Long post, almost 1,800 words, with 25 fotos. As always, I don't mind if you just look at the pictures.
The Citizens' Campaign, a New Jersey group that encourages individuals to get involved in local government and that works to ban pay-to-play corruption, promote openness in government operations, etc., sent me word of an event tomorrow in the State Capitol Building (also known as the State House), so I thought this a good takeoff to show pix I took in Trenton on September 6th.
I had gone to the Greater Trenton area to see Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton (Township) on the Bank of America's "Museums on Us" program (free admission to BofA cardholders). I took many, many fotos there, the best of which I will show shortly before the next "Museums on Us" weekend, October 3rd and 4th.
The Trenton event tomorrow is not a Citizens' Campaign event per se, but is offered by the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government.
Join us for the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government's Open Government Symposium Friday, September 25.
New Jersey Comptroller Matthew Boxer, the keynote speaker, will discuss how his office's audits and reviews will help bring transparency to New Jersey's government.
Experts will also discuss the status of the Government Records Council (GRC), necessary improvements needed to maximize the potential of this advocacy body for citizens.
Open Government Symposium
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Friday, September 25
State Capitol Complex
Committee Room 6
125 West State St., Trenton
Call 908-418-5586, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or register online today [$10 per person].
(Is that really the best place for a TV/communications antenna? Don't the powers that be in Trenton realize that the State House is a tourist attraction?) Unfortunately, tho the weather had been glorious earlier in the day, clouds had moved in by the time I got to Trenton. Since it is too far away to put off taking fotos to a briter time, you'll have to use your imagination to picture these scenes in sunshine.I'm a political person, but this is not a subject area that much concerns me. I'm glad, however, that there are groups like the Citizens' Campaign and NJFOG (an unfortunate acronym for a group that works for transparency) to keep an eye on these things.
My eye in Trenton was drawn to things like the World War II Memorial, which wasn't there the last time I was in Trenton, at the end of my move from Manhattan in June 2000. It turns out that it is even more recent than I imagined, having been dedicated on November 11th (Veterans Day), 2008.
Apparently the creation of the Memorial was running far behind schedule until Governor Corzine pushed it thru. Corzine won't lead NJ to join our neighbors in New England in legalizing same-sex marriage, but it would seem he's not all bad.
Base of Victory statue.
Like so many monuments in our culture, the central theme, "Victory", is embodied in a female figure ("Lady Victory"). I have never understood such a choice. Men do the fiting but Victory is a woman?
There is a smaller (roughly life-size) statue of a man waving his platoon forward.
The loss of so many men's lives in that war is symbolized by a rifle embedded in the soil by its bayonet, and an empty helmet on top.
There are pictures and text on "story walls" around the statuary. This is the one that speaks of the Pacific Theater.
And this, the European Theater.
The NJ Military and Veterans Affairs website has a wonderful collection of WWII posters you can enlarge by clicking on each, but not all, of the pictures in a poster montage.
The brick surface of this water wall is too smooth to throw up obvious waterfall droplets. I guess it is intended to provide a contemplative curtain that flows rather than jounces.
New Jersey is so small, and the capital so centrally located, that Trenton is less than an hour and a half away from any part of Newark, about 50 miles by car from me. But I rarely get there. I'm not as bad about getting outside the city as I was when I lived in Manhattan, in that crosstown block immortalized in the Saul Steinberg poster about the insularity of Manhattanites, but I tend to stay in Essex County.
The State House is a wonderful but smallish building. Most state capitols, and I have seen perhaps 20, are wonderful buildings. Ours is no exception. The original structure was built in 1792, but the domed portion we recognize today was built in 1845. This view from the area between the Capitol and the Delaware River shows what may be the earlier (right) and later buildings. But I'm not sure the 1792 building hasn't been demolished.
Were we to build new, we'd probably want to go grander, but the present building has its charms. The dome is hard to see from most angles, but when I was taking pix of the back of the Old Barracks, I turned around and was startled to see this.
You can see why it's called the "Capitol Complex".
I'd like to get inside someday again, but parking in that area looks to be a problem. I was there on a Sunday, so had no difficulty finding free on-street parking. During a busy workday, I wouldn't count on that.
I have entirely too many pix of my short stay in Trenton on the 6th to use in one day. There will be other occasions to mention Trenton, and I'll use more then. I have a number of pix of the exterior, front and back, of the Old Barracks, which I'll use in a separate discussion someday. Who knows? I might even have gotten inside by then.
I did want to show pix of a fortuitous happenstance, tho. I had driven across the tiny, two-lane Calhoun Street bridge to the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River to see what the State House looks like from there, and chanced to see two kayakers on the shallow water.
My family lived during my teens on a small lake (Shadow Lake in the River Plaza section of Middletown Township), and we had a wooden canoe for a while. I don't know if metal or fiberglass canoes were even made then, but we wouldn't have wanted one in any case. We enjoyed many hours of paddling, and turning the canoe over and experiencing the sparkling indirect lite of the air-filled space below. But I've never been in a kayak.
I don't know if kayaking is so popular on that stretch of the Delaware (the Delaware has some white-water areas) that you would likely see kayakers any Sunday you go, but I was happy to see them.
There were Canada geese on the water. One kayaker headed right for them, and just AFTER I took this next picture, they bolted and flew off in a group away from the kayaker, doing that goosy walk-on-water, flap-wings thing until they could get airborne.
I owe my name to Trenton. My parents named me "Lee Craig Schoonmaker", and I was called "Lee" in childhood. When I learned U.S. history, I was very unhappy to find that the lead general of the Confederacy in the Civil War was a monster called "Robert E. Lee". (I learned this week, by the way, that George McClellan, who organized the Union Army of the Potomac, was later a Governor of New Jersey.) And "Lee" is gender-ambiguous, which I also did not appreciate.
One day in high school, I participated in a mock legislature (NJ Senate) in the State House sponsored by Hi-Y and Tri-Hi-Y, youth groups of the YMCA and YWCA respectively. While there, I heard the winning candidate for (mock) Governor pronounce his first name, "Craig", as Kreg. My parents had always pronounced it in the more authentic Scottish or Irish fashion, Kraeg, which I distinctly did not like. I preferred even "Lee" to Kraeg. But when this guy (who had an odd, semi-British speech pattern overall) said Kreg, I thought, "I like that." When I later found that Craig means "rock", as in Rock Hudson, I liked it even better. So once I had moved to Manhattan and, years later, switched campuses within the City University of New York, I decided to move from my first to middle name, and retain only the initial "L." at the beginning. Governments don't like people to use their middle names, however, so for legal purposes (driver's license and such), I am still "Lee". But don't call me that.
Returning to the takeoff for this post, an email from the Citizens' Campaign, they are the people who hold seminars, in person and online, to help individuals get onto city boards and commissions. My sister Trina has served on the Citizen Police Complaint Commission of the City of Long Beach, California for a few years, and now I see that she is Chair, as of this past July! She has encouraged me to serve on a Newark commission to my liking, because she really enjoys the work. She sent out this email, with picture, on Tuesday.
That's the Firearms Room at the Long Beach Crime Lab - our first stop of an interesting day. There were approximately 400 guns on the wall used for testing purposes, parts, etc. After this we went to the Juvenile Detention facilities, then toured the jail. Truly fascinating day.
That's not something I'd be interested in. Maybe public art or historic preservation. I'll have to think about this and do some research on what commissions have openings.