Archive for August, 2011

August 31, 2011

Post-Irene: Revisited

This used to be a road. Now it is a lake.

Remember how I was all like “Hurricane Irene, Schmuricane Irene”?

This was a loading dock. Now it's what, a pier?

The photos above are from the Meadowlands (out of my 10-mile radius, in north Jersey, right outside New York City), which is normally a swamp on a dry day. After all this rain, it’s still crazy flooded. I took both of these photos this morning (Wednesday, August 31, 2011) from the train.

And now, the local news.

Don't fall!

Remember how I said New Providence barely got scratched by Irene? I didn’t look in the right direction. This is right next to the New Providence train station (if you look closely at the far left of the photo, you can see a guy waiting for the 6:39 morning train).

That pole is leaning at a disturbing angle because…

Division Street: Divided.

…its neighboring three poles are all on the ground, completely cutting off Division Street.

Whoa. That sucks.

I have not yet seen the Passaic River, but I hope to check it out this weekend (if it doesn’t rain). It’s apparently flooding terribly, but the river is usually more of a creek by the time it trickles past Summit, so I don’t know what to expect. I bet the trails through the Passaic River Park are trashed, too.

P.S. Here’s a slideshow of the floods that screwed up New Jersey Transit.

August 30, 2011

Country clubbin’

Maplewood Country Club

The predecessor of the Maplewood Country Club [website] was the Maplewood Field Club.

Maplewood Field Club, c.1910

This photo was taken around 1910.

I… it… it seems like a nice place to go. I don’t know much about country clubs. I’ve never been invited to one. My impression is that you go and play billiards or golf or something, and you wear fancy polo shirts, and have fancy catered dinner parties where you can talk to all your other country club friends.

Are you a member of a country club? Don’t hesitate to tell me what goes on in there.



Durand-Hedden House and Garden Association. (1998). Images of America: Maplewood. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0752412795.

August 29, 2011


So much damage from Irene! Not really, this was the worst I could find.

This area did not get hit as hard as it could’ve. In fact, compared to most of what I’ve heard from the rest of New Jersey, New Providence/Summit got off pretty easy.

Yes, there’s still a “boil water” advisory for towns that get their water from the Millburn Water Supply.

Yes, New Jersey Transit was totally out of commission today. (They have announced that they will be running tomorrow [Tuesday, August 30, 2011], with the exception of the Northeast Corridor between Trenton and New Brunswick [WSJ article here].)

But this tree was about the worst “image of damage” I could find. So. That’s pretty good, I think.

August 28, 2011

After Irene: First impressions

Bailing out

I’m hoping this will post. My internet is functional, but just barely. (Think “tin cans on a string.”) On the other hand, I hear that cable is completely out, so thank goodness for 5 kb/sec DSL, eh?

From what I’ve seen, we in New Providence seem to have escaped Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene without the heavy damage I’m hearing about from other areas.

This morning, while the storm was still raging, maintenance had to come and bail out a small flood on a basement apartment stoop (photo above).

Aside from that, I haven’t seen really bad flooding here. Then again, I live right by a city called “Summit,” so: not really a low-lying area.

(Speaking of Summit: Summit, Millburn, Maplewood, South Orange, West Orange, and I think Irving have a “boil water” advisory. Good thing I stocked up on drinking water.)

I’m lucky enough to still have electricity, but less than a quarter mile down the road, there is a downed power line on Springfield Avenue.

Power line down on Springfield Avenue near Maple Street, New Providence

I talked to a guy further along the street, and he claimed the whole area had no power. I noted that a street light (Springfield Avenue/ Maple Street) and several houses were running on generators.

The debris I saw was minimal, except for this.

Branch on Springfield Avenue, New Providence, near Summit

In the grand scheme of things, the destruction of a “plz go slow kthnx” sign isn’t the end of the world.

August 27, 2011

Hurricane preparations

At least there's SOMETHING on those shelves.

So we’re all kind of freaking out about this whole hurricane thing. Well, I’m freaking out, anyway.

Last night, I walked to a nearby grocer to buy some water. Alas, there was none to buy.

This morning, around 8:30AM, I went to the A&P. They still had some water, but it was rapidly disappearing from the shelves.

Well, the cheap bread is gone, anyway.

Same for bread. Probably batteries too, but I didn’t check.

(Those loaves on the right are about $5/loaf, which is probably more than most people want to spend on “just in case” bread.)

The store was inordinately crowded for 8:30AM, as you might imagine.

At this point in the afternoon, I think we’re all just kind of waiting around for the storm to start pummeling us. It’s been sort of drizzly/ rainy all day, but it’s supposed to start being awful from late tonight (i.e. midnight, 1AM, something like that) through Sunday afternoon. The flood warning stays in effect until Monday.

On a personal note, my internet is pretty much nonfunctional. (I’m writing this from the library.) I have a non-storm-related post scheduled, but I probably won’t be able to give any sort of update on Hurricane Irene until Monday. I will try, though.

August 26, 2011

Life is bitter as chicory.


As you might be able to tell from the file name of that JPG, I was all ready to tell you guys that this little purple-blue wildflower was a Bachelor’s Button (also apparently known as a “cornflower”).

But no!

(c) Johnathan J. Stegeman, via Wikipedia

THIS is a Bachelor’s Button. My image, at the top, is a Chicory flower.

If I’d actually read the first paragraph of that Wikipedia article (which says, right there, up front, “‘Cornflower’ is also erroneously used for chicory”), I could’ve figured this out immediately instead of scouring the interweb for 15 minutes, but here we are.

…Beyond chicory flowers, we’re all buckling down for the upcoming Hurricane Irene. It’s supposed to be a doozie— though not as much of a doozie as it’ll be in the South. But we in the Northeast aren’t really set up to weather hurricanes very well, since we don’t have that many. Wish us luck.

August 25, 2011

Bank it

The bank, which is not a bank

A landmark building in the center of downtown Millburn, the First National Bank of Millburn was originally built in 1909.

Millburn First National Bank, 1910

It’s currently home to Deborah Gilbert Smith [website], Coco [website], and probably some apartments or offices on the top floors. There’s no longer any bank there—no obvious one, anyway.



The Millburn-Short Hills Historical Society. (n.d.). [title of page]

August 24, 2011


Dabbawalla on the wall

First, a nosy and irrelevant question: Did you, fearless reader, come here via Facebook? If so, via whom or what? I’ve been getting a lot of Facebook referrals lately, and they’re not from me, and I’m curious.

Moving on:

Dabbawalla is an Indian restaurant in downtown Summit.

A “dabbawalla,” the namesake of the place, is (from what I can tell) a person (in India) who delivers your lunch to your office for you, and returns the empty canister to your home at night, so you don’t have to carry it.

I have never been inside this restaurant, so I can’t comment on the food; I’m not much for eating out.

Here is what I do know:

This is not the front entrance.

August 23, 2011

Old town hall 2!

Hall of the town!

Millburn’s Town Hall was built in 1912.

Millburn Town Hall, date unknown (1930s?)

It is still there.

Y’know, sometimes I just don’t have much to say about these things.



Lampe, O.W. (1999, 2000). Images of America: Millburn. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738504130.



EDIT, UPDATE: So there was this 5.8 earthquake in Virginia today, which you probably felt if you were anywhere between North Carolina and Rhode Island. I mean, we felt it all the way north up here! I was at work at the time. My manager suddenly stopped and looked at me and asked, “Do you feel that?”

I paused and concurred that she wasn’t imagining things. The floor was rocking!

I figured it was overzealous roof construction.

Then the rest of the office started jabbering, and then the everlasting “temporary” wall in front of my desk started visibly waving around. We decided to evacuate.

After we got to the sidewalk, we saw that OTHER people had evacuated from THEIR buildings, too— it wasn’t just us. There was lots and lots of smartphone checking before someone finally figured it out.

So I’m sure this is old hat for anyone who’s lived in California, but I’ve never felt an earthquake before! A real, honest-to-goodness earthquake! That was pretty exciting.

August 22, 2011



Here’s a budding flower (DUH). After consulting the interwebs, I still can’t tell whether it’s Queen Anne’s Lace (wild carrot) or poison hemlock. As long as we don’t eat it, it probably doesn’t matter.

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