Tuesday, May 31, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

For a few more hours, our calendars cling to the month of May, and for a while longer will claim we are in springtime.

I'd like to apologize for being so long between posts. No need to offer my usual excuse.

Let's get on with what I might show you of what is now going on in this hot city. A Chinese artist, Mr Wei, once lived in New York, and made a living as do many other artists, by doing portraits of tourists passing by the sidewalks near Central Park. He is now under detention of some sort in China, and so was not able to see the official unveiling of his sculptures that now ring the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel. This hotel is now primarily given over to expensive condominium apartments, and is just across from the street called Central Park South where Mr Wei once drew those portraits.

I will not dwell on the ironies or the politics of this confluence, but will let you see some photos of these sculptures that I took a few weeks ago.

Do you all know which animal is associated with the year in which you were born? I am a Rooster. Morning person. I currently struggle with a work schedule that is trying to convert me into an evening or even a night person.

I think that a similar exhibit is going on in London. I do not know exactly how these sculptures were commisioned, or any other details of how it was decided to locate this show in front of the Plaza. It would not be too difficult to do some research.

There are so many things that I have wanted to do during May, and I admit that few of them have been done.

Today was a beautiful day, if a bit hot and humid, but a great day to meet up with a dear friend and have a belated celebration of her birthday.

We went to sample iced coffee and fruit tarts at a lovely little cafe called Cafe Lalo. It has some European hints in its decor and menu. The pace of the place is leisurely, and friends may sit and talk for many hours without any interruption from the gracious staff.

On such a glorious afternoon, it was another pleasure to leave the cafe and walk over to Central Park to see what was currently in bloom.

In a word...roses!

Pink roses, rosy roses. They all had such delightful scents.

As we walked through the Shakespeare Garden, we saw other flowers in bloom, peonies, columbine, iris, and some flowers that I could not name. Can any of you identify the blooms in the following photo? Their deep color was velvety.

The ferns were in full furl, and made a lovely backdrop for these pretty yellow iris.

I am always rather surprised that more folks do not visit the Shakespeare Garden. And also very glad that it retains its tranquil atmosphere.

As we left the Garden, we walked towards the lake and came across this very bucolic view. It's hard to imagine that just a short distance away were lots of folks piloting rowboats all around the lake with great energy.

Right here, it was just May greenery and calm reflective water.

Tomorrow we will enter a new month, June, and before long we will have our longest daylight period of 2011.

This year is going by so quickly. I am hoping that summertime will grant us more relaxed days and nights, perhaps including some mid-summer night's dreams.

Best wishes to you all.


  1. Hello Frances:
    You are absolutely right about the London exhibition which is in fact very similar, and where the animal sculptures are being shown in the entrance court at Somerset House.

    How lovely to have the Shakespeare Garden to visit. It is most certainly a lovely and colourful oasis in the middle of the city.

  2. Hallo - I think the flower you asked about might be a pansy (very pretty and popular here in the UK).

  3. They are beautiful pansies Frances, velvety and with sweet little faces. I have many in my garden, but no red ones.
    It must be so lovely to see the roses out now.

  4. Hallo Frances, what lovely pictures you paint with your photographs and I am so glad that I have at last found someone who believes as I do that summer begins on 1 June. Everybody else, it seems says that spring begings on 21st March which means that summer then begins on Midsummer's Day, which is patently absurd.

    Love those yellow irises, some of my favourite flowers. Must be a variant of the wild bog iris, which you find wild here in marshy places. That stab of bright yellow at a water's edge, amid a sea of green. Superb!

  5. It's always worth the wait and a huge pleasure to see a post from you, Frances. Some thought-provoking photos today as well as those beautiful views. We're growing roses here for the first time - well enjoying the roses someone else planted - but they're rare along this windy, exposed coastline. With love from a fellow rooster!

  6. What spectacular sculptures Francis and I loved seeing the roses, our weather has been totally unruly and wild of late so a lot of the plants and trees have been burnt in the gales. I too am getting behind with blog posts and getting to read blogs...but here I am and it was lovely to visit NYC with you again

  7. Thank you for a very interesting post, Frances. Wonderful sculptures, and how lucky we are to be able to see how they are displayed there in NYC - a wonderful sight. The Shakespeare Garden must be a delight - all those wonderful old flowers and often highly scented ones too.
    Have a happy month of June...I hope it doesn't speed by too fast and that you have time to enjoy the roses.
    Helen x

  8. The Shakespeare Garden seems to be the best place to hang out in Central Park. It sure has lovely flowers and it seems that you have lovely weather to enjoy them too. I always enjoy seeing your photos. Thanks for publishing them.

  9. The flowers definitely look pansy-ish! It is just amazing seeing such countrylike pictures in the mixture of a big city - we have yellow flags around our WET system in the garden - i Love them.

    Pomona x

  10. Good to have you back Frances! I am a morning person too, and would hate to have to convert to more nocturnal habits, so you have my deep sympathy.

  11. Ah shucks! I too have been censored
    just as Wei was. OK, I guess.

  12. Dear Frances,

    I always enjoy your walks through town. The sculptures by Mr Wei made me smile. The Shakespeare garden looks beautiful with all those roses!

    Lieve groet,

    Madelief x

  13. Lovely to follow you on your leisurely walk around NYC..
    I didn't know that about Weiwei being a park artist! The guards told me the exhibit was planed months in advance. I loved the animal heads - so powerful. And there were a few similar animal heads in YSL's art collection in the movie, L'Amour Fou playing across the street at the Paris.
    Serendipitious no?

  14. I always enjoy your pictures of New York, and your explanation of events. Like those heads representing the Chinese years. (Sadly, as far as I know, there is no "Year of the Bear.")
    How fortunate you are to have Central Park in your neighbourhood.

  15. I'm a Rooster too Frances... and very much a morning person. We do have similar sculptures by Wei in London at the moment. Cental Park is looking lovely.

  16. Hello Frances,
    you don't sound overly enthusiastic about Mr Wei's sculptures! I must admit, they look a bit under-whelming. I've seen his huge urns which he then smashes, in a programme about him on the t.v. What can I say? I could sense your excursion to the garden had much more of a relaxing and inspiring affect on you, and I'd be the same. I bet New York is hotting up now. Have a lovely holiday. Love Vanessa xxx

  17. I'm a dragon, but have never felt very dragon-like.
    I can see that your city is going from spring to summer at full tilt! I hope you can stay cool!

  18. Dear Frances,
    Always a joy to stroll round with you
    and so wonderful to se you the other evening
    at the art show!
    And now for the Linda McCartney show which is at Bonni Benrubi on 57th St.
    Let me know if you are free togo this week!
    Yes, it is indeed a blissful time for roses!

  19. Beautiful pictures and lovely flowers. I have been a New York lover ever since I made it my home for a few years. Of course, now I'm far away, but every year during spring and fall, I yearn to be there.

  20. Dear Frances, thank you for your nice words about me in "Mouse Notebook"! You are so kind! I wrote a comment there today - I was thrilled to know that my words had reached Sue and made her take decisions that brought her pleasure and joy...
    Thanks also for showing us the beauties of New York! If you are interested, you could read my last two posts - there I wrote about two incredibly beautiful trees!
    The flower reminds me of "pansy" - look here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pansy
    Have a nice week!:)

  21. Frances I just read your comment on my blog. Thanks for reading some of my old posts, I am pleased that you enjoyed them. New York is like Paris where there are so many little cafes and lovely places to visit. It is great fun to walk in the park with you and see what you saw in your city. I am a dragon – I don’t know if they are supposed to be evening persons, but I certainly am. I have a hard time going to bed before 1:00 am.

  22. Hi Frances,
    I am so sorry I did not get to moderate your comment earlier the other day. I was out and did not get to my computer until late in the day. They are both up there now.
    If I don't have moderation and word verification I get a lot of spam and I hate that.
    As usual I very much enjoy your tours around NYC. Like the Wei sculptures very much.
    Have a lovely weekend.
    All the best,
    Ingrid x

  23. Sorry, I am very late again. I really don't know how I miss your posts. How stupid of me.

    Lovely pictures, as usual, Frances. Mr. Wei is being feted here too, in absentia; I love those sculptures.

    June is a wonderful month, everything is still fresh and green and the flowers are at their best. I am glad you have the opportunity to indulge your passion for flowers in Central Park and that your favourite places await you there, without too many other people to spoil them for you.

    Big cities without parks would be such soul-destroying places.

  24. Thank you for this little walk in New York! These sculptures are gorgeous, it would be great to meet them in Paris one day...

  25. Hello Frances, it's always nice to be able to see what you are up to in NY. I don't know if I am also a rooster but in summer, I am up early and I go to bed very late. It seems that the rhythm of the sun dictates my body. In winter, I can sleep as a bear in hibernation. Me too, I wonder where the first half of the year has gone? It went off so quickly and June, my preferred month is well here, again. I hope you have nice and not too hot summer moments over there with less work and can enjoy Shakespeare's garden often.

  26. I was going to say pansy too. Much under-rated - or rather taken for granted here, but they are relentlessly cheerful and flower for months - 8 months, 15 months. Just go on and on.
    Poor Mr Wei. Rotten. But interesting those heads. I'm delighted to be a dragon. Surprised fate didn't give me rat, but it was dragon. How grand.

  27. June in NYC looks like June ought to look. it has been horribly grey and wet here but today looks more like it.
    It is amazing to think that almost half a year has flown by.

    I enjoyed my virtual stroll around the park, it looks lovely as ever.

    You would have loved the V and A, the current exhibition would be just up your street.

  28. Hi Frances, it's always such a pleasure to see your personal glimpses of what's going on in New York. You've inspired me to go and see WeiWei's heads here in London. And Central Park's roses look absolutely gorgeous. I hope you're getting some free time to enjoy what looks like lovely early summer weather!
    All best wishes, Karen

  29. Hello Frances.!

    Night Owl here.!

    Sorry I am late in replying, how could I have missed this post.!

    Truly wonderful pictures you have shared with us Frances, the Shakespeare Garden looks a lovely place to visit. Pansies have always been favourite of mine, they never fail to please, such a delicate pretty flower.

    Roses, ah, one can never have too many roses, love them.

    Our weekend forecast is going to be very hot, hoping that your wonderful city of NY brings you much sunshine too.