Monday, October 11, 2010

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on Columbus Day.
I am writing this as I near the end of a rare occasion, a three-day weekend. The weather has been so beautiful, and the days have been relaxing.
Let me take you along to some places I visited.
Saturday, October 9, was what would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday, and I walked over to Central Park's Strawberry Fields area to add my thoughts to those of many others who crowded in to this special place all day.
The following photo is taken from the vantage point of Strawberry Fields, and shows through the trees, a view of the famed Dakota apartment building where Lennon lived.

From there, I travelled downtown to the Union Square farmers market to find some apples and a tiny pumpkin to bring home. The pumpkins below are destined for the homes of others, and might be carved into Jack o'lantern faces.
I have used my mixture of apples to make a delicious cinnamon, butter, and sugar flavored apple crumble. Yummy, and so easy to make. Just the aroma of this dish baking signaled autumn's arrival.
Sunday was another gorgeous day, perfect for a parade. New York City has two Columbus Day parades. The traditional, Italian, parade took place today, Monday, and went on for many hours as lots of school bands and polititians made their way up Fifth Avenue.
I elected to visit yesterday's Hispanic Columbus Day Parade, that honors Spain for funding Columbus's voyage. It is filled with wonderful music and costumes and dancing, and its route covers about three miles of Fifth Avenue.
There are always some wonderful mounted police officers at the beginning.

Then, the parade contingents from Spain arrive. As you might guess, yesterday there was evidence of the Spanish pride in having won the World Cup.

This fellow turns up every year, with his tie-died beard and dog, and party dress. He has a grand time, and no one seems to mind his joy at parading. I do not know which country he represents!

It was at this point that I realized that my camera's battery was not going to last for the entire parade. Alas.
Spain was followed by Argentina, with lots of graceful tango dancers.
Next in line were the representatives from Bolivia, and I did manage to click a shot of one of hundreds, hundreds of costumed dancers. These ladies were able to twirl rapidly while moving forward briskly, and this got their mini skirts whirling around waist high. No photo of that.

I am so sorry not to have a photo of the group from Chile who honored the about-to-be-rescued miners. They each wore a miner's hard hat and scruffy work clothes. The crowd applauded, and some eyes were very moist.
Another event that took place this weekend was the second annual NYC yarn crawl, organized by a group of prominent yarn/knitting shops in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Each shop had special offers, a lottery drawing, a scavenger hunt for visitors to find the hidden knitted apple (NYC is known sometimes as the Big Apple.) The event went on from Saturday through today, Monday.

I did visit some shops on Saturday and Sunday. At the Purl SOHO shop downtown on Sunday, I had the pleasure of meeting a delightful and skilled knitter, Kristina McGowan, whose new book has just been published. It is called Modern Top-Down Knitting, and is a guide to creating various dresses, hats, sweaters, etc., from the top down ... so that each garment is made in one piece. It is a very clever concept, and I wish Kristina great success with her lovely book. I bought a copy and the cover is in the following photo.
Today was another blue sky day, and I traveled across the Park to meet a friend at the Metropolitan Museum. We went up to the roof exhibition space. The Met is actually located on the Fifth Avenue edge of Central Park and so its roof garden has fantastic views. I share the southern view with you.

I wanted to visit the roof not only for the view but also to see the Big Bambu construction that has been made by the Starn twins, who usually are known for their big photos. Big Bambu will be dismantled at the end of October. Every summer, some artist has the roof space to display some sculpture that is just for the roof.
What do you think? Is this a nest gone crazy? A unnatural thicket?

Within this mass of bamboo staffs, carefully knotted together, is an actual pathway in which one can climb up inside the assemblage...a few at a time, please. I did not take the path up today.
Perhaps you can make out the lady in the red dress who did make the climb.

Here is a close up view of how the poles are connected. Would you want to climb?

Here is a mother and son debating whether they want to join the queue for the ascent.

After seeing all that we wished of Big Bambu, we went back downstairs (real stairs) into the Musuem and saw an exhibit of beautiful Renaissance paintings by Jan Gossart and others. It provided a huge contrast to the roof.
After that, we ambled through a few other parts of the Museum and then left in search of a quiet cafe for lunch and lots of chatting. It was a lovely day.
I got home in time for a few errands, and then sat down to work on one of my current knitting projects, a multi-cabled, chunky weight scarf in a gorgeous soft yarn. Project on top of Rowan pattern book. (Yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky.)
Tomorrow morning, I will return to work and hope to carry with me the relaxed state of mind that the past three days have granted.
Best wishes to you all.


  1. It sounds like you really know how to make the best of your weekends. You are truly an inspiration. Thanks for showing us the various things you did over the past three days. It shows me how much more I can do with my spare time if I try harder to find interesting things to do. The scarf looks beautiful and will be a joy to wear, no doubt. I hope you enjoy your new knitting book.

  2. It sounds as though you've had a lovely weekend. Your knitting is beautiful.

  3. Frances, I so look forward to your fascinating explorations. Every time there is something new and different. It must have been very moving to see the Chilean group.

  4. Frances - you have sooooo much energy - a busy working life and still are able to explore the depths of your wonderful city....and then come home and do a little knitting!

  5. Thanks so much for the tour, Frances. Columbus, of course, was a late comer. Even we in Wales got across the ocean before him and that is why when he arrived (or was told about the American Continent he was told that it was 'Meyrick's land. And that there were two of them. A-Meyrick and B-Meyrick.

    Awen Meyrick was a Welsh sailor, you see plying his trade from Aberthaw - the mouth of the river here. And after his epic voyage he came back and built a house not far from here, just a little inland from the coast. It's long gone now but the cluster of houses that grew up around it was known (and still is known) as Pentre Meyrick - Meyrick's village. Of course it should be A. Meyrick's village but I guess it's been shortened in time.

    Still, it was a lovely parade and thank you for sharing the photographs and if ever you knit a superfluity of those cable scarves please offer one in this direction where I am sure we could provide you with a ready sale.

  6. Good morning Frances. By now you'll be well into your work day, but I hope some of your relaxing weekend has stayed with you.
    You pack more into a three day weekend than anyone else! Thanks for taking us along - I just wish I could really have been with you for the yarn crawl!

  7. Hi Frances, a lovely read thank you, so glad you had a good weekend

  8. ah how I envy your knitting skills and the tranquility and ease with which you describe every hectic NY scene!

  9. You are an amazing lady; I love this, and am inspired by it. You truly treat us to all that is good about NY. Thank you my friend.

  10. Wow, you managed to accomplish a lot in one day! I enjoyed your post today very much. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Another lovely blog. What a fun-filled weekend. No, I would not have ventured into the Bambu - though I did read somewhere that it's used in the Far East for scaffolding! I was surprised you were permitted to photograph a policeman - we're not allowed to in the UK!

  12. Although you give us so much, I always leave your blog wanting more; more photos, more New York and more Frances! I would so love to return (I always say that, but your posts whet my appetite every time!). In the meantime, I'm going to keep soaking up this post.

    Top down knitting? Not here - I'm afraid it would be a very short top indeed!

  13. What a wonderful post - I envy you your long weekend that you seem to have packed so much into. Incredible to think Lennon would have been 70 now (I remember clearly the shock of hearing of his murder) and to wonder at all the interesting things he might have done with the rest of his life. Will you give us the recipe for your apple crumble? It sounds delicious and just the thing for chilly autumn days!

  14. Hello Frances,

    Thank you for sharing that wonderful Parade with us in NY, fabulous pictures too.

    So pleased to hear you had a lovely weekend Frances. As for that knitted scarf, wish I had your talents, just love it.!


  15. Once again you have captured new fragments of the kaleidoscope of New York.

  16. Hi Frances,
    I so enjoyed reading about your days doing things in NYC. As I know most of the places you mention it was like being there! So much fun and very interesting!
    All the best,
    Ingrid x

  17. What a wonderful post. Your weekend sounds perfect. Your scarf looks beautiful! We'll hope to see you wearing it in a future post. Thanks for sharing your day with us.
    Canadian Chickadee

  18. You could not be bored living as you do in your wonderful city Frances. I am a country lover but do feel a tad envious of all your cultural delights etc. Your weekend sounded just perfect, starting with the memory of John Lennon and then on to all those other sights and experiences.
    And apple crumble - my favourite...... And your art to finish.....
    I am so lucky to have you as a guide to NY.

  19. Oh, I want that knitting book...could it be that I may finally be able to knit something besides a scarf???!!!

    I hope you are having another lovely weekend!

  20. Wasn't it a beautiful weekend, Thanksgiving here, perfect for the parade. I have seen some of the dances at multiculti events in Toronto, very colourful and engaging. And now a week later, collective rejoicing and sigh of relief for the Chilean miners.

    As always, I love the glimpses of New York through your camera lens.

  21. Wow, so much to do Frances, it all looks great, thank you for sharing it. It must have been very emotional when the representatives from Chile paraded, I am so pleased the story has a happy ending for the miners and hope they get lots of support now, financial and emotional. I don't know if I would fancy the bamboo walk.

  22. There is so much wonderful stuff going on in New York isn't there? What a glorious weekend you had Frances, and the yarn for that beautiful scarf you're knitting, it looks soooo soft! Love Vanessa xxx

  23. I love the look of that book on knitting although sadly I think I would not look as good as the cover model in a knitted dress. Love your scarf too!

  24. Hi Frances,
    To answer your question about changing the water in a flower arrangement.
    I would change the water every few days and add more flower food each time. If that is not possible, I would then top up with fresh water to make sure that all the stems sit in water.
    Best wishes,

  25. Thank you for taking me on this lovely tour of in Nw York. I do hope one day to visit the sights myself, but so far your post is a good substitute. I can see that the skies are blue in NY, quite the contrary to what the skies look like here at the moment...

    Thank you for your always so lovely comments in my blog. I am afraid I have not told you just how much they mean to me. I am so grateful that you return time and again, and leave kind and well articulated words at your every visit. My 4th blog anniversary is no exception. Even though I am not as good at returning the compliment, I do feel a special friendship with you and am so happy every time you have visited. Thank you!

  26. What wonderful comments you all have left for me. I am so amazed to think that my words get read by folks in places very far from my tiny New York apartment, and thank each of you.

    I began writing this blog as a way to sort of de-compress after a long day at the shop. It was a way to remind myself that I did have other interests, and a way to practice writing and eventually to learn how to use a digital camera.

    Now, clicking a button to post something seems so easy. My country dreams stay as strong as ever, and yet I am humbled to find that many of you do enjoy sharing my city views.

    Thank you!

  27. you packed in so much in your three days, what a lot of entertainment on your doorstep.

    I think I would have declined the climb up the pole structure but would have been an eager to accompany you to the knitting shop.

  28. Hello Frances,
    Always a pleasure to catch up on your activities. The weather has turned cold with early morning frosts. Wool socks are being worn. Your knitting looks beautiful, so warm and cosy.
    The months seem to fly by and once again back to thoughts of keeping warm. I will be finishing off my last years knitting and start something new. It seems fair isle is big this year, wish I had kept some of my old knitwear from years gone by.
    Happy knitting.

  29. Hello there i've missed reading your blogs , i'll have to do some catching up.. your weekend sounds fantastic xx

  30. Sorry to have arrived so very late in the day, but being taken by you on a tour of your life is a pleasure even belatedly.

    I hope you have another long weekend soon, one as pleasant and enjoyable as this one was.

    I don't think I would have risked climbing the bamboo edifice. I like terra firma.

  31. Oh such a lovely post, I watched youve got mail yesterday, it always makes me think of you after you explained lots of the locations to me! Ive missed reading your blog these last few weeks. i cant wait to see more of your knitting, did you finish your socks, i unpicked mine in the end i couldnt get the heel without a little hole! fliss xxx

  32. bliss, what a perfect weekend