Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fodor's Doesn't List These NYC Sites

From Dave Brigham:

I'm due for a trip to New York City. In the last 10 years, I've been there half a dozen times or so, but it's been a few years since my last visit. In recent years, I've gone with my wife and kids, and managed to take a few Backside photos while I was there, such as this one:

And this one:

Also this:

Until my next trip, I'll have to be satisfied with checking out this cool feature from Atlas Obscura.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Season of the Witch Hazel

From Dave Brigham:

After a long, traffic-clogged ride on Route 9 down the spine of south central Connecticut, my family and I pulled into the parking lot for the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat. As we did, I noticed a water tower off to the right, in front of the most impeccably kept abandoned buildings I've ever seen.

Given the "Dickinson's Witch Hazel" sign on the tower, though, I'm not sure if the tank once held water, or the curative potion that was once manufactured in the town of Essex.

Witch hazel seems like it should have gone the way of Alexander's Liver & Kidney Tonic and Iowna Brain & Nerve Tonic (actual historical products!). Native Americans discovered how to boil witch hazel stems and use the resulting potion to treat inflammation and tumors hundreds of years ago. Eventually, American colonists got hip to the hazel, and began making and selling the stuff. They still do.

For a decent history of the stuff, read this article.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Make Mine Paint

From Dave Brigham:

In 1870, somebody discovered a yellow ochre deposit in Lexington, Massachusetts. Well, I'm sure other folks (read: Native Americans) knew about it before then, but in 1870 a person or persons stumbled across it and formed the Boston and Lexington Paint Company, which, from what I've read online, was a short-lived venture.

I stumbled across the paint mine, as the conservation area is known, on Google Maps. I didn't know what I was looking for when I hiked through it with my son earlier this summer. We didn't find the mine, although there are remnants of it, according to the town of Lexington web site.

We had a nice hike, saw a deer and searched high and low for whatever a yellow ochre deposit looks like. We came across this old foundation, but I have no idea what the history is behind it.