Archives

My Peekskill — # 16 – Peekskill Steps Into New Territory. One Person at a Time.

Share
Great to be back on the My Peekskill beat. Missed you all. I went a little underground for a time to see if I could help shape the pipeline opposition’s message and outreach to Peekskill and Westchester County. I’m back, picking up more or less where I left off. (Pro tip: look for me at Monday’s Common Council Meeting. I’ll get there as soon as I can – I’ll be coming from the board meeting of the Ossining Documentary and Discussion Series – the next screening (Merchants of Doubt) is my first time curating, and I’m happy with the results. Come see!)

Joe Squillante stepped into new territory yesterday. For those who don’t know him, Joe is one of the most beloved and respected photographers of the Hudson River we’ve got. See some of his work here. Check out his current show at the Chappaqua Library. As he told me yesterday, “I feel in love with the Hudson forty years ago, and I’ve been photographing the river ever since.

He asked me to take him on a tour of the destruction that’s already been perpetrated by Spectra’s construction of the AIM pipeline. I’d seen it before, but being witness to such violation beside an artist with such a deep love for the natural world made it all the more upsetting and melancholy.

He’s never done anything like this before, gotten involved in something controversial. He told me he’s stepping into very new territory. “I never put my fine art on Facebook and the like,” he told me, “But this is different. I want you to put these photographs up.”

Why now? “I’m a homeowner here, this is my town. I want to protect it. Because this is an atrocity to me, ravaging nature and for what? Their own private purposes, not for the people.”

And in other news of Peekskillians stepping into new territory, Maureen Winzig was in court two weeks ago – not as a defendant, but as courtroom sketch artist – for the very first time. I made a presentation to the Peekskill Arts Alliance (of which, if you don’t know, she is the very able President) about the incredibly creative and moving work that’s been done by artists of all kinds in support of trying to stop the pipeline – and many other grassroots efforts to help bring a better world into being. And to ask for the help and support of as many of the more than 70 artistic members I could persuade to join in. Including asking for a courtroom sketch artist. Maureen stepped up and showed up (two steps required in order to make a difference). All through the fantastically boring testimony of two State Police Officers who interacted with the Montrose 9 on the day of their arrest, she was off on the side, unobtrusively sketching away. Her sketch captures some of the power and poignancy of those 9 brave Defenders and their one stalwart attorney. I’ll post her sketch in a few days, along with Joseph’s photographs. Experience the amazing breadth of Maureen’s work here, and go to her beautiful watercolor show here. In fact, once I post this, I’m going to her reception. Maybe I’ll see you there!

And, honestly, hats off and buckets of respect to all the other Peekskillians and others who have become responded to this assault on our safety and peace of mind by stepping into new territory. However new the territory or large the step. Nothing begins without that single first step. And buckets of respect in advance for those who are considering it now and will take their step later, and those who are going to take a step and don’t yet have even clue number one that they’ll do any such thing, ever.

Here’s some pictures I took on our photo safari. Joe’s sure-to-be-remarkable photographs will be up next week.

Reynolds Hills - Where Nancy Vann stopped the Pipeline for an entire day. That yellow gas pipe wasn't there yet.

Reynolds Hills – Where Nancy Vann stopped the Pipeline for an entire day.

Some of what Nancy stopped -- on a much warmer day.

Some of what Nancy stopped on that much warmer day.

Blue Mountain preserve where Rob Astorino sold control of public parkland -- many say illegally

Blue Mountain preserve where Rob Astorino sold control of public parkland — many say illegally

Joseph Squillante at the industrial encampment right next to his beloved Hudson. They're planning to lay pipe under the river -- Joe and I talked about photographing fossil fuels from pipelines ruptured under rivers burning uncontrollably.

Joseph Squillante at the industrial encampment right next to his beloved Hudson. They’re planning to lay pipe under the river — Joe & talked about photographing fossil fuels from pipelines ruptured under rivers burning uncontrollably.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>