Friday, December 21, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Hello from New York on the very first day of winter in the year 2012.

Please do fill this little watercolor Christmas tea cup with whatever beverage you prefer and join me in toasting all that is glorious about this very beautiful time of the year.

Many thanks to all of you who've visited hereabouts during the past year.  I've enjoyed your comments, and even been able to meet some of you all in person.  Let's look forward to many fine days in the New Year that is just around the corner.

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.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York on a foggy first Sunday in Advent.

Here's a foggy photo of my Advent calendar.  I took this picture before I began opening the little windows.  So far, I found a hidden bell and starry tree ornament behind the first two doors.

This is such a busy season in New York, with many folks visiting from other parts of our country and abroad.  I braved the sidewalk crowds in the midtown Fifth Avenue area earlier this week, and decided to snap a few Christmas seasonal sight to share with you all.

Here you see a charming little vignette in a Lord & Taylor store window.  Santa is busy checking is list to see who's been naughty or nice, while one of the reindeer pops in to see how toy production is going.

Also at L & T, this is a partial view of a traditional outdoor market scene.  Lots of baked goods are available.  I have yet to even begin collecting ingredients for my own cookie baking!

Yet another partial view of a Lord & Taylor window shows us a Japanese pavilion with lovely lanterns bobbing in the air.  I would imagine that those kimono clad ladies might be a little chilly.

Each of the above windows do feature some subdued animation and loudspeakers were playing very loud, not always traditional, music that seemed to not be a perfect match for the window designs.

It was the night before I took this picture that major television broadcasting covered the official lighting of this year's giant Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.  I am not sure if you can see in my photograph some remaining cables attached to the tree.  

The skating rink area below the tree was being reconditioned after the television show, so that skating might resume.  The first step in the reconditioning involved some large water hoses applying lots to water to the roughed up ice.  Later on a machine, with an Italian name I cannot remember, would be used to smooth the surface to perfection.

Just to the northern side of the skating area I found these giant music makers.  You can see some large metallic flags waving in the breeze.  The glass-domed feature in the background is an elevator that can take folks down to the skating level.   There are also some restaurants located on the lower level circumference of the skating rink.

Also in the Rockefeller Center area is a delightful Anthropologie shop, whose windows often make imaginative use of paper.  I thought these simple lanterns were quite lovely...sort of a variation on carved Jack O Lanterns, perhaps.

Anthropologie also featured quite a few giant papier mache style animals that had been whimsically decorated.

Since the sidewalks really were quite full, and my camera was flashing a low-battery warning light, I decided to curtail more photography until I reached the splendor of Bergdorf Goodman, a sumptuous luxury store that is celebrating a big anniversary, with windows that seemed to have a Jazz Age theme to their elegance. 

The following photo is of a very tiny window that was filled with lots of detail.

This picture shows some of a very large window, and indicates the fantasy that is usually associated with this shop's displays.  I did think that some of this year's BG windows were not quite as effective as those I remember from years past.

As the midday sun tried to peek out from the crowds, the reflective factor became apparent when I took this next photo.  This couple is seated at a theatre that seems to be part of a snow drift.  The gentleman is holding a variation of the usual Playbill given out at Broadway productions.  This version is a tribute to the Bergdorf anniversary.

Returning to my own west side neighborhood, I saw lots of beautiful potential Christmas trees for sale at the many sidewalk stands that appear just after Thanksgiving day.  Some of these trees are tall and full-branched, ready to be a focal point in someone's large apartment.

Others are more modest in scale, yet still have poise and beauty.

This is my initial Christmas in New York post.  I expect to be taking some more photographs as this months continues and will share some more city views with you all.  It's a wonderful time of the year!