I was out and about in my hometown of Belfast yesterday, doing my rainy day Tuesday chores, when I started to reflect upon how strongly Belfast has rebounded from the “crash” that began with the death of the chicken plucking industry, many years ago.
The two processing plants dominated the waterfront with their imposing , scattered architecture
and with their “gut pipes”, spewing the unwanted refuse that was produced by processing millions of broilers. Blood, guts, heads, legs and feathers boiled out of the submerged ends of the pipes coating the bay’s shoreline and my dad’s boat, a beautiful mahogany, Chris-Craft ski boat . The smell was terrible but the fishing for bluefish and stripers was grand. The pipes provided a constant supply of chum that drew these fish into the harbor to feast. They were everywhere and were caught everywhere, from the side of fishing boats, to the few floats that were around at that time and even off the old footbridge.
Stopping by our public landing where there once stood a large poured concrete block of a building that housed grain to be used in the feeding of the many chicken farms around the county, I was treated to our hardworking city crew installing floats for the upcoming boating season.
I started to marvel at the metamorphosis of our waterfront, particularly with the recent addition of the new shipyard and decided to take a ride to the “other” side of the harbor..the “eastside” for a different view.
From this perspective, looking down the southside of the footbridge, you can see just a portion of the new shipyard that now sits on the former site of Stinson Canning Co. The green buildings were used as warehouses for Stinson but now are workshop areas for the shipyard. There is also a bony, skeletal appearance to the new building being constructed on site at the foot of the bridge.
Here is the remainder of our waterfront and how it looks on a cold and drab Tuesday afternoon.
And now that the floats are out, with the weather turning better, soon the harbor will be filled with boats, lobster pots will be set and the mackerel will start to run. But with the chum long gone, the blues and the stripers have deserted our fair shores.
For everything lost, there’s something gained….
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