Tag Archives: Photograph

Reading the Landscape: 46

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Riding through Watchung Reservation in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, I come upon the Deserted Village of Feltville.

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I park my bike to have a look around.

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The Deserted Village of Feltville is in some ways the model for all American suburbia. An employer builds housing for his workers.

David Felt, a businessman in Boston, Massachusetts, decided to move to New York City in 1825. By 1844, the production of his mill could not grow fast enough to meet the demands of the merchants he supplied, so Felt began to look for land in New Jersey on which to build a second factory. Eventually he bought land from the descendants of Peter Willcox, and in two years, he had built a mill on Blue Brook, two dams for the mill, and a town for the workers in the mill. He named this new town “Feltville”. Within the little town, Felt gained the nickname of “King David”, for he required the residents to attend services in the churchhouse and their children to attend classes in a one-room schoolhouse.

The nearby towns of Basking Ridge and Berkeley Heights started out in fact as corporate villages for the gigantic Bell Labs complex in Basking Ridge. Feltville is now part of the Watching Reservation and the Union County Park system (one of the few things New Jersey has ever done right.

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What to do if you find Yogi and Boo Boo trying to steal your picnic baskets. I occasionally see black bears in Watching Reservation but never manage to get close enough to take a photograph (not really a good idea anyway).

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Don’t selfie-shame me bro.

Reading the Landscape: 9

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Wychwood is a turn of the (last) century gated community in the West Fields of Elizabethtown, New Jersey. Originally built for rich New York commuters who wanted to live inside a Thomas Kinkade painting, it featured a Tudor Revival gatehouse that stood at its entrance for many years before it burned down in 2013. I doubt the gate ever locked. Instead, it was an ostentatious display of wealth, a signal to the rest of the world that “the people who live here are filthy fucking rich and would rather the common people stayed the fuck out.”

Reading the Landscape: 8

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All through the interminable Presidential election of 2015 and 2016 I have ridden my bike through Union County, New Jersey. I have seen the Democratic strongholds of Elizabeth, Linden, Union, Rahway, Hillside and Roselle. I have climbed the Watchung Mountains into Republican Summit, New Providence and Berkeley Heights. I have explored Clark, Kenilworth, Plainfield, Scotch Plains, and Roselle Park. Yet only today, and only in my backyard, have I found the Holy Grail, an actual supporter of John Kasich. Since people who live on Orange Avenue in Cranford, New Jersey don’t usually work  in the corporate media — where up until now the only supporters of John Kasich and Marco Rubio have ever been sighted — I have every reason to believe that it is authentic. There may be only one, but there is at least one.