On Shipwrecks in Washington Heights


In which The Gay Recluse photographs shipwrecks lining the Hudson north of the George Washington Bridge.

Time and date of photographs: March 30, 2008 (afternoon)

As usual, there were those who did not survive the winter.

We tend to look at the wreckage with some disdain: “That could never happen to us!”

Yet! There is a mythological allure to the rocks, and some of this must be attributed to the promise of annihilation.

And is it so illogical when we are surrounded by such disasters?

And when there is more than some beauty to be found in the wreckage?

True: we are undoubtedly alone (and those who pretend otherwise always embarrass themselves).

One consolation: we are surely not the first (or last) to feel this way.

Those arriving in Washington Heights for the first time are often surprised to hear splintering, cracking sounds in the distance, sounds which like breaking bones or the felling of ancient trees barely need to be identified to be recognized. “Oh yes,” we nod impassively, but then feel compelled to elaborate. “The shoreline is rocky and treacherous for those unfamiliar with its jagged contours, and what you hear is the slow wreckage of some poor soul who has strayed too close, perhaps after being caught in the terrible riptide of the Hudson. Such reminders of our fate — though you are right to presume that some are more literal than others — are pervasive in Washington Heights; to live here you must learn to appreciate this fundamental truth.”

–The Gay Recluse, September 2007

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One Response to “On Shipwrecks in Washington Heights”

  1. 1 the blind architect

    as usual, any noteworthy thing you can find in Washington Heights has already been done to death in the real Manhattan a few miles to the south. As a young man, before I lost my vision in a freak garden weasel-related accident, I snapped this shot of the cruise liner Normandie (rechristened the USS Lafayette during WW2) lying capsized in the Hudson River piers in the mid-40’s (that’s streets, not years). http://www.answers.com/topic/normandieny-jpg-1

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