Say Goodbye to The Memorial Bridge

It’s old news at this point, but the Memorial Bridge will never have vehicular traffics on its deck ever again.  It’s time to turn the page on the saga of the past several years, and while it will be painful for everyone that is used to enjoying the convenience it afforded, I look forward to seeing the process of the old one come down – and a new one get constructed in its place.  In just the few minutes I was here taking this image – I saw a slew of people riding bikes and enjoying a walk on its deck, while also having a quiet on the steel decking that nobody is used to. I will be documenting the process of its demise over the next year or so – as well as the growth of the new bridge from NH to ME.

Welcome to State Street | The Ribbon Cutting

The Who’s Who of Portsmouth as far as State Street Improvements are concerned can be seen below in the ceremonious Ribbon Cutting Ceremony held on Friday afternoon at 3pm at the intersection of Pleasant and State Streets.  Above, Mayor Tom Ferrini’s hands can be seen holding the grand improvement plans as signed by many of the folks involved…along with the ribbon.

Below, the City Manager (John Bohenko), Mayor Tom Ferrini, owner of Puttin’ on the Glitz Assiah Russel and Assistant Mayor Nancy Novelline-Clayburgh (one of the owners of Cava can be seen in the background) can all be seen enjoying the big moment.  I must say, it’s pretty cool and a relief to see this long in-the-works project come to its final phase.  There was an awesome turnout of people who shared the same sentiment, who came to celebrate. I’m very excited for the Portsmouth Art Exchange at 220 State Street, who has been very eager to see its sidewalks take shape – and where I have a good amount of work available for sale.  Stop in to see Jane and tell her I sent you – she’s a sweetheart.

Below, something a little different….the sun climbs over the hill at Fort Foster on the seacoast in Kittery, Maine.  I love this little tree and the bench that sit overlooking the waterfront. If my memory serves me correctly, the shot was taken with my Hasselblad Carl Zeiss 100mm lens…definitely a beauty.  Have a great weekend!

A Memorial to the Memorial Bridge

It’s close to the end for the Memorial Bridge – or so it seems.  It was announced this week that the bridge would be closed for 4-6 weeks for repair, or even indefinitely according to Foster’s. I don’t think this surprises anyone ’round these parts, but it’s sort of a sad moment. Things will get better and the bridge will eventually be replaced with either a very similar looking one, or a drastic departure if some of the initial design critics get their way. One thing is sure, this original lift span bridge with all of its character isn’t really safe for vehicles anymore. It’s going to be damn cool for photographers and pedestrians to enjoy its architecture and some steady decks for a while (you can’t get a sharp image with dozens of cars driving through).

Rejuvenation | State Street

As I promised earlier in the week, I’ll begin to feature the “evolved” look of State Street.  The sidewalks have been jazzed up with bricks all the way from the Memorial Bridge entrance and near Prescott Park down to the Pleasant Street intersection at The Rusty Hammer and all the way to my parking spot at 325 State Street.  Without question it’s a new look, complete with street lamps (all freshly adorned with pine wreaths for the holidays), sidewalk trees and nice bumpouts to moderate the flow of traffic – all which result in a handsome new look for the streetscape.  I hope all the merchants are feeling good and enjoy some peace and quiet after the long year everyone has had…and that 2011 will reap some of the benefits.  I almost can’t believe it’s been as long as it has, but also can’t believe how much has really been accomplished.  Now when are we going to bury those overhead powerlines?

The Red Door on State Street

Consider this a preview of a series I’ll be embarking on in the next week or so…in which I’ll detail the nearly completed State Street improvement project.  This instantly recognizable door some (or remarkably unrecognizable for others) is located on State Street towards the Memorial Bridge and Prescott Park.  I’ve always enjoyed this nondescript yet withered door, and loved the play of light/shadow on it in the early afternoon sunlight.

The Chef's Table | State Street Update

State Street’s facelift continues.  While I was driving home and treating my car to the luxurious new pavement on State Street, I realized that the new street lights were actually lit!  Along with the new pavement and brick sidewalks (that are well on their way to being done), the city had turned on the street lamps on Thursday night.  After realizing the street had a whole new look (finally), I decided to stop and snap a couple photos to prove it.

It was after I stopped that I met Eddie Sargent, the Chef/Owner of The Chef’s Table.  Eddie was kind enough to get out of the way of what he thought was my shot (even though he wasn’t in it)…so I went over to say hello.  Turns out he had just installed the new sign, which looks great.  I loved the clean look of the new sidewalks and the granite stairs welcoming guests into the building, and the new sign was the icing on the cake.  Hopefully – in a few more weeks, we’ll get State Street back to enjoy for ourselves, free of delays, construction cones and dust clouds.  Below – see what a difference a day makes.  Both shots were taken around 1pm at lunchtime…

Chronicles of the Martingale Wharf

In today’s post we’ll feature two recent shots of the Martingale Wharf, the long awaited construction project currently underway on Bow Street on Portsmouth’s waterfront.  The building is finally getting its skin, with bricks being installed on the Bow Street facade…along with new windows and more inside that I can’t really see.  The good news is that we might actually have a streetscape on Bow St. like we used to in days gone by….a win for both locals and tourists.  I really dig the shot above – it feels very natural and realistic all at the same time.  Taken with the Zeiss Hasselblad 100mm….it seems to call out textures and lighting on objects that just seem to fall flat with other lenses (or maybe I’m just a bit crazy).  Below, the front of the building gets its new brick skin…

Poco's | Now & Then

The season for The Decks is drawing to a close.  The Old Ferry Landing has closed for the year…I haven’t seen many folks down at the River House lately, I’ve seen a few folks at Poco’s in their new covered deck and a few die hards at Harpoon Willy’s still venture out (and rumor has it they’re hoping to stay open through Halloween).

I wanted to take a minute to reflect at the past spring/summer/fall season that saw a lot of changes to the Decks.  The new pavers were put in throughout the alleyway, and looked pristine for a while (now you wouldn’t guess they’re only a year old with all of the grease and traffic they’ve seen), The River House constructed a second story deck and saw another successful year…and probably the most noteworthy change was the shift of Poco’s deck from on the water to against the building.  I’ll always miss the old configuration, but there’s something to be said for eating/drinking in a warmer spot against the building.  It’s opened the area up significantly….check out the shots below, which was taken last September just before the old structure came down. Quite an evolution for this little part of town.

The Post Office | Rebuilding Portsmouth

As you may or may not know, the giant hulking structure in this shot to the left (very clearly a federal building), is the Post Office of Portsmouth.  The Post Office and the other federal tenants inside the building are slated for relocation to a new space in the Pease Tradeport in 2014.  Normally, this really wouldn’t be very interesting except for some commercial real estate being vacant….HOWEVER, because the building will be conveyed to the city of Portsmouth – this means that a world of opportunity awaits and the city could get a drastic facelift.

As seen in this shot from Bow Street, the property goes from the front entrance of the building on Daniel Street (across from the Press Room), all the way to the street side on Bow St.  The parking area is massive, and as seen from above (google map below)…the parcel is huge and basically represents the largest redevelopment in Portsmouth since the redevelopment of Market Square.  Pretty exciting stuff on the horizon – let’s hope the process goes smoothly and the city gets a great upgrade.

Thanks to my good friend Brian Matiash for helping select a shot for today’s post…I’ve got a few in the queue and within an instant of seeing this one, it caught his eye (which says a lot since he’s got a ridiculously keen eye). Head over to his page to check him out.
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Construction in the City

For those of you who drive downtown on a regular basis – you know that it has been a trying summer.  State Street has been loudly under construction as its wastewater system gets an upgrade, with a new stormwater runoff separation system being implemented, along with new brick sidewalks and street lighting.  While it’s going to be gorgeous when it’s all done – the road has definitely done a number on the suspension of my car from driving home each night.  I thought I’d bring the camera along to lunch at Googie’s this week to snap a few shots of the progress being made.  It’s actually quite fascinating to peer down into the holes that are being dug in the pavement….a few of the guys told me they’d found the old wooden sewers from a couple hundred years back – and I’ve seen some brick sewer piping in one of the trenches too.

The next shot features one of the storm drains that will be a central part of the State Street system.  I can’t wait til I can feature the newly paved State Street with all of its new street lamps – and motion blur from all of the swiftly moving traffic that will return.

This shot features the Martingale Wharf building as it gets another layer to its skin…as seen from Bow Street.