Friday, July 9, 2010

McCarter's Bridge Rumson-Fair Haven, NJ

McCarter's Bridge over Ridge Road near the Fair Haven / Rumson, NJ town line. Taken September 25, 1988.

Some of you may already be visually familiar with McCarter's Bridge from my post anticipating the Watchmen Movie. Well here is a little background about the bridge 2 years later.

I probably should learn more about the history certainly since this is part of my future profession, but here is what I can tell you piecing together what I remember. Sometime around the turn of the 20th century, McCarter built a massive estate near the border of Rumson-Fair Haven. Since the estate spanned Ridge Road (a major East-West road from Red Bank to the Sea Bright Bridge) he constructed a private bridge to go over the road for his use. That is how it was used while the estate functioned. In the late 1950s-early 60s the grand estate was demolished and the land was divided up into building lots, the bridge no longer safe for modern traffic was just abandoned in place. As more families began to fill the area, the radical teenage voices of the later 1960s found a new venue for their messages. Since no one actually owned the bridge it was allowed to continue, it certainly wasn't without its obstacles the police would watch out for you and most of the time scare you off, and there was that information (that I learned much later) that poison ivy and rose bushes were intentionally planted to deter people from painting the bridge. In spite of this, the graffiti covered facade became a rite of passage for the local high school kids. Although Rumson-Fair Haven High School claimed it as their own, students from the rival high school down Ridge Road also were known to paint it.

When I was a sophomore it was time to pass my rites. It would have never happened without the two people pictured with me. Adriane who lived within 2 blocks of the bridge made it so we could easily stage our adventure from her yard without immediately sending up red flags by parking on the street. Stefan was the major reason it happened at all. He was slightly older than Adriane and myself so he had his driver's license. This was an important factor for us to be able to go get the paint from a few towns over, as well as getting us to Adriane's house for our adventures. Stephan and I decided on the colors we would use black and gold. The black was a way to quickly cover all that we could in one coat to make it easy to paint over. Gold was chosen so the message could be read easily. In our excitement I picked up the wrong can and brown and gold then became our signature colors for the 4 opportunities we had before the bridge was torn down. (Except for that time I picked up an ivory can instead of gold.)

My first message has something to do with POW/MIAs. Kind of an odd message for a high school kid, but it was something that I was very interested in because I knew someone who's brother was still MIA in Vietnam. (The war only “ended” 12 years earlier so it was still pretty fresh in people's minds.) I did one for my parent's anniversary and my brother's graduation. I know there was one for the Watchmen, and lastly “Go Home Bridge Killers.” That was the last message on the bridge when the wrecking ball came to demolish it September 27, 1988.

Over a year ago I posted the picture at the top into my facebook “Lost & Found: pictures from the age of film cameras” album. Immediately there was a conversation between myself and my other two friends who were standing with me. It recently began to get more comments again so that is why it is on my mind, and I need a place to post a larger picture so that maybe some one can clearly identify the kid in the teal All-Stars.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dances with Blue Man Group

This is my facebook status. Click the picture to make it larger to see what it says.

After a couple of people liked it, I began thinking about those Bud Light radio commercials “Real Men of Genius”. It never dawned on my that the language for them had changed I always hear them in my head as “Real American Heroes” which I think is much better in this case because I don't really know that the merchandiser was a man.

If you are not familiar with the commercials follow the link above and listen to a couple of them to get the feel of this to music. Then read along my tribute to my hero of the week.

Target presents Real American Heroes
(Real American Heroes)
Today we salute you...
DVD aisle merchandiser
(DVD aisle merchandiser)

Some say you're a cog
Some say you're only worth $7.50 an hour
And some say why couldn't you find a better job
(I have a problem with authority)

What you do is a service
You are a maestro of the endcap, and a wiz at categorizing
(SAW is not self-improvement)

Red Shirt - check
Tan pants - check
Having the ability to offer a silent commentary on an overrated crappy movie- check
(Sticking it to the man)

So crack open a new case of movies oh critic of the cinema
Because even though you're last on the departmental flow chart, you'll always be #1 with me
(DVD aisle merchandiser)