Archive for April, 2011

April 30, 2011

Little Leaugers on Parade!

We need a parade!

I happened to visit Madison today JUST as the Little League parade was starting! How cool is that? It royally screwed up traffic, but it looked like fun. 🙂

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April 29, 2011


Adams Shopping Center, former home of Our Lady of Peace, Wahl's Blacksmith, and others.

This is Adams Shopping Center, but back in the day, it was home to the original Our Lady of Peace church, a blacksmith, and a hotel-saloon. (Probably a general store, too.) The Academy is juuuuust out of view on the right.

Our Lady of Peace, original building, New Providence, 1919-1955

It’s also a different view of The Crossroads, which apparently is the familiar name for the main drag of New Providence.

April 28, 2011

Our Lady of Peace (2)

Our Lady of Peace school

When Our Lady of Peace moved to this site, the parochial school was opened in 1954, and it has operated continuously since then. It was designated an Academy by the Archdiocese in 2008.

April 27, 2011

O is for Our Lady of Peace

the "Church in the Round"

Our Lady of Peace is the Catholic church in New Providence. The congregation was founded in February 1919, from parishioners of St. Teresa’s (Summit) and St. Mary’s (Berkeley Heights) who had gotten sick of traveling so far (by foot, or by buggy) every week.

The congregation initially met in the Borough Hall’s upper room for about year, until the lot next door was purchased and Our Lady of Peace’s first church was completed in December 1919. Its small interior could seat 162 people in total.

Our Lady of Peace, original building, New Providence, 1919-1955

(This is the original 1919 church.)

Unsurprisingly, the church was horribly overcrowded by 1950, even with five Masses every Sunday.

To resolve this, in 1954, Our Lady of Peace moved down the street, temporarily held Masses in a 500-seat “basement church,” and made plans to build a permanent church. However, between 1950 and 1960, New Providence’s population tripled, which nobody had really planned for. Just three years later, in 1957, even the large basement church was so overcrowded that it needed to hold seven Sunday Masses to accommodate everyone.

While finalizing the plans for a permanent church, an “interim”/”multi-purpose” church was built and first used in 1961.

(All of these not-churches that were being built were apparently within the plans; the site was eventually intended to become a large campus for the church, school, and convent of ten nuns, so the basement and multi-purpose room were buildings that they would’ve been constructing anyway.)

The new church was designed in 1964:

Architect [Edward W.] Fanning laid out dozens of schemes, made scores of sketches and complete redesigns before one of them met Father Kelly’s requirements [i.e. “modern, up-to-date,” and large enough for the growing population] and the essential principles for church design established by Vatican II.

Finally, in 1965, they broke ground for the new construction. The church was finished and its first Mass was held in 1966.



Gonczlik, J. & Coddington, J. (1998). Images of America: New Providence. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC.

Our Lady of Peace Parish. (2010). Parish history. Available

Orleans, F.W. (1977). Church of Our Lady of Peace. Custombook, Inc.: South Hackensack, NJ.

April 26, 2011

Baby leaves

Deep sea angler fish in your own backyard!

Baby leaves! Not quite a leaf bud, not quite a leaf. So cute.

Well, sort of. They kind of remind me of deep sea anglerfish.

Did you know—this came up at work the other day—did you know that anglerfish reproduce by… well, the male’s digestive system starts failing around when he reaches fish-puberty, so he needs to find a female really quickly. (He’s about the size of your thumb.) When he finds a lady (female anglerfish are more football-sized), he bites her.

Standard mating ritual, right? NO. His head fuses to her body, and soon the male has been absorbed into the female—no eyes, no brain, no gills, no fins, no nothing. Just a nubbin of gonads hanging off the female. Because the neurovasculature becomes intertwined, she can control the release of sperm hormonally, and fertilize her own eggs.

When researchers first discovered anglerfish, they thought the fish just had these weird extra limbs. No, those were absorbed male fish.


I totally didn’t believe this when I first heard it, but the internet tells me it’s true.
(Animal Planet) (Wikipedia) (National Geographic) (The Oatmeal)

…and there you go.

April 25, 2011

NJTransit: Train interiors!

NJTransit: Bombardier Multilevel Coach (double-decker)

On New Jersey Transit’s Morris-Essex line, we have four basic types of passenger rail cars. They all look pretty much the same from the outside, so here’s an inside look!

Firstly, and featured above, is the top level of one of the double-decker Bombardier Multilevel Coaches. It’s pretty much the newest thing on NJTransit lines! There is bench-style seating in the vestibules between cars—especially useful if you can’t go up or down stairs.

Next, above, we have the oldest of the bunch. (I’m not going in any perceptible order.) These shoddy old poorly-lit brown cars are Arrow IIIs! They were originally built in 1978, but near the doors, there’s a little plate that says “1994” (or thereabouts), because that’s when they were rebuilt. Many/most of the Hoboken-Gladstone trains are Arrow IIIs.

The next two images are cheats; the first photo was taken a few years ago, on the North Jersey Coast line, and the second photo is from Wikipedia.

Much of the fleet is comprised of various models of Comets. They all look pretty much the same, until you start looking for a center door or a lavatory, and realize THERE ISN’T ONE. I take a Comet IIM to work every morning (and usually home, too. The same exact train! Car 5321, BOTH WAYS! How weird is that?) Comet IIs were built around 1983 but rebuilt to look new and shiny around the turn of the century.

NJTransit: Comet V (maroon seats)

Finally, we have the Comet Vs, which are very different from the other Comets. They’ve got maroon seats! On the Morris-Essex line, they’re usually mixed in with other blue-seated Comets. I haven’t been in one in YEARS. Photo credit NHRHS2010.

This concludes our insider tour of train interiors. Was it exciting for you? All this talk of blue seats, brown seats, and maroon seats? I sure hope so.

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April 24, 2011

Stigma, style, and stamens


Well I mean you’ve GOT to have Easter lilies on Easter, even in New Providence, even if they’re out of season (which lilies are, this time of year).

Apparently the term “pistil” is growing out of favor, so you can’t call ’em “pistils and stamens” anymore. The central thingie is a bulbous “stigma” on the end of a long slender “style.”

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April 23, 2011

History and an emblem.

Berkeley Heights: 200 years

Even though Berkeley Heights has only been called “Township of Berkeley Heights” since 1951, it’s been its own township since 1809 (as evidenced by this banner). But back then, it was called “Township of New Providence.” So when you’re reading about “New Providence” in historical texts, it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether the writer meant “Township of New Providence” (Berkeley Heights) or “Borough of New Providence” (modern-day New Providence).

Even so, before 1951, the community was KNOWN as Berkeley Heights, so the new name will still pop up from time to time. It was possibly named after the Berkeley of Berkeley and Carteret… but the origin is really obscure, so don’t take my word on that.

The official town seal, seen here on these two-year-old banners in town, was designed by an 8th-grader in 1960:

In the spring of 1960 the Berkeley Heights Township Committee sponsored a contest in the schools to select a township seal. Patricia Jean Taylor, an eigth grader at Columbia School, designed the winning seal, which is used on official vehicles, uniforms, stationery, and the township flag. Patricia’s central symbol is the dogwood tree, which is native to this area. The test tube, the quill, and the arrowhead represent the importance of scientific research, education, and the heritage of the Lenni-Lenape Indians in the growth and development of the township of Berkeley Heights.

So there ya go.


Troeger, Virginia B. (1996). Images of America: Berkeley Heights. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. 6.

April 22, 2011



The forsythia are starting to fade, but they’re surprisingly sturdy blooms.

On a vaguely relevant but mostly silly note: when I was little, I had the toughest time pronouncing “forsythia.” It was almost as bad as “library” or “February.” To this day, it’s difficult for me to not add an “N” and say “ForCynthia.”

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April 21, 2011

Cheery cherry


You guys!!! Flowering cherries are flowering! How awesome is that! It’s very awesome, that’s how awesome it is.

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