Archive for January, 2012

January 31, 2012

Under the boardwalk


Look! It is a Great Boardwalk over a Great Pond in a Great Swamp.

January 30, 2012


Mulch mulch mulch mulch mulch mulch mulch mulch.

At some point, I was looking at a map, and I noticed a mysterious brown splotch in the middle of the woods.

Brown splotch onna map

“Clearly,” said I, “I must go and explore this mysterious brown splotch on the map.”

Turns out, it is the Chatham Borough Mulch Area [link to site]. Apparently you can bring your grasses, leaves, branches, dead trees, and other landscaping remnants here, where they can be recycled into mulch.


January 29, 2012

Diamond Hill School

Diamond Hill School on Diamond Hill Road

It’s the Diamond Hill School! Except it’s not a school anymore. People live here! I actually started trespassing on their tiny front lawn just as the residents emerged from the house to start loading their car. (I pretended to be taking photos of the church next door until they drove away.)

Here’s a context shot from across the street:

The former Diamond Hill School, as seen from across the street


Diamond Hill School (also sometimes known as “the Woodchuck School”) was built in 1888.

Here’s a photo of Diamond Hill School, c. 1910…

Diamond Hill School, NJ, c.1910



…and here’s a photo of it c. 1932. (Look, it even still has that little porthole on the side, near the roof!) Just two years later, in 1934, it was the last one-room schoolhouse in Union County to close.

Diamond Hill School, NJ, c.1932



It’s been maintained on its original foundations as a private residence. Hooray for preserving history!



Troeger, V.B. (1996). Images of America: Berkeley Heights. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0752404903.

Gonczlik, J. and Coddington, J. (1998). Images of America: New Providence. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738565210.

January 28, 2012

Bell Labs got solar panels!

Solar panels at Bell Labs! I mean Alcatel Lucent.

Bell Labs Alcatel-Lucent installed solar panels over the summer! So the shot I got last December, with nice clear lawns…

Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ, December 2010

…is no longer possible. Here’s how it looks from the road now:

Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ, January 2012

According to and Lucent’s own corporate blog, the solar system is expected to provide 10% of their power needs, cut energy costs by $2.5 billion over 10 years, and help Alcatel-Lucent meet its goal to reduce its carbon footprint 50% by 2020.

Back in June, when the panels were first officially switched on, Berkeley Heights mayor Joseph Bruno said:

I applaud them for going green, but putting them right on Mountain Avenue appears to be a little bit of an eyesore. It’s a mixed thing for me…. I hope the shrubs they put in front of them grow in because people slowing down to look at the panels can cause a traffic problem.

Well said. I think that’s kind of how we’re all feeling. But it’s for the greater good, and we’ll get used to them eventually. 🙂

January 27, 2012

Cold as ice!

Icicle falls!

Near the ruins of Seeley’s old mill, there’s a little dribble of water over what I’ve seen referred to as a ‘basalt escarpment.’ (An “escarpment,” according to Wikipedia, is a steep slope caused by erosion or faulting. I’m not sure how natural this escarpment is, since there’s a quarry of some sort just down the brook.)

In the freezing cold, it has all dribbled into ice formations, but tiny spurts of unfrozen water still spray all over the place.

I don’t know what the water source for this is. Must be a small runoff or something.

Oh who cares. It’s pretty!

January 26, 2012

A train story

Hey, there's something wrong with the train!

Once upon a time, when a train was stopped in New Providence, NJ, the engineer decided there was something wrong with his train. He sent the conductor outside to investigate. The conductor discovered a loose strip of metal. He finagled it back into place, and the train went on its way, and all the passengers arrived safely at their respective stations, and everyone lived happily ever after.


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January 25, 2012

Snow sand

Snow rocks

The snow that we got here in New Jersey was kind of rocky, as if the standard six-sided flakes had melted a bit and then refrozen. A little like sand, very powdery, not very good for packing (and thus not very good for snowball fights, which is of course an important consideration when analyzing snow).

I’ll bet the Inuits have a name for this kind of snow, but I don’t.

January 24, 2012

Snow station

New Providence station (and a kid) in the snow

After Sunday’s excitement, and yesterday’s rain that melted a fair amount of our snow… well, that’s not going to stop me from posting a few more days’ worth of snow photos.

This is totally snow on and around the New Providence train station.

January 23, 2012

Fire in Westfield

Six-alarm fire in Westfield, NJ

I was passing through Westfield last night when I saw a very interesting cloud that turned out to not be a cloud at all.

The fire was large enough that the Westfield fire department needed to call in reinforcements from New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Scotch Plains/ Fanwood, Mountainside, Elizabeth, Cranford, Roselle Park, and Garwood to help fight the flames.

It started around 3:25PM. I think it may have been about four or five alarms when I took this photo, but it was a six-alarm fire by the time it ended. Reportedly, it was brought “under control” by 6:45PM, but crews continued to monitor for hot spots throughout the night.

According to, “the cause of the fire is unknown but initial reports indicated that the fire may have begun in the loft area of the building” (para. 2).

Several businesses were destroyed, including Clyne & Murphy (restaurant and catering), Rocky the Tailor, the Sound Station, Figaro’s Hair Styling, and about two to four others. I don’t know if anyone was caught in the fire; I saw stretchers being wheeled to the site, but I didn’t see anyone on them.

EDIT, 1/23/12, 8:00PM: One firefighter may have injured according to, and may not have been injured according to the Star-Ledger.

Also: Check it out, Westfield Patch featured my photo in a follow-up article, out of over 100 photos submitted to the original article. I’m a little proud.



Antonelli, T. and L. Mitchell. (2012). “Update: Clyne & Murphy Fire Hits Six-Alarm Status.” Westfield Patch.

Paik, E. (2012). “Firefighters battling six-alarm fire in Westfield.” The Star-Ledger.

Star-Ledger Staff. (2012). “Five-alarm fire in Westfield destroys several businesses.” The Star-Ledger.

January 22, 2012


NJ's Passaic River in snow. Y'know,  once upon a time, I used to have funny alt tags.

Er, well, this is what the Passaic River looks like after it’s had a snow.

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