Wednesday, August 6, 2008

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

I have so enjoyed reading about the beautiful countrified summers being experienced by so many of you. I read of garden teas, gorgeous flowers (proved by splendid photos,) visits t0 pubs, visits to other beautiful places.

And then, I realize that I should share some of my current city views with you.

Perhaps you will recall that my apartment building was fairly recently sold to a corporation. I am lucky to be a protected tenant, so am entitled to remain in my tiny flat, as I watch other, more vulnerable tenants packing up and moving out.

As their apartments are vacated, they are renovated. Dishwashers, sanding of floors, painting of walls, and perhaps a few more improvements yield rents double what we vets are paying.

The public spaces are also being "improved." Out on the sidewalk entrance to the building, we have two large concrete planters in which have been installed mini fir trees. One of the trees is already not looking very healthy. At the base of each of these minis are some weakening begonias and lengthening vines of some sort. The curbside cherry and ginkgo trees out front have had periwinkles planted at their bases. The periwinkles don't look much better than the begonia. (In past summers, we had impatiens (busy lizzies) where the periwinkles struggle, and the impatiens were toughies who blossomed.

Our hallways are being smoothed; the prior prickly stucco finish is being banished. One of our three elevators is now out of its vertical tunnel. It will be replaced by a better, modern vehicle. Meanwhile, we can count on the stairs to see us through, when the two remaining elevators just don't show up at their requested station.

But. The worst is the lobby. The flooring has been re tiled with slippery, slightly metallic tiling.

The old lobby decor was not pretty, but did not try to be flash; it did not aspire to any sort of beauty. It was content to be functional.

Today a very large, very awful abstract painting was added to the lobby mix. I regret that I will have to see this every time I enter or leave this building. I feel very sorry for the doormen who sit at their post a few yards away from this monstrosity, hour after hour.

The painting could not have been created by a painter. I asked if it was a temporary measure, but was assured that it will be a permanent fixture.

Do you all see why I rely on my country dreams?

Best wishes.


  1. Poor Frances, it must be very upsetting for you. It sounds as if they are trying to make your apartment block appealing to a very different type of tenant.
    I do hope that it all works out OK when finished.

  2. Frances that picture is truly foul. It looks like a pair of floppy orange buttocks to me. Hope all your inconveniences are soon out of the way.

  3. Yes, the painting is foul. To me, it looks like someone's innards - heart, stomach and some veins......gross.

    Sending you some purple vibes, Frances, as you sound so fed up. You sure do make me appreciate where I live! xx

  4. Oh Frances, I can't imagine you in amongst all those goings on. I see you as the elegant lady in an elegant apartment in an elegant apartment block, all beauty and loveliness! Thinking of you xx

  5. Change can be so difficult - I do hope it looks better when finished. I hope you can learn to love the new lobby or at least pass though unoffended.

    Best wishes. x

  6. Poor you. I hope it is all finsihed soon and ends up looking better than expected.

    I could use some of those "Caution Do Not Enter" signs for my own home at the moment.

    I love the photograph of the painting - the 'Caution' tape says it all really. The picture of the 'art' is more 'art' than the 'art'. xxMags

  7. Oh Frances try and get them to leave the tape in front, at aleast your eye will be drawn away from it!!
    It horrid when change happens and you can't control it, mind the slippery tiles in the wet.
    Chin up we are all here and you know where to find your purple friends and lovely countryside anythime you want it.

  8. Oh I absolutely do see why you have your Country Dreams, that picture is a monster, count to five, deep breath and avert your eye's whilst lifting up your chin slightly to convey an unpleasant smell as you pass the vicinity. You haven't mentioned who the artist is ?

  9. You wonder if the people who decide that a painting like that should go up have any soul at all. Never mind Frances - retreat to Purplecoo.

  10. I've just caught up with your blogs and commented below. I'm sorry you are having horrendous changes made in your block.

  11. Oh Frances, I absolutely love these glimpses into your world - it's fascinating to read about your life in the city. Gosh, if that's the painting it's hideous! It's so violent-looking somehow, not what I would expect in the 'welcoming' part of the building. I do hope someone takes another look at this makeover and reconsiders!

  12. As always Frances my friend, you take us with you on your daily journey through life in New York. A thousand thanks to you. What is it that gets into these people and makes them decide to ruin places - even acknowledging your admission that the foyer wasn't that great to start with. I'll bet the rents have gone through the ceiling too. Keep well my friend.

  13. Hello Frances...well I have to agree -the painting is pretty dire, who would have chosen it I wonder? I bet they must wonder why is this woman taking pictures of this stuff ...if only they knew

  14. Gosh Frances I'm no art connoisseur but that mural looks very disquieting and not at all in keeping with your elegant, sophisticated outlook.
    Do you have some sort of residents' committee you could appeal to?

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  16. I always think that when one has to see something unattractive everyday, one starts not to notice it. I very much fear that that painting will never stop hitting you in the eye - it really is ghastly! So sorry, but at least you are secure in your tenancy.

  17. Oh Frances - I'm sure it will not be so bad once it's finished. However, that lobby picture looks like someone having a very bad dream. Poor you. Perhaps someone will cultivate some large and bushy plant to hide it - we can but hope. In the meantime, I'm sure your little apartment will continue to be the peaceful sanctuary it has always been.

  18. Many thanks for all those comments!

    Yes, that picture is a horror, and I refuse to believe that any artist had anything to do with it.

    I keep telling the doormen that with that painting alongside them, they become more handsome every day.


  19. The painting is, indeed, pretty awful.
    Sadly, it looks like the chest of an old lady sadly in need of a new bra.
    I see another comment suggest a rear end - so we must be reading it as a body somehow or other.
    I have just read another comment 'innards' -well there you go.
    Show your blog to whoever chose this monstrosity.
    I'm in the country with a garden and a dog this week.
    R. says he would go mad on Long Island.
    I wouldn't!!!

  20. Oh Frances, how unfair is that to have that painting in view, have a word and leave them one of your beauties I'd say, will knock spots of other.

    I know though that once inside your interior from your font door of your apartment that beautiful creations are there for you to see, all done by your lovely hands Frances.

    If you get a tad fed up with those inconveniences being made in building, come on over here Frances, we will cheer you up.

    Sending you lots of love and hugs.


  21. Oh Francis, how awful to have to look at that painting everyday. Could you slip down one evening and paint a discretely pretty bra on it?

  22. Others have said it all - pretty awful picture! In your business you must know all about change - there's good change and then there's bad change, and some of what's happening in your building is definitly bad change!
    Just caught up with your last couple of posts and must agree with Laurie, that Argentina is a great idea. Of course, you could always come up to the Pacific North West - it's gorgeous in the fall!

  23. Oh my goodness, that is truly a horrific painting...I do hope no one was actually paid to produce it...I'm so glad you are safe, though feeling terribly sorry for the tenants who are forced to leave. As someone who has lived in rented accomodation all their life, I think there is a special ring of Hell reserved for landlords. It is in a permanent state of disrepair and the rent goes up every day.

  24. Good gracious looks like an abstract interpretation of open heart surgery How vile!!

  25. Such hyperactivity in your home. I do hope you keep safe from any accidents when treading to and from the building.

    CJ xx

  26. It is upsetting when you see other people changing your immediate surroundings that you regard as your own but over which you have no control. I feel like that when the Council workmen come to take down the trees; you feel the same thing over the picture. But perhaps there are friendly ways of sabotaging this monstrosity: can you find someone with an allergy to Orange? Or a petition left in the hall complaining about the picture.
    Or an estate agent who comments that the picture lowers the value of the property....

  27. This is getting more and more interesting with the comments. I love pg's "there is a special ring of Hell reserved for landlords".Mine is of the school of the bare earth policy. If it's green, cut in back, spray it or remove it.To add some cheer I put a beautiful hanging basket overflowing with cascading petunias by the front door. I was asked to remove it in case the hook made a mark on the woodwork.We have also had our local cascading- with-wisteria and wood shopping mall modernised, to look like every other reflective modern shopping mall monstrosity on the planet. We had no choice.And the painting? I'd have every future tennant who decides for whatever reason not to move in to say "sorry, but I just couldn't live with that painting in the reception area, it would really get to me".Love your blog.

  28. Oh goodness, this sounds tough to take. I hope it's not too much of a disturbance and you grow usewd to the changes eventually x