New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hell's Gate

If you are driving in New Jersey on the Turnpike through the industrial corridor, passing through towns like Carteret, Rahway, and Elizabeth, you will see (and smell) many oil refineries. To most travelers, these are hideous. But if you are traveling at night, everything about them can become strangely beautiful because it's so extremely different (I'm reminded of Paul Theroux's fascination with travel in Northern Ireland because of its extreme nature). You have a really bleak landscape with no sign of humans, networks of lights, tall dark silhouettes of towers and huge flames shooting into the night sky. It is surreal, like a fairy tale world.
The subject of today's photo is certainly more readily likable but I find it does share some things with the aforementioned landscapes (certainly, elements in this photo are not inherently beautiful, like the smokestacks from Con Edison's power plant) - to really like this vista one does have to find beauty in the industrial or structural. Like the Eiffel Tower, designed by an engineer, it is loved by some and hated by many.
The bridge in the foreground is the Triborough, behind it is the Hell Gate Bridge (formerly the New York Connecting Railroad Bridge) - a steel arch railroad bridge spanning Queens and Wards/Randalls Islands. In the foreground you have the East River looking north (from Manhattan) as it splits around the islands.
I found the scene beautiful - bridges, the river, golden evening light, clouds, and the moon. It's about picking your battles and the right vantage point at the right time. For some there is beauty in these vistas; others have abandoned all hope, for they are at Hell's Gate ...

13 comments:

Calusarus said...

Nice light on this bridge shot.

Lucy said...

beautiful photo, and true that beauty is where you find it...

Sailor Girl said...

Great shot!
And what a coincidence!! My today's first picture depicts the Sea at a place called «Hell's Mouth», in Cascais!!!!!

Naomi D said...

So many trees & so few buildings. Amazing light too.

RD said...

I grew up in Elizabeth (have been gone almost 30 years now), and still remember the oil refineries that dotted some of the landscape. One exploded one night in the early 70s-- we all thought Armaggeddon had arrived. This is a beautiful picture. There can be real "beauty" in industrial settings--just a different, colder kind of beauty.

Clueless in boston said...

Beautiful shot. I believe there is beauty in everything, and in structures like this especially so.

Brian said...

The more you bring to an experience, the richer your life will be.

Michael said...

Where were your standing when you took this photo?

b13 said...

Beautiful. The reflections, the moon, the sparse clouds... Is it truly a path to Hell... or Heaven?

slinger said...

The colors are outstanding. Well done!

Twin Cities Daily Photo

Brian said...

Michael;
Photo was taken from Carl Schurz Park.

b13 - Heaven.

slinger - thanks.

Jeremy said...

Brian ... another NY gem ... thanks for all the history lessons and the stories ... love it ... cheers from Wellington, NZ

Tuga7 said...

very cool light on the bridge.