To fend off seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and get some fresh air, Bhavna and I decided that in 2019 we would find our way outside despite both hating the cold. We joined the REI co-op, bought some base layers, and new jackets, hiking boots, etc. After three months of staying indoors drinking craft ales, I start to look and feel “round“, especially in. my belly.

One of the perks of joining the REI Co-op is that we get access to classes about hammocking, hiking, biking etc. This past weekend Bhavana and I signed up for a beginner’s hike; the Hike and Hops at St. Michaels Farm Preserve. The Lawrenceville REI Co-op organised this hike. When we awoke that morning, Bhavna and I were sure REI would cancel the walk. It had rained the night before, and the warmer air temp was melting the snow. We expected the trail would be too wet to hike. It was too wet but not so much to cancel the hike. We layered up and drove to the trailhead on Princeton Avenue to find a group of about eight people waiting in the parking lot.

Some history on the property is provided by the D& R Greenway Land Trust.

Now over 400 acres, the St. Michaels property, which was preserved in 2010 and expanded in 2017, is an expanse of farm fields and forests on the edge of Hopewell Borough. From many parts of this preserve, the visitor has long views, lending the preserve a wonderful expansiveness which promotes a sense of well-being in anyone who walks its many farm roads and paths. From 1896 until 1973 this was the home of St. Michael’s Orphanage and Industrial School which was operated by the Catholic Diocese of Trenton. After the orphanage was closed, the building where the children lived and went to school was torn down and most of the land was leased to a local farmer. Before the diocese divested themselves of the property through development they offered one last chance for preservation if D& R Greenway could raise the funds to purchase the property. Over $11 million was raised, and in 2010 D& R Greenway succeeded in purchasing the land through a public/private partnership. It is now preserved as open space forever. The largest amount of the $11M purchase price for this property came from the State farmland preservation program. Six miles of farm roads provide walking trails throughout the preserve.

We met the trail guide Dan and his friend John. John lives in the area and is an educator in a local public school. We were given an overview of the trail and a history of St. Michaels Farm before proceeding along a soggy and muddy open field. We struggled to make our way back to more solid ground, and since I stopped for Bhavna and to take photos, we fell behind the rest of the group.

The trail was soggy; perhaps boggy is a better word. Our guide Dan had to choose alternative paths across some of the streams. On the trail, we ducked under fallen trees and scrambled over others. We forded streams with water just barely under the ankle of the shoe. Water entered Bhavna’s shoes.

I’m working from home today. We both injured a foot this weekend while on this beginner’s hike. I think the issue is that we are both barefoot inside our house. We only wear shoes for work or to go hiking. For both of us, wearing shoes is an exercise in damage control. When I wear shoes outside on walks and hike along difficult terrain, my toes curl inside the shoe; trying to get a grip. This action stresses my toes. Is this the reason Westerners have such ugly feet? It’s damaged from years of doing the opposite of what nature intended?

What made the trek worthwhile was the camaraderie of the group during the hike and the post-hike Troon craft ale we drank together at the Brick Farm Tavern.

The part where we introduce ourselves but there are so many new names we almost immediately forget them. — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (17 mm, f/8.0, ISO320), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
Waiting for the slowpoke photographer to catch up. — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (24.2 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
The grassland was extremely soggy. Out boots were completely covered with mud and walking became difficult on the wet grass. — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (36.5 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
St. Michaels Farm Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
St. Michaels Farm Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
St. Michaels Farm Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO200), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
St. Michaels Farm Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
At the half-way point, Dan and John explained the route we would be taking through the forest. — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
St. Michaels Farm Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (37.6 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
Hike and Hops at St. Michaels Farm Preserve with REI Outdoor School — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (37.6 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
In the background, I can see John fording the stream. We followed him across a few minutes later. — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
St. Michaels Farm Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
St. Michaels Farm Preserve — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
Hike and Hops at St. Michaels Farm Preserve with REI Outdoor School — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, f/8.0, ISO400), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams
Troon Brewing Inspissated — FujiFilm X-T2 + Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, f/3.2, ISO4000), Copyright 2019-03-10 Khürt L. Williams

Today I worked in Manhattan at the client’s Old Slip address in the New York Financial District. As I have done the last few times, I drove for over an hour into Jersey City and parked in the Paulus Hook neighbourhood. The parking deck is a few minutes walk from the Paulus Hook Ferry Terminal. While I don’t enjoy the commute once I am in the New York office I have more options for lunch and exploration than I do at the Metro Park, New Jersey office.

As I did on my last commute to the Wall Street I brought my camera, my FujiFilm X-T2, and my only lens, the Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR. This is only the second time I have done this since I bought the camera a few weeks ago. It’s a bit of a hassle bringing the camera kit. My TimBuk 2 messenger bag was never meant to carry a camera kit plus all the other things I need for the work day — over the ear headphones, notebook, iPad Pro, snacks, diabetes kits, phone charging kit. It just doesn’t fit well. I managed to squeeze it all but the bag bulked as though the straps would burst. I think it’s time I bought a larger bag.

It was lunch time and I wanted to eat out but with so many options it was hard to make a choice. I decided to walk on South Street and hoped I would find something appealing. Last week I walked toward Battery Park so today I walked in the opposite direction; toward Brooklyn Bridge.

Some people say it’s the end of summer but the heat and humidity on this day suggested otherwise. The temperature yesterday at noon was around 32ºC (~90ºF) and the humidity was over 50%.

After a few minutes of slow walking, I spotted some trees and umbrellas just under the FDR. I thought it might be another urban oasis — a park under the highway. I was curious but I also hoped it was a restaurant. I crossed South Street at Maiden Lane and made my way over to the area.

Industry Kitchen—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 22 mm, f/16 , ISO 200

Yep, it was a restaurant and a park. I perused the menu at Industry Kitchen but the crab cake caught my attention. The hostess gave me a choice of sitting inside the air-conditioned bar and lounge but despite the heat and humidity, I decided to sit outside where I could observe people and the park. I ordered the crab cake and Camp Wannamango by Harpoon Brewing. Lunch was $34 with tip. But my wife reminded me (we were texting during my lunch) that the view was worth it.

Industry Kitchen—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 26.6 mm, f/16 , ISO 200

After lunch, I explored the backyard of the restaurant — what some may call the South Street Seaport District.

Many people were eating lunches they acquired from the street side vendors. It’s a much cheaper lunch and you still get to enjoy the view from park benches and seats.

Enjoying the view.—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 44.1 mm, f/5.0 , ISO 200
Eating Lunch in the shade—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 34.2 mm, f/5.0 , ISO 200

I was surprised at how many people were out just walking around despite the heat and humidity.

Let\’s all go for a walk.—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm, f/16 , ISO 320
Hornblower Cruises & Events Pier 15—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 20 mm, f/16 , ISO 320
Pier 15, East River Esplanade—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 21.3 mm, f/16 , ISO 320

I explored Hornblower Cruises & Events Pier 15 which is both pier and urban lounge. I had an excellent view of Brooklyn Bridge Park but many sunbathers were simply enjoying the sunlight.

The view towards Wall Street.—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 23.4 mm, f/16 , ISO 200

I was starting to feel the warmth but it was time to end the lunch hour and head back to the office. I took a slow walk back down the other side of South Street toward Pier 11.

I think it’s exciting what I can discover with a few minutes of exploration in my colloquial backyard.

Ancheer—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 34.2 mm, f/16 , ISO 1250
be—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 34.2 mm, f/16 , ISO 400

Backyard: A person’s neighbourhood, or an area nearby to a person’s usual residence or place of work and where the person is likely to go.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Backyard by jansenphotojansenphoto (Dutch goes the Photo!)
What we find in our backyard…

On Tuesday I brought my camera to the office, and despite the 28ºC weather and 96% humidity, I took it out on a walk along South Street from Old Slip stopping at the lower end of Battery Park. I was feeling a bit down on my luck and had hopes that discovery would lift my spirit.

I stopped while this gentleman, Mark Derho, was taking a selfie with his bicycle. We got to talking and it turns out Mark is a successful businessman. He used to work in IT, but also built a successful bicycle shop business. Mark is looking to expand his work with bicycles. He has commissioned a bicycle, built by a friend, which he intends to use in a bicycle rental business in Puerto Rico. I offered to take some photos which he may use in his social media campaign.

FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 20 mm, f/5.6 , ISO 200
FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm, f/5.6 , ISO 200
FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 42.7 mm, f/5.6 , ISO 200
FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 44.1 mm, f/5.6 , ISO 200
Near South Ferry Station—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 37.6 mm, f/5.6 , ISO 200

Near South Ferry Station, passengers exiting the subway can take a lift up to the ground level.

Near South Ferry Station—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm, f/5.6 , ISO 200

I found a beer garden, The Beer Garden, which is about a ten-minute walk from Old Slip. Next time I’m in Manhattan (Tuesday or Thursday of next week), I think I’ll check it out as well as the Battery Gardens.

The Beer Garden—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 16 mm, f/5.6 , ISO 200

Two years ago, when I turned 50, I wanted to wait for the spring (I’m a November baby) to have a picnic in the park with burgers, beers and brats — a growler of Troon (before the lines), a growler of Flounder, and a growler of Conclave, some quality sausage from the Polish market in Trenton Farmers’ Market. New Jersey laws do not allow the consumption of alcohol of any kind in public parks or beaches. I could not find a single park in Somerset, Mercer, or Hunterdon County that would allow beer. So … I never had the party.

Table Green Café—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm, f/5.6 , ISO 200

As I walked through the park I noticed the sign offering beer and food at this little cafe. I walked over and talked to the cashier.

Me: Can I really order a beer here?
Cashier: Yes.

She explained that as long as I stayed within the confines — there are no walls or barricades at Table Green & Table Green Café — of the area I could drink my beer from the open container.

It seems in New York City the attitude is “Behave like an adult. Control yourself. If you can’t, one of these armed folks in blue will help you out”. Why can’t we have this in New Jersey?

Table Green—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 23.4 mm, f/5.6 , ISO 200
Table Green—Table Green—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm, f/5.6 , ISO 200
FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm, f/5.6 , ISO 200
SeaGlass Carousel, State Street, New York, NY—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 24.2 mm, f/5.6 , ISO 200

I did not enter the SeaGlass Carousel. What caught my eye was the way the stripes in this person’s dress matched the stripes in the awning.

Statue Cruises—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm, f/5.6 , ISO 200

The young woman on the left, if you look closely you can see that her feet lifted off the ground completely. Just my guess but I assume they were running to catch one of the ferries.

Do you know where you\’re running to?—FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm, f/5.6 , ISO 200

New York City, New York, USA
 

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Lift by jansenphotojansenphoto (Dutch goes the Photo!)
Bringing us up higher