Friday, February 5, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

Large, moist snowflakes are painting the tree branches white.


These flakes do not have the power to coat the streets or sidewalks, and weather forecasters say that the sun will be back around midday.


Meanwhile, I do like the looks of the ginkgo tree just the other side of my front window.  When I first saw its central branch this morning I thought someone had tossed a polka dot scarf into the air that had then been caught by the tree.  Perhaps you all will also be fooled by the snow's effect?


I've always liked these sorts of lacy accumulations.


It's odd that only a day ago, my down-filled coat felt too warm.  I'm hoping that tomorrow's temperature will be warm enough to encourage me to have a walk over to Central Park.  I am very curious to discover what our odd January and February weather has brought to the Park, and will be taking my camera with me.

Meanwhile, thank you all for your visits and comments on my blizzard posts.  That recent snowstorm now seems so long ago.  This morning, the snow is just flirting with us.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

The blizzard finally ended before midnight last night.

The sun returned to us today.  By tomorrow morning, it might be hard to remember the blizzard, even though it was the second biggest snowfall to hit New York since record keeping began.



I put on my new boots and headed out for a walk just before midday.


Lots of energetic shoveling and powerful snowplowing had been underway and the results were apparent.


Curbside drifts were solidly packed.


I was happy to see that a mid-block crossing channel had been created allowing folks living in my building to easily cross the street to the north side of the street.  And vice versa.  Please note the lack of any slushy pools in these channels.


Just down the block no such channels appeared.  Those drifts were about four feet tall.  


Down at the corner with Broadway, a local television news crew was recording some sort of report.  Their sound truck was parked just where some regular street vendors usually set up their table of useful items like hats, scarves, toy taxicabs, and so forth.  I sensed some sort of pending serious discussion between the news crew and the vendors and kept on walking.

Perhaps you can detect the ongoing exterior maintenance work on the beautiful building across Broadway has required a sort of giant hairnet to be applied to the building's facade.

I continued on my way down Broadway past Lincoln Center, where several crews were catching up on clearing snow from walkways, driveways and the plaza before ice formed. 


The little triangular park across from Lincoln Center is a pleasant place to sit in warmer weather.

My destination was my workplace, even though I was not scheduled to work today.


I thought it would be fun to show you all a view from that giant front window of the mall, now that the holiday colored lights had been removed and the snow had fallen on Columbus Center.


My work colleagues and I all had today off, so that we could have a postponed holiday celebration.  We went for a quick lunch and then attended a Broadway musical matinee.  It's very unusual for us to have such an opportunity to enjoy each others' company off duty, and we did have a fine afternoon.

I admit that I did not much like the show we saw, but I won't reveal its identity.

After the show, I took the subway home from Times Square, and took a few more post-blizzard photographs of my neighborhood to give you all an idea of just how quickly our city can move on after even a big storm. 


This view down Broadway shows an immense pile up of plowed snow right at a bus stop.  Buses returned to service today, and my photograph does not show a tiny narrow channel that had been cut through that snow mound to allow potential bus passengers to actually reach the steps to a bus.  But...those passengers will have to wade through some slush.

Yesterday, bicycle delivery persons were ordered to stay off the streets after mid-afternoon, so that the streets could be effectively plowed over and over as the evening arrived.  


By today, delivery service had resumed.  Those folks pedaling bikes to deliver take-out food have great courage.  I think that their jobs are very dangerous even in perfect weather.

Well, this will conclude my trio of reports regarding our historic snow storm.  It has been unusual for me to blog so frequently.  Hoping you all have enjoyed my attempt to give you a sense of how we handle this sort of natural occurrence.  I've certainly enjoyed reading your comments and thank you for your visits.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from snowy New York.

We are now in blizzard mode.



The snow began falling about 11:00 last night and will continue until about midnight tonight.  Snowplows began scraping the streets overnight, and will continue their regular rounds.


I took these photographs from my north-facing front window, about 8:00 this morning.  Except for those snowplows, and some sidewalk shoveling, it was very quiet on the street.


Occasionally, a car would slowly drive past.  A little family group came outdoors to take some snow pictures.


The local television stations pre-empted national network programming to cover the blizzard.


Tonight there will also be a full moon, which will affect the expected local flooding.  My place of employment will be open today, and I am mostly worried about being blown over by the powerful winds on my way to the subway train station at my corner.


The television station I was watching has its station in my neighborhood, so it was interesting to see what the situation was like when weather forecasts were made from outdoors on Columbus Avenue.


The next photograph shows you all my new boots.  They are from a Canadian company, are cosy and waterproof with good treads on the thick rubber soles.  I am pleased to report that they were also on sale.


During some past big snow storms, the Metropolitan Transit Authority has shut down the subway system, but not this time.  Not yet.  Lots of the city's homeless population will be using those trains to stay warm.  I count my blessings in having a job, plenty of food and a warm place to live.

Thank you all for your visiting and commenting on my prior post.  It's fun to share my city views with you all.

Breaking news...my place of employment has been allowed to close early, and so I won't have to brave the deep snow and strong wind today.  The sun will come out tomorrow.  Hooray!  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Hello from New York on a chilly Thursday morning.

Snow has been forecast for the Atlantic coast of our country.  It's due to reach New York Saturday and may, or may not, accumulate to a measurable depth.

Lots of bread and milk will be sold between now and Saturday.  I might, or might not, buy a new pair of snow boots.



I'm pleased to report that I have finished my grey and white fair isle hat, using that vintage yarn I recently discovered on the top shelf of a closet.  Since the hat has a double stranding of yarns throughout, it's been keeping my head warm during our recent below freezing days.


It's fun making a pompom for a finishing touch.  A few years ago I bought some clever little folding plastic gizmos from Clover, that greatly simplify the pompom process.


Because quite a few different grey yarns were used here, I still have enough of the particular colors left to perhaps begin a scarf, but I already have a large and cosy old grey cashmere scarf ready to see me through this weekend.

I'm scheduled to work on Saturday...The Snow Day, and will be writing an update to this post about whether I do buy new boots and whether we receive a foot of snow.

Thank you all for your visits and comments on my prior post.  It's also grand to see some new folks visiting in this still new year.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

At the time of my previous post I was still deep in the midst of Santa's workshop.



I baked many of these brown sugar star cookies and gave most of them away as gifts.  All my knitted items and other gifts were completed and mailed or hand delivered.  It was also a pleasure to get together with friends on various occasions, to receive lots of lovely cards and to have Christmas as a day off.

New Year's Eve and Day arrived very quickly, and NYC was treated to oddly warm weather.  I did go to work on New Year's Day, and was astonished to discover how many people actually wanted to shop on January 1.  I observed the Southern tradition of dining on black eyed peas on New Year's Day, insuring good luck for 2016.  Time will tell.

One of my New Year's intentions is to get out and about a bit more.  This past week I met a friend at Scandinavia House, on Park Avenue not too far from Grand Central Station and the iconic Chrysler Building.  Surely these buildings provide splendid city views!  



We wanted to see an exhibition of paintings by Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershoi. We particularly liked the portraits and interior scenes featuring sparsely-furnished rooms and one or two figures.


I did want to show you all one of his landscape paintings though, to show that every so often he did go outdoors.

Earlier today, I took my chances on a grey, drizzly morning, to walk across Central Park.  The colors I saw were very soft and subdued.



There was something about the tangle of these branches that pleased my eyes.


My walk to the Upper East Side had two destinations.  The first was The New York Society Library where I returned the copy of John Lewis-Stempel's Meadowland, that I first checked out last year.  I kept renewing my loan, wishing to truly take my time in reading this account of a year in a particular meadow.  I highly recommend the book.

The second destination was The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I wished to visit a particular exhibit, Fashion and Virtue: Textile Patterns and the Print Revolution, 1520-1620.  The exhibit will close tomorrow.

To reach this exhibit's area of the huge Met, I passed through the many Medieval Galleries where a crew was working behind screens to remove the amazing Neapolitan Baroque decorations from the huge tree.  The idea was to keep the prying eyes of curious folks like me from seeing this process. 


I did manage to spy a opening to give you all an idea of what was going on.  Interestingly, the annual process of decorating the tree can be viewed by museum goers from a discreet roped-off distance.


As I'd expected, the light in the exhibit's rooms was quite dim to protect the precious textiles and old books on display.  Since most everything in the exhibit was taken from the Met's own collections it was okay to take photographs, and I enjoyed taking some.  I think that the following photograph of a young lady looking at a video of some exhibit information has the look of a painting.


I liked the quartet of illustrations on this informative poster.  I think that you all will be able to click on the photograph to enlarge the image.


The items pictured below were gifts to the Met from a lady who'd made a great collection of samples of textiles that connected with very old pattern book pages.  There were quite a few of these sheets on display, but I found some of them were hung too high on the wall for me to actually appreciate the designs or the actual textiles.


Here's another view of some folks taking advantage of a pleasant surrounding to have a rest.  I think that these fellows' female companions were giving the exhibit a careful viewing.


A number of mannequin couples were on display to indicate how antique textiles influenced 20th century designers.


I apologize for the blurry quality of my photographs.  The lighting was quite dim.


The next picture was designed by Giorgio Di Sant'Angelo.  Perhaps some you all will remember his bright colors?


I would like to have slippers like the one in the foreground.


The mostly cross stitched embroidery on this outfit was quite lovely.


Wouldn't these lions make grand postage stamps?


Fabric and Virtue was located on the lower level of the Met's Robert Lehman Wing, reached via staircase.  (I'm guessing there is an elevator, but have never used it.)  On the main floor of the Lehman Wing one can always find an amazing collection of the late Mr. Lehman's Post Impressionist paintings.  His gift to the Met demanded that his collection be shown as a group, not in galleries along with the Met's other extensive Post Impressionist works.


Another 2016 activity around here has been my preliminary de-cluttering attempts.  One of the closets in my apartment is a deep recess with a high ceiling.  Discovering what I might have long ago stored on its topmost shelf is always an adventure, requiring a careful climb up a step stool and a flashlight.  

This week's adventure did result in my tossing out some things that I truly no longer wanted or needed.  However, it also resulted in my discovering some hidden treasure, a lovely assortment of vintage Patricia Roberts genuine Shetland "Woolly Bear" yarn in neutral tones.  Well, I have started a new hat, that should soon be finished.  I've added some PR slate blue/grey mohair as horizontal definitions to the neutral herringbone mix.


Mind you, my major knitting opus, the blue/green/cream/rose fair isle shawl collared cardigan/jacket is still unfinished.  I am very close to the final steps, and vow to have it completed well before the first signs of spring 2016 arrive in Central Park.

I think that it might still be permissible to send you all my wishes for a very Happy New Year.  I am very much looking forward to keeping in touch via our blogs, and thank you again for your visits and comments.

I'm adding an addendum on January 11 to express my sadness in waking up this morning to learn that cancer has taken David Bowie away.  I heard some vintage interview with him today in which he mentioned always feeling as if he was still in his twenties.  I certainly understand and share that notion, even as golden years pile up memories I'd rather not have.  Still, this new year might offer us all unexpected joys.



Monday, December 21, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York on the shortest day of the year.

The past few weeks have been filled with a mixture of required days at my workplace, visits to various parts of the city to take care of various Christmas-related matters, visits with friends, card and gift making, and a bit of baking.  I do sleep very soundly.



The Union Square farmers market has been showing off lots of greenery and colorful plants.  The scent from those trees is very pleasant and adds to the spirit of the season.


I've brought home a white cyclamen, a deep pink Christmas cactus, a tiny pink flowered kalanchoe, and a bunch of red berried branches.  I mights still bring home some greenery before the 25th.


There's really not enough room in my apartment for an actual tree, so I've been enjoying just seeing all the trees on offer around the city.  Sidewalk stands can easily be found by looking for large inflated Santas or snowmen.  The following photographs were taken on a very warm, overcast, foggy day.  Can you see the tree salesman in his Santa's hat?


I thought those of you who saw my Halloween post might enjoy seeing how West 69th Street looks now.  It's a quieter time than October.


Some of these houses do have lights that transform the look of the decorations after sundown.


This is a very subdued look welcoming folks to this brownstone's front doorway.


I do like all these wreaths.


I usually begin my annual painting of Christmas teacup cards mid-October, but this year other demands upon my time delayed my painting until mid-November.  Santa's workshop was in session!


The cards are painted on watercolor blocks, then the quartets are cut apart, and messages added.  Every card is just a little different from the rest.


Some of my inspiration for this year's cards came from a painting of Chervil found in my newly acquired copy of The Concise British Flora in Color.  I splashed my own colors around the picture.



I'll echo the handwritten message on the card here...HAPPY CHRISTMAS!  Thank you all for your visits and comments during 2015.  I'm now looking forward to a New Year filled with lots more blogging adventures with you all.