11-24-14 Bits and Pieces

Had to go down to Chelsea this afternoon. This greeted me as I got off the subway.

Talk about your scofflaws.


Since I was down there I went to visit my old friend, Pier 54.

Deterioration continues apace. I am breaking several photographic rules in this picture but I like it.


11-06-14 Swear Not By The Moon

I have been going through almost all of my 2011 photographs of The Hudson, doing a major reconsideration of the work. This is one of the most problematic images for me.  I really like it but something feels just off or missed about it.  What makes that interesting to me is that for most of the images, my feelings have changed. Strengthened, undergone revision positively or negatively, the reasoning behind my feelings, my view of the technical work versus the emotional, but this one…100% unchanged


RSJohnson_Hudson_ 111024-96

2-20-13 Remembrance Of Things Past

“Perhaps the immobility of the things that surround us is forced upon them by our conviction that they are themselves, and not anything else, and by the immobility of our conceptions of them.” – Proust

Those of you who have been following The Quotidian Hudson for a while know that I have a few special places I return to again and again.  I usually shoot them in very similar ways because I have never found the exact view in the camera (or in post production) that matches the immobility of my conception of them.

Pier 54, The Marine and Aviation building at Pier 57, and especially the pilings between them have always been a key location. They evoke many emotions, good and bad.

Anyway, I visited them yesterday in the late afternoon…

Hudson River

Hudson River

10 minutes earlier

Hudson River


Something new for me…a re-post from last Columbus Day.

I had to add a new photo but basically I am just trying to follow the journey from there to here. Plus I really like this post from last year…and if you are not familiar with Mary Black do listen to the song.

Below you see the state of preserving so far. More to come…

Better keep your distance from this whale
Better keep your boat from going astray
Find yourself a partner and treat them well
Try to give them shelter night and day
‘Cause here in this blue light
Far away from the fireside
Things can get twisted and crazy and crowded
You can’t even feel right

So you dream of Columbus
Ever time the panic starts
You dream of Columbus
With your maps and your beautiful charts
You dream of Columbus
With an ache in your traveling heart

See how the cormorant swoops and dives
Must be some thrill to go that deep
Down to the basement of this life
Down to where the mermaid gently sleeps
Not like here in this blue light
Far away from the fireside
Where things can get twisted and haunted and crowded
You can’t even feel alright

So you dream of Columbus
Ever time the panic starts
You dream of Columbus
With your maps and your beautiful charts
You dream of Columbus
With an ache in your traveling heart

And as tide must ebb and flow
I am dragged down under
And I wait the livelong day
For an end to my hunger

So I dream of Columbus
Every time that the panic starts
I dream of Columbus
With my maps and my beautiful charts
I dream of Columbus
And there’s peace in a traveling heart
I dream of Columbus

Noel Brazil

So, like clockwork, 14 days and I find myself by this pier again.

Hollywood sequelitist I guess.

This time I shot the pilings from Pier 54. Down the road I think the city has big plans for Pier 54 but for now it just juts out into the river and is used as a dog walking, jogging area, as well as hosting occasional celebrations, the largest being a dance during Gay Pride week.

There are a lot of these old abandoned pilings/piers on the river but this has always been my favorite on the NYC side.  It has a spooky, historic, feel that many of the others do not and while it speaks of change and decay, it also speaks of permanence, at least long enough for a full human lifetime…

I hope you enjoy this brilliant performance by Mary Black of the words at the top of the post.

Mary Black – Columbus

12-19-11 Every Other Monday 8 – El Ultimo

By a departing light
We see acuter, quite,
Than by a wick that stays.
There’s something in the flight
That clarifies the sight
And decks the rays.


My View                                                                                                     My Day

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            My Place                                                                      My Grace

10-24-11 On Day 60 – I Return Again

Each thing in its way, when true to its own character, is equally beautiful.

Edward Abbey

2 weeks and here I am, back again.  I use this place to mark my life, the passage of time, the change of seasons.  Each visit brings me closer to a goal.

Since Pier 54 juts out into the river, the city is much more visible than when you are on the street.  The view is that of the kayaker, the ferry rider, the sailor.

People have asked me about the piles, their purpose, their history, and their future.  According to The Hudson River Park Trust:

“Pile fields are a key element of the estuarine sanctuary.  Instead of removing these wooden elements, which once functioned to support piers, the Hudson River Park Trust has committed to retaining the piles to provide habitat for various fish species. Many fish including juvenile Striped Bass take shelter in the piles, and sessile organisms — those that live in one spot for their entire lives — are particularly common.”

Someday these piles will all be gone. The shipworms will have eaten them into nothing. As the river gets cleaner, the shipworm population increases.

Of course if the river didn’t get cleaner, the pollution would have eaten away at the pilings until they collapsed.

3-1-11 Pier 54- The Titanic-The Lusitania-Pride Week

The day I started this project, 1/1/11, sunset was 4:39pm EST.  Today 59 days into the project, sunset was 5:47pm EST. We have gained over an hour of light in 59 days and you can feel the difference.  The vernal equinox is 19 days away and the baseball season should be starting right around the time of our semi-annual  late March snowstorm.

I started my river visit at Pier 54. Historically, this pier is probably most well known for two things…

being the pier where the Carpathia  brought survivors of the Titanic  (The Titanic itself was due to land at Pier 59)

and the pier where the Lusitania departed on May 1st, 1915 on its way to being sunk by a German U-Boat with the loss of over 1000 civilian lives.

The city has plans for the pier if it can ever get the cash together but in the meantime, it sits there, running into the river,  being used by runners and walkers, the only remnant of its past glory being a beautiful metal arch. During the summer , movies are shown and bands play along with other summer attratractions. It is probably best known in its modern incarnation for being the host to Dance (25) and Rapture On The River during Pride Week.