Tuesday, August 7, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

It's a much more pleasant evening than was yesterday's.  Humidity took a little holiday today, and I was fortunate on my day off to be able to enjoy more time outdoors.  Once my laundry and other chores were taken care of, the day was mine.

Over on the East Side of Central Park, I visited an exhibit at the Michael Werner Gallery.  The featured artist, James Lee Byars, who gained fame as in the conceptual art world, was someone I knew way back in the 1970's.  It was fun to help Byars with some of his conceptual "happenings" and to learn from him a bit about the workings of the art world.  As his fame increased, earlier friendships drifted.  I think that such evolution can happen amongst folks in many disciplines.

It was fun to visit the gallery, and have a bit of a nostalgic smile.

Back on the Upper West Wide, I had bit of an urban gardening experience that I will share with you all.  In midtown New York City, Broadway is associated with bright lights and many theatres and lots of crowds.  Up in my neighborhood, Broadway is more of a shopping boulevard.  It's a friendly sort of avenue, with its uptown (north) and downtown (south) lanes divided by a series of planted areas...somewhat like the more elegant Park Avenue, but with benches for weary pedestrians.

The green, yellow, red vehicular traffic lights are complemented by walk/don't walk LED signs for pedestrians attempting to cross Broadway.  The pedestrian lights have recently been upgraded with very helpful countdown signals telling you just how many seconds you still have to cross the avenue, or at least get to that median divider with the benches.  These timers give us an opportunity of quickly pondering whether to seek the wise safety of waiting for the next WALK signal, or testing our sprinting talents to beat the flashing clock.

And so, as I prepared to cross Broadway at 74th Street, when I noticed a large abandoned potted plant resting against a median barrier, I noted how many seconds I had left, got my camera out of my bag, and snapped a photo.

I don't always take my camera with me, and often miss some good urban photo ops.  Not today.  As I neared the safety of the median, I clicked one more photo of this transplant. 

With both feet firmly planted on the median divider, I thought to take some photos of the decorative seasonal planting now in place just behind the stationary benches.

It seemed to me that some of these leaves looked a lot like those of the abandoned potted plant.

In this view you can have a better notion of the planting.  The little green notice board gives credit to whatever local merchant has paid for this greenery.  In the background you can see the blue awning of my marvelous Fairway Market.

And then, I felt a pleasant breeze move through the air, and heard a nearby bump.  I looked behind me, and saw that the catalyst for this series of photos had fallen.

There was no way that I could have lifted the plant back into vertical orientation.  No way at all.  What I could do was take another little picture.

I've been enjoying reading about so many country gardens this week, gaining more appreciation of what is involved in creating a garden.  Here in this city, someone had donated a very large bit of excess green to anyone who might have had the appreciation and the strength to rescue it.  In a way, I felt that I'd experienced a bit of West Side conceptual art, although I might just be indulging a bit of my own nostalgia.

How I do hope that someone with a strong back and arms did pass by Broadway and 74th Street this afternoon, and was able to give this magnificent leafy green giant a new home.


  1. Hello Frances:
    We are always most interested to read snippets of life in New York, a city we have long wished to visit.

    Recently they have also altered the lights in the centre of Budapest, sadly in favour of the motorist, giving the pedestrian very little time to 'sprint' across some very wide roads.

    We trust the plant has now been returned to an upright position!

  2. Having met you (and what a pleasure that was) I can verify that had you tried to be a hero and upright the tree, the tree would have won. :0) I hope that someone of Andy's size came along and put it straight, cities need all the greenery they can get. X

  3. I think it was meant to be an 'installation' Frances!
    Poor plant, I do hope it was rescued quickly.

  4. Loved the adventures of the potted plant --poor thing....

  5. I'd have been so happy to have had a camera with me too, Frances. The oddest things attract, and this would have caught my attention too. Art can be ephemeral, so I hope this installation is now gracing someone's urban garden!

  6. Maybe there was a hidden camera. If you tried to lift the plant it would fall again and if you tried to remove it and piece if rubber would pull it back. Good for you taking your camera about with you.

  7. Oh yes, I do hope the poor lady was rescued and I am glad you documented her for us, Iove reading your unexpected views of New York.

  8. A houseplant gone walkabout in the big city -- there's a story waiting to be told...

  9. There are even lands and claims for sale but be careful before you buy anything. Your gonna think when you look at the nice glossy shiny counters, I can't rub sandpaper on that! The Asians and the Arabs invented Puzzle wedding bands for a very interesting reason.