Wednesday, December 12, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on 12.12.12, a date considered auspicious and lucky by many.  It is a date that found me realizing that I still have many Christmas preparations to complete.

I have also realized that I'd promised you all a link to my friend Elizabeth's marvelous December 4 post about a very enjoyable afternoon Open House at the New York Public Library.  Of course, by now Elizabeth has also created several additional posts, so you will now have extra dividends if you visit her site.

In between some actual required days working at the shop, I have been knitting and crocheting gifts, doing some other gift shopping, visiting the Post Office and thinking about greenery, cookie baking and keeping to a true Christmas spirit.

While out and about in my west side neighborhood today, I did remember to take my camera along, but forgot to check the battery strength.  Nonetheless, some seasonal images did get captured before the camera surrendered.

Neighborhood florists each seem to carry a unique selection of greenery and flowers, so it's fun to see which shop has what.

So far, I have started forcing  some paperwhite narcissus bulbs on a cool, deep windowsill.  I am hoping that there might be at least one bloom by Christmas.

My neighborhood has lots of churches.  I admit that I have not been inside most of them, but I do enjoy knowing that they are nearby.

The church pictured above is a Baptist church.  The church pictured below is a Catholic church.

I saw a holly bush with lots of red berries near the entrance to a rather bland apartment house and thought it was great that the bush was doing such a fine decorating job.  Someone had also been taking care to keep it neatly trimmed.

Nearby was flower stand outside a small corner grocery/deli shop.  Many different types of branches were for sale.  If my camera's battery had not begun sending me warnings, I would have taken more photos right then and there.

Here is another neighborhood Catholic church.  This church is quite large, but is located on a narrow side street.  I could not manage to take a photo of its entire facade.  You might be able to see the small wreath hung over its doorway.  The wreath seems a very modest choice.

Cyclamen are tempting at this time of the year.  Their colorful flowers and pretty leaves put on a very good show.   

It's possible to buy narcissus plants that are all ready to bloom, but I prefer to have the suspense of waiting for foliage, and then blooms, to emerge my bare bulbs, nestled in river rock beds in heavy glass vases.

This final photo is of a Lutheran church that once featured as a location in the original Ghostbusters movie.  Every year, on Advent Sundays, it is a treat to attend Bach vespers services here.  The church is always beautifully decorated and the music is sublime.  I have not gone to any of these services in some years, but might manage to attend at least one this December. 

Perhaps this post will have given you all a neighborhood view of Christmastime in New York that is very different from the bright lights of midtown Fifth Avenue.  I think that I am lucky to be able to enjoy the variety that the city offers.


  1. It looks beautiful, Frances. Thank you for sharing your neighborhood with us.

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas! xoxox

  2. Thank you for the look at another side of your city. I hope you get a chance to listen to some Bach in that beautiful Lutheran church.

  3. It was lovely to hear from you Frances and I enjoyed looking at the flower displays and churches. Take care and keep enjoying yourself x

  4. New York always looks beautiful when you take pictures of it Francis!

  5. I like the look of your neighbourhood florist - what a pretty display!
    And the Bach vespers service sounds very calming... last spring I attended the evensong service at King's College Chapel in Cambridge and it was a timeless experience and very special.
    It's good to step outside the mad rush of the high street and find sone quiet moments now and again. Then again I spend most days quietly in my studio or wandering the fields - so so buzzy excitement is a novelty!
    Stay calm and you'll be ready for Christmas!
    Celia xx

  6. Flowers and churches -- a very good seasonal mix.
    Such lovely photos as ever.
    Thank you for linking to my library post.
    That outing certainly got me in the Christmas spirit!

  7. Thanks, Frances. It is always a pleasure to read your blogs. I wonder why ecclesiastical architectures is typically so odd - it harkening back to something, but what? There are bits of perpendicular, bits of Gothic, echoes of Egyptian and Italian styles here yet without ever really moving beyond some pastiche, as though the architects had bags of ambition but not much sensitivity or talent. No doubt I am being my overly critical self and saddening folk for whom these buildings are old and happy and idiosyncratic friends. So be it. Let them enjoy these buildings and hear in them Bach and Mozart and maybe even Copeland and Bernstein.

  8. Dear Frances, I agree. I love watching forcd bulbs bloom. This way the enjoyment is in the anticipation.
    I know that you love to knit and crochet. Have you tried my special stitch? It is a single crochet done backwards. It makes a fabulous border for all types of knitted and crocheted garments.

  9. How lovely to see the freshness of the flowers Frances. There is so much of the mass produced stuff at Christmas, it's a real pleasure to see something that is 'real'. I do love the mini cyclamens, and there are even scented ones.

  10. Beautiful old churches
    and love the flowers shared.
    I find it a joy
    to watch
    forced bulbs bloom.
    Like a gift received.

  11. Hi Frances,
    What a lovely mix of beautiful plants and stunning architecture. New York is such a rich place to find inspiration.
    I hope you paperwhites goes well!
    xoxo Ingrid

  12. How lovely to be taken on a little tour of your city at this wonderful time of year.

  13. I loved seeing the flower shops, the festive greenery and the wonderful churches with you today, Frances. I always enjoy your words too....I noticed the modest wreath as well :) Hope your paperwhites bloom beautifully for you.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend.
    Helen x

  14. New York is a city that wears so many faces, I love that you share the ones you see :D

  15. This is what I like about the Upper Westside – there is such a variety of views. The flowers shop on Broadway – am not sure maybe down from the Westside Market – has always beautiful flowers. The diverseness of the architecture in New York City is also very pleasing- churches, building, parks, so much to admire. Thanks for showing us some of these places.

  16. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you certainly find it in plentiful supply.

  17. I especially love that first florist's shop! So brimming with beauty!

  18. Lovely walk around your neighborhood, (like us, no snow to speak of yet!)
    I love the Christmas-time flowers too. Are we going to see any of your beautiful hand-mades this year?

  19. I love the photos! Christmas time in NY looks so charming. Our family has been hatching a plan to take a Thanksgiving Parade trip to the city in the next few years.

  20. Beautiful architecture Frances, and your wonderful photo's, would love to have listened to Bach at the service, one of my favourite composers.