Tuesday, June 19, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

I am having some very welcome days off from the shop.  

Tomorrow, the weather is to turn very hot, but yesterday and today, it's been quite mild for the middle of June.  Summer is just about here.

During these days off, I am fumbling around my apartment, doing some cleaning, doing some re potting of the valiant cactus survivors on my southern window, catching up on my reading, working on some crafting, and best of all, I am having fun visiting with friends.

Yesterday, it was a perfect breezy, coolish day to take a walk along the extended route of the elevated walkway on New York's west side known as the High Line.

Back when this marvelous overlook's initial route was opened, I took my first stroll along its route with my friend Elizabeth, whose blogs you would very much enjoy.  It was great fun to meet up with her again yesterday to see how the uptown, i.e. northern extension High Line route looked.

The photo below is of one of the mini gardens outside Elizabeth's apartment house that she creates.  Each of them is a taste of English country for New York City passersby.

There are various entry points for getting "upstairs" to the High Line pathway.  There are also elevators at some of these entry points that allow anyone with stair climbing difficulties to also enjoy getting up there.

To my eyes, the charm of this walkway is the contrast between the vistas you can see to the west (sometimes allowing a Hudson River view) and to the east, allowing you views of many iconic NYC architectural wonders and some other views that are just ... well, urban, ca. 2012.

There are various plantings done along the pathway, and even on a Monday afternoon, there are quite a few other pedestrians strolling along, enjoying being out, UP and about.  The plantings feature lots of greenery, and some sturdy flowers to keep us reminded of the current season.

If you take a closer look at the above photo, you'll see that the harlequin painting is a take on that famous Times Square photo taken at the end of WW II.  The painting below is of another theme.

One thing that's wonderful and a bit disorienting about walking along the High Line is that you are in the midst of some nature, both right to your left and right because of the Parks Department plantings, and can also see some beautiful gardens a bit below where you are walking (like that shown in the above photo) and also are having to occasionally dodge oncoming pedestrian traffic, while catching a glimpse of changing aspects of the New York skyline, from close up and afar.

I took the above backward photo view to indicate just how long this pathway spans.  It is not a straight path, but has lots of nooks and crannies, and occasional benches to allow strollers to sit awhile, rest, have a snack.

Here's a little puzzle for you all. If you look at the very far distance of the Eastern view in the above photo, can you spot a classic NYC building?  Clue, think Art Deco.

And, just for some contrast in scale and beauty, here is an immediate western view while walking along.  Can you spot the bit of green on the building's balcony/fire escape that echoes the big green leaves of the Parks Department planting?

At some points along the route, there is not much of a view on one side or another.  I happen to like the look of this enclosed window, but wish that whoever might be currently living or working on the other side of the brick wall might still have a view.

Ahh, here's another eastern view, just past some close up branches of another architectural icon.

And, returning for a close up, I could not resist taking a photo of this strange flowering plant. I have no idea what it might be called, but thought it resembled some sort of underwater sea animal.

As Elizabeth and I walked past this resting place, I liked the look of the juxtaposition of the pretty and happy friends enjoying the afternoon sun, with the rather severe painting on the building just behind them.  I asked the ladies for permission to take their photo and they graciously granted permission.

All along the walkway, there are railings at at height that guarantees walker safety, while also allowing walkers to easily see beyond the barriers.  There are many flowers, and these flowers were attracting lots of butterflies and bees yesterday.

I love the look of the spent flower in the following photo, since it reminds me of many of the fireworks designs that we will soon be seeing erupting over the riverside on the evening of July 4.  Nature is so full of inspiration!

As we retraced our route downtown, and found an exit staircase, I took one final photo to show the lovely afternoon sky.

Elizabeth and I made a refreshing stop along our eastward walk, for tea (for her) and coffee (for me) and some delicious cakes to fill in those little gaps our afternoon exercise had suggested.

What a marvelous day!

I will leave you with the above photo of a bit of knitting that is amongst my current yarny projects.  The grey yarn is a variegated Danish "Kauni" yarn and so will change its accenting of the changing colorways provided by my odds and ends of leftover rosy yarns.  

Tomorrow our weather is to snap sharply into summer heat.  I look forward to meeting up with other friends this week, but think that our meeting spots might involve indoor air conditioning.

Best wishes from New York.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

It has been a while since I had a walk through Central Park, and even though rain was very much in today's forecast, I decided that today would be a fine time to head outdoors with my camera.

What I wanted to do was to take some dark green early June photographs that I might eventually use for some drawing or painting subjects.  I also had my sketchbook in my bag, just in case the heavy grey clouds gave way to blue sky.

After a few minutes' walking, it was clear that having my umbrella also packed away in my bag was a fine idea.

What time do you think is pictured?  It was not yet midday.

Some of the greens seem silvery, while others have a neon glow.

I managed to get to the Shakespeare Garden before rain drops began to fall.  This is an in between time of the year, when lots of late spring rains have encouraged leaves to grow to their full potential, and most spring flowers are a bit past their prime.

This combination makes for an interesting interplay of shapes and textures, with just a few spots of accenting colors.

When I came upon the coleus plants in the following photo, the actual soil looked to be a very deep purple.  What drama in the Shakespeare Garden this morning!

Quite a few types of lilies were in bloom, reaching upwards from the tops of very tall stalks.  I saw a Park gardener at a distance.  He was almost hidden behind all the greenery.  (I waved at him but did not take his picture.)

There were more orange lilies than pink lilies.

I love the look of these glossy oval leaves with the zig-zaggedy edges.

As I neared my usual exit steps from the Garden, I encountered a safety barricade and the following sign.

I retraced my steps and found another pathway exit, and came upon these cheery little berries that had grown right next to one of the "rustic" fences that ring the Garden.

Some of these ferns were almost as tall as I am.  The recent weather seems to have treated them very well.

This little violet beauty was being trained to climb around a painted iron lamp post.  I think that it might be a clematis?  I did not seen another one in the entire Garden.

Here is another view of the stairway that is undergoing some restoration.  I imagine that when the project is completed, the area will look just as beautifully rustic and relaxing as before.

A short way from the Garden this lovely tree can be found.

I would have liked to stay near that tree for a bit longer, but the sky was turning darker, and the air was becoming more moist.  I hurried along the walkway next to the lake.

The following is one of several photos I took of the remnants of flowers.  I really wanted to take more photos but by this time I was feeling some rain drops, and my camera was telling me that its battery was almost out of power.

I traded my camera for my umbrella, and as I left the Park the rain began.  How fortunate I was to have been allowed the time to have my wander amongst all those deeply green plants!

These photos are just a sampling of the views I captured this morning.  If I do get around to using any of them to create some artwork, I will get the camera out again.

Many thanks to you all for your recent visits and thoughtful comments.  I do appreciate hearing from you.