26 June 2012


With Google and such, you would think the web has information on everything.  That is not the case with Calvert Vaux Park, or at least its renovation.  Years ago I once took two nephews cycling there.  We rode as far as the water's edge.  I recall seeing a wide paved road with someone playing with a remote-controlled car.  There were some soccer players, too.  It rained a day or two earlier and on the way out we came across a flooded road.  Always up for an adventure, I encouraged the kids to charge right through.  I think they loved it.  It may be on this same bike trip that we also charged through some puddle-lake behind Home Depot.

If I recall correctly, Calvert Vaux Park then had two roads leading in and out of it.  There was a soccer field but not much else.  The wide paved road that I saw was far from the main road, Shore Parkway. A snapshop obtained via Google Maps confirms my faint memory, even though the captured image shows that construction already started.

When I started running seriously I needed new routes and wanted to re-visit the park but it appeared to be off-limit.  Some major renovation was started and the area was pretty much fenced off. It seemed like ages before the construction fence came down.  Sure the park looked nice but its gates were always locked.  There were no signs to indicate when it would be open to the public.  The Internet had nothing either.  I could see that only a portion of the park underwent renovation.  A large area closer to the water seemed to be left alone.  One day I decided to explore the undeveloped area.  One dirt road led into the area and there were signs of construction to come.  Some sections were fenced off and piles or stacks of construction materials laid here and there. I mostly run without my near-sight glasses and did not look hard to find any paths running toward the water.  On a second visit, I saw people heading for a baseball game.  The back area was certainly open to the public, it seemed.  One more run trip and I found a path to the water.  There was only a barrier to prevent cars from getting into the area.  A typical lithe runner could easily bypass the barrier.  There were no signs warning people not to enter so I walked past the obstruction.  There was a fork in the road and I took the left path.  A short distance later there was another barrier on the path, with many tree branches and such behind it.  The road seemed unpassable and I did not have much time left.  Gotta head back to shower and get to work.

Before I tried again to explore the waterfront of Calvert Vaux Park, I consulted Google Maps to get a better idea of the area.  From the outdated aerial photo, it seemed the right fork in the road was wider and connected to a path near the water.  That was exactly the case when I finally reached the waterfront.  What Google Maps did not show was a fallen tree that mostly blocked off the path.  Luckily, to the left of the path was just a grassy area that can be used to easily circumvent the downed tree.

There was no path that runs immediately along the water.  At the water margin, there is nothing to prevent anyone from jumping in or slipping in. The area was mostly wild alright. I ran along the narrow path near the water and it merged with the wider path eventually. I could have gone further but I was sure there was no exit that way. The path probably would end at the back of another construction area. I wanted no troubles and did not plan to trespass some off-limit area, so back I went.

Instead of the Fallen-Tree Path, I found the narrower path back to the second barrier. The path was actually blocked by tall grasses and would not join the wider path. Again, going around the tall grasses was easy, as the area was mostly open. Getting back to the "Left Fork" from behind the second barrier was easier than getting into it. Again it was time to head home and get ready for work. Maybe I will come back on a weekend, with baseball or soccer players in the area to feel safer.

The road appeared to be blocked but it was easily passable on the right.  I did not try to as it was time to head back.  On a later visit I came out to this side from the inside.

I could not help and wondered if anyone heard the sound of the tree falling.  The area was desolate.  Apparently not desolate enough for someone to place a wire trashcan in the midst of the branches...

There was no path to the water margin.  In the distance is the Verrazano Bridge.

If I kept taking this road (into the distance) I probably would end up behind some construction area that was off-limit to the public.

Years ago this was where I saw people parked their cars and someone playing an RC car.  I included the Verrazano Bridge in the picture to establish a point of reference.

The left fork in the road, after the barrier, would lead you here, where your journey would be blocked by the mass of brushes.  It is totally passable on the right though.

Somewhere in the short distance is the second barrier.

10 June 2012


The first title I thought for this blog post was "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" but thought better.  There is nothing bad or ugly about the subject at hand, so "Yes, No, Maybe" is a better choice.

High school reunions, like many volunteer works, take lots of dedication from a handful few.  Sometimes the dedication pays off, others times it just falls short of the goal.  Together with a group of similarly dedicated volunteers, I was able to pull off the Silver Reunion for Newtown High School (Elmhurst) Class of 1985, in 2010.  Right after the reunion, some people thought that since many people moved to Florida we should have another in 2012, in Florida, of course.  It did not work out that way.  Many people still live in New York and did not want to travel to Fort Lauderdale.  Others thought it was too soon to have another reunion.  Turn-over rate was high for the volunteers in the Reunion Committee.  Some time before the event date there was not enough people financially committed and the event had to be cancelled.  Everyone got their money back and I told myself not to ever get involved with reunions again.  They can be joyful but also consume much time, sometimes for little result.  Other brave souls have gone ahead with their own year's reunions and the result is a mix bag...

YES! Class of 1972
It is on!  Just mere days away from the date of this blog post!

NO! Class of 1985
No need for a URL, it is already over.  I created a Facebook event for it, even a payvment store in Facebook, but in the end there was just not enough interest or financial commitment to keep the event alive.

MAYBE...  Class of 1983
I would think a thirty-year reunion is a big deal, but for whatever reasons there is not enough people putting up the money to guarantee the event's survival.  The reunion committee needs money up front to pay deposits for the meeting place, perhaps for the D.J. and photographer.  For my year's Silver Reunion, the Committee and other good souls loaned itself some money to get things started but still we needed others' money to keep the process going.  I would hate to see Class of 1983's 30-year reunion cancelled, but that may happen soon unless people start paying for it in sufficient number.  I wish the '83 Committee much luck!