Wednesday, April 28, 2010

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

What a cold and windy afternoon it is. A day to wear woolen layers, and perhaps later on it will also be a day to keep an umbrella handy.

It is also my mother's birthday today, and I have just been speaking to her over the phone. She lives hundreds of miles away from here, and I hope that the usually reliable UPS folks will manage to deliver my gifts to her this afternoon. One of these gifts is something I crocheted and it is pictured below.

I would like to keep this flower theme and show some photos I took yesterday, a day that began grey and then breezily cleared to a lovely afternoon. I crossed Central Park via bus and met a friend at the Metropolitan Museum. Just across Fifth Avenue from the Met, I saw some mature tulip blooms and could not resist taking their photo.

On the other side of Fifth, just next to the entrance to the Met's underground parking garage, stands this marvelous Noguchi obelisque. The lighting makes this sculpture even more powerful than usual.

While in the Metropolitan, we saw several interesting exhibits, the favorite being on of illuminated manuscripts of the Limbourg Brothers. These were exceptionally beautiful, and the exhibit is very wisely arranged to encourage folks to really look. The captions were well written, very witty, and had a way of calling attention to many story lines depicted in each manuscript.
We looked at some other exhibits, had salad lunches and then went outdoors to find a blustery atmosphere, and lots of blue sky. The picture below is of the miniature boat pond. These little ships are propelled by mobile power. Some folks also bring their own non-electric model boats to these waters. The pond is also home to some families of ducks. It featured prominently in the classic children's book Stuart Little.

We sat in the sun and talked away as old friends can do, sneezed a bit (lots of pollen blowing around) and then finally decided to stretch our legs a bit more, and walked up the hill from the pond, encountering this stunning tree. Isn't its shape just iconic?

I like that tree so much I have posted another picture of it ... see how it stands out in a crowd? Also, please note that beautiful sky.

We strolled a bit westward to the Bethesda Fountain area, and found many, many azaleas in full flower. The variety of greens and foliage is very rich at this season.

The following picture looks down over the Fountain's plaza to show the lake beyond. It is so strange to see that metal hair net scaffolding around the beautiful Fountain. I surely do hope that this project ... whatever it is ... will soon be completed.

Lots of folks were taking advantage of the many refreshment stands along the various Park pathways and roadways. The menu includes hot dogs, pretzels, ice creams, various sodas and water. Again, just look at that sky!

Many of the Impressionist painters made much of using fresh ways to show light effects. The photo below shows a cherry tree whose petals have formed one of those gorgeous pink carpets. As the sun shone intermittently from behind the quickly passing clouds, the pink carpet had such a great dappled effect ... the shadows really did look purple.

And here is more color ... that green, that blue!

There was something in the shape and the shadowing of the next tree that led me to see a bird in the line of its trunk. Do you see it also?

What a marvelous day! My final photo is of yet more tulips that are planted near the West 72nd Street entrance to Central Park. There are hundreds, if not thousands of these tulips. Some are in color blocks, and some are mixed colorways. All are beautiful.

I do hope that each of you has been having a grand springtime. Best wishes.


  1. As always, a treat, Frances, thank you!
    I think you put that tree there is just too perfect!

  2. As Elizabethd says, such a treat!

    I love the tulips and the perfect tree. I recognised the Stuart Little pond - a film I have watched many times with my children.

    It's interesting that you have a Bethesda Fountain. Bethesda is a common name for chapels and villages here. In fact the tiny village I live near to has strong connections to New York via the gentleman who first discovered Manhattan. His descendants run the local shop and garage. It's a small world!

    PS: I love the crocheted bag too with its vibrant colours. What a fabulous present. I hope it arrived safely.

  3. What a beautiful post, Frances. You may live in one of the biggest cities in the world, but nature and its beauty are right on your doorstep.
    Yes, I could see the bird in the tree - love it! I also loved the tree that could have been a topiary - its shape is perfect.

  4. Yet another glorious stroll through Central Park - I'm going to start a NYC savings jar - so that one day I can visit again. Love the crochet. I just picked up a book on crocheted and knitted flowers. I feel a bouquet coming on!

  5. It's so much fun to look at your photos since I never seem to get uptown. And yes I saw the bird head, but when I first looked at it I saw a gazelle instead but turned all the way around!

  6. I love the bag that you created. My Grandmother tried to teach me how to crochet that exact pattern, however I'm not so talented!

  7. Frances I ADORE that bag!!!I want I want I want... what a kind daughter you are and what a lucky mother yo have!

  8. A very "Happy Birthday" to your mum, I am sure she will love the crochet bag. The colours are echoed in the tulips, such happy, vibrant colours, perfect for spring.

    I would have love to have seen the Limbourg Brothers manuscripts, when we were students at art college we had a Duc de Berry poster on our wall. I have always wanted to see the real thing.

  9. Thanks for the lovely walk through the park Frances...there's so much diversity there.

    Our blossom trees are no where near flowering yet...been too cold!!

  10. I don't speak english, but I can tell you: your bag is very, very beautiful !I hope your mother will love it. And thanks for walk in your town (photos): a little "voyage" for me. And the last thank for your coming on my french blog !

  11. Francis thank you for such a lovely post. Your Mother will love the crochet bag - beautiful colours. You certainly have an eye for photography. Love the pictures.

  12. Gosh, it's a real contrast for me to see the promise of Spring in blue skies and green buds in your photos... it looks a tad warmer than when we were with you! Your gift for your mother is so beautiful.

  13. Another lovely walk and beautiful pictures to accompany it.
    Central Park appears to be an oasis in the midst of what I imagine to be the hustle and bustle of New York.
    I feel now that I am walking alongside you and I am sure I would be captivated by the same sights as you are. Perhaps we could stop for a coffee and discuss a book, or a play, or a piece of music, or stand together in awe of a piece of art.
    I would like to know more about your life, I am sure we have a lot in common, as we have felt before.

  14. great post...the park is so wonderful and so is the Met ! I will be in this Saturday to check out the village area and Chelesa Market. Hopefully it won't be too humid!!

  15. That pond! Stuart Little is one of my favourite films. But oh how I love your bag, what gorgeous colours - am so glad that spring has reached NY. ♫

  16. Beautiful photographs of the park Frances. The crochet bag is delightful, I'm sure your mother will love it.

  17. That bag is absolutely beautiful. I want one!

  18. Beautiful, beautiful pictures, Frances - really captures the season of new beginnings. I particularly love that crochet bag - would love to have something like that, too.

  19. Wonderful post! Love your walk in Central Park. It looks lovely and all the tulips are stunning. Your Mum is very lucky and I hope she liks her present!
    Have a continued lovely weekend.

  20. What a fabulous post about a day very well spent!
    What a sharp eye you have for the delights of the park.
    Weird it was so very brisk and chilly ( I think that was the day I was on LI) and now so very sultry.
    The medieval exhibition will have to wait until I return from England.......

  21. I do envy you, seeing originals by the artists who painted the Tres Riches Heures. There was a magnificent show of manuscript art at the Art Gallery of Ontario some years ago, overwhelmingly beautiful and personal art.
    Lovely photos of what I always think of as Blue and Gold days, the fresh colours and blue sky of spring. I like the perfectly shaped little tree of course, but also the one with the serpentine curl in the trunk.
    What a charming bag, with pansy colours stitched up like a spring posy, a perfect present.

  22. What fabulous photographs. I love tuplips at all stages. Even when pretty much dead, as a cut flower when their petals have turned tissue papery and their stems have drooped.

    Very impressed with the lovely bag, as I am sure your mum was, learning to crochet is one of my resolutions for this year.

  23. I enjoyed my tour of Central Park in the springtime. I love the way you describe the colors! I have learned to notice color so much more than I used to... art lessons helped. Lovely photos!

  24. As I wake up and find winter seems to have re-appeared here which is rather a shock after temps of 28° I really enjoyed sharing your walk with you and clutching a large mug of hot tea. Thank you for popping by my blog, I'm struggling to keep interesting !!!!

  25. Thank you, Frances, for taking the time to share with us your wonderful day! That one tree you pointed out is truly unique and outstanding. The petal carpet reminds me of my former home: I would always close of our circular driveway when the petals of the cherry trees started to fall. My neighbors say they miss my pink carpet.

    I hope the weather has turned more springlike on your side of the pond!

  26. P.S.:
    I love the handbag you crocheted for your mom!

  27. Francis,
    we were visiting each other at the same time! ;-)

    You must come to Vienna one day, then we shall travel to Bad Ischl for the best Strawberry Napoleon in the whole wide world! It is really so delicious, nothing of that sticky sweet mess it can be in the wrong hands.

  28. All so lovely, Frances. Ah, yes; the side walks (and parks) of New York. (We'll forget about the bombers.)

  29. Hi Frances,

    I just wanted to say what a treat it's been to see your photos of Central Park in all its springtime glory. What a contrast to the frosty blue-greys of our visit with you! We're all sorry here to see that 'terror' is on the streets of NYC again. That video footage of the suspect changing his shirt was taken from inside the restaurant where Chris and I ate on our last night in town. Scary. I haven't got round to saying thanks for your guided tour of the Metropolitan Museum that day - so now I will.


  30. beautiful Springtime..lovely New York views...
    hoping you have a beautiful weekend,Frances

  31. Dear Frances,

    How could I have missed this post.!

    Wonderful pictures Frances, and I love Tulip flowers. Gorgeous crocheted bag you have made for your dear Mom and such pretty shades of colours too.

    Thank you for that beautiful walk in Central Park Frances, a lovely post.


  32. merci de partager ces jolies photos de ton univers, de ta ville que nous allons visiter au mois de septembre
    bisous de france

  33. I have been away Frances and spent all week catching up with my favorite blogs. Some of the pictures you took in the park could certainly be painted by an impressionist painter. Lovely. I see it was your mother’s birthday and you spoke to her. I envy you that. My mother would have been 100 on 12 May as she was born 5/12/1910 but she left us in 2002. I was going to write a post on her but I’ll do one for French Mother’s day which is 30th May. It must be so lovely walking in your park in spring.

  34. I enjoyed the photos. I also enjoyed what you wrote on Vagabonde's blog about people being so occupied with their electronic devices that they miss out on connecting with those around them.

  35. I have so enjoyed the pictures of the park! Wonderful to have such a beautiful park in the middle of a city.

    I really like that little bag, very pretty.
    Warm wishes
    Isabelle x

  36. What with The Little Prince I am way behind - but I have done a blog to respond to your questions about the theatre. Only one picture though - but maybe one day I shall have to take some pictures of our park here, which is also very beautiful. But I suspect you take better photographs than me.

  37. You make Central Park look like...Wensleydale...
    Not that I've ever been to Wensleydale..

  38. Hi, I'm visiting from Steff at Curlew Country. I think your profile photo of your painting of the tea cup is just beautiful.

    I enjoyed this post. It's always wonderful to visit the Met. And, yes, they always provide just what you need to truly appreciate the artwork, don't they? A bench in the perfect place in the correct shape - informative captions. The illuminated manuscripts sound like they were a treat to view.

    Your photo of the tulips is like a painting. =] I love the stems and leaves and the amazing pathways that they create.

    I do think that lone tree is beautiful. My sister has a degree in fine arts and a wonderful view on the world. We were discussing how much we loved trees and she mentioned that she had always been attached to Dr. Seuss trees but had always wondered where his brain had come up with them. Apparently he was from San Diego and, in SD, there are funnily shaped trees just like the ones he created. Ah ha!

    Speaking of Steff, I have a NY story that you might appreciate. I was visiting your town to have a voice lesson. Travel and time was a bit tricky and we wound up taking a taxi to my teacher's apt. I got up to his place when the doorman called. "Max", turned to me and asked, are you missing your purse? YES! I just noticed. The man who had gotten into the taxi after me had insisted that the driver take him to where she had taken her last passenger. He went in and, happily, I had asked the doorman for directions and he deduced that I had gone to see Max and must be the one who had lost my purse. A NY miracle!!!

    Hope you don't mind the mammoth comment, here.

    Love, katy Noelle

  39. lovely photos, i agree with you that tree is a fantastic shape! I hope your mum had a lovely birthday the bag you made her is scrummy! fliss xx