Wednesday, April 27, 2011
At World's End
"I think we’ve all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically." -- Capt. Jack Sparrow
Q.: "What's a Pirate's favorite letter of the alphabet?"
Thanksgiving weekend, 2010: The family and I spent the holiday at my folks' house on the North Fork of Long Island. Nature cooperated (no snow, ice, or volcanic eruptions) while we were visiting the Casa de Kane on the long weekend in November. Yes, we had the all-day cook fest in the kitchen, the traditional carving of the bird, and that hazy glow which typically follows the intake of roughly 6,700 calories (not including dessert).
I was hoping to post this sooner - sometime in 2010 would have been ideal, but time, like meandering shoppers on cellular phones in grocery aisles, seemed to get in the way at each turn of the calendar page.
Surprisingly, today's post has nothing to do with Pirates, Johnny Depp, or New York State Taxes (each being a bit 'piratical' in its own way). But rather, it's about a trip I wanted to take with my family for years which we finally - did.
This is that trip. While it took us five hours, I'm thinking that you can cover the same ground in less than five minutes. You won't need walking shoes, parka, or gloves, just toss on your reading glasses, give your Polly a cracker, pour a pint of grog (sorry, the Pirate-thing again), and follow the Kane family as we go the place in New York State 'closest to England'.
Perhaps not 'Worlds End' but certainly, New York's End.
Additional questions to ponder at this point...
Q.: "Sir, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?"
A.: "Practice, man, practice..."
Q.: "Sir, how do you get to Montauk Point from here?"
A.: "Well, if I were going to Montauk Point, I wouldn't start here..."
Ah, but we must start somewhere, mustn't we? And what better place to begin than in Greenport, NY taking the Shelter Island Ferry to the fashionable 'Hamptons'?
The day was a 'beauty'. It was cold, about 34 degrees with a constant wind cranking from the Southwest about 20 miles per hour. The sky was relatively clear, the air clean, and the travellers (including me), for the most part, were not as 'crabby' as they normally are. Hmm, might be a good day after all...
"Hey Jon, come out of the van and walk on the ferry with me! We'll see 'stuff'!"
"Dad, come on, it's cold out 'there'!" Seconds later, the door once again slid forward and the metallic 'CLACK' of the locks echoed across the deck of the ferry. Well, maybe it wasn't going to be a 'perfect' day, but we hadn't tossed anyone into the Bay (yet).
Here is the one of the 'other' Shelter Island Ferries. This one, I believe was named the 'Belle of the Bay' or something close to it. I've got to tell you that I sure was cold when I pulled myself back onto the deck of our ferry after jumping into the water to snap this photo (yes, I continue to do it 'all for you').
I'm pretty sure that I was in the water a little too long as I had begun to see 'Dead Relatives' beckoning me from the Island all the while surrounded by a brilliant white light. It was soooooo peaceful... I wanted to gooooooo....
My son took this photo once we arrived in some un-recognizable 'Hamptons' town. I have no idea why. I'm including it here in the off-chance that someone reading this might recognize it and clue me in as to why it may be important enough to photograph on MY road-trip.
"Hey Mike, where the heck are we going???" you will fairly ask.
"Arrrrgh, we be going to Montauk Lighthouse in Montauk, NY (a.k.a.: World's End)! Now give me back me parrot or I'll skin ye like a sheep! And while ye be passing that barrel there, ladle me out a pint!"
We've ARRIVED! First things first..."Here at Montauk State Park (and LightHouse) we are fiercely committed to protecting our environment! While there are THOUSANDS of perfectly good trees outside, we invite you to urinate into this state-of-the-art repository using the "Touch-Free, Hygienic, Waterfree Sloan Urinal"! This will save 40,000 gallons of fresh water, per urinal, per year! And before you thank US -- You're welcome!!! Oh, feel free to hold your breath on hot, sunny, summer days!"
This urinal, of course, was in a building less than 100 feet from the Atlantic Ocean. With a little time, sweat, duct tape and PVC pipe, I could have given them all the Water they wanted - for FREE.
AND, with a second set of PVC - all the wee would go into the sea! Sounds environmentally-sensitive to me...
The accursed Urinal in all of its porcelain infamy.
The Montauk Lighthouse:- Authorized by the Second congress in 1792, under President George Washington
- Construction began on June 7, 1796 and was completed on November 5, 1796
- First lighthouse in New York State
- Fourth oldest active lighthouse in the United States
- Foundation is 13'deep and 9' thick
- Constructed of sandstone blocks from Connecticut, 8" high and varying in length from 18" high to 44"
- The walls are 6' thick at the base tapering to 3' thick at the top
- The height of the tower is 110' 6"
- There are 137 iron steps to the top of the tower
- The light flashes every 5 seconds and can be seen a distance of 19 nautical miles
This is THAT lighthouse...
While stopping by the Montauk, be sure to visit our Guest Center (or else you can't get anywhere near the joint)...
Forty-Five Dollars and two minutes later...
The following is a statue dedicated to seamen who have lost their lives while sailing in partially-sea-worthy boats. No, I'm assuming that this was a bit of 'artistic license' on the part of the sculptor of this piece. Many souls have been lost fishing the waters of the northern Atlantic Ocean, this is in tribute to them (I shouldn't joke around with Memorials, but I WAS wondering where the rest of this muscular man's boat was... Maybe New York State (Feds?) ran out of money?)
The view from below...
The view from INSIDE...
The view almost all the way 'from the bottom to the top'... An ever-decreasing width of stairs.
A view from the top over-looking...
Yes, in the distance, just past the parking lot, the Sloan Water-Free Urinal building.
The view to the Right...
The view to the Left
The REALLY scary fake-guy from the 1800's with the flat-panel LCD TV on his desk. At this point, I didn't care if the lighthouse WAS haunted or not (according to the 'guide', it IS haunted), this guy was freaky enough... I hurried back out of this room sensing - 'EVIL' (and begining to tremble while looking at the really bad fake hair).
Here are the boys trying to keep warm AND their eyes open as the wind and sun buffet their bodies outside the lighthouse keeper's building (and museum! $45 gets you THIS close to it!).
The obligatory plaque discussing the Lighthouse, it's history, etc. This was located off the walkway in an area not accessible to tourists. I guess they don't want our 'stinking hands' on it?
Come on, you know that you'd buy the postcard of this photo if you found it at your local WalMart...
Here's a photo I took while flying in my private sea-plane looking back at the lighthouse! It's good to be me! Or perhaps, maybe it's just good to know how to 'Google' images online...
"I stand as on some mighty eagle's beak, Eastward the sea absorbing, viewing (nothing but sea
and sky), The tossing waves, the foam, the ships in the distance, The wild unrest, the snowy.
curling caps-that inbound urge and urge of waves, the shores forever . . ."
-- Walt Whitman, from "Leaves of Grass", 1883
Walt Whitman wrote this part of his poem, "Leaves of Grass" about the Montauk Lighthouse. While I cannot write as well as this (or any, for that matter) poet, I do appreciate the sentiments expressed by the man who, in addition to being a poet, managed to invent...
The "Whitman's Sampler"
No, I made that up. Or, did I?
As for me, all I can do is remind you (and myself) that in everyone is entitled to a FINITE number of 'perfect days'. The above day is one of mine.
If you get a chance to visit Long Island, remember to head 'East'. It's where history, nature, chocolate and the awe of God's work co-exist harmoniously at the lighthouse approved by our nation's second Congress, built under the watchful eye of President George Washington.
And did I mention the WaterFree Urinals? Oh, I see that I did.
Make it a great day folks!
They're all good - try to make each of them - GREAT.
Posted by Mike Kane