Saturday, July 19, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from sunny New York City.

We've now entered into the days of heat and humidity.  Dramatic thunder and lightening, accompanied by heavy showers, add to the excitement of city life.

Strange little City mini-parks contain exuberant flowering displays cheer us as we walk the hot sidewalks.  I try to stay in the shade.

During my days off, I also try to stay indoors during the midday hours.  I have a fan and cross-ventilation, but no air conditioning.  This summer an unwanted complication has entered into my primitive climate control strategy.  Maintenance work is being done on the apartment building's exterior.  Teams of men arrive at 8 a.m. and leave around 4 p.m.  During their work hours they ride up and down on complex automated scaffolding platforms, stopping at a particular floor.  They use very noisy drills in their work.  While they are nearby one's own floor, one is advised to keep window/s and blinds closed.

This gives an interesting silhouette.  The noise and vibration of their necessary work really does disturb the peace. 

I have tried to stay away when the workmen are very near my floor.  It's more fun to meet friends in cooler, calmer places.  I took the bus over to The Metropolitan Museum of Art on the East Side, and was impressed by the curbside plantings outside some of the impressive apartment buildings across Fifth Avenue from the Museum.

These plantings were very well groomed, and quite different from those plantings behind the fence at Shermsn Square.

It was great fun to meet a friend at the Met and see some excellent exhibits featuring Pre-Raphaelite art, William Morris wallpaper, Byzantine design, and Indian miniature paintings inspired by ragas.  Each of these exhibits was beautiful and peaceful, and contained lots of imagery based on nature.

I returned home after 4 p.m. and continued with my current knitting project.  Yes, I am knitting with wool.

Using a cool blue and green color assortment seems more comfortable than using firey reds.

I like the notion that I might also be inspired by nature.

This project is being knitted as a tube on a circular needle.  I will eventually use that tricky kitchener stitch to attach the ends of the tube to create a cowl.  The cowl will be going into my Etsy shop.  Cooler weather will arrive.

New York City has complex rules for curbside parking.  I cannot understand why anyone would want to own a car in this city, although many folks do own cars.  I rely on public transportation and my two feet, but sometimes take a cab.

This week as the sun goes down I have seen a vast array of taxis parked on my street.

The reason for this is the observance of Ramadan by the drivers of these cabs.  There is a mosque in the neighborhood.

I hope that you all will enjoy seeing some of these summer city views.  It has been a pleasure to see your comments and to see some new followers, too.  Thank you so much for your response to my last post's tribute to Paul Mazursky.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on the first evening of July.

I'll quickly apologize for not having posted in a while, without detailing all sorts of alibis.

Let me quickly upload a photo of a view from my current neighborhood before traveling a bit back in time.

The featured obelisk is not at all attractive to my eye, but it is typical of what is being built in NYC these days.

This evening I would like to remember a time in the mid-1970's when I returned to live in New York after a brief return to my Virginia roots.  I was fortunate to have the opportunity to move into a huge, but spartan loft space in the downtown neighborhood that had been named by real estate interests as SoHo.  South of Houston Street.

By the time I paid a fixture fee to the prior tenant (a model who was moving to Greece) and got the keys to the building from the landlady, with our mutual awareness that the space was not officially residential, galleries and a few restaurants had already set up business in an area that previously had been HQ for a variety of light industries, primarily in the textile trade.

Rents were cheap, one had to know someone to gain access to such places, plumbing was primitive, winters were chilly indoors.  The notion of gentrification was just coming into the lexicon.

I still treasure my years in my Greene Street loft.  A year before I moved into this space, a movie was filmed in a loft across the street and the movie's final scene was actually filmed in the street itself.

The film was and is An Unmarried Woman.

I currently work in a shop in SoHo.  Nowadays, SoHo is mostly an urban shopping area.  The artists have moved.  The galleries have moved.  Still, it's a destination for visitors from all over the world.  Luxury hotels and international luxury retailers have set up business in SoHo.

A year or so ago, on a Sunday afternoon, I spoke with a gentleman who'd entered my workplace.  I am now officially a senior citizen, and he was my elder.  I enquired if I could help him find something, and he wistfully replied, thank you, but I am looking for something that doesn't exist anymore.

I am a curious person, and asked him to tell me more.  It was then that he began to tell me that he'd once made a movie in this area....  I began to blush as I quickly realized that I was speaking with Paul Mazursky.

Mr. Mazursky's obituary has appeared today.  I am doubly, perhaps triply, honored to have had the opportunity to meet him, to tell him how much I loved his movies, particularly An Unmarried Woman, and that I could indeed tell him where his remarkable, still very important movie, was filmed.

We had a lovely chat, and I know my blush deepened with every sentence.  I "directed" Mr. Mazursky to the block of Greene Street that he was looking for.

Perhaps those of you who read this post might have seen the film, or some of the other films that Mr. Mazursky either wrote or directed.  If not, you are in for a treat when you do get around to seeing them.

If you have seen them, then perhaps you will share my thoughts about his talent, and the way in which he was able to translate a very unique New York City time and place into film.

Thank you all for your visits here and your comments.