I knew Doug Schwartz briefly in college. We met on the cafeteria line once and chatted briefly. I was editor of the school newspaper; he was a poet. He wrote a poem about eggs and bacon at the breakfast table that I thought was really clever. And his other poems were pretty good too. I recall we published his poems in the paper. And that was it. End my story on Doug Schwartz.
Twenty years later, five years ago, I came upon the bizarre rock pilings on Staten Island’s southeast shore, the rock pilings that have now made it into the book Weird New York and have been written up in the NY Times.
Who on earth would take the time to meticulously pile these rocks on top of one another, in dozens of piles; hundreds upon hundreds of rocks. And more bizarre, why doesn’t someone come by and kick the piles down?
Weird New York answered my question – Doug friggin Schwartz, that’s who.
The rocks are located at a southeastern point on Staten Island that also provides a deep channel, and thoroughfare to the occasional big ship. So as bizarre as it is to find these rocks in this isolated spot of rural coastline of what is officially New York City, it is almost shocking to turn around and see a monster oil rig pass by 300 yards off shore.
One feels obliged, upon leaving the rocks, to add to the collective spirit by placing at least one rock on top of an existing pile, or to start a new pile.
*Last Picture taken from GoogleEarth