Friday, June 6, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on June 6, a date that has great historic resonance.

Seeing the group portrait of international representatives arranged for today's Normandy portrait does make me wonder about how far we have come.  How far have we come?

Having posed that question, let me skip merrily along to offering you all some city views from New York.

A week ago, I put on my multi-colored leafy shetland wool cardigan, knit many, many years ago from a Susan Duckworth design, and met my friend Elizabeth at the Union Square farmers market.

Possible rain was in the forecast, but I bravely left my umbrella at home.  If you visit Elizabeth's About New York post, you'll get an idea of how we found shelter, and info about uses for chive flowers.  As the shower got gentler, we made our way to a favorite cafe for tea.  And a catch up conversation.

The rain had returned by the time we left the cafe, and so we said our farewells and I scampered into the nearest subway station to return back up to the West Side.

When I got back to my neighborhood the streets were still wet, but the sun was back.  I wished to see a rainbow, but was disappointed.

I'm sure that I've shown you a view of the Ansonia building a time or three in past posts.  It is rather grand rising above Broadway, and its halls are filled with ghosts of many famous actors and singers who lived there.  It's possible that some famed folks still manage to live there in its current status.  I have known some folks whose tenancy status fell afoul of fierce and determined real estate interests.

Looking south, or downtown on Broadway, you can see some evidence of the unromantic real estate encouraged architecture that, though tall, does not really measure up to the beauty of the Ansonia.

Back in the last century the little area that adjoined the 72nd Street subway station was known as Needle Park.  The young Al Pacino starred in a movie that had scenes set this this area.

Nowadays, many folks who pass through this area know it only as Verdi Park.  There are roses there. 

There are now two 72nd Street subway station houses.  The following photo shows a view of the uptown exit (at 73rd Street) of the newer station house.  Dogwood tree branches shade benches available to subway riders or neighborhood folks wishing to rest their feet.

You can see that the pavement around the station is still damp from the showers.  The following photograph shows the statue of Verdi that graces part of the little park.

On that afternoon, as I stood on 72nd Street, between the uptown and downtown subway station buildings, I liked the vantage point of the view down Broadway.

You all can see the various recycling rubbish binds, the police car parked in front of the downtown station house, a city bus making its way up Broadway, and some uninspired architecture lining Broadway in the West 70's and 60's.

Here is another view.  The tall building just to the right of the center of the photograph is from an earlier era.  The Sleepy sign shows the way to a mattress store.

I keep wishing for more spare time, and truly hope to be able to report soon that I will have more spare time to get around New York City, sharing more pictures with you all.

Today was a lovely day, and I made another visit to the Union Square farmers market.  Although I myself cannot quite spot it now, I know that when I took the following photo, it was because a translucent winged dragonfly was nestling amongst these shiny green leaves.

Today's greenmarket visit was a quick one, and I returned to my neighborhood to complete some errands, before getting back home for some knitting.

As I walked towards my favorite grocery store, The Fairway Market, I noticed the marquee on the Beacon Theater, just across Broadway.  How blase I have become.  

Over the years I have seen many fine performances at the Beacon.  Notably, many shows by The Kinks.  The Beacon was once an elaborately decorated cinema.  It's been through many eras.  Nowadays, the seats don't have springs that spring through threadbare upholstery.

The ticket booth is pretty, but you'd be wise to book your tickets ahead via the internet.  Do stay clear of the sidewalk scalpers.

Back home this afternoon, I managed to add some more rows to my Gudrun Johnston lacy shetland shawl.  It's growing slowly, but steadily.

Here's a closer view.

And here's an even closer view with the pattern stretched out a bit to show the diamond design.  It's fun to knit with the Madelinetosh yarn.

And, still indoors, here's another close up view.  While at today's farmers market I bought some brilliantly fresh asparagus, and as a visual treat, also brought home this pretty upright fuchsia plant.  I so hope that I will be able to keep it flowering for quite a few weeks.  I even consulted a Martha Stewart website for care information. 

Dear readers, please wish this lovely plant luck on my windowsill.

Thank you all for your visits and comments.  I am delighted to have a new follower.  Returning to my opening paragraph on this June 6, I would venture that the global community that our blogging makes possible is something that gives positive hope for the future of our actual physical global community.

Best wishes to you all.


  1. I love the leafy pattern of your sweater! And what a handsome building the Ansonia is!

    Like you, I have hopes that the Internet helps to bring us together -- heaven knows, the world could use more friendships.

  2. Lovely to see views of your neighborhood.
    And yes, I can see the translucent winged creature.
    My photos of the black butterfly from last week didn't come out quite right.
    As ever, I'm totally in awe of your knitting prowess.

  3. Dear Frances,

    Hello! There is so much worthy of comment here. Firstly though allow me to untter a heartfelt WOW at your beautiful oak leaf cardigan; so so wonderful and reminiscent of Kaffee Fassett in some ways.

    And isn't the Ansonia splendid and eye-catching?

    The June 6th celebrations - if that is the correct word - speak to me. Firstly because my father, now 91, was a commando during the war and seriously injured in battle, and secondly, because before moving to the Loire Valley five years ago we lived for ten years on the Normandy coast not 10 kms from Omaha Beach where the celebrations take place. It is an intense moment of reflection and sadness to observe the American cemetry, so beautifully alined and to think of all those brave men and their families.

    What can one say?

    And to pick up on your closing comment, yes, this network of bloggers is truly amazing. Yesterday, as I looked for some advice, I turned to two bloggers who immediately responded with thoughtful and informative advice. I was so touched that these two ladies had taken time out of their busy days to write back to me.

    Happy weekend Frances,

    A bientôt,


  4. Lovely photos.Lovely city.I am sure your fuchsia will flower for a long time.We have some in the garden,two in pots and two in a bed.They are fairly tough and survived our winter.They have the most gorgeous flowers.Enjoy!

  5. What a beautiful city you live in Frances! I am ashamed to admit that I have never visited. Perhaps in future :-)

    I love your cardigan with the colourful feathers on it. It's really pretty!

    Wishing you a happy weekend!

    Madelief x

  6. It is through reading your blog that I find out more about New York and what makes it such a real and interesting place to live in. You make it sound attractive on a human scale and like a great place to live. I do also always appreciate your photos that give a good idea of what the different neighborhoods look like. It seems like you are in the perfect place for a woman living on her own, like I am.

    Have a good weekend.

  7. What a treat to sit in bed and look at your guided walk in New York! My favourite shot is the bicycle and the notice with the view beyond.
    I hope you enjoyed the asparagus - our season was a month early this year, so no more locally grown spears until next year (I avoid the imports, asparagus is all about the anticipation of a new season).
    Enjoy your Fuschia - if you can open your window it will live the fresh air.
    Celia xx

  8. Do you ever go to Café Margot in the Ansonia, I always think it is like a little corner of Paris.
    I went to the Kaffe Fassett show in the American Museum near Bath recently, amazing use of colour.

  9. I always enjoy you taking us on little walks around NYC.
    Your knitting is phenomenal and beautiful!
    I wish your potted fuchsia 'Good Luck' - so it will thrive on your windowsill.
    Have a lovely week!
    xoxo Ingrid

  10. Once again my friend you leave us calling for more from you like Oliver Twist. Your journey around the city and your neighbourhood is, as always, fascinating. I love the fuchscia; I inherited many from my Mother, and they still thrive in her garden. I have this one also and it is very hardy. It has withstood wind, rain and snow and frost. Hard prune it in the autumn - keeping warm with your beautiful shawl while you do it. Thank you, my friend, you bring light into our blogging life. xx

  11. Such a lovely collection of pictures of your beautiful city! I enjoyed all the different things you chose for us to see. Your colourful cardigan is so pretty and beautifully made, and I love the new pattern you are working on.
    Good luck nurturing your pretty fuschia....I have some pink geraniums brightening up my kitchen windowsill but house plants often do not thrive for me!
    Wishing you a happy, sunny creative week, dear Frances and thank you for your lovely comments on my blog (I like the sound of your pink shoes very much!)
    Helen xox

  12. Another treat as you let us wander around New York with you Frances - so many more new places to see. The lace knitting in your new shawl is beautiful (as too are those oak leaves!)

  13. Thank you for the quick tour of New York Frances - much enjoyed, and I didn't even have to get wet! I hope the fuschia gives you much pleasure and many flowers.

  14. I love your 'tour' posts, Frances. As I looked at your photos and read your words I thought of how good a city smells after a shower - something about the water hitting the hot pavement and leaving everything sweeter.
    I believe that blogging makes our world smaller - if only some world leaders could take the time to connect in a similar fashion!

  15. Dear Frances,

    As usual, a gentle ramble through the days, at home and out and about.
    Thank you for new pictures of new York, that most exciting of cities.

    Your lacy shawl is a beauty, you are a needlework magician.

  16. I never was a city girl, but I felt almost claustrophobic looking at some of these pics ... it seems you only realise how used you become to the big skies of the countryside when you see shots of tall buildings that fill the sky. But I do envy you some of the city culture that I miss ... all those libraries and galleries and shows and gigs ... almost worth missing the sky for!

  17. hello frances, i've seen that you had rain, i hope it was welcome. how fun to meet your friend elizabeth! even if the rain came along too.

    your cardigan is SO pretty! love the leafy motif. did you buy the wool at jamieson and smith? i wish i had some of my earliest knits, when i was much more agreeable to intarsia and other things i don't really do anymore. you are making halligarth! me too! i really love this pattern. yours is looking so lovely!

    we had fresh asparagus for dinner tonight, drizzled with a bit of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and roasted. so yum! i told hannah and she commented that she was sad she couldn't find any at her neighborhood bodega. (she could have walked a bit farther to find some, ha ha).
    have a wonderful wednesday dear friend, i hope you find more free time soon.
    xo lori

    p.s. love your closing sentiments on this post. agreed.

  18. Wonderful photos and you make the perfect tour guide.

  19. I do love these reminders of your beautiful, vibrant and surprising city. Cx

  20. It´s always a pleasure to follow you around in your beautiful city Frances! It´s not like my little village on the countryside...
    Take care!
    Love Titti

  21. Thank you all so much for your comments!

    In answer to Lori's question about yarn used in the leaf-patterned, pink and white striped cardigan, I knit it ages ago from various left-over 4-ply yarns from Patricia Roberts and Rowan. I'd bought those yarns in London back in the 1980's when the dollar was quite strong.


  22. I can see the dragonfly! Lucky you seeing The Kinks. I do hope you will have more free time for all the other things you want to do.

  23. Beautiful pictures, inspiring post.

  24. Hello Frances and thank you for this nice stroll through your town. As always, I enjoy it! I love the dragonfly on the laurel leaves. Never thought of using the chive flowers to sprinkle over lettuces - will do! Mostly, they end up in a vase with other flowers here. Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog. Had visitors from the States ( Indiana) both ladies made more than 30 miles/day on a bike from Paris to Brugges (barge/bike tour). Guess what, one is 83 and the other is 72 years old. That is fitness! They did already a tour 2 years ago from Amsterdam to Brugges and came to visit the American cemetery close-by, this is how we became friends. No, EG has -to my knowledge ;-) - no new vintage car in his projects. Will hopefully soon get the GMC out for a nice picnic. Hope you make it one day over to us!

  25. Dear Frances, you are always so kind to take us on a walk in New York City with you! I expect every new post to see something new and interesting! Lovely nature, impressive buildings and there's always a the sense of cozines... I hope your new flower has liked its place on the window sill! Is there a moment in the year when you do not knit?:)) Everything that your hands create is BEAUTIFUL!!!

  26. I can certainly see the Dragonfly - it's enormous, like the ones we have in the garden here. I so love your blog, Frances - it's like I'm taking a leisurely stroll with you and enjoying the wonderful city you live in. All the best there.

  27. I love and agree with your last paragraph Frances. I have enjoyed catching up with you and seeing your beautiful projects and photos. Your blog makes me feel happy.

  28. So many lovely things here. I love your knitting. I am just coming to the end of a crossover jacket for the next new baby in the family and balking slightly at the making up. It looks great now in pieces! I must also show you my fuchsia which is a white one which grows outside in the field. You make New york so very much more accessible than it was for the many years I visited when I was working. Then my contacts were only corporate. Your New York is personal and quirky and real.

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