teaching art

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2016/06/03

The New York Harbor School students have their artwork up at the Melville Gallery, South Street Seaport Museum!
211 Water Street, Saturday and Sunday, 11 – 5pm

Much thanks to Yvonne Simons, Jonathan Bouleware et al at the SSSM, thanks NYC for the CASA grant that made this course possible, and Capt. Aaron Singh for bringing me in. I taught students to doodle and paint. Boats. By the water. Does this not sound tailor-made?

Beautiful photography (taught by Len Bernstein) and a wonderful video (guided by Gordon Skinner) were also the results of this Maritime Arts Afterschool Club.

Thanks goes to all the kids who came after school to draw, paints, etch, carve, cut, crinkle, tape, paste, and play. “They said: I can’t draw.” Well, yes, you can, actually.

What I learned: show them the materials and how to use them, tell them about the exercise of the day, and then keep quiet and watch what they do. It was mind-expanding and very rewarding and inspirational.

Thank you to RigmorValerie, Kathleen and other art teacher friends who gave me their tips and ideas. As Kathleen said: “I thought I was doing it for the kids, but I realized I was the one getting the most out of it!


Good job, kids! Be bold. No fear. No erasers. Tusche.

Sal Polisi, wood carver of the South St Seaport Museum

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2015/02/19

chezSalOnce upon a time, by Pier 16, behind a collection of bollards, cleats and a giant anchor (and underneath the FDR drive,) there were two containers that housed the open studio of a wood carver by the name of Sal Polisi. TiconderogaFlat He was a navy man, served on the USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) , and when he retired, he was one of the anchors of the South Street Seaport Museum. People would wander into his wood shop, and he would talk about the museum, the ships, and the history while he carved. He offered free lessons to anyone interested, and his shelves were full of wood chunks in various stages of becoming whales, fish or mermaids (including one never-finished block hacked at by the author, an abandoned whale-wanna-be.)

One day, a big, strong man walked into Sal’s woodshop. “He didn’t look right, he was looking without seeing, asking without listening…” Sal didn’t have a good feeling. Suddenly the man grabbed a large piece of wood, and walked out. “Hey! come back here!” yelled Sal. The wood piece was solid and very heavy, but the man made off as if it was hollow.

Sal called the police, then followed the man as he walked north of Pier 17, and watched in disbelief as the man threw Sal’s wood into the East River, jumped in, mounted the wood, and began to paddle towards the west anchorage of the Brooklyn Bridge.

bridgeswim This was pre-9/11, there was no harbor police stationed at the spot where the man paddled through. It took a while before the police came. The harbor police eventually appeared in their boat, and they pulled the fellow off the log and hauled him off to —? we do not know where. The shoreside police watched, laughed and got into their cars to leave.

“Hey!” said Sal, “What about my wood? I want that wood back!” The cops shrugged and left.

“I was so mad,” he told me later. “That was a good piece of wood! Black Walnut!”

Sal worked in his wood shop for many years until the current regime was given the public land to develop. They assured him he would not be moved, but moved him they did. His shop was razed, and it did break his heart. salwoodshop Fair winds, Sal. We miss you. sal&kids2   USS TICONDEROGA (CV-14)

Name: Ticonderoga
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding, VA
Laid down: 1 February 1943
Launched: 7 February 1944
Class & type: Essex-class aircraft carrier
Length: 888 feet (271 m) overall
Beam: 93 feet (28 m)
Draft: 28 feet 7 inches (8.71 m) light
Propulsion: 8 × boilers 4 × Westinghouse geared steam turbines 4 × shafts 150,000 shp (110 MW)
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h)
Complement: 3448 officers and enlisted
Armament: 4 × twin 5 inch (127 mm)/38 caliber guns 4 × single 5 inch (127 mm)/38 caliber guns 8 × quadruple Bofors 40 mm guns 46 × single Oerlikon 20 mm cannons
Aircraft carried: 90–100 aircraft

Save Our Seaport, tonight, 6pm

Posted in south street seaport, Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2015/01/05


The South Street Seaport Historic District was preserved with public funds. The Economic Development Corporation–with powers completely unchecked since the reign of several mayors–have given the Howard Hughes Corporation this community space free reign for development.

Today, Jan. 5, 2015, Community Board 1’s Landmarks Committee will discuss The Howard Hughes Corporation’s proposals for redevelopment of the historic Seaport and will pass a resolution either confirming or denying them.

National Museum of the American Indian, 1 Bowling Green • Time: 6 p.m.

Save Our Seaport

*editor’s note: I have just been to New Orleans; The Howard Hughes Corporation’s Riverwalk is pretty buttfkking depressing.
You want the same sh¡t here? yes? do you?