Modernist Houses and Historic Preservation (or not) on Long Island

Saving (or not) Modernism in the Hamptons and What Historic Preservation is Doing to American Cities

Two different perspectives on houses and preservation that should have more of an overlap in Long Island, New York

Featured image: The Geller I house by Marcel Breuer in Lawrence, New York. Demolished 2022. Source: Docomomo/Syracuse University.

Now That’s A Rallye

Tales from a short-lived road Rallye of the 1950s: A Classic New England Rally is Revived, Minus the Mud (New York Times article). Here’s the link to the resurrected rally: Great American Mountain Rally Revival.

“We were boggled they felt they could handle it without chains and backwards at a fairly high speed”

Peter Bullard

Woolsey Park and an Abandoned Railbed

Perfect Spring day for walking the trails at Woolsey Park in Hopewell Township, New Jersey. Green up is well underway here. The total length of trails is only about two miles, but there are multiple crossings of Woolsey Brook, wetlands, uplands, and rows of tangled Bois d’Arc (better known as Osage Orange now).

Woolsey Brook.

The Osage Orange tree was only found in Texas and some surrounding states. Early French explorers called it Bois d’Arc because the Osage and other Native American tribes used its wood to make bows. By the 1800s, the tree (Maclura pomifera) was planted throughout the United States because it would quickly grow into thick, twisted, thorn-encrusted natural fences good for keeping livestock in (or out).

Osage Orange, or Bois d’Arc.

Woolsey Park also includes remnants of the short-lived shortline Mercer and Somerset Railroad (1874-1879) in the form of the earthen embankment that briefly carried the train tracks over Woolsey Brook. Just southwest of the park, Woolsey Brook joins Jacob’s Creek. The original M & R alignment is now Jacob’s Creek Road.

Woolsey Brook from the top of the old railroad embankment.
Lightning strikes?
Lots of Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) appearing.

Featured image: Osage Orange along the trail.

Central Downtown Pittsburgh Historic District

The aluminum-sided ALCOA Building (1953) across the street from the Beaux-Arts style Kimpton Hotel Monaco (1903) in downtown Pittsburgh.
ALCOA can’t wait for tomorrow.

Featured image: The Gothic-styled Union Trust Building, built in 1916 as the Union Arcade by Henry Clay Frick.

Topeak Rack on a Radmini

The Radpower rear rack is frequently (and currently) out of stock. It’s a bit hard to find concrete information on what other brands of racks fit on the Radmini, let alone photos of them installed. Some commenters have recommended Topeak racks, but there’s several versions to choose from. I tried the Topeak Explorer.

Here are some photos of the Explorer on a 2019 Radmini. Short version: it fits. There are at least three different holes near the dropouts that the rack can be installed on, resulting in three different heights. The highest hole put the rack closest to the seat but too high above the wheel for my tastes. Using one of the holes that the derailleur guard attaches to (the matching hole on the other side is unused) didn’t work because part of the rack stay rubbed against the bike frame and the rack couldn’t be leveled. I settled on attaching the rear stay to the same hole that the rear fender attaches to. The bolts that came with the Topeak rack are long enough that the rack and the fender can be attached together.

The Radmini’s taillight cable is long enough that, after snipping four zipties that hold it to the frame, it’s possible to attach the taillight to the rack without needing an extension cable.

The Topeak Explorer rack also has a spring-loaded hinged bar on the rack that can hold down a jacket or other light things. It also works with the Topeak MTX QuickTrack system. It A rack without the spring, but otherwise identical, is available for a few dollars less.

So far, the rack and bag (Topeak Trunk Bag MTX EX) are tight and rattle-free.

The Rack: Topeak Explorer (Non-Disc) (W/ Spring)

The Bag: MTX Trunkbag EX.

More Volkswagen x Trek Bikes

Those 90s Trek VW bikes keep showing up. Who knew you could get a bike jersey and other swag, too? An unused ’97 purple bike with paperwork is up on Facebook Marketplace now [edit: or not – possibly sold?].

The original VW saddle – Nice embroidery!
You could be the first person to ride this!

More on the VW/Trek collab is here and here, but contact the seller directly [edit: looks like it might have been sold] if you want this one. Seller is asking $750 and it’s in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. Perfect for the Volkswagen or Trek aficionado.