Wednesday, February 27, 2013

American Dreams in Trenton, New Jersey

American Dreams in Costa Rica, Too

I took my son to our state's capital to do some paperwork so he can get working papers in Costa Rica, where he's an expat. His American Dream--and it's come true for him--is to be happy, working just enough to support himself, and relaxing with friends. I had trouble understanding it at first, being a person driven for accomplishments, but I'm surprised that I'm beginning to think he might just be on to something. 

Trenton looked like it was having tough times: badly potholed roads, storefronts that were empty or did not look prosperous. But there were some special spots, and I photographed them for you.

I was pleased to find an intimate mews right off of State Street, where many 
huge government buildings lurked.

Along the mews was a statue of George Washington, carved in Italy. He's standing on the prow of a boat so small it would sink under his weight in real life. The statue commemorates the Battle of Trenton, a decisive victory for the Continental Army. Washington had cannon dragged across the frozen Delaware River, from Philadelphia to Trenton. He probably walked across the ice himself.

Another shot of city townhouses near State Street.

The Mill Hill playhouse, near the townhouses, is where local people dream dreams of theatrical success.

The government buildings of State Street are reflected in the theater's sign.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New London: Recession Killed Some American Dreams

I explored New London on a cold, wintry day. I had to watch where I stepped amongst the slush and ice. New London must have once been magnificent, and it's heartbreaking to see it today.

On Bank Street, I spotted that thing of beauty, an independent coffee shop. Muddy Waters promises "incredible pastries" in the window. I'm an addict, so I'll have to go back to check.

Across the street, signs of the recession--empty storefronts with tattered awnings. Each storefront represent and American Dream gone bust.

A mural in New London.

Another mural. The artistry is beautiful, but the paint will have to last while exposed to salt air from the Long Island Sound. New London is a gritty, struggling city, like so many others in the country. I can't wait for the recession to end (but will it ever? In bleaker moments, I wonder.) Next week: Unexpected gems inTrenton, NJ! I was pleased to make some discoveries in my state's capital.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New London and the American Dream

Whaling captains and ship's carpenters built interesting houses in New London, as they did in Mystic (see previous posts). Those hardy captains and whale oil merchants dreamed big American Dreams and, based on their ability to navigate the world's oceans and markets, respectively, they made their dreams come true. Some of their houses are now divided up into apartments, the grandeur of the staircases lost forever. 

The interesting doorway to an historic house in New London, complete with UPS package 
waiting on the doorstep.

Great commercial architecture from the 1800s. The storefronts are empty.

New London's working waterfront. You can take your car from New London to the eastern tip of Long Island. By ferry it's a two-hour trip, by highway more like eight hours, especially considering traffic.

This ferry doesn't carry cars and travels the Long Island Sound at a much faster clip.