FISHING | The Reynolds explore the Salmon River

steelies Outdoor Correspondent Steve Reynolds poses with his father and a brown on Tuesday in the Salmon River near Pulaski, New York.

I had a pleasant surprise just a few hours ago when Outdoor Correspondent Steve Reynolds ended a drought of correspondence about his exploits with a some photos and a note.

Winter still lingers in the Adirondacks, but fishing is under way. Reynolds and his father, J.D., set out for the Salmon River in search of steelheads on Tuesday. It’s an annual ritual, as we’ve noted before.

Conditions were fantastic, Steve reports, though the river was rushing at about 750 cubic feet per second. The water’s temperature hovered at a balmy 38 degrees. With the Reynolds was Walt Geryk, a guide who is a leading guide along the Salmon.

“The spawning of the steelhead has just begun,” Steve tells me, adding that while they had a few on the line, they did manage to land one. “It was a great day.”

Here’s a gallery:

SKIING | Gone skijoring outside Saranac Lake

SkijoringYour writer and his hound, Kennedy, give skijoring a go a few miles from Saranac Lake on Sunday morning.

It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. And in all the years I lived in the Adirondacks, I never gave it a go.

Skijoring, in which a nordic skier is pulled by a dog or horse, is not something I ever thought my hound, Kennedy, could handle. While he is a very fast runner, he’s led by his nose and he only weighs 35 pounds. But on Sunday, during a visit to Camp Mary, aka Mount Van Hann, a property outside Saranac Lake owned by our dear friends Molly and Steve Hann, we gave it a try.

Ken was up for the challenge.

Despite initially trying to play with Lola, the Hann’s English Setter, he eventually got the concept, if not the practice. That nose distracted him quite a few times. He was, after all, at home in his native Adirondacks and he loves to dive into deep snow piles.

By the time Steve yielded the harness to me, though, Ken had basically hit a stride, albeit a slow one as he was tiring out — 45 minutes of dashing around with a snowshoed Mrs. F. diminished his strength.

As you can see in the gallery below, the Hanns have developed a nice little network of loops. Steve, ever the man for a project, has purchased a 1979 SkiDoo Alpine and built a groomer. They’ve got a kilometer and a half of trail in total, all cleared and well marked.

Take a look:

HUNTING | Mallards near Lake Champlain

ReynoldsBrooks Reynolds and Finn display some of their take Sunday morning along Lake Champlain.

The Reynolds clan continued their fall bird-shooting campaign on Sunday, taking in an outing to a pocket of water near Lake Champlain.

Steve, our country sports correspondent, his wife, Brooks, an accomplished outdoorswoman herself, and their mascot, Finn, braved 13 degree temperatures and snowy conditions for the hunt. Their take of mallards was a trio of drakes and a hen.

Finn, Steve reports, “was, as always, as sharp as he can be.”

Here’s a shot of Finn braving freezing waters with a retrieval:


And here’s a video of a retrieval:

Finn makes a retrieval from Ed Forbes on Vimeo.

GREAT HOUSES | Kykuit, seat of the Rockefellers

KykuitKykuit, the epic seat of the Rockefellers in Pocantico Hills.

“It’s what God would have built, if only He had the money.”

At the peak of the Hudson Valley fall, Mrs. F. indulged me and agreed to spend the better part of an October Saturday touring Kykuit, the Rockefeller seat in Pocantico Hills.

The estate, owned by New York’s first family since 1893, is a sprawling compound that sits high above the Hudson and the villages of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown. Its apex is a forty-room classical revival manor house that was home first to John D. Rockefeller Sr. and subsequently by his son, John D. Rockefeller Jr., and his grandson, Nelson A. Rockefeller, storied governor of New York and the 41st vice president of the United States.

Work on the mansion’s first form took six years to complete. The house’s final rendering was completed by Junior in 1913 with architecture from Chester Holmes Aldrich and William Adams Delano. The six-story structure includes two basement levels. The gracious interiors, which I found remarkable for their simplicity, were designed by Ogden Codman Jr., who co-authored the seminal Decoration of Houses with Edith Wharton in 1898.

Elsewhere on the estate, called the Park, are the homes of David Rockefeller, Happy Rockefeller, and a massive Tudor-revival Playhouse that’s still used as a club house by the Rockefeller. A nine-hole golf course, a massive orangerie and a multi-story Coach Barn and about 70 other outbuildings and houses round the Park out. The landscaping is as remarkable as the manorhouse and the other structures. Initially begun by the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, the work was completed by William Welles Bosworth, who designed the extensive terraces, fountains and gardens that surround the house.

HappyHappy Rockefeller plays with her son, Nelson Rockefeller Jr., in a fountain at Kykuit in 1965. This image was taken by epic LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Though the grand setting is itself worthy of a visit, Nelson Rockefeller’s extensive art collection is the real gem at Kykuit. A roster of artists whose works adorn Kykuit is too long for inclusion here, but the Governor’s subterranean galleries, which feature some of the best artists of the 20th century, are among the finest I’ve ever visited. Warhol, Picasso and Calder are all accounted for. The Governor also interspersed a vast collection of sculpture on the property.

As if that weren’t all terribly charming, there’s a fantastic collection of Rockefeller automobiles, carriages and coaches in the Coach barn. Among these are the Governor’s 1949 Crosley Hot Shot and several Lincolns he used during his four terms as New York’s chief executive.

The Park is a frequent cultural reference; the Governor’s May 4, 1963 marriage to Happy Rockefeller was mentioned during the third season of “Mad Men.”

Tours of the home are conducted seasonally, from the beginning of May to the beginning of November. The 2011 season opens Sunday, May 8. While the home is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, tours are run by Historic Hudson Valley, a network of historic Hudson Valley homes that was founded in 1951 by Junior. Tickets should be purchased in advance and tours start out from the adjacent Phillipsburg Manor.

Here’s a gallery from our trip:

Kykuit — Historick Hudson Valley
(914) 631-8200 Monday through Friday or (914) 631-3992 on weekends
Pocantico Hills, New York.

HUNTING | Skiers on the prowl: Weibrecht and Reynolds

AndrewWeibrechtAndrew Weibrecht, a bronze medalist in the men’s super-g at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, poses last week with Finn Reynolds and some take harvested along the south end of Lake Champlain.

Lake Placid native Andrew Weibrecht is a good friend, a world-class alpine skier and an Olympic bronze medalist. The Warhorse is also a pretty good shot.

Braving steamy temperatures that broached the low 70s, Weibrecht joined outdoor correspondent Steve Reynolds for a Wednesday morning shoot on lower Lake Champlain. Finn Reynolds, our retrieving mascot, was also along for the trip.

A swampy landscape and the weather made for a challenge all around. The steam can be seen on the image above.

“It was foggy and hot,” Reynolds recently recounted. “It’s the nature of the swamp.”

Finn was particularly challenged.

“This terrain can break dogs with years of experience,” Reynolds said. “It was very out of the way. We had brutal hunting — it was really tough for the dog to mark but he had some excellent blind retrieves. He rose to the challenge.

The quarry yielded included 4 wood ducks and a Drake mallard.

Aside from their obvious Lake Placid ties, Reynolds and Weibrecht have deep connections through their alma mater, the Northwood School, and the New York Ski Education Foundation.

FinnFinn displays a retrieved woodie.

MAPS | The Old New York of ‘Mad Men’ (Updated)

View ‘Mad Men’ environs in a larger map

Season Four updates appended below.

Some weeks ago, I asked a couple of good friends who are devoted ‘Mad Men’ fans for some help in identifying Old New York icons referred to in the AMC drama, the fourth season of which premiers on Sunday. The idea was to build a Google map to complement the excellent map put together by the staff of The Journal News, which details the Westchester County references on the show.

We came up with a fairly short list: Keen’s, the Waldorf, the Oyster Bar, P.J. Clarke’s, Tiffany’s and a number of hotels and department stores. I started watching shows from the previous seasons and came up with a few more. Then, early this week, I spent some time mining Basket of Kisses, an excellent blog run by Deborah and Roberta Lipp. They’ve got a catalog of cultural references for each episode that I believe to be nearly complete. Armed with data assembled there, my Google map filled out quite nicely.

I won’t bother listing all the locations, save for those which are marked only by addresses. Here’s that group, accompanied by explanations:

405 Madison Ave.: The headquarters of Sterling Cooper
152 Riverside Drive: Freddy Rumsen’s apartment
995 Fifth Avenue: Stanhope Hotel
767 5th Avenue: Savoy-Plaza Hotel
335 Madison Avenue: Biltmore Hotel
5th Avenue and 56th Street: Bonwit Teller
116 MacDougal Street: Gaslight Cafe
33 W. 52nd Street: Toots Shor
3 East 53rd Street: The Stork Club
8 Whipoorwill Road, Chappaqua: Henry Francis home
Park Avenue and 83st street: Pete and Trudy Campbell’s apartment
42 West 12th St.: Joan Holloway’s apartment

Season Four, Episode 1: ‘Public Relations’
Time-Life Building: 51st Street and Avenue of the Americas
Waverly Place and 6th Avenue: Don’s new apartment
Jimmy’s LaGrange: 151 East 49th St., detailed here.
Hotel Barbizon: 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue
Griswold Inn: Essex, Conn.

Season Four, Episode 2: ‘Christmas Comes But Once a Year’
Chumley’s: 86 Bedford St.
White Horse Tavern: 567 Hudson St.
St. Vincent’s Hospital: 275 8th Ave.
Hotel Elysee: 60 East 54th St.
First Baptist Church: 71st Street and Broadway

Season Four, Episode 3: ‘The Good News’
The Brown Derby: Los Angeles, Calif.
City College: 160 Convent Ave.
University of California: Berkeley, Calif.
Santa Catalina Island, Calif.
Barnard College: 116th Street and Broadway

Season Four, Episode 4: ‘The Rejected’

Jim Downey’s Steakhouse: 8th Avenue and 44th Street
Washington Market: Meatpacking District
Audubon Ballroom (Site of Malcom X’s assassination): 3940 Broadway

Season 4, Episode 5: ‘The Chrysanthemum and the Sword’
Playland Amusement Park: Rye, New York
Benihana: 47 West 56th St.
Staten Island Ferry: Whitehall Terminal, South Ferry
104 Waverly Place: Don’s address
Deerfield Academy: Pete Campbell’s alma mater
Asia Society: 725 Park Ave.

Season 4, Episode 6: ‘Waldorf Stories’
Heller’s Luxury Furs: 246 Seventh Ave.
Pen and Pencil: 205 E. 45th St.

Season 4, Episode 7: ‘The Suitcase’
The Palm: 837 2nd Ave.
Forum of the Twelve Casears: 57 West 48th St. (Now A.J. Maxwell’s)
Keen’s (previously mentioned in Season 3): 72 West 36th St.

Season 4, Episode 8: ‘The Summer Man’
New York Athletic Club: 180 Central Park South
Barbetta: 321 West 46th St.

Season 4, Episode 9: ‘The Beautiful Girls’
University Club: 1 West 54th St.
Frank E. Campbell: 1076 Madison Ave.

Season 4, Episode 10: ‘Hands and Knees’
Shea Stadium
Playboy Club: 5 East 59th St.
Warwick Hotel: 65 West 54th St.

Season 4, Episode 11: ‘Chinese Wall’
Jones Beach
Hotel Statler (today’s Hotel Pennsylvania): 401 7th Ave.
River Club: 447 East 52nd St.

What are we missing?

ART | Remington’s ‘A Grey Day at Ralphs’ (updated)

AGreyDatatRalphs“A Grey Day at Ralphs,” an 1896 pastel of a northern New York scene by Frederic Remington. Image courtesy of the Frederic Remington Museum, Ogdensburg, N.Y.

The Frederic Remington Museum, a fantastic cultural institution in northern New York is opening a new exhibit on Saturday, Sept. 25. The show, titled “Frederic Remington Favorites,” features Remington works selected by people with various connections to the museum.

I was one of the selectors. Laura Foster, the museum’s curator, reached out to me this summer and asked me to participate. Laura and I worked closely together in 2001 and 2002, when I was researching my senior thesis at St. Lawrence. “Frederic Remington’s Canada,” which earned me honors in the History Department, explored how Remington brought images of Canada — mounties, Blackfeet traders, French pioneers and other archetypes — to wide American cultural awareness.

Here’s exhibit label I wrote for the piece I selected:

“A Grey Day at Ralphs,” pastel on grey paper, circa 1896

Though Frederic Remington traveled widely across the American and Canadian wests — journeys he documented ad infinitum — the North Country never escaped his imagination.

Bits and pieces of Northern New York — be they snowshoes, canoes, hunting scenes or landscape details — transcend his oeuvre. As a St. Lawrence University senior, I combed through reams of the artist’s illustrative studies from every point in his career. While the North Country was omnipresent, I was particularly drawn to the artist’s interpretations of
the region’s landscapes.

And so I settled on the simple pastel, “A Grey Day at Ralphs,” which the artist created around 1896. An hour of cursory research leads me to believe that the scene was discovered on property either rented or owned by the artist’s good friend, journalist Julian Ralph. Regardless, the image is certainly a North Country scene. We know that Remington was in the region for the better part of the summer of 1896. In May of that year, he took a two-week canoe trip on Lake Champlain. Later in the summer, he traveled the region making pastels.

“A Grey Day at Ralphs” is an interesting bridge between the charming “Small Oaks” of 1887 and Remington’s later impressionistic studies. Among my favorite of these are the Pontiac series of 1909 and “Boat House at Ingleneuk,” a 1907 work.

While I didn’t grow up in the North Country as Remington did, I feel a similar affection for the region. I spent my collegiate life in Canton and then spent five years as a journalist in the Tri-Lakes area. Though my career has taken me south to Westchester County — Remington lived in New Rochelle, a mere three miles from my current home — I catch myself dreaming of North Country scenes, like “A Grey Day at Ralphs,” nearly every day.

Steve Hann of Saranac Lake, an reader we’ve featured before, wrote me over the weekend to suggest “A Gray Day at Ralphs” may have been created during a visit by Remington to Ralph’s on Upper Chateaugay Lake.

I consulted “Frederick Remington, Selected Letters,” a collection of the artist’s correspondence assembled by Allen and Marilyn Splete. None of the letters the Spletes appended would support Hann’s theory, but I’m going to do my best to check it out.

The exhibition runs through Sept. 10, 2011.

Frederic Remington Art Museum
303 Washington Street
Ogdensburg, New York 13669
Phone: (315) 393-2425
Fax: (315) 393-4464

CLIP | ‘Adirondack Holiday,’ 1960

Read more

BASEBALL | A visit to Wrigley

The most beautiful sight in baseball, according to ejforbes Contributing Writer Leif Skodnick, is of Wrigley Field, seen here during a recent Cubs-Brewers game.

Leif Skodnick Contributing Writer

“By the shores of old Lake Michigan, where the hawk wind blows so cold…” — Steve Goodman, A Dying Cub Fans’ Last Request

I recently spent the better part of a week in Chicago, and finally got to visit Wrigley Field, a place from which I have watched countless games on television.

Just a few blocks after the ‘L’ lurches around a curve just past the Sheridan stop on the Red Line headed south, I caught my first in-person glimpse of Wrigley Field, its light standards reaching for the sky over the rooftops of Lakeview with the grandstand roof asserting its extra story of authority. Stubby stone and brick buildings crowding the park, and the smells of pizza, beer, meats being grilled and railroad brakes join the cacophony of city sounds that you don’t often hear around a major league ball park in the modern era.

With other plans on Monday evening (meaning I wouldn’t be seeing four major league games in four nights), I went to the corner of Addison and Clark and bought a $25 ticket for the noon tour of Wrigley Field.

It was probably 25 or so years ago that I first saw what Steve Goodman so aptly described as an “Ivy-covered burial ground,” where for 94 years, Cubs fans have hoped for a World Series Championship and seen those hopes “crushed, like so many paper beer cups, year after year after year… after year after year after year,” on an afternoon broadcast of a Mets game on WWOR-TV on Sears television set with rabbit ears.

When you see Wrigley Field empty of fans, it evokes a similar feeling to standing at the high water mark of the Confederacy in Gettysburg. In Gettysburg, you look upon down from the top of the hill and see the battlefield where, for the South, the cause was lost. At Wrigley Field, when you begin the tour, you look down from the top of the bleachers at the battlefield where, for the Cubs, the cause was lost… year after year, after year after year after year.

The silent history consumes you sitting in the empty ballpark. This is where Babe Ruth called his shot in the 1932 World Series, pointing to the outfield and blasting a home run off the Cubs’ Charlie Root. It’s where Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, patrolled the infield and hit his 500th home run, where Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown and Greg Maddux pitched, where Ryne Sandberg turned double plays.

Unfortunately for Cubs fans, the history is equally or perhaps more torturous at times than it is beautiful. This is where, in Game Six of the 2003 National League Championship Series, with the Cubs leading the Florida Marlins 3-0 and just five outs away from the World Series, (which they last visited, as Goodman tells us, “the year we dropped the bomb on Japan,”) a suburban youth baseball coach knocked an-almost-certainly-to-be-caught foul pop from the glove of Cubs left fielder Moises Alou. The Marlins rallied, won the game and the series, and Cubs fans still revile Steve Bartman to this day.

Several years earlier, in 1998, the Cubs made the playoffs for the first time in nine years, winning a dramatic play-in game over San Francisco, then responded in true Cubby fashion by scoring just four runs in three games while being swept by Atlanta.

On this very same field, the Cubs have hosted four World Series, the most recent in 1945. In their two most recent appearances in the Fall Classic, not only did the Cubs lose the Series, the deciding game was played at Wrigley Field. 1932, Cubs fans had to watch as the Babe Ruth and the Yankees swept the Cubs, taking Game Four at Wrigley by the score of 13-6, and in 1945, the Cubs lost Game Seven to Detroit 9-3.

But that history is embraced by the fans of the Northsiders, with t-shirts proclaiming, “We might not win the pennant, but we never lose a party!” for sale on the streets outside.

Old StyleOld Style beer at Wrigley.

Copious amounts of Old Style beer, originally brewed by G. Heilemann & Co. and now produced by Pabst, keep Cubs’ fans throats moist during the heat of the summer and their bodies warm during the chill of spring and fall.

The main section of the ballpark is unique in that you are very close to the field. For the Wednesday day game I attended, I sat 11 rows behind the visitor’s bullpen, which is tucked just inside the right field foul line. Very few ballparks in the majors have bullpens on the field anymore, but at Wrigley Field, there’s nowhere else to put

When you visit Wrigley, there’s an eternal optimism that envelopes the place, as the “Friendly Confines” nickname bestowed upon it attests. I suppose, if you review the history, it would be unexpected, seeing as how one championship was won by a team that played here, and it wasn’t by the Cubs (It was by the Chicago Whales of the Federal League in 1915).

After we sat through a close 4-3 loss to the Brewers on Tuesday night, I returned Wednesday. Why make a trip to Wrigley Field if you aren’t going to see a day game? It was overcast and dreary, not unlike the outlook for the Cubs to make the World Series anytime soon. Light rain fell through most of the game. The Cubbies won 15-3.

In 1984, when the Cubs appeared in the postseason for the first time since 1945, Goodman, of “City of New Orleans” fame, wrote another song about the Cubs. His first, titled “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request,” was a tongue-in-cheek poke at the futility of the team. Goodman passed away four days before the 1984 National

League Championship Series began, and like the fan in his immortal song, his ashes were scattered in the infield. His good friend Jimmy Buffett took his place in singing the Star Spangled Banner at the first Cubs home playoff game in 39 years.

His second, the more optimistic “Go Cubs Go,” is now played after every Cubs win at Wrigley Field. On that rainy Wednesday afternoon, as the Cubs Mitch Akins downed Milwaukee infielder Rickie Weeks on strikes to end the game, the sun broke through the clouds. Weeks walked back to the dugout, the Cubs came onto the field, and I smiled and sang, “Hey Chicago, whaddaya say? The Cubs are gonna win today!”

Leif takes a seat in the Cubs’ dugout at Wrigley.

The Brewers’ Randy Wolf nears the release point.

The ivy-covered burial ground.

MAPS | A cartographic artifact of Lake Placid in 1980

SchweitzMapA detail of the famous map of Lake Placid drawn by Pittsford, N.Y. artist Duane A. Schweitz in 1980.

There are more coveted Lake Placid relics: The poster created for the 1980 Games that shows mascot Roni Racoon clinging to the Olympic Rings, an image that had to be altered after a dustup with the IOC; tickets to the Miracle on Ice; and even original china from the Lake Placid Club.

Still, the elaborate pen-and-ink map created by Pittsford, N.Y. artist Duane A. Schweitz is a rare and valuable find. Schweitz’s map, which he billed as a cartographic artifact, shows every major structure that was standing in Lake Placid in 1979 and 1980. Schweitz gives us a view of each house, hotel, church, school and commercial building from the most modest houses of Averyville Road to the grand, hipped-roof wonders of Signal Hill.

I splurged and bought myself a copy to honor my recent 30th birthday. Its frame was shattered in shipping and I’ve just agreed to spend a little more to right that wrong. It’ll be well-worth the expense, but I already miss having the piece in the house. We had it propped up on the kitchen table the last few weeks and after checking the day’s papers every morning, I’d look at the map. It’s remarkable how little my adopted hometown has changed since 1980. Good friends’ houses all appear. The home I rented while living up there, a little raised ranch that overlooked Mill Pond, is present. Most of the Main Street corridor is accounted for. Some icons, of course, are gone: the Lake Placid Club, the Brewster Building parts of the harbor complex and a few others.

Schweitz, for his part, is still practicing his craft in Pittsford, focusing on the seasonal beauty of that village.

Here’s a gallery of images from his Lake Placid map:

Next Page » on Facebook