Sunday, December 4, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

During the past week I have been taking some time off from my official job, and instead have been working at home.  This homework has centered on preparing for Christmas.  I have been painting Christmas cards and making lots of gifts.  Part of one of the gifts is pictured below.

However, I have managed to leave my version of Santa's workshop several times.  One evening I attended my employer's annual holiday party, held in a party space on the 20th floor of a building.  The space had a wall of windows that gave us all spectacular views of many New York icons, like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.  It was grand to see many folks who work in different company departments.  The recorded music was very loud, the buffet dinner was delicious.

This afternoon I attended a totally different Christmas, or Holiday as many folks tend to say over here, party.  It was the annual open house at the gorgeous Fifth Avenue main branch of our New York Public Library.  Friends of the Library, like myself, who donate a little bit to the Library are invited.  The Library is otherwise closed to the public on this particular December afternoon.

It's a very special day, and always presents an interesting mix of young family groups and much, much older folks.  What we have in common is that we all love to read.

I have written posts about these parties before, so I hope to have included some different photos this time around, like the following view of the entrance to the Rare Map Room.  I have done research there myself and can vouch for the scholars that are always available to help anyone.

Just down the marble hallway from that doorway is this charming water fountain.  Lions play a big part in the architectural details of the library.

This rather blurry photo shows a library volunteer dressed up in a lion costume.  Many children enjoyed chatting with the lion and have group photos taken.

The various other literary characters wandering about moved rather quickly, so I do apologize for more blurs.

Yes, Mr. Scrooge was back again, and as grumpy as ever.

The library's party does not rely on recorded music.  Various performers are stationed throughout the building.

Can you dance on stilts?  This duo can, and you can see that our friendly lion is trying out a few steps, too.

Lots of folks were creating balloon sculptures for children of all ages.

The little fellow below is enjoying his new Santa hat, complete with beard.

You can see yellow taxis rushing down Fifth Avenue from this magnificent window.

Carols were sung by the West Point cadet glee club.  As always, I am shocked at how young these cadets look.

Here's another balloon hat fan.

The building really is lovely, but if you look around, you can see that there's also room for some restoration.

There are lots of security personnel on duty, and some of them are folks I have known for many years from seeing them at various branch libraries I have used over the years.  It's fun to catch up with them at this party, too.

This fellow is a talented juggler who can teach anyone how to do a few tricks.

On the third floor are many large murals.  Can you see that the gentlemen on the bench below is using his laptop?

I believe that the following mural is Biblical.

The library has been exhibits and has extensive collections of documents and art.  The Hockney print below was included in a little show hung along one of the hallways.

I hope that you all have enjoyed seeing a bit of this open house.  I am now going to show you some photos I took as I walked up Fifth Avenue on my way home.

Here's a little different angle on the famous giant tree at Rockefeller Center.

The buildings that make up Rockefeller Center are splendid examples of the art deco style.  Here is a frieze that's above the doorway to one of the buildings.

A bit further up Fifth Avenue, I notices this large space is empty.  In the recent past it has housed a Walt Disney themed store.  I am not sure how long it has been empty.  An Armani shop is just a few doors away.

Here's a view of the crystal studded snowflake that hangs over the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.

These are just some of the heavy planters outside the Trump Tower building.  They are there to keep some determined person from driving a vehicle into the building.

Tiffany's has gone a bit tacky this year in my opinion, with these very gaudy surrounds added to their usual elegant little display windows.  To my eye, they have a bit of Disney about them.

And so, let's cross the Avenue and take a look at the exquisite holiday windows at Bergdorf Goodman.  This year's theme is the Carnival of Animals.  This allows the shop's very talented visual team to recycle lots of familiar props in new ways, and to also show off some very, very elegant outfits.

Today's light was a bit subdued, but in some of the following photos you will still be treated to multiple reflections.  I like the effect, and hope that you all will not mind.

I could not resist taking a few close up views of this seascape.

Birds of a feather flocking together.

Those birds are now ready for their portraits.

Here's another close up.

I may be able to return to take some more photos of the BG windows, but that will conclude today's taste of that taste.

I continued walking westward, and wanted to show you another sculpture by the artist who made the shiny blue bird that I included in a prior post.

Let me assume for now that there is no connection whatsoever between that giant green apple and the giant glass Apple shop just across Broadway.

And here's some more greenery.  The following stand is just one of many that offer us Christmas trees of many shapes and sizes.

Here's a little reminder that it's still possible to catch a glimpse of a beautiful rose in bloom on this fourth day of December.

This has been just a pleasant day.  It's now time to think about what might be for supper, and then, it will be time for me to return to my own little North Pole.

Best wishes to you all on this second Sunday in Advent.


  1. Thank you for taking me along to your party in what is probably my favourite building in NYC.

    And those pictures of BG's windows are quite simply stunning!

  2. A lovely tour this Sunday,Frances.
    My young Nephew in college uses
    no paper books whatsoever,all his
    required reading is now in electronic
    laptop form ,making our dear NYPL flagship building ,in this young century appearing more fragile and
    important and yes for the younger
    generation quite antique as an old

  3. I was looking forward to your post, Francis and have not been disappointed, at all! Thank you so much for the tour. It must have been impressive to see NY from another angle up there in the 20th floor. And I do love that photo of the window with the yellow cars behind - fabulous! Great, fantastic pictures and thanks for taking us with you :-).

  4. Wow, Frances - I absolutely love this post and have been poring over your pictures. I especially enjoyed the peek inside NY's public library - what a beauty of a building, and what a great party they throw! Lovely to see musicians and choirs perform and children happily mingling with favourite story characters. This was a treat, and almost as good as being there in person.

    New York at Christmas time looks wonderfully festive. I agree with you about Tiffany's windows, but adored Bergdorf Goodman's and the interesting effects of reflections of the city. Really looking forward to seeing more, and good luck with your gift making - the little you've shown looks beautiful - I so admire your creative talent.

  5. I've really enjoyed reading your post today Frances... especially the BG window displays. They look absolutely divine and I wish I could see them for myself. I will certainly look forward to seeing more photographs of the Christmas window displays and also your crafting endeavours... Stay warm x

  6. The library building is wonderful - how lovely to have a party there! And the shop windows are quite stunning. Hope you get all your Christmas crafting done in time.

    Pomona x

  7. Frances, thanks so much for this. You have excelled as you usually do. I particularly love those pictures you take that feature multiple reflections. They are so exciting, so other worldly. I am sure you could make a living for yourself as a photographer. Enlarged and framed they would be magnificent. Ethereal, dreamy, mixing different realities, the concrete and the glass, life and fantasy. You did some once before but these,I think, surpass your earlier images.

    Thanks for the tour of the Library, so big, so grand. I'll have to look out for it if I ever visit New York again - though I have to say while I could see lions and performers of every sort I didn't see many books. But perhaps these are all hidden away down corridors.
    Anyway thanks so much for this delightful insight into NYC at Christmas.

  8. Dear Frances,

    I am feeling so wonderfully warm and happy now I have read your post chockablock with interest. I adored New York and feel so right reading your posts as they bring back so eloquently the flavour of your magic city.

    Those Christmas window displays are completely up my street (excuse the pun). Isn't it amazing to behold the aesthetic talent of others? And the juggler too: another gifted person!

    Those seaworld sculptures are such an amazing array of colours....

    Are you well and happy, Frances? Your Christmas gifts are looking as beautiful as stained glass windows.... Show us more soon, if you may, please?

    Warm greetings from France.

  9. I loved the tour with you Frances. The library building is beautiful, and I found the shop windows fascinating and so atmospheric. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful pictures...think I will have to have another look at them and festive NY!
    Enjoy your Christmas crafting...the sneak peek looked delightfully colourful!
    Helen x

  10. Dear Frances,

    Thank you for showing me NY at Christmas time. How festive it all looks! The shop windows at Bergdorf Goodman look amazing and what a beautiful old building the library is. You must have had a great time at their party. It all looks so well organised and attractive. Although I have never been to NY myself, I can almost picture the view you must have had from the 20nd floor of the building you work in :-)!

    Your quilt looks lovely!

    Have a happy new week,

    Madelief x

  11. What a party at the library!
    Wish I had been there to see it all.
    You seem busy in your workshop.
    I still treasure my beautiful teacup card from last year and will display it this year too.
    I'm still on a hat tear.
    Hoping to see you very soon. Satuday evening?

  12. Your party was held in a beautiful building, what treasures there are in your City. So many lovely photos Frances, thank you.

  13. New York looks quite magical at this time of year and what a wonderful party at the library.

  14. A party at a library - my idea of the perfect party!
    Thank you for taking us on that tour through the library. What a treat the afternoon must have been for everyone. The magic of seeing favorite characters come to life!
    I enjoyed the walk along Fifth Avenue and a look at the windows. There are not pretty windows in Victoria, and I miss that effort that only the big stores can make.

  15. Hello Frances,
    What a wonderful glimpse of New York through your camera. I love the Library, it is a beautiful building and it looks like a wonderful party too. When I was teaching a favourite fund raising day was when all the staff dressed up as characters from story books, very appropriate at the library. The balloon hats look fun!
    I hope you enjoyed your card and present making week and managed to complete all your projects.
    We have had a chilly wintery day with hailstone showers, a day to knit and finish a few of my own projects!
    Hope you are keeping well, take care. Millyx

  16. How I enjoyed this little stroll and how much I wold love to have been by your side.

    I think it is a wonderful idea to have a party in a library; once a year the usual 'quiet, please' to be overlaid with laughter and children's joy.

    I love the BG windows.

    You don't sound too impressed with the noise at the company party; I am afraid I am just like you in this respect, I like my music audible rather than deafening!

  17. You must get tired of hearing me say it, but I do want to come and visit again! Your photos reminded me of our last trip.

    Well, lucky recipients of any goodies from your particular branch of Santa's workshop! From that glimpse of your work, I can just imagine the happy faces when those gifts are unwrapped.

  18. my goodness what fantastic pictures. If you could see our local library you would laugh your head off. A poky space with the "feel" of a portakabin. Badly lit, thronged by teens fighting over facebook. And those windows! No, it could not be more different. Hilarious really. And a bit tragic. Some day I must save my pennies and come to NY. It seems December might be just the month for it.

  19. I love your pictures. Thank you for sharing.

  20. Thanks for taking us along to your library event, I am sure you were in your element!

    I love the views afforded by your skyscrapers and picking out all those iconic buildings. You are so lucky to have all that on your doorstep.

    Reading your blog post just now is like visiting an old friend and makes me realize how long we have been blogging. I could have predicted that you would be painting your Christmas designs and I am picturing pretty tea cups!

  21. De belles balades pour des rencontres étonnantes, qu'elles soient de chair ou de matière "plastique". Les vitrines sont absolument superbes! Et le cadeau de Noël promet d'être très beau...

  22. Ooh, yellow taxis glimpsed from the New York libary! I am transported dear Frances, from my stormy little country corner to your magnificent city. What a marvellous building it is, and how grand!

  23. wonderful pictures - makes me want to get on a plane and see for myself!

    Love the rich colours in the crochet too - blueberry pie colours.

    Zoe xx

  24. Dear Frances,
    That was so much fun to come with you on a walk through NYC. I have never been to NY during Christmas time. I have to go one day.
    Thank you so much for your visit to my blog and your very kind words.
    Have a lovely weekend.
    Ingrid xx

  25. Exciting pictures of New York,and the Christmas decorated windows!I have never seen such detail and wonderfull window decor befor.Thankyou

  26. There was so much I enjoyed here Frances..the library especially (obviously) but all was fantastic. I loved the magnificent window, the library building and the bear statue too. Thank you so much for another treat.

  27. What a fabulous post - so much to see and comment on. I love it all! My brother in law is spending Christmas in New York, I'm just a tiny bit envious! Sending you my very bets wished for Christmas, Francis x

  28. Have come here almost two weeks late, but I really enjoyed your picture tour. Hope you are okay and not too stressed at the shop.

  29. Thank you for this wonderful tour-I will be going to look at the store windows and the tree next week. You have given me a delightful preview.

  30. Fabulous, fabulous post Frances. Felt I was walking next to you.

  31. Fabulous pictures you have shared with us Frances, thank you.

    Beautiful architecture to that building. I remember two huge Lion statues outside the Library in Westminster where I used to be a member.

    I wonder if that lady in the picture wearing red shoes could be from The Wizard of Oz.

    Missing you Frances, warmest of wishes to you.