Sunday, August 5, 2018

Catskill Mountain Narrow Gauge Railroads

Did you know there were narrow gauge railroads in the Catskills that operated for nearly forty years transporting vacationers up to the mountains. Its fascinating story and even includes an inclined railway the Otis Elevating Railway.

This Otis Elevating Railway was a  cable funicular line that opened in 1892 and rose 1,630 ft up the mountain. in just 7,000 ft!

Further info will be forthcoming once a trek to the site is scheduled!

Railroad Maps of the Area

The Otis Elevating Railway

This was even featured in a Scientific American article on, Oct. 5, 1895!

Historical Railroad Map 

Folks travelled by Steamer to  either Kingston or Catskill and boarded a narrow gauge train to bring them to the mountain resorts,

Elegant Hotels

At the top of the incline railway, there were a few very elegant hotels...

Catskill Mountain House
Hotel Katerskill

Further Info

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Pequonnock Valley History

I have had a fascination for this park ever since I started mountain biking there ages ago with my son. Old abandoned mills, a rail trail full of history and magnificent scenery make every visit an enticing adventure.

Researching history thru old maps always brings little rewards of discovery. A remnant of an old path semi-obscured in the woods... the mystery behind an old foundation... discovering and learning their origins keeps me coming back for more :-)

Pathways to the former pond

Remnants of an old road leading down to the railroad bed

Old Mine Park

Photo of Tungsten Mine (it ceased ceasing operations after a suspicious fire in 1916)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Great Flats Aquifer

The Schenectady Aquifer (a.k.a. the Great Flats Aquifer) is one of the most productive aquifers in New York State. It is also and he most heavily pumped aquifer in upstate New York.

Schenectady first tapped the aquifer as a water source in 1897. Today, Scotia, Glenville, Rotterdam and Niskayuna also draw their main water supplies from the aquifer, a total of 24 million gallons per day. The Department of Health estimates as much as 65 million gallons could be safely withdrawn.

The Great Flats Aquifer is a large deposit of water-saturated sand and gravel that was deposited as glaciers receded around 10,000 years ago. A large lake some researchers have compared to Lake Ontario drained into those sands.

  New Your State Aquifiers

Monday, December 18, 2017

Strava Heat Map

Strava is an app that tracks your activity with GPS (biking, running. skiing, etc.). On November 1, 2017 Strava unveiled a global heatmap of the most active exercise spots on the planet.
“A global community can seem very abstract until you see its activities visually represented in your immediate location and across the world.”
- Strava CEO James Quarles

Strava Interactive Heat Map

Fairfield County, CT

Friday, August 18, 2017

Very Cool Interactive Map Exhibit

Mapping the Territory: Hudson County in Maps, 1840-2013

This exhibit featured maps of all varieties: topographical, infrastructure, transportation, sea level and birds-eye views. These maps showed how the region evolved geographically from forests, marshes and towering granite cliffs populated by Native Americans; to farms, settlements and villages built and inhabited by the Dutch, followed by the British and the newly independent Americans; and ultimately into the diverse, vibrant communities we live in today.

Zoom, Pan  - very Cool

Friday, July 28, 2017

Graphing Jazz

Is Jazz Dead?

Even though Miles Davis’ 1959 Columbia recording “Kind of Blue” is still the biggest selling jazz album of all time with more than 20 million sold to date— Sony’s Columbia label, the former home of Miles Davis’ recordings, no longer signs jazz .

“With the advent of the celebrity-as-musician trend in the 21st century, artistry is quickly going by the wayside. Many of today’s popular artists can’t sing or play an instrument. They are all image and attitude. Jazz, always touted as America’s one true art form, is struggling to survive. The major record labels shy away from niche markets, and promotion and marketing money goes with the youth demographic, which is generally under-educated about the art of music. This presents a cultural and ethical problem.”
by Sal Polcino

Below are a few charts on and graphs on the great and sadly highly misunderstood art form.


How Many People Participate in Arts and Cultural Activities?

Participation in arts and cultural activities…
Participation in arts and cultural activities…

Types of Jazz Listeners

Education Status of of Jazz Listeners
Great Britain Survey
Attendance at cultural events in Great Britain, 1993–94


How Many Jazz Musicians Are There?
Jazz musician populations in three communities

History (Timelines)


The Future of Jazz in America


Thursday, March 2, 2017

A World of Oil

GSM London have created an amazing interactive map to show oil imports and exports that spans the last 15 years.

Interactive Map >