Archive for March, 2011

March 31, 2011

Rings of green

It's not easy being green

A recently-cut stump features moss? mold? algae? clinging only to its rings. Interesting! I wonder what’s so much better about the rings?

…Side note on lingustic silliness: have you ever wondered why we usually end “I wonder…” phrases with a question mark? ‘Cos really, you’re just stating your wonderment about something. That’s always bothered me. Rrgh.

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March 30, 2011

K is for Keystone

Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School! Why wasn't my middle school this fancy?

The keystone is the stone at the apex of an arch. It’s not *reeeeally* prominent here, but you can see it if you kinda squint at the Tudor arch (Gothic arch? it’s apparently Gothic architecture) at the bottom.

(Pssst… click here for a Google street view of the building!)

According to the school’s own website, “Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students attend Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School in a beautiful 1920s building that has been totally renovated with up-to-date classrooms, labs, and equipment.” The building served as Summit’s high school until 1962, and the space was periodically shared with the middle school during that time.

It gets excellent ratings on

The Summit Middle School was renamed to the Lawton C. Johnson Middle School in 2004 in honor of… Lawton C. Johnson, of course!

March 29, 2011


Merck! The Schering-Plough entrance is around the other way.

This is one of Merck’s many sites. (Click here to see it on a map!)

According to an article in The Independent Press last year, “the property has been a pharmaceutical research site since 1937, when Ciba first set up shop, with 98 employees in five buildings. That company merged with Sandoz [in 1996] to become Novartis. [Ten] years ago [in 2000] Schering-Plough purchased the property until the latest merger [in 2009].”

Merck is also Summit’s biggest taxpayer ($8 million per year!). Whoa.

March 28, 2011

Power lines


When I first examined the Google satellite map for the Passaic River Park area, I was struck by these random diagonal clearings in the woods that stretched for miles.

Diagonal clearing - do you see it?

It took me a little while to figure out that they’re clearings for power lines.

Probably obvious, but I’ve never really thought about what it takes to set up and maintain electricity networks.

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March 27, 2011

Overlook Hospital

Overlook Hospital: Now more than 30 beds.

Overlook Hospital (today’s version above, 1910s? version below, both built on the same plot of land and seen from similar views) was founded in 1906 by a 26-year-old doctor as the first hospital in the Summit area.

Overlook Hospital, date unknown (early 1900s?)

From Glimpses into Summit’s past:

This 75’x40′ structure had an operating room, X-ray facilities and a hydraulic elevator, and offered 30 beds in two wards and 12 private rooms. It was open to the patients of all practicing physicians, and its policies were “to care for all proper and deserving cases at all times, but no TB [tuberculosis], mental, contagious or otherwise objectionable cases.”

Today, apparently Overlook Hospital tries to appeal to patients’ vanity, and boasts that it has one nifty piece of equipment in the hospital. From Overlook’s main page:

Why Overlook Hospital? Because you care about your image, and our state-of-the-art 320 slice CT scanner provides clear pictures of your heart and brain [no other organs, I guess?], helping doctors diagnose you, treat you, and get you looking your best again.

It’s probably a joke on the whole “medical visualizing” thing, but I’ve gotta say, that shpiel ain’t sellin’ me on it.


Vintage photo and information from:

The Summit Historical Society. (1978). Glimpses into Summit’s past: A selection of photographs and texts tracing the city’s growth. Benway, Maxwell & Smith: Chatham, NJ. 69.

March 26, 2011


Here lie a lot of folks.

This is the cemetery across the road from the New Providence Methodist Church. (Pssst – click here for a Google street view of the cemetery.)

I think it goes with the church, but either way, it’s historical:

In remembrance...

This placard near the front of the cemetery reads:

In remembrance of the soldiers of the War for American Independence who are buried in these grounds
Erected by the Passaic Valley Chapter New Jersey Society Sons of the American Revolution
April 19 1929


March 25, 2011

Passaic River Park Exploration

The mighty Passaic River! ...looks kinda puny.

Remember a few weeks ago, when I was all like “OMG the Passaic River Park is right behind my apartment”? Of course you don’t. But I have made an updated discovery!

Not only is the Passaic River Park right behind my apartment (which, it turns out, is WAY LESS than a 15-minute walk from my apartment; there’s a trail that starts in my backyard! Well, “backyard,” it’s an apartment, whatever), but it hosts a network of tiny trails that run alongside a fair portion of the Passaic River!

I know, this sounds dumb, but it’s not on maps. Maps will tell you that there are a few teeny little parks that happen to abut the Passaic River, but they mention NOTHING about the interconnectedness of it all. So here’s my own map! (With help from Google, of course.)

Passaic River Parkway: Possibly in full!

(Blue = Passaic River, Lime green = park/trails, Red = some landmarks)

The trails kind of look like they’ve been maintained by nearby residents and volunteers, like whoever had a leftover bit of material built a bridge, like some random Boy Scout troop spent a couple weekends lining the paths with branches. There are DEFINITELY areas where you have to pause and figure out how exactly you’re going to cross this mud puddle/ ravine/ other obstacle. I’d hate to jog it when there’s lots of growth and going off the path is less of an option.

Also! You can access the trails from any of the nearby dead ends/ cul-de-sacs.

I have only explored between the Passaic River Park and Oakwood Park (both circled in red). Although I haven’t actually explored east/north of the Passaic River Park, the official Union County map says that all that lime green area is officially Passaic River Parkway! I look forward to checking it out some other weekend.

March 24, 2011


What the heck, Spring!

It snowed AGAIN yesterday! And it actually stuck! We got a full-blown (wellll, half-blown) slippery nightmare-driving winter-y ice storm last night! And I was comfortably jogging in not-long-pants less than a week ago. What the heck, Spring. What. The. Heck.

March 23, 2011

J is for Jack arch

It's fun to stay at the...

Also for “jacket!” But I think that’s more of a coat. When I’m stuck for alphabet words, I can always rely on architectural terms to pull me through; the windows on the second floor exhibit jack arches. I think. I could be totally misunderstanding the jack-arch concept.

Aaanyway, this is the Summit YMCA.

Summit YMCA, 1898.

And so is this! But it’s a different building.

The Summit YMCA was organized in 1886, when a group of “concerned citizens” rented a four-room apartment for two years (within which they housed young Christian men, I’m assuming). It was just a trial to see if Summit could actually use a YMCA of its own.

Apparently so! In 1888, they bought a small lot and built a small building, which was used as the first “official” Summit YMCA. It lasted until 1893.

The second YMCA (shown here) was also built especially for the cause, and it was used from 1893-1912. It was designed to house 100 members, but by 1908 it had grown to 370!

Well, they outgrew their quarters, so the third and present building, shown as the featured photo, was also custom-built, and officially opened in 1912. And it remains a center of activity today (aww).


Vintage photo and information from:

The Summit Historical Society. (1978). Glimpses into Summit’s past: A selection of photographs and texts tracing the city’s growth. Benway, Maxwell & Smith: Chatham, NJ. 65.

March 22, 2011


C'mon let's do the elec-tric traaaain (boogie-woogie-woogie)

Another NJ Transit train engine! This is one of the electric ones (I think) that can go directly through the tunnel into New York. (Diesel trains would explode or something if they went through the tunnel, so they have to diverge off into Hoboken instead.)

NJ Transit, Morris-Essex Line + Gladstone Branch. See the Hoboken/New York split on the right? And can you find New Providence?

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