Sunday, May 31, 2009

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York, on a hot Sunday, the final day of May.

This is a time of year when many so-called street fairs come to our neighborhood. Various vendors set up their stands early in the morning, and then hope to attract lots of customers before having to dismantle the stands around 6 pm. The stands are actually in the street, so that normal vehicular traffic is blocked during the fair hours.

As I walked down Broadway, I took a sampling of photos to give you an idea of why folks either love or hate these fairs. You will quickly see that a city street fair is very different from a village craft fair.

There are many food stands, many of which seem to offer similar menus. Fresh fruit was plentiful, either cubed, pured, dipped in chocolate, or put to other uses. In the background of the above picture you might just see some roses blooming in a tiny triangular park formed where Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue convene.

Another view of the roses, and a chance to find hot dogs.

This photo is a longer range view to show that there are many tall buildings along Broadway. Most have stores or cinemas or restaurants at street level and apartments above.

You might be tempted to buy some orchids. I am not at all sure if these orchids will have much of a life span.

You could buy some baskets woven in Africa.

You could try to endure the very fragrant smoke from the grills long enough to buy a gyro or shish kabob.

Just across the way, you might consider a carpet, but remember that these carpets are also collecting lots of that fragrant smoke.

A few blocks down the street, I saw a straw hat stand that was doing very well.

Here's a corner of a stand that mainly featured children's clothing. The little crocheted key chain bobbles and finger puppets were rather charming.

Chocolate coated bananas, sure to be a bit messy when being eaten.

I had not seen this delicacy in prior street fairs, but several stands were offering the mozzarepa this afternoon. I did see a few folks giving them a try. Other folks settled for traditional grilled corn on the cob, with lots of butter.

The above picture is a close-up view of a jewelry stand's necklace assortment.

This young lady was doing very well with her blender, pineapples, canned pineapple juice, bananas and strawberries. Her stand was very near the southern end of the blocks given over to the street fair, and just north of our neighborhood's cultural zone, at Lincoln Center.
For the past year, the many buildings and plazas at Lincoln Center have been undergoing much needed renovation work. Alice Tully Hall is just now coming out from under its protective scaffolding, and now has a splendid angular glass front.

The above picture shows a new cafe that is just inside this glass front. It is a nice place to meet before a performance, or just to sit down for refreshments. Very different atmosphere from that of the street fair.

Just outside that glassed-in area is a mini-amphitheatre, which is also angular in shape. There are occasionally performances held in this space. The performers will have to compete with the traffic moving down Broadway a few yards away.
There is always lots of change in this neighborhood, even though many of the older buildings are designated landmarks and, therefore, cannot be torn down. Lesser anointed buildings are always being replaced by new towers that are not always architecturally distinguished.

This last picture is taken facing uptown, or northwards on Broadway. The building under construction will be 22 stories tall, and is being build pretty quickly. I keep thinking of all the folks who will be living there, and whether they will want to ride the same subways and buses that I ride.
Hoping that you all have enjoyed this Sunday in the city. You may now be even more happy with your own country views.
Happy June to all.


  1. I'd guess that there wouldn't be much to compare to a street fair in The Big Apple. The colours and the 'street action' come through so well in your photos, Frances. I could imagine the smells - the smoke, the perfume of the roses and the fruit and chocolate - surely you can smell fruit and chocolate?!
    Thank you for the tour - especially for putting us so completely in the picture regarding just which streets and buildings we were seeing. I enjoyed it!

  2. I have a totally different view of New York through knowing you, Francis. Thankyou

  3. Ever since I was a little girl I knew that I would love New York and you've confirmed it! Makes me wonder if I headed in the wrong direction when I finally left home.. I went west, perhaps I should have gone east.
    You make it so lovely. Thank you. I really enjoy your blog.

  4. Frances, that sounds great, particularly being able to amble around soaking it all up without any traffic bothering you.
    I do enjoy your descriptions of life in New York. It may be fast but it's beautiful.

  5. When I was last in New York we saw one of your street markets, although sadly it was at the end of the day and we only got to see one small bit of it. Now, through your blog, I can see what I might have missed. I always enjoy these visits to your incredible city so thanks for showing us.

  6. Too many people for my liking, but it does look rather jolly. I need something a bit more rural, with livestock (probably not a lot of that in NY!)Always interesting to see what's going on in your patch.

  7. Another superb blog - you certainly have a knack of evoking a place through judicious juxtaposition of picture and text.

  8. Wow, that's a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
    I'd be after a hat!! and I noticed gyros for sale, those greeks get everywhere!
    Thank you for leaving comments on my blog, much appreciated...x

  9. Hello Frances,

    A really lovely post, thank you for sharing and what wonderful pictures you have given us.

    I always love hearing about your writings in NYC Frances.

    I have a passion for rugs, so definately would be visiting that carpet stall.

  10. Hi frances, thankyou for visiting my blog and showing all the pictures of NEW YORK. I have never been to New York or the USA I hope to one day. All looks really interesting there.

  11. Frances, what a delightful blog, as always, so full of interesting events in NYC. I would just love to go to one of these street fairs, I'll bet the atmosphere and excitement are phenomenal. Once more, I've travelled to America and experienced a slice of life in the Big Apple, thanks to your wonderful illustrated posts.

  12. One day I will visit your city but, in the meantime, I do enjoy your tours and your commentary, Frances. (we saw some tiny natural orchids on the coastal path this week - very delicate and fresh, rather glad they weren't on a stall).

  13. Just tearing myself away from the hats Frances, to say that, as usual, we walk the streets of New York with you as our guide, and what a wonderful trip it is.

    Between the pictures and the word pictures you really sum NY up so well for us. Thanks friend.

  14. I can never quite decide if I am a
    town mouse or a country mouse,but I pick up the ever changing vitality of cosmopolitan life through your blogs and the city long as it is New York or London. Do they still play chess on the sidewalk in New York?

  15. Thanks for sharing that streat fair with us Frances so very different to the ones we get in the UK. I thought, until I read the caption, that your phot of a close up of jewellery was of sausages!
    Not sure about chocolate covered bananas but I'd give a Mezarepa a shot! Thanks for taking us along too.

  16. How did I miss this super post?
    Yes, street fairs are always a wonderful opportunity to walk where there is usually traffic and maybe buy some odd trinket one hadn't seen before.
    They are a wonderful part of the summer scene here in NY.
    I have bought orchids for my son and daughter in law --quite inexpensive ones -- and they have been a delight --but we do not know anything about orchids!
    lovely to see you yesterday.

  17. I love the glimpses of New York life you give us, makes me want to visit again so much! You captured the atmosphere of the street market so well I almost feel like I was there.
    Julia x

  18. Another treat for me Frances, I so love the way you show me your fantastic home city in photos and words. Your life can never be dull in such surroundings. Thank you for brightening mine.

  19. Frances,
    thank you for sharing this interesting Sunday in the City!
    My favorite is the cafe with the amphitheater in front, looks like a congenial place. The strange corn-mozza concoction I wouldn't want to touch either, not even on a stick! ;-)

    Happy Sunday, Frances! :-)

  20. what great photos - hard to pick on one but it would be the hats. Oh, and the African outfit. But a lovely selection and, like LWB says, you bring a great picture of NY. Very vivid and not at all "obvious".

  21. Frances, thank you so much for checking out my blog too! I stumbled across yours this morning before going to work...and it was soooo hard to leave the computer! I immediately fell in love with your posts and paintings♡ I have never been to NY before.... but hopefully will somedays soon. Until then, I will "pretend" I am there through your blog!
    Thank you!

  22. oh i'd so love to visit ny ... one day, yes one day!

  23. Hello Frances,
    How interesting to be afforded this peek into your world, thanks so much. I am feeling quite hungry having seen all that food on offer. I hope you are continuing to enjoy sunshine your side of the pond. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving lovely comments, as always, much appreciated. (P.S. Have you entered the giveaway, please do.)
    Hen x

  24. chocolate bananas and pineapple smoothies! I could get a very balanced diet there! wonderful pics! t.x

  25. A far cry from my local French market.

    I could almost smell those hot dogs.


  26. Sorry haven't been along to your spot for ages, what a bustling street market, those chocolate covered bananas looked interesting but didn't they melt in the heat ?

  27. New York has such an amazing feeling of vibrancy - so much going on, it makes me feel quite dizzy (in a good way, of course). It's great to see it through your camera lens - I love the photo of sausages especially, as well as the carpets.

    Enjoyed your meme, too - don't know how I'd missed that first time round.