Saturday, July 23, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

It is a hot and humid Saturday.  The temperature has been stretching towards the 90 degree level, and is now about 95 degrees.  Forecasts call for this sort of challenging weather to continue for many more days.  100 degrees may be reached.

I've been a lazy blogger, but will try to give you all a bit of a catch up of recent city views.

Last Monday, I met a friend over at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to see a very fine exhibit of opaque watercolor miniature paintings from India.  These beautiful paintings currently belong to The Kronos Collections, but are "promised gifts" to the Met.  Please do click on the link to see the Met's information about the show.

Sometimes I find exhibit labels irritating.  The labels for this show were wonderfully informative and actually quite witty in explaining the setting and story line of the scene depicted in each painting.  I definitely intend to return for another look and will make use of the available magnifying glasses.  The air conditioning was another plus!

My Met membership has expired, and for the time being, I will be taking advantage of the "suggested contribution" to attain entrance to the wonderful museum.  Having worked there for quite a few years back in the 1970s, I feel no guilt at now making minimal monetary contributions.

The pictures I have added to this post show a pretty little desert plant I bought at the farmers market.  I plan to use it as a subject for some watercolor studies.  The plant's colors are almost iridescent.

I confess that on several evenings this past week I did force myself to watch the Republican Party's Convention in Cleveland.  There was much anger on display and also an attempt to spread fear. 

However, on one evening, I fixed myself an early supper, and then walked a few blocks down to Lincoln Center to see the opening event to this year's Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors festival.  Everything is free and a variety of performances are on the schedule.  I've provided a link for folks who might be in New York during the festival weeks.

July 20th's headliner was Patti Smith and her band.  She has performed several times before at the Out-of-Doors festivals and is a New York City favorite.  I am fortunate to have met Patti and to have been given an inscribed copy of her memoir, Just Kids.

It was a swell night outdoors, under the almost still full moon.  Patti read a bit from Just Kids, declaimed an Allen Ginsburg poem and then, she and her band, including guitarist Lenny Kaye, played for about two hours.  Lots of Patti classics, but they also played tribute covers of When Doves Cry, This Will Be the Last Time, and My Generation.  

There were thousands of folks attending the show, some very early arrivals got to be close to the stage where rows of folding chairs were lined up.  No one really sat down after the music started up.  The rest of us just found a bit of space somewhere in Damrocsh Park plaza.  Folks of all ages from babies to folks older than I am.

The spirit of the evening was fabulous.  Lots of smiles and some very varied dance styles on display.

On yet another hot morning, I walked over to Central Park to watch a playoff game in the Broadway Show Softball League.  It was truly too hot for such activity.  I actually left for my walk home before the game was over, and while the Hamilton team was well behind in runs.  I was wilted and decided to act my age.

Let's see, what else got me out of the apartment?  Yesterday two friends and I decided to brave the heat to meet for lunch at a Greek restaurant that has sort of become our clubhouse.  The food is delicious and very reasonably priced.  The location on Ninth Avenue is in a neighborhood traditionally referred to as Hell's Kitchen.  Appropriate in the current heat, even if the neighborhood is yet another area that has undergone lots of gentrification.

My friends and I had a marvelous catch up visit and agreed to meet up again soon.

Last night, the media reported another shooting incident, this time in the Munich suburbs.  I turned the television off.

Even with the overnight heat, I slept well and woke up early enough to accomplish my outdoor errands before today's true sizzle struck. I will now stay indoors near my fan and lots of cold water for the rest of the day.  Salad is on the menu for supper tonight.  I've noticed that the 1954 film Hobson's Choice is on television tonight, along with many other viewing choices.  I've also got several books on my to-be-read stack.

I'm hoping that this post has given you all an idea of how city summer days may be experienced.  Thank you so much for your visits to and comments on my previous post.  Summer in the city can be very enjoyable if you pace yourself!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

We are now into deep summer in the city.  It is hot and it is humid.  Continuing my celebration of retirement, I am delighted not to have to ride the subway except when I really want to.  The train cars are chilled by air conditioning, but the subway station platforms are very hot.  The loudspeaker systems broadcasts warnings to passengers of possible heat-related stress.  I always take along some sort of card in my tote bag that will serve as a fan.

Above ground, we have had some rain and so leafy greenery and grasses are flourishing.  The above trio of Upper West Side brownstone houses show off a mid-summer wreath of wisteria vines.

Central Park is very overgrown, but lingering there is not so pleasant in the current weather.  I actually chose to miss last Thursday's Broadway Show League's Thursday softball game in favor of going downtown to have my brilliant hair stylist scissor off my crazy grown out hair.  I am back in precision bob land again.  It is good to feel the occasional breeze on the back of my neck.

Even in this heat, with the help of my apartment's cross ventilation and the three speeds of my trusty Vornado fan, I've been doing some embroidery and some knitting.  I've made several gifts for friends, some using cotton yarn and some using wool.  The fair isle mitts in the following picture may eventually be added to my etsy shop.  I am working on another pair now in a different color way.

As a lazy bones, I've also been watching tennis at Wimbledon, Le Tour de France all over scenic France and even some international football championship games.

Seeing these positive athletic achievements, and those of nature's summer feast of green growth has provided positive alternatives to recent news stories.  There is much being reported by the media every day about horror that people are inflicting on people.  Lies that people are telling, arguments that people are provoking.  Not just in this country but also around the world.

I continue to try to do my tiny part in the cosmos by being kind, trying to be thoughtful and caring for other people.  Trying to understand points of view that differ from my own.

I wonder what part the hot weather plays in the current atmosphere?

Perhaps those of you who grow your own produce will be amused by this series of photographs of a tiny fenced-in triangular sliver that is designated Sherman Square.  It is not a square.  It is officially a city park area.  This year, it does not seem to be receiving much care from city gardeners.

On the Broadway side of Sherman Square, trucks from Fresh Direct, an on-line grocery ordering service, park and unload their orders for customers from the immediate area.  There truly does not seem to be much either fresh or direct about the process, but each delivery does seem to have a certain ironic content. 

A few blocks downtown on Broadway is another little triangle where a mini version of a farmers market is set up several days each week.  I have shown you all photographs from this space before.

During the summer, free concerts are being held in the midday sun here each week.  The music is fine, there are chairs and tables for folks to have their lunches while listening to the music.  I cannot imagine how hot the musicians must get during their performances.

All the same, it's a great idea.  Also available at the little farmers market are some beautiful freshly cut flowers.

More reasons to be cheerful.

 Other reasons to be cheerful are the visits you all make to these posts and the lovely comments you write.  I continue to think that the blogging community is a very positive place.  

Let's continue to celebrate all that connects us and explore our differences, keeping open the possibility of learning from each other.

Happy Summer!