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.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

On this Sunday, our spring weather has taken a few steps down the temperature charts. I was so glad that I had not taken my wool pea jacket to the dry cleaners yet. That would have been a true declaration that the chill was gone.

I was also very glad to have this day off from the work place. After taking care of various errands and home chores, there was lots of time to go out with my camera to explore the clear day under a sunny blue sky.

In the very early afternoon, I headed up Broadway, and took the photo below of tulips and beautiful trees enjoying their final blooming. If you look carefully through the branches, you'll see the blue awning of my wonderful neighborhood food market, the legendary Fairway.

On these median cross ways of Broadway, seasonal plantings are underwritten by various merchants whose shops line Broadway on our upper west side neighborhood. Sometimes we also have these areas adorned by sculptures.

And so I crossed Broadway, on my way to see what might be available today in our little farmers green market that adjoins the weekly flea market held on the asphalted playground of a school.

I've been meaning to post a photo of this entryway to a brownstone that may, or may not, still have folks living inside. I think that someone still lives here. I am always taken by the Dylanesque painting on the front door. Someone must be keeping that shrub alive?

I continued my walk through the flea market, and as usual, saw nothing that I admired more than the various bits and pieces back home in my own apartment. As I get older, vintage takes on a different definition as far as flea market finds. Antique is a word that I still hold precious.

On to the farmers market area, set up on sidewalk paving just behind the Museum of Natural History. Lots of folks were buying bunches of these beautiful cherry tree branches.

It is still way too early in the season to expect to see any veg in this market. There are still some farmers selling last year's apples. Some sell hot house herbs, and lettuces. In a few months we will see all sorts of fruits and vegetables and flowers.

And so, I rounded the corner at Columbus Avenue and 81 Street and took the following photos of the grounds outside the Museum.

The day had been a bit overcast earlier, but on my walk, I began to see the sun assert its true shining splendor from behind the clouds, and so I clicked my camera to capture the dappled green of the lawn below.

I could have taken lots of photos of the lawn around the Museum, but instead pressed on, and crossed over to the western edge of Central Park. The sign in the picture below always reminds me of how that playground came into being. If you google Diana Ross and Central Park you all will also be able to learn this history lesson.
Today, I just loved the light on the green and pink, with the sky above

And then I found a way to cross the park's roadway, dodging folks on bicycles who were definitely enjoying their Sunday exercise. It's not so tricky to weave across runners. They don't have pedals and wheels.
The picture below is a little dell just below the Shakespeare Garden. In a prior post I showed a view of it from the top of the Shakespeare garden ... back when the daffs were in bloom.

After taking that photo, I saw many more beautiful spring scenes, but also discovered that my camera's battery was just about gone. Oh No!
One of my reasons for this afternoon's eastward walk was to take some photos of the annual tulip display along Park Avenue. How could I return home with only that shot of tulips on Broadway?
And so, I have not any pictures of early spring softball games, romantic couples braving the April chill, various robins hunting for worms, frolicking dogs, and many folks marching up Fifth Avenue in this afternoon's Greek Independence Parade (including some major politicians.) Nope. I saved my battery.
The reward was being able to show these yellow tulips that are almost ready to reach stardom on Park Avenue.

And, there was just enough power still available to show the array of cherry trees that line up between the tulip beds on each Park Avenue block.

If I had done more camera preparation, you all would have been treated to more views of the Park on my walk home. Musicians, beautiful paraders and parade viewers, ducks on the lake, rowboats on the lake, azaleas, forsythia, violets, lingering daffs. And so many fabulous dogs having a grand time outdoors.
The camera's batteries have now been re-charged. I look forward to venturing out again soon to show you all some more city views.
Best wishes.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on Easter evening.

Our city's weather decided to finally get into the swing of spring, just in time for today's traditional parade of finery, and extravagance, along Fifth Avenue.

I'd made plans to meet friends at the northern end of the promenade path and took my camera along for the walk. As I walked towards our meeting place, I could not resist taking this reflective picture of a shop that features paper goods.

When I reached Fifth Avenue it was clear that having the street closed to vehicular traffic, it was a great day for folks to walk up and down the Avenue. This was the view down Fifth Avenue.

This was the view up Fifth Avenue. Note the brilliant blue sky, and a glimpse of Central Park's trees just beyond the sunlit edge of the elegant Bergdorf Goodman shop. Taxi cabs were obliged to make a turn. The policeman waved them right and left, but they could not proceed down Fifth as usual.

Last year, my Easter Parade photographs were taken in locations nearer to the center of it all, around St. Patrick's Cathedral. This year, my friends were not enthusiastic about venturing that much into the thick of the extravagant regalia. And so, the following photos will have a gentler theme. Many will show family groups.
The next photo is to two twenty-somethings, wearing wonderful vintage outfits. The young lady on the left still has her boyfriend's jacket on. The day will warm up.

What a little beauty in her mother's embrace. We wished each other Happy Easter.

This teenager still had braces on her teeth, and gave me a huge smile, when I complimented her color sense.

These two fellows were very nonchalant in parading in their festive headgear.

Black and red are colors not usually associated with Easter. Yet that did not deter this lady. You can see that another photograph was being taken simultaneously to mine.

Now this trio was dressed in rather traditional finery. Quite elegant.

Remember the young lady with the black jacket. Jacket is gone now. The sun has come out, bringing more warmth and more cameras.

Look at this sweet picture. This young lady is still keeping her lightweight cardi on. And she's got her Easter basket handy.

And here is another cutie in rosy pink. Note the little shoes.

Here is another view of a family group. I admit that I was having a hard time staying in conversation with my friends, while still keeping an eye out for promising bonnets or other interesting photo ops. Every now and then, I would just call out, "I'll be right back," and run off after a hat or outfit. I was not always in time to click in the proper light or focus.

This fellow was doing a grand business outfitting folks without hats. He could provide all sorts of shapes, sizes, colors.

The following picture is rather tacky, but still rather graphically okay. The flowering trees are arranged on staggered setbacks midway up the side of a gleaming building.

The photo below involves a contingent with a costumed dog. I am not sure if the dog was originally riding in the baby buggy.

These ladies in their beautifully elegant kimonos agreed to have me take their picture.

Most Fifth Avenue shops were closed today. An exception was the Lindt Chocolate shop. They were keeping busy supplying quick energy for the paraders.

This little bunny got a great view from her daddy's shoulders.

I did not seen anyone else wearing a kilt. This gentleman looked terrific.

The colors of the Gap store windows mimic that of the lady with the bonnet.

Now here is a stylish mother/daughter duo. The both favor large hats.

Here's an old-fashioned fashionista, complete with puffed sleeves and pigtails.

Her colleague also had a marvelous sense of style.

These gentlemen went in several directions with regard to their outfits.

And here are some wonderful striped trousers (not pin-stripes!) And take a look at that beard.

Doesn't this little girl have a sweet expression? Her parents were so kind to let me take her picture.

This lad is definitely a J. Depp fan. I just wish that my photograph had turned out better. He was a charmer.

For those who've been wondering, yes, there are many churches along the parade route and many paraders did go to Easter services

I could not resist clicking a picture of this sunny yellow clad family.

Now that's a hat. I think that this is another view of the mother who appeared in an earlier photo with her daughter.

Here is another picture of a beautiful Fifth Avenue church.

Mid-day sunlight does provide some dramatic lighting possibilities in the midst of some tall buildings' shadows.

This lady decided to add a little pink fluffy something to her otherwise rather subdued chapeau.

So many golden flowers growing from just one hat. Wow!

And so, although there were many more sights to be seen, we decided to turn around and make our way towards Central Park. The day had grown very warm, and many folks were shedding their jackets.

At 58th Street we made the turn westward, and I caught a shot of the corner across from the Plaza Hotel. If you look carefully, you can see the clear glass cube of the Apple Store, where lots of enthusiasts have been purchasing the latest triumph.

Here's a view of a side entrance to the Plaza. It is now a condominium, and not quite the glory that it was when the story book character Eloise ran through its halls.

As we neared a pathway into the Park, we were cut off by horse drawn carriage traffic. Apparently, the horses's drivers think they are always due the right of way. This picture makes it look as if the white horse is wearing some sort of red bonnet. He was not. It is the back of a carriage.

We walked through the park past all sorts of lovely blooms. And then I said farewell to my pals. I had to get home to start packing more boxes, emptying out another bookcase ahead of the next visit from my careful painter.

On my way home, I stopped by a newly opened shop offering authentic gelato. I am delighted to report that my first sampling, a fig gelato, was scrumptious.
Happy Easter!