Wednesday, June 24, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from sunny New York.

This New York City day has been enriched by the delivery of a remarkable new book containing truly splendid views of another city by the excellent photographer Colin O'Brien.



The book's photographs depict London from the early 1950s to the current day and will tell any viewer a remarkable tale of a changing place.

I first learned of Mr. O'Brien's work via one of my favorite blogs, Spitalfields Life.  Perhaps some of you in the U.K. also know about the book.  If not, you have great opportunity within the next few weeks to use the "listen again" feature on Robert Elms' BBC London Radio program to hear Mr. Elms interview Mr. O'Brien.  You are in for a treat.

Meanwhile, back here in New York, yesterday was oppressive in its heat and humidity, and even though the predicted heavy thunderstorms passed us by, we were lucky to discover that the air had cooled somewhat today.



This was a good day for some errands requiring long walks outdoors.  I had my camera with me and thought I would retrace some of places I'd shown you during winter snow days.  This brownstone block is one of those that stage the elaborate scary Halloween displays.


Around this time in late June all is more relaxed with lots of green foliage and some bright colors.  No snow, no skeletons.


I admire the way that the folks who live along this block share their front gardens with the rest of us.  I imagine that the back gardens behind these buildings must be wonderfully tranquil havens.


It seems to be a good time for hydrangea blooms.  I have seen lots of them around town. I admit that I am not all that sure about the bright yellow and orange flowers being so close to those cooler tones in the following photograph, but it is a very jolly grouping.


Please do take my word for it that there are more hydrangeas in the window boxes pictured below.  The sunshine is glorious!


Varieties of coleus plants are also very popular, particularly for commercial businesses wishing for low maintenance gardens in front of their premises.  If you click on the next picture to enlarge it, you'll see a reflection in the dark glass window of ... me.


Sometimes when I am taking pictures I tend to use similar composition for several photographs.  In the photos above and below I am exploring horizontal stripes.


The yellow cab is whizzing down Columbus Avenue, passing by an ABC Television building featuring a zipper news announcement.  It usually seems to be reporting some disaster, but I admit that I always look at it...usually to see the current weather report.

I'm hoping that you all have enjoyed this post's views from two different cities.  Thank you for your visits and comments.  I'm hoping that the hot weather is not going to make me into a lazy blogger.  It can be so easy to succomb to the call of an afternoon nap on a hot day, but also can be lots of fun to share my city with you all.

39 comments:

  1. I remember those Halloween decorations. I love hydrangeas but I'm with you as to the companion plants. It is miserably hot here too. I can't go out during the day. It is even too hot to sleep here. It must be humid there too since you're so close to the water. It is always humid here too, but I haven't a clue as to why.

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    1. Donna, I hope some sort of cooling front will pass through your part of the world, as it has here. This early morning seems to actually be refreshing.

      xo

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  2. Doesn't the book look fascinating? And thank you so much for the link to radio programme.

    All those flowers in New York are looking fabulous. This post is definitely a tale of two cities :o)

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    1. You are quite welcome, Annie.

      I'll be on the lookout for some more NYC flower beds on future walks...and will try to remember to take my camera with me.

      xo

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  3. As always, Frances, this was a delightful stroll through your summer city. I enjoyed to wander round with you and like particularly the picture of the ornamental nettles with you in the glass reflection. I hope we will get your hot weather in time then, as my son's wedding will take place soon in the Vosges.

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    1. Bayou, I hope that the weather gods will grant lovely weather for your son's upcoming wedding day. Warm...but not too much humidity, perhaps?

      Thank you for your kind words about the flower photos. xo

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  4. How lovely to see the fronts of buildings enlivened by greenery and flowers.
    I wonder if you are considering the horizontal stripes of the building to be added to your knitting patterns? Knit a Brownstone!

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    1. Elizabeth, thank you so much for your comment. You are such a great gardener...I'm glad to share some urban flowers with you.

      You might be on to something with your observaation about horizontal knitting designs having their roots in what I've been seeing around me...or maybe it's vice versa. xo

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  5. A lovely summer look at what was oh so bleak not so very long ago!

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    1. Thank you Elizabeth. Yes...better to have a walk around the neighborhood when ice only appears in an ice cream cone.

      xo

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  6. I never cease to be amazed at the amount of greenery and the trees in the middle of NYC - you manage to capture it so well Frances.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I hope to amaze you with more and more city views that include nature's seasonal gifts. I think that you know how much I treasure your country views and wisdom. xo

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  7. What lovely plantings! I'm glad your weather moderated a bit. The London book is enticing. Have you read THE FROZEN THAMES? It's a charming series of vignettes that give a picture of London over the years.

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    1. Thank you, Vicki. I do hope that you will eventually be able to have look at London Life. Each O'Brien image could launch a short story or a chapter of a novel.

      Thank you also for introducing me to The Frozen Thames. (I'll return the favor for mentioning a much loved book of mine that I found on a remaindered shelf long ago...The Authentic World of Sherlock Holmes.)

      xo

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  8. So nice to see that, after a very cold winter, in NYC the flowers are blooming (is that the correct word?) Have a lovely weekend!

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  9. Oh yes, Jolanda...that is definitely the word. There are many flowers blooming all over the city!

    xo

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  10. Wonderful!!! What a nice walk along roads I know!!! Thank you for bringing me back to NYC!
    All my best from Austria and a happy happy time
    Elisabeth

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  11. Thank you very much Elizabeth.

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  12. I've been grumbling about the constant cool wind we have been enduring every day, spoiling the possibility of a lazy day in a sunny, warm garden - but I think I would prefer that to the humidity that you describe. I love that there are lots of plantings in NY City to freshen and beautify all the buildings.

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    1. Rambler, I do hope that your summer weather improves and you'll be able to enjoy garden days. Yes...having those flowers smiling at us passersby really does improve city views!

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  13. Thank you for this lovely stroll! I love to see the pocket gardens packed full with bright flowers.

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    1. You are quite welcome, Frances. Today looks to be another mildly warm day in NYC...I foresee another walk. Must remember to take my camera along. xo

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  14. A fabulous tale of two cities. The book looks fascinating Frances so I'll have to check that out. And New York looks delightful with all the beautiful floral decoration.

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    1. Thank you Gina. I think that you'd like the book's way of showing what huge changes have taken place in London during one lifetime.

      We are truly grateful for the flowers that appear around town. Some are planted by professional gardening companies, but my favorites are planted by folks who actually live in the decorated buildings. xo

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  15. Like you, I am always uplifted and happy to experience the public gardens in any neighborhood. Even the smallest of gardens in a window box bring joy to an otherwise ordinary space. A garden is best when shared with anyone that passes by! Well, except for the "Secret Garden", that is a very personal spot. Nice to see that your city is filled with blooms and greens!

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  16. Oh thank you, Jeri. Isn't it fun to compare notes from my city location and your beautiful, nature-filled hollow?

    xo

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  17. I must look out for that book, it is hard to comprehend the vast amount of changes to London since the fifties.
    We just returned from London today, we are having a heatwave too. I am a great fan of the afternoon nap especially when the days are hot and humid.

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  18. Val, I think you'd like London Life very much. I've heard that London's having record-breaking heat this week. Expect that afternoon naps might break their own records as a result!
    xo

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  19. Such an interesting book, I would love to have a look through it. London and it's history and evolution has always fascinated me. Loved your pictures of NY today....so many colourful flowers and green foliage, and yes I do remember the skeletons there at Halloween :) I am glad it is a pleasant temperature there now....it has been too hot and humid here the past couple of days....something we rarely complain of over here!
    Happy week, dear Frances.
    Helen xox

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    1. Helen, I think lots of booksellers have the book, and so hope that you'll be able to seeit.

      I seem to have come down with some sort of summer cold, and will be postponing my next photograph walk for a while. Easier to stay at home and watch a bit of Wimbledon action inbetween naps! xo

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  20. I've seen some photos from this book and they're fascinating... but my favourite photo today is the one with the photographer reflected in the glass! Lovely to see you, Frances! Cx

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  21. Aw shucks, Chris, what a sweet thing for you to say!

    I think that Mr O'Brien tells amazing stories in his photography.

    xo

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  22. We visited your beautiful town from June 28. till June 30. and enjoyed it very much. Must often think of you! Greetings from Germany Barbara

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  23. Hi Frances!
    Have a lovely summer week, take care...
    Titti

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  24. Thank you, Titti...we've really found summer's heat and humidity this week! Lots of great produce is appearing in the farmers markets. xo

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  25. The new york city photograph has made a colorful, vivid re-creation of the legendary artist’s Mexico City garden. It perfectly echoes her passionate, vibrant life.
    Lush foliage and vivid yellow flowers surround a bright blue wall proclaiming “Frida y Diego vivieron en etsa casa, 1929-1954.”
    Visitors pass this entrance and enter an oasis of nature—zinnias, calla-lillies, Lady’s Eardrops, giant green philodendron leaves—an explosion of color and plants and flowers cocoon the garden paths.
    More varieties of cacti than have possibly ever shared the same space rise in all their prickly glory out of flower beds and terra-cotta pots.

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  26. The flowers look glorious I love the summer colours.
    xx

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