Wednesday, December 31, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York on a chilly New Year's Eve.

Yes, wintry weather has finally reached us.  I assure you all that I will not be amongst the folks gathering around Times Square waiting for midnight!

I do want to share just a few recent city views with you as this old 2014 draws to a close.

After many months of construction and installation behind visual barriers, new fountains in front of The Metropolitan Museum of Art have now been revealed.

The circle of spouting water is programmed to dance through a loop of choreography.  Tourists seem to enjoy having their photographs taken at the fountain edge.

While the plaza renovation was underway, there was some discussion over whether the food vendors who park their stands along the Fifth Avenue curb would be allowed to stay amid the new splendor.  I hope that you can see their brightly colored umbrellas just behind the arc of the dancing waters.

Over in Central Park this is a subdued time of the year.  Preparation has been made for a time yet to arrive when the lake will freeze.

Neutral colors dominate with brighter accents provided by visitors' warm clothing and the for-hire carriages and pedicabs.

I think that the subdued colors are beautiful in their own way.  There are lots of interesting textures to add to the visual interest.  Perhaps you all can detect a few red leaves and berries.

It was mid-afternoon when I took my walk, and cloud cover was thickening.  Everything seemed softened.  Rain seemed possible.

The following photograph shows the tall buildings of Central Park South, the road at the southern edge of the Park.

Walking home through the Strawberry Fields area, I was delighted to see this brave little cluster of snowdrops.  Earlier in my walk, I had seem evidence of hungry little squirrels nibbling on other tender shoots that had poked their heads above the leafy ground cover.

Earlier today watching television, I saw spectacular New Year's fireworks broadcast from Australia.  It's fun to watch the stroke of midnight arrive around our world and in many cases to realize that some of you all are already celebrating 2015.

I'll cling to our old friend 2014 for a bit longer, being somewhat reflective of all that has transpired in the past year.  All in all, I think that 2014 has been very good to me, and am particularly appreciative of the many connections that I have been made via this little blog.

Thank you all for your visits and comments.  I am looking forward to seeing you again in our Happy New Year

Monday, December 22, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas 2014, and thank you all so very much for all your visits and comments through the year.  What a wonderful gift our blogging community is!


Friday, December 19, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

It seems that since I returned from England in November, I have been neglecting showing you all some New York City seasonal views.  I have been very busy with many projects and also with my work days.

Nonetheless, I have been taking my camera with me on some days, and will now show you a very edited selection of city views.

Thanksgiving Day, back on November 27, was a very cold and damp day, and so I did not stay too long at the annual Macy's Parade that starts not far from where I live and makes its way downtown to Macy's Department Store at 34th Street's Herald Square.

There were lots of police on hand to protect us from anything or anyone intent on disturbing the joy that assembled families might receive from the parade. Colorful balloons, for sale, also gave color to a gray day.

Gigantic helium filled balloons made their appearances in between marching bands and decorative floats boasting celebrities.  Snoopy and Woodstock are always crowd favorites.

Veteran parade viewers remember to bring their own ladders and other seating arrangements to provide better viewing.

The above photograph reminded me of birds on a wire, but that bird on the right did not know I was taking her photograph.

Some folks wear seasonal, whimsical hats.

As in my previous reports of this parade, you can see the famed Dakota apartment building in the above photograph.  People watching the parade from the Dakota's windows were warmer than I was.  I admit to going home for a hot cup of tea before Santa Claus's appearance at the end of the parade.

A much warmer occasion was the annual Holiday Open House at the splendidly grand 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue main New York City Public Library.

As always, there is lots of wonderful music, plenty of wine, lots of beautifully dressed children enjoying the fun of a party in the library where it's joyously noisy.

During these Open House events, lots of special rooms are open to view, including this one with a fabulous vintage card catalogue.  I could not resist taking a photograph.

The library building richly deserved its landmark status.

Every time that I have attended this party, I leave it with a renewed appreciation of all that I love about New York City.

The stone lions that guard the entrance to the building were looking very grand in their holiday greenery wreaths.

In past years I've shown you all the giant Rockefeller Center tree, and wanted to include a photograph again this year.  Lots of breezes blowing around this area.

I was bundled up against the chill, and continued my walk up Fifth Avenue looking for any imaginative holiday decorations.  I admit that I did not see many qualifiers until I reached 57th Street.

 Tiffany's had some rather gaudy sparkly diamond-inspired lights on its facade.  I think that the choice of yellow "diamonds" at the centers of these sprays was not as pretty as "rubies" might have been.

Over the middle of the 57th and Fifth intersection is hung a very large illuminated snowflake.  This decoration is much more dramatic after sundown.  However, after sundown, it is not so easy for the pedestrian to see the pair of sneakers that have been tossed over another set of wires above the same intersection.  Sneakers are without glamour but do have a certain nonchalance.

Leave it to Bergdorf Goodman to come up with truly inventive holiday windows.

On one side of the building the store's windows show a sort of winter wonderland, as a backdrop to some very elegant fashions.

On the Fifth Avenue side of the building there is a theme to the window.  Various members of the Arts family are represented.  The best of the bunch, to my eye, was the one representing Architecture.

There was much playing around with scale and with the tradition of blueprints.

Others of this series of windows have much more brightly colored lighting.

I still prefer the Architecture window.  As did other passersby, judging by how many cameras and smart phones were being deployed.

This is a detail of the Painting window.  All was in whitewash except for the one canvas.

Back to Architecture.  Please humor me.

The talented designers who create and install these windows are truly top of their field.


Yes, there are some mannequins sharing the window, and yes, these mannequins are wearing some fabulous clothes, but I don't think that they are the true stars of the show.

One last peek.

I believe that the following photograph featured the Music arts.  Lots of brass horns.

Around the corner on 58th Street, this window was a tribute to sculpture, with an emphasis on ice.

I regret to report that my camera's battery signalled a farewell about the time I took that ice sculpture window.  And so, I headed home.

Shop windows are not the only sources of decorations at this time of the year.

At the farmers market there are lots of cyclamen, amaryllis, Christmas cactus, narcissus and other pretty colored blooms available to take home.

Other stands feature a great variety of greenery, either as loose branches, garlands or made up wreaths.

I like the pine cones.

I wish that I could convey to you all the delicious scent of all this greenery.

Red berries and festive ribbons have been added to some of the wreaths on offer.

Uptown in my own west side neighborhood, as in most other city neighborhoods, sidewalk vendors of Christmas trees and greenery appeared around Thanksgiving and will disappear on Christmas eve.

I love the way that these vendors have decorated their little enclosure against the chill of the night air, to create a Christmas Tree People house.  Can you all see the little figures they have made from trimmings from trees they've sold?

Not all Christmas trees have to be ten feet tall.  These are about a metre, including their stands.

Just across Broadway from The Christmas Tree People, is the legendary Beacon Theater, where currently Mariah Carey is holding forth.  I would imagine that the audience sings along with her when she gets to that particular line of that particular song.

And back home in my tiny apartment, I have added some red berried branches to my decor, surrounded by a few beautifully wrapped gifts that have recently been delivered.

I think that I have made all the required visits to the Post Office, and may or may not have baked all the cookies I will bake before December 25.

As of this evening, I am feeling rather relaxed about my Christmas preparations.  Do be on the lookout for at least one more post from me before the 25th.

Meanwhile, thank you all for your visits and comments.  It's great fun to share this time of the year with you all.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

The sugar-dusted, star-shaped cookies have been baked.

Very soon, I will be distributing them to various folks.  And perhaps nibbling one or two myself.

Please do be on the lookout tomorrow for those photographs of New York City holiday decorations!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

I am so very sorry not to have yet shown you all some photographs of the fancy decorations around town.  Time is getting away from me.

Almost all of the windows in my Advent Calendar are now open.  

The fancy decoration photographs will appear soon.  Meanwhile, I have some Christmas cookies to bake!  Thank you all for your visits and comments.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

For some time now, I've been meaning to share photographs of a certain part of a certain wall in my neighborhood.

This painting by a well know artist was created at least a year ago, and for many months kept its own low profile, attracting attention from folks who could guess its source.  No one seemed to bother the lad with the hammer.

Then, a few months ago, a protective plexiglass shield was installed over the painting to protect it from alteration.  The expense for this shield was funded by the neighborhood shop Zabar's.  Zabar's also accepts contributions from the public.

Since the shield's appearance, graffiti has been scrawled across the shield, and then removed.  Currently, some tiny stickers appear on the shield, and perhaps resist removal.

Thank you all for your visiting and commenting on my holiday post.  It was a pleasure to share these happy days.