Archive for the ‘Hudson’ Category

Jim Gary’s 20th century Dinosaurs at the LSC

Jim Gary is a world famous scupltor and artist who is best known for creating extremely detailed dinosaurs from automobile parts. His dinosaurs have been exhibited internationally and command a high price in the art world. You can read about Jim Gary and his work in more detail here. In 2011 the bulk of his collection was shipped to Florida, where it is currently on display at the Tallahassee Museum. I documented their disassembly and packing here. A few sculptures remained in Colts Neck, and are now on loan for the next two months to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ, one of several dinosaur related events going on at LSC. I recently visited LSC and witnessed prep work being done to restore one of the dinosaurs for display. I also spoke to Ellen Lynch, Exhibition Operations Lead, and Mary Meluso, LSC media director, about Jim Gary, his dinosaurs and the 25th anniversary of the LSC.





The two sculptures are on display at Liberty Science Center in the Wildlife Challenge, an outdoor exhibit for children.

Twenty years ago, when Liberty Science Center first opened its doors to the public, the special exhibitions gallery featured a large display (over 4000 sf) of Jim Gary’s fascinating dinosaur sculptures. To mark the anniversary, LSC is featuring two of Gary’s dinosaurs (Running Raptor and Brontosaurus) in an outdoor exhibition, Wildlife Challenge. There are several dinosaur related exhibits and attractions at LSC now including:

* The film “Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia” in the IMAX Dome Theater.

* Dinosaur Discovery – Visitors climb into an excavation pit to dig through sand for signs of fossils.

* Animatronic Dinosaur: See and hear a lifelike, animatronic model of Yangchuanosaurus, a Late Jurassic dinosaur, in the Eat and Be Eaten exhibition.

To complement this, there are even more limited run dinosaur-themed offerings mentioned here.



The LSC has used art in its science exhibits before, including

* Art of Science – an exhibition of the top 45 photographs selected from Princeton University’s annual juried competition of the same name.

* A Spatial Portrait – an interactive digital artwork by artist Leni Schwendinger.

* Works by Sonic Architecture artists Bill and Mary Buchen are featured on the pathway leading to Liberty Science Center.

* Digital Darkroom: a digital photo manipulation exhibit created by former Bell Labs staffer, Bill Cheswick.

The Liberty Science Center is providing for the restoration of the two pieces, due to 20+ years of exposure to the elements. The velociraptor needed far less work and was already on display while the brontosaurus was being prepped. The restoration includes sand blasting the entire sculpture, welding repairs and priming and painting the sculpture prior to its public installation. LSC has been consulting with the Jim Gary Foundation on the details of this work.

Below are pictures of the brontosaurus (minus the head and neck) being sandblasted. The work was done by Dry Ice Blasting by Advanced Indoor Air Quality. The company does all manner of sandblasting, working on walls, houses, and cars. According to the workers, they often are called upon to clean up old pieces of art to be repainted. They blasted the surface of the metal with Black Beauty Abbrasive, made from coal. Once the paint is removed, the bare metal surface can be primed and painted.








Sculpture on loan from the James T. Gary Foundation, courtesy of Kafi Benz, studio director, Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs ( ]

White manna (with two N’s) wins!

The new show Food Feuds recently came to Jersey to settle the question of which White Manna is better? Jersey City with one N or Hackensack with two N’s? The outcome to me was never in doubt, but it was intersting to see the history of the two and the differences between the two burgers. I didn’t know that there were 5 WM’s I always thought it was just these two (the others all went under). As for the burgers, the biggest difference is that Hackensack uses a small potato bun which is about the same size as the burger, while Jersey City uses a full size bun which dwarfs the mini burger. To me this was always a turnoff: too much bun. As for the rest of the burger, hackensack is about 1.6 ozs and has no seasoning and has tons of sliced yellow onions. Jersey City’s are smaller, has a higher fat content, uses salt and pepper seasoning and uses diced white onions.

Gotta stop by tomorrow and congratulate the winner. Course it might take 2 hours to get my order.

So which one is better? Hackensack or Jersey City?

Food network show to decide which White Man(n)a is the better one.

I’ve eaten in both, but I frequent the one in Hackensack much more often. Obviously living 2 miles away makes it more convenient, but I just think it’s got better food. It does one thing: burgers. The one in Jersey City is almost like a trucker diner as it has all manner of food. Plus they serve the little burgers on full size buns, which if you ask me, is silly.

What do you guys think: Take part in the poll and tell us why!

excavation continues on the Palisades

it continues… for now

Over 100 years ago, excavation of the cliffs north of the GWB caused protests which shut down the mining operation. Now it’s not the mining of the rock, but clear of the rock to make room for development that is the cause of the protests. Honestly, does Bergen or Hudson county need another shopping center? or mall? Are you telling me that there isn’t enough commercial space available?

Frank Sinatra’s House

Frank Sinatra’s boyhood house will become a Sinatra Museum. Maybe. The newspaper article on the door is dated 1999, and the place doesn’t look close to becoming a museum… and this was in 2004 when I took these pictures…

>415 Monroe, Hoboken, Hudson County




Left Turns, aka The Liberty State Park Castle

Built in 1982, this hidden castle is a piece of “living art”, constructed by sculptor Charles Simonds. Said one of the people who helped him build it, “A big part of the philosophy behind Simonds work is the element of discovery. When you happen upon one of his works in the middle of nowhere, it has the same effect on the viewer as discovering the ruins of a lost civilization.”

They were sponsored by the State Art in Public Places program, in conjunction with the NEA. In a subsequent discussion at Rutgers, the artist who created the miniature city said, “Opposite two national monuments, Ellis Island & the Statue of Liberty, Left turns (the name of the project) consists of three sited elements, each separated and surrounded by tall pampas like grassy areas indigenous to the park. With the dramatic and still presence of Manhattan in view from each of the three sites, the works located within this setting form an intimate and powerful viewing experience and establish a close symbolic relationship between nature and civilization.”

There were two other art pieces created but the rising tides and marshes have reclaimed them.

Sierra Exif JPEG


Chromium cleanup goes slow

the agreement reached will take 5 more years

PPG Industries will remediate soil and other sources of chromium contamination on 16.6 acres on Garfield Avenue — the site of a chromite ore refinement plant from 1924 to 1963 — under a partial Superior Court settlement announced by the state’s attorney general and Department of Environmental Protection. The deal will not be finalized until after a 30-day public comment period.

PPG also agreed to complete remediation operations at 13 other contaminated sites in Jersey City, Weehawken and Bayonne, pay $1 million to Jersey City for a park and pay another $250,000 to oversee the settlement plan.

“We are happy the attorney general has approved this settlement, but this is not done. We need to have a public comment period. We have community groups we have to hear from,” said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, whose city was a party to the lawsuit.

The public comment process will begin March 16.

The agreement comes just weeks after the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York and the Interfaith Community Organization of Hoboken filed a federal lawsuit claiming the cleanups were taking too long. PPG has accepted responsibility for 61 chromium-contaminated sites, has remediated 47 of them and has promised to resolve the rest under the settlement.

The highly toxic hexavalent chromium was a byproduct of chromite ore refinement conducted by the predecessors of three companies, Honeywell International, PPG Industries Inc. and Tierra Solutions Inc., between 1895 and until the last plant was closed in 1976. Tons of contaminated industrial waste were distributed as fill for construction sites throughout the county and neighboring Essex County, and by the 1980s, the state recognized about 200 contaminated parcels.

All three companies were sued by the DEP in 2005, after cleanups promised in the 1980s and 1990s failed to materialize. The DEP contends the companies have been individually linked to most of the sites, although there are a number of “orphan” sites for which no company has accepted responsibility and that are still the subject of the lawsuit.

“I grew up in Jersey City and know first hand the frustration felt by people who have had to live with chromium contamination,” acting DEP Commissioner Mark Mauriello said in a prepared statement. “It’s been a long time coming, but this settlement will give residents the peace of mind and better quality of life that comes with a clean, healthier neighborhood.”

Hamilton Death Rock

Alexander Hamilton & Aaron burr were enemies politically and personally. In 1791, Burr took a Senate seat from Philip Schuyler, Hamilton’s powerful father-in-law. Schuyler was a powerful ally for him as secretary of the Treasury. Burr ran for the governor of New York in 1804 as an independent. Hamilton helped to convince New York Federalists not to support Burr. The Burr campaign failed, and he was defeated soundly.

In 1804, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel. After aids tried to settle their differently amicably, the two met on the dueling grounds at Weehawken, New Jersey on the morning of July 11. Each fired once. Burr struck Hamilton who died the next day. Hamilton’s shot missed. Burr was indicted for murder in New York State, but never prosecuted. After completing his duties as Vice President in 1805, Burr entered into a conspiracy to wrest the lands west of the Mississippi River from Spain; these intrigues included the Louisiana Purchase. The rock where Hamilton laid his head was preserved. Eventually it was moved to become part of a monument atop the cliffs of Weehawken. The duel took place below the cliffs.

The Elks Lamb

In front of the Elks Lodge in Hoboken is a giant lamb. My first thought is “They’re Elks, so what’s with the lamb?” Secondly… is it me or does this thing look like the Golden Calf out of the Bible? I’m expecting Hittites to come out and start worshiping Baal or something…


The Sopranos Mufflerman

By definition, a Muffler man is a 20-30 foot tall fiberglass character, typically male, used to draw attention to a local business. Thge original mufflermen were built from 1963-1973 and according to Roadside America, no more are made since the original molds have long since been destroyed. They only made humans with the exception of a dinosaur for the Sinclair oil company. Large fiberglass animals are not mufflerman by definition, though most folks call them that anyway. Nowadays there are lots of fiberglass people and animals all about. If it was made after 1973 it’s not a true original mufflerman!

This mufflerman is located in Jersey City, under the Pulaski Highway off Route 1 & 9. it can be seen in the opening credits of the Sopranos.