Postcard from another Venice

Here’s a photo that may be a stage set for an Aladdin revival, an idealized Middle Eastern city. The caption in this 1920s postcard and the flags identifies it as Basra, Iraq, a city on the Shatt Al-Arab waterway that contains many canals within it, earning the nickname Venice of the East.

basra 1.JPG

I don’t expect to be visiting Basra during my lifetime, but I know that this postcard image dates to a more peaceful time in this storied city.

Continue reading

Fresh Creek, Brooklyn

On the stretch of Belt Parkway between exits 9 and 17, the scenic highway rings the shore of Jamaica Bay, crossing over six inlets of the bay. A century ago, these inlets were freshwater streams that originated further inland, each with its own history.

Fresh Creek.JPG

Among these streams is Fresh Creek, which separates the neighborhoods of Starrett City and Canarsie.

Continue reading

Old Oak Pond, Queens

In a ravine sandwiched between a house and an apartment building in the Douglaston neighborhood of Queens, there is a pond that I was not aware of when I wrote Hidden Waters of New York City. I knew that Alley Pond Park has many ponds and lakes within it, but I never knew about Old Oak Pond.

title shot.jpg

I was informed about it by local resident Kevin Walsh of Forgotten-NY. He advised to wait until the winter season when there is less vegetation blocking views of the pond, a fewer ticks. But I could not wait.

Continue reading