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.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Hello from New York on an evening in early May.

I've had the luxury of two days off from work in a row. Yesterday was a day to tend to many errands, and then enjoy the fun of meeting up with a dear friend to sample delicious coffee and pastry, while having a long-postponed catch up. Our conversation ranged over many topics, from sudden current events, to family matters, to travel plans and wishes, to springtime's beauty.

We had a quick walk in Central Park and visited the Turtle Pond. The friendly turtles were very disappointed that we had not brought them a snack.

Today began with my having to take care of yet more errands, but with a list scribbled on a little square of paper clenched in my hand, I managed to get past those errands by midday, and then got to treat myself to my first visit to Savage Beauty, the Alexander McQueen exhibit that has just landed on the second floor of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

While I was still in mid-town on errand duty, I had snapped this photo of one of the Bergdorf Goodman shop windows now devoted to showing McQueen styles.

The BG windows are as imaginative as ever, but this time around I would give my applause to those who designed the Met's settings for the McQueen exhibit. The various gallery rooms offer lots and lots of atmosphere, information and ... if you are patient and wait for other eager viewers to move out of your intended viewing space, the possibility of really, really seeing how beautiful, crazy, traditionally inspired, historically reverential, beautifully tailored, and sometimes even scary, garments might actually exist.

Most of the rooms in the exhibit are moody and dark, with display cases holding four or five or maybe, three mannequins. There is dramatic lighting. There is music that is eerie and beautiful. There are lots and lots of captions and credits on labels. No way to read much of this because of the crowds with their elbows.

Over the years, of course, I saw many magazine photos of many of these designs, and saw some of the garments for sale in some expensive shops. However, the impact of having so many designs now displayed at the Met is so much more dramatic. How I do wish that Alexander McQueen were still alive, and able to quietly visit the exhibit and see the reactions of all those folks who are being introduced to his talent.

If you are in New York this spring and are at all curious about fashion, you would be very wise to pay a visit to the second floor of the Met.

It seemed so odd to leave the Museum and return to the early afternoon sunshine. I made a point of taking a photo of the tulips along Park Avenue for a certain resident of Vienna. The tulips are a bit past their prime, but still putting on a fine show.

And then, I hopped on a crosstown bus that obligingly arrived just when I hoped it would. As we traveled westward through Central Park, I took my camera out and clicked just one final photo, of the area of the Diana Ross playground, to show some of the beauty of springtime 2o11.

Rain is due tomorrow!

I will be returning to work, and taking along my umbrella, and know that from time to time, my mind's eye will return to the fantastic visions under glass that I was fortunate to see today.

Sometimes a city view can provide a city dream.