Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel

I am infatuated with the “Borscht Belt” area of the Catskills in New York.   Once a world class resort destination, time has not been kind to the area.  I, along with a few friends, visited what remains of Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel, one of the crown jewels of the area in its heyday.  It has been closed since 1986, and unfortunately between vandalism and weathering, things are in bad shape.   It is interesting though how you can walk around and figure out what things used to be based on the few things that haven’t been stolen, the foundations of buildings, etc.  You can definitely tell that it was a beautiful place at one time, and in some ways, it still is beautiful.

Grossingers Catskill Resort Hotel

An area that appeared to be a reception area that was being remodeled when they closed down

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Grossingers Catskill Resort Hotel

This bumper sticker on the service cart was too perfect

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Grossingers Catskill Resort Hotel

I liked the way the mirror reflected the windows

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Grossingers Catskill Resort Hotel

Shed off of the old green house

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Grossingers Catskill Resort Hotel

I liked the "American Blower Heater" label on this fan in a pretty empty building

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Grossingers Catskill Resort Hotel

And the amazing indoor pool!

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Grossingers Catskill Resort Hotel

Area where people rented skates and got ready for the outdoor skating rink

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New views of Manhattan

My thoughts about New York City are not a secret. You can see a bit of them by clicking here. I will openly admit that last year I left Manhattan and I stated that I wouldn’t care if I ever went there again. It had stressed me out, and I was living at the beach in California at the time, so I was not too used to being stressed out. A few opportunities came up recently that allowed me to view Manhattan in a different way, literally. First of all my new pilot friend Bruce called me one morning and asked if I was available to take over Manhattan and back, and obviously, I was all over that! Seeing the city from the above and seeing the amazing layout from that view was really interesting, and I started really becoming infatuated with the “1 World Trade Center” building, which recently became the tallest building in New York. I also was fascinated by seeing all the water surrounding the city from that perspective.

A few days later, coincidentally, I had made plans to visit my friends Mike and Jess who live in New Jersey, and they asked if I wanted to come with them to see the 9/11 Memorial, so I did that, and was able to get some up close views of 1 World Trade Center. I love that you can literally watch an iconic building of the world be built. It is no stretch to say that this would be like having been able to watch the Roman Coliseum being built. It’s a big deal. Then we went to Battery Park City, which I had never really checked out before, and I was amazed at how peaceful that was. Parks and greenways and families hanging out by the water – seems good enough to me!

I went back into the city the next day to work a conference for a few days and was also able to quickly pop off a shot of Grand Central Station. It was nice to be witnessing the hustle, but not feeling part of it.

So, for now, I like Manhattan. Hopefully I will feel the same next time!

New views of Manhattan

Aerial view of Manhattan with the 1 World Trade Center building dominating

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New views of Manhattan

I liked seeing the shapes and patterns of the city from the sky

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New views of Manhattan

View of 1 World Trade Center from near a tree that survived the 9/11 attacks

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Up close view of 1 World Trade Center

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Battery Park City with a view of Jersey City, New Jersey

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New views of Manhattan

A little hustle at Grand Central Station

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New views of Manhattan

My friend Mike and his baby daughter relaxing with me in the city

Glass Half Full…of Ice

In December, when I booked a couple of nights of lodging in Yosemite National Park for the middle of January, I was excited to get some use out of the snowshoes that I brought to Southern California with me. I was also excited to see Yosemite Valley with a beautiful cover of snow, and to take photos of waterfalls that were dry during my last visit to Yosemite. As time got closer to the trip, I started reading reports of how it was the driest winter in decades so far, and there had been all but no snow, and there would be no more snow by the time I went. At first I was bummed out and almost canceled the trip, but then I started hearing about how Tioga Pass, through the “High Country” was open later into the winter than it ever had been. I started to become more positive about it. This meant that places usually inaccessible without LONG treks in the snow were easily accessible, so I got excited, and headed up there. I skated on Tenaya Lake (8000 foot elevation), checked out Tuolumne Meadows (about the same elevation), and had a great day.

Glass Half Full...of Ice

I wandered up and down the Tuolumne River, which was low, slow, and icy.

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Glass Half Full...of Ice

Tuolumne River – click image to be transported there

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Glass Half Full...of Ice

I loved the contrast between the beach and the ice at Tenaya Lake

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Glass Half Full...of Ice

I sat on a rock in the Tuolumne River and took it all in

You say Potato…

I spent the day of New Year’s Eve with some friends kayaking around Santa Cruz Island, which is part of The Channel Islands, off the coast of Southern California. After warming up and setting up camp for the night, 3 of us went to seek a good view of the sunset. We heard it was great at Potato Harbor, and after a bit of debate, we picked a trail towards it and headed that way. The last few days had seen a lot of fog in the area, and we were never sure what sort of visibility we’d get, but we went for it anyway. As you’ll be able to see in these pictures, we were quite glad that we made the effort.

You can see more photos from this trip at my Facebook page

You say Potato...

About half a mile from the Potato Harbor Overlook, the fog rolled in and we didn't think we'd see much

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You say Potato...

Boy were we wrong - the sunset was perfect - I loved the light on the rocks on the right

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You say Potato...

The fog rolled back in quickly and the view didn't last too long.

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You say Potato...

We were treated to a crystal clear night once the sun went down

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Palos Verdes

A few miles down the coast from where I live in Hermosa Beach is a peninsula that is collectively known as Palos Verdes. From what I understand, there are a couple municipalities, namely Palos Verdes Estates and Ranchos Palos Verdes. Quite honestly, when I’m there, I usually do not know which municipality I am in. One thing I do know though is that it’s a beautiful area with lots of rocky cliffs, views of the ocean, and views up the coast. It’s become one of my favorite places to explore in the greater Los Angeles area. Here are a few of my more recent photos from Palos Verdes.

Palos Verdes

From inside a sea cave near Terranea resort

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Palos Verdes

Also from around Terranea...with Catalina Island in the distance

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Palos Verdes

View towards the South Bay with Los Angeles and the mountains in the distance

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Take Me to the Other Side (Of Chicago)

I’m not going to get into the technical definitions of the North Side vs the South Side of Chicago. All I know is that the last time I went to Chicago I stayed in the northern section of downtown, and this time, I was a few miles south of the major tourist attractions. (You can see my photos from my previous visit here)

After a long few days on my feet, I decided to soldier on and walk a few miles up the shore of Lake Michigan, but I didn’t make it very far without getting tired. That’s when I looked up and saw how beautiful the clouds were by the marina. After that, I slowly walked back to my hotel, and discovered the walking bridge over Lake Shore Drive. Plus, as luck would have it, my view from my hotel room was pointing south, which I enjoyed, as the refineries off in the distance always fascinate me. All in all, I enjoyed how my location forced me to look at downtown Chicago in a different way.

Take Me to the Other Side (Of Chicago)

Marina near Lake Michigan

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Take Me to the Other Side (Of Chicago)

View of Chicago from walkway behind McCormick Place

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Take Me to the Other Side (Of Chicago)

View from the 30th floor of the Hyatt at McCormick Place

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The Ocean Meets the Sky

I have to remind myself not to take the sunsets in my neighborhood for granted – the high tourist season, which is coming to an end, made me always remember, because as the sun goes down, the cell phone cameras come out in droves! And if it’s a really nice sunset and I don’t have my SLR with me, I have a minor panic attack. It’s amazing to me how different the beauty in each sunset can be though. No two really seem to be alike. I have captured some more of them in this post, and hope to continue to do so for as long as I live here.

The Ocean Meets the Sky

South Redondo Beach - with Ranchos Palos Verdes on the hill

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The Ocean Meets the Sky

The sky over the ocean during a particularly beautiful sunset

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The Ocean Meets the Sky

Just another sunset over the Pacific Ocean...shot from Ranchos Palos Verdes

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Baltimore, Maryland

I showed this photo to my friend, and Baltimore native, Dan Diaczok, and this is what he had to say:

“Beautiful man. I have always loved the Baltimore smoke stack….let’s travelers know what kind of city they’re passing.”

That’s exactly what I was going for with this shot…luckily Dan was able to understand it, and put it into words better than I could.

Baltimore, Maryland

Looking north from near I-95

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