The brutal cold was finally upon us in my city of New York, and while this is often the kind of climate that finds one remaining in the warmth of one’s home, the need for some bracing air and wandering were upon me in a much stronger sense. With this being the case I set forth to traveling the village streets of Bay Ridge with my comrade in arms The Beehive Hairdresser (it’s a blogger nickname and my friend is NOT a hairstylist). This neighborhood is a place that I’ve lived in for most of my life and the region is very interesting for the most part with it’s numerous parks and some cool history. The region was primarily the home to a lot of Norwegian folks for many years and while it has become a little more diverse since those decades past their influence and culture still resonate in the neighborhood. This influence led me on what I coined my “Quest for Vikings” today and how could you blame me when we found this gigantic rune monument erected in the honor of the famous Norse explorer Leif Ericson.
We thought this was pretty cool, and here is a closer look at the graphic embedded into the stone. You can click it to see a larger view of it, but it says “Leiv Eiriksson discovered Americ Year 1000” and also “this is a replica of a rune stone found in Tune, Norway — Rune stones were erected in honor of Viking Heroes”. It was dedicated in July 1939 by His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Olav of Norway.
Did you know that this famous explorer actually discovered North America a few hundred years before Christopher Columbus? Well, the land itself was here for a few million years before either of them arrived so we mean “discovered” in the sense that other parts of the world only learned about it from their explorations. Check out more about this fascinating individual by clicking HERE.
My history is probably a little bit off here, but since the neighborhood was so loaded with the Norwegian influence, one had to imagine how cool it might have been to see a huge Viking ship making its way through the Narrows which we picture below. I am pretty doubtful that the explorer ever took this route when he made it over to this side of the world.
Of course you will have to mentally remove the bridge that connects Bay Ridge to Staten Island and even this piece of land that we were standing on from this image to get the maximum effect. I probably could have edited all of that out with Photoshop but then you might not have believed the location to be sunny but cold Brooklyn, New York.
Here’s another view of the harbor which we took from the pier down on 69th Street. Obviously this pier would not have been here way back in those ancient explorer times and both Brooklyn and Staten Island would have likely been referred to as “this side” and “that side” from those who were pulling into the regions waters. The quest continues.
We happened upon this fantastic sign at the entrance to Leif Ericson Park (the Americanized spelling of Liev Eiriksson) and felt confident about more of a Viking presence being discovered in this region as we continued our adventure…..lo and behold, we were right.
Clearly the Vikings have docked here and left us a little souvenir. OK, so maybe not exactly, but we could not believe the utter coolness of this not-too little construct and wished that we had something like this to climb around on back when we were able to climb around on such things. Either way, it was something that merited a little further investigation.
This great view of the bow of this Viking ship construct shows you its coolness from a different angle and also shows how its passengers made for quick escape on the provided slide. We climbed aboard to see what other amenities the ship offered its traveling warriors and no we did not do the slide exit.
The periscope that you see here helps the Vikings see what is ahead of them and I had to admit that I was a little confused in how this was actually used based on it’s design but I did eventually figure it out. Not too sure the old time Vikings had such implements but whatever works for this particular vessel is fine.
The vessel was ill-equipped for things like shuffleboard or bowling but they did have this this handy little tic-tac-toe board available for all those who were taking a journey on the now officially christened by me “USS PiercingMetal.com” – I am sure that back in Viking times that the game was referred to as the “X” and “O” game had it even been something that was played.
Here’s a slightly different view of the Viking ship “monkey bars” construct and one that shows you in the far right hand lower corner some sort of weird “hang on and spin” kind of thing. It was not too unlike the popular “sit and spin” toy from decades past but in this case the person playing stands on the small blue circle which spins while they hold the wheel above them (that also spins). I did try it and it was rather treacherous but surely fun. Lucky for all who try it that the ground is a bunch of rubber padding.
I braved the bow of the ship at the suggestion of Eric The Beehive, who is actually of Norwegian descent himself and with inspiration as my guide I point to distant lands that the ship had yet to reach. Of course in real life we were facing 67th Street but its fun to daydream a little bit.
The ship’s masthead was rather imposing and clearly designed to bravely adventure into battle against the rage of sea serpents and surprises like this one below. I am not sure if this was a wolf or some kind of other animal but whatever it was it surely could do the trick.
This was not exactly a sea-monster per se, but for our little tale the overall weirdness of the structure applies to that description. In reality it was some sort of climbing thing and we could not figure out how the heck any of the kids or brave adults would be able to enjoy this without serious injury.
As we draw to the end I salute you Metal legions and encourage you to keep a little musical adventure in your heart since that helps keep things interesting. Yes I should have been sporting the horns in this shot since that is “The Metal Way”, but Eric was shooting this from too far away as he wanted to capture the full of the ship with me aboard it. After this little bit of wandering I had to say that it makes me glad that we have been doing what we can for the Viking Metal bands that invade these lands in this modern day and age. We always find their music and the shows that they do exciting and feel the songs of bands like Ensiferum and Turisas are among the best of its providers. We’ve reviewed a number of these and other Viking Metal providers over on the website and if you want to learn more about those bands just type their names into the search box in the top right-hand corner of the page.
PiercingMetal.com readers can also learn a little bit more about the whole Viking Metal genre by clicking this Wikipedia Entry. It gets to the point rather effectively and also leads you to a list of the most known bands that play this kind of stuff. It’s important to note that a close relative of the Viking Metal genre is the Folk Metal one and additional information on that side of the fence can be learned HERE. It’s one of our own favorite genres and like the Viking stuff we have made sure to bring a lot of those bands to your computer screen. Check out some of the reviews of this type of stuff by using our search box on the website for Ensiferum, Turisas and Falkenbach as they should give you a nice idea of the genre. Thanks for taking this little quest with us, I hope you had a good time. Remember to keep the sword of Metal sharpened for battle and sing those songs of victory louder every day. May the power of Mjolnir protect you always…..
Official Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leif_Erikson