Sunday, April 24, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on Easter night.

What a busy day I have had today, filled with fun. I was up early this morning, wondering if our weather was actually going to provide the forecast thunderstorms and other showers. If so, the annual Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue was going to suffer.

The sky still looked very iffy when I decided to take my camera over to the parade. At first, I did not spy very many bonnets with my little eye, but did see some very fashion conscious folks, like this gent in the plaid suit.

In front of this church I saw some of the expected balloon entrepreneurs, and began to find a few hats, too. However, it seemed as if most were wearing very casual attire. Too many jeans.

The fellow in the following photo showed some originality in his bonnet.

Now these ladies decided to find some pretty vintage styles for their sashay down the Avenue.

Eggs on a bed of feathers are featured in this confection.

I am not too sure what this designer had in mind.

I asked this young lady permission to take her picture, and the answered yes with a big smile.

The crowd did continue to build as I got closer to St. Patrick's Cathedral and Rockefeller Center.

There were quite a few family groups who all decided to go in costume.

These ladies had interesting hats that were also lady like.

These ladies obviously like daffodil season.

Can you tell that one of the gentlemen has covered his top hat in jelly beans?

The next photo shows more vintage styled parade goers, caught quickly, not posed.

These two little girls were wearing very big bonnets!

The lady in the next photo designed her own very stylish hat. She looked more glamorous than most in the Parade.

I think that the following gentleman designed his hat, too. It is clever, if not too glamorous.

I am not sure it the next photo shows a family group or a group of milliners.

And here is a bit of elegance and grace.

Just one glorious flower, artfully placed, can carry a lot of impact.

I made my way down to the esplanade at Rockefeller Center and saw more bonnets, lots of lilies and quite a few azaleas.

Can you just spot that little bit of blue sky emerging from the clouds? It began to seem as if the thunderstorms might pass us by.

The gentleman's conical hat is covered with marshmallow "Peeps" candies. Very sweet.

This lovely family had actually attended a church service before their walk down the Avenue.

This shows the top of St. Patrick's Cathedral, and a bit of the scaffolding that is now covering much of the building.

This happy couple had wonderful bunny ears and great smiles.

Here's another custom made hat. The gyroscope type shape is not part of the's part of the Atlas sculpture at Rockefeller Center.

This lavender-based group looked great as an ensemble in their ensembles.

The gentleman in the blue jacket is famed New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. He is also the subject of a current documentary film. He has been taking photos of street fashion for decades. I think that we might have taken some similar photos today.

These two little girls met each other just before I clicked this picture. I think that they are adorable.

I had such fun at the Parade, but my Easter Day treat was not yet over.

I returned home for a quick lunch and then decided to try my luck at getting a ticket for the theatre.

What luck! I bought a ticket for a very good center row seat and got to see the remarkable actor Mark Rylance in Jerusalem. The entire cast was perfect, the play caught up the audience from its first moments. We gave the performers a standing ovation at the final curtain. This is fairly rare for New York audiences.

Another Easter note. My supply of Cadbury creme eggs have begun to disappear. How can this have happened?

Hoping that you all have had a fabulous weekend!

Friday, April 22, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Hello from New York on a very chilly April afternoon.

Easter is almost here, and I have taken on a small supply of Cadbury creme eggs in anticipation of the end of my Lenten vow to eat no chocolate. With less than 48 hours to go, I think I will be able to resist the temptation.

I have also been painting some cards and would like to share one with you all.

Now, let me share a few photos that I took during my errand rounds today. The tulips along Park Avenue are asking for warmer weather before they start their spectacular annual show. When the colors finally are released, I will try to get back over to the East Side for a proper follow up view.

I passed by a little antique shop in my neighborhood that always puts on a good window show to celebrate certain holidays. The following picture shows just a few of the many bunnies that were in the frame. I tried to get some other photos, but reflections on the glass obscured the cuteness of the little decorations.

I also wanted to show you all the entrance way to my very favorite flower shop. Just walking past the open doorway of this tiny shop will give anyone a wonderful gift of floral scents as well as a fine view of the visual treats for sale. The folks who work there are very pleasant and quite talented at creating unusual arrangements. It is hard to resist a purchase!

And finally, I thought this whimsical magazine cover would make you all smile. The artist is Maira Kalman.

I wish you all a wonderful Easter Weekend, and hope that our own New York weekend will not be as damp as some forecasters have warned.

Monday, April 11, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York. This afternoon our seasons seemed to change from a cool, dampish spring to a rather warm early summer. The time/temperature sign on the neighborhood bank said it was 80 degrees F. Wow! What a switch. On Friday morning, I took a train down to Washington, DC for a long-planned visit. It was cold when I left New York, and even colder, plus rainy when I got to Union Station in our nation's capital. There was suspense at that point whether wrangling between our country's major political parties were going to result in an actual "shutdown" of the federal government as of midnight Friday. The following is a photo of the Capitol Building where some sort of vote needed to take place by midnight. The following photo taken from my wonderful host's car shows the rain. Just behind those trees is where the Capitol is, even if you cannot really see it. This weather called for wooly layers of clothing and umbrellas. One reason for this visit was to see the splendid Gauguin exhibit, at the National Gallery, that had recently traveled across the Atlantic after a stay at the Tate in London. If the government shutdown were to have happened, the National Gallery, as a publicly-funded museum, would have had to lock its doors. If the shutdown were to have taken place, my host would have had to stay home from his government-funded job on an enforced furlough until various politicos got their acts together. And so, we decided to see the Gauguin show late on Friday afternoon, just to make sure that we would be admitted. I have seen many Gauguin exhibits over the years, and it was grand to see some old favorites amongst the paintings, prints, and wood carvings. As we had a few minutes left before the normal closing hour for the NG, we also took a quick peek at a Canaletto exhibit. I liked the Gauguin much more. On Saturday morning we learned from various news reports that some sort of temporary settlement had been reached, and the government would not close down. Unfortunately, the rather fierce weather continued. No actual rain, but grey and chilly, and damp underfoot. We had a great breakfast and then went out to a local garden center to get some annual plants for my host's garden. It was a fun place to visit, where we pulled a creakly little red children's sized wagon around the various beds of flowers, herbs, and other plants and made our selections. This was all very relaxing and so very different from my usual New York pace. After a delicious lunch, we took a walk round my host's neighborhood, and I did take a photo of this cherry tree. This weekend was the end of the annual Japanese Cherry Tree Festival held in DC to honor the Japanese who gave many of these beautiful trees to our nation. We did not attend any of the official events, but saw some of them reported on television later. It was more fun to see local flowers in bloom. If you look very carefully just to the left of the base of this wonderfully knarled tree, you will see Coco, the fraidy cat, one of my host's neighbors. We happened upon her after our walk, and tried hard to convince her to come a bit closer for a hello. In vain. She's a lovely black cat with bright green eyes.
I dined very, very well this weekend, and did not have to do any dishes. Delicious chicken dishes, omelettes, salmon, all with imaginative seasonings. Lots of chatting about all sorts of things, and lots of laughing also filled the days.

All too quickly, it was time to get back to that impressive Union Station, and to hop on a train headed back up to New York City.

I usually show you all a bit of my own city, but this time I have given you just a quick glimpse of another city. Having this quick visit to another beautiful place was great fun.

I'll have to try it again soon.

Monday, April 4, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York. I am glad to report that our city is finally showing some signs of springtime. No, the tulips are not yet blooming along Park Avenue, but there are lots of flowers showing off in Central Park. After this morning's light rain ended, and after I managed to take care of some required errands, I had a light lunch and headed over the Park with my camera to see what was going on.
Many of the flowers were emerging from a protective blanket of autumn leaves. I quite like the notion of one season helping along another.

After the rain, lots of birds were out looking for delicious afternoon treats. Can you see the brilliant red feathers of the cardinal in the following photo?

Well, I thought you could! Now see if you can find the American version of a robin redbreast in the next photo.
You all did brilliantly! Let me reward you with this beautiful forsythia veil. The lake is just beyond.

Just to remind us that Central Park is in the middle of Manhattan, I let my camera have a look above the lake to show you some of the skyscrapers along the southern edge of the Park. The subdued light does not do justice of the gentle green glow that budding leaves are giving to the tree branches.

There are lots and lots of hellebores in bloom. Some are white, some are in delicate purples, and some are in deep, deep purple tones. They all like to keep their heads bowed.

The new leaves of this tall willow tree are a delicously delicate shade of green.

Ah, here we come to the entrance to my favorite spot, the Shakespeare Garden.

All sorts of miniature daffs are making a statement.

This area has a wonderful mixture of shapes, textures, colors that goes on all year long. I encountered a Park gardener there today who showed me where primroses will soon be joining the mix. He also said that he'd be planting oxlips, too. I told him that I'd just learned about those pretty little oxlip flowers this week (from Celia who writes the Purple Podded Peas blogs.)

Here are more of the showy little daffs!

And here's another indication of the mixture.

And here's a bright eyed showoff of a flower. I could not resist taking a close up view.

In a recent posting I took a photo of this slope when just one or two daffs had the courage to reveal their petals. Now you can see the entire host.

Birds were not the only ones looking for a late lunch. This little fellow was kind enought to pause mid-snack while I took his picture.
The gardener told me that he's seen more blooms every day. This tree was just beginning to get into a springtime fling.

I love to walk around the Park's pathways, because a walking pace lets me see more and lets me stop and take even longer looks. However, some folks prefer to hire a carriage. You can see the top of a church on Central Park West peeking over the wall at the western edge of the Park.

I was glad that I had a toasted cheese sandwich before setting out for my walk. All the same, it's good to know that refreshments are available. One of the signs on this cart proclaims Nuts 4 Nuts.

I began this post with some blue flowers, and found these hyacinths as I left the Park. The delicious scent tipped me to the presence of hyacinths long before I actually saw them.

Tomorrow I will return to work, carrying with me refreshed by what I saw outdoors today. I hope that each of you are also finding time to experience early spring.