyway, enjoy some of the sights:

The Empire State and Chrysler buildings are shy today. The United Nations building is that giant blue-green one.
Some pollinators.
This blue winged wasp actually preys upon beetle larvae, making it beneficial to gardens that would normally be disturbed by the grubs living in the soil.
The Empire State.
A gull looks out to the East River from his own UFO lamp post.
The East River. Roosevelt Island is in front of Manhattan. The Queens bridge reaches across from Queens to Manhattan with a support for its span on Roosevelt Island. Roosevelt Island is technically partof the borough of Manhattan, I lived there for a year (it's an interesting place), you can get there by subway on the F line, by vehicle (only from Queens, though), and by aerial tram, from Manhattan. If you saw the first Spiderman Movie, you know the tram, spiderman rescues people stuck on it. Which happens, not the spiderman part, but the stuck part.
Some alliteration: A green grasshopper on granite in gantry park. Isn't this guy just fantastic? I think this is a differentiated grasshopper.
Part of the Orthoptera order of insects, grasshoppers are grouped with crickets, katydids, and locusts (not cicadas- people always call cicadas locusts, but locusts band together to form swarms, which can be destructive at times). 
A young mallard.

     Along with me on this trip, as mentioned was my friend Shannon. She is an amazing woman and has her own company, the Writing Whisperer, you should check it out. More information on Gantry Park can be found here: http://nysparks.com/parks/149/. Enjoy the summer while it lasts!