Saturday, March 29, 2008


This week, I discovered that there’s an old Vitagraph studio complex out in Midwood, and today I went out to check it out. Vitagraph was one of the earliest movie production companies; it started with a rooftop studio in downtown Manhattan, and had a presence in both Brooklyn and Hollywood in the teens and twenties. One source claims Leon Trotsky worked at the Midwood studio as an extra! When he wasn’t ordering ham and eggs from Ho Chi Minh, no doubt (HCM also spent some time in our metropolis, working in restaurants). The Midwood studio is now a school for yeshiva-ettes, and the only thing really to see is the smoke stack with Vitagraph Co. written down the side. Best seen from the Q train actually (just before the Ave M stop).
Also this week I found out that Harry Houdini is buried in Queens. Hmm, sounds like another expedition.

Through Prospect Park on the way back, I saw my first warbler of the year, a pine; two of them, actually, joining with phoebes and cedar waxwings hawking over the Lullwater. I’ve never seen pines do this, so I was confused on the identification for a time. Also new this week: both ruby and golden crowned kinglets, belted kingfisher (male & female), swamp sparrow, northern flicker. It is that time of year: every week now is going to see the return of species.

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