Sunday, December 6, 2009

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

This was a clear, crisp, chilly Sunday, and a perfect day to have a stroll around some city neighborhoods to see how Christmas is beginning to arrive.

There are lots and lots of trees for sale at makeshift stands along neighborhood sidewalks. These trees are lining Broadway. The impressive building in the background used to be a bank. It is now still partially a bank, but some of its floors have been converted into expensive apartments.

A close up view of some trees shows the variety on offer. The picture below shows that not all the trees are tall. Many New York apartments are small, and require small trees.

A bit further up Broadway is my favorite grocery market, the Fairway. I feel fortunate to have it nearby, because of the tremendous variety and reasonable prices of its stock. Flowers and seasonal greenery are displayed outside on this corner. Seasonal fruits, and some veg, are just around the corner. The store has two floors inside full of all you could want.

Not everyone likes to do his or her own cooking in this city. There are many other ways to ensure that one is fed. Lots of entrepreneurs have begun small roving businesses. Dumplings are made to order inside this truck.

If your appetite requires something sweet, head for this truck parked nearby.

Walking a bit more uptown, you'll pass by the Apthorpe building, a huge apartment building that takes us an entire city block. It has a central courtyard. Some famous folks have lived here, like Cyndi Lauper. I think that some still do. Like many other places around this neighborhood, the cost of living here has risen over and over again.

I took a bus down to midtown today to attend the annual Holiday Open House at the beautiful main branch of the New York Public Library. It is lots of fun.
The building's water fountains are glamorous. Almost too glamorous to use.

In the entrance hall today, there were many folks dressed up as literary characters. The hall was bustling and crowded, with lots of children and adults rushing around. Lots of the following photos are not as focused as I would have wished.
Here is the Grinch, posing for me.

Here is Mr. Scroodge, not cooperating at all. He was very much in character.

There are grand stairways at each end of the entrance hall. I stood half-way up one of them to take this photo, to give you an idea of the scale.

When you keep going up to the third floor, you see the murals on the walls and the ceiling. It is a very enchanting building. Today the library was also very noisy, with singing groups, musicians, laughing children. Refreshments were ... wine, fizzy water, fruit punch, cookies and cheese sticks.

In another area of the library is a ball room where a disco-type band plays for dancing, and a simple buffet is served. There is usually a very long queue leading to entry to this area. I did not bother with it today.

Children could watch and be entertained by magicians, jugglers (who taught them how to juggle,) balloon sculptors, face painters and others.

Even the usually dignified statues were decorated with greenery. This fellow also had some cardinal birds resting on his shoulders.

After leaving the Library, I walked up to Rockefeller Center to capture some photos of the giant Christmas tree. I tried some shots from various angles to give you all an idea of just how giant it is.

The flags were flapping in the stiff breeze. Just below those flags is where the skating rink is located. In the picture below, I did cut off the top of the tree, but wanted to show you how many lights are strung on this tree to make it glitter.

Moving on, I wanted to photograph some of the interesting shop windows in midtown. The one below, which unfortunately has a lot of reflections, is in an Anthropologie shop. It is made from paper, lots and lots of paper.

The next two photos are from Tiffany's. The Tiffany windows are tiny, really little illuminated jewel boxes. This year's theme seems to be an "icy" winter wonderland.

Each window had an impressive selection of baubles nonchalantly resting in a sleigh, or some such setting.
The very best windows, as usual, are to be found at Bergdorf Goodman. They feature so much imagination, and over the topness, one could look at each of them for quite a long time.
This year's theme is a Cabinet of Curiosities. Indeed.

Perspective and scale are topsy turvy.
Again, I apologize for all the reflections. If time and weather permit during the next few weeks, I will try to take some better photos. These windows truly deserve to be seen.

The picture below is a mad tea party scene, with a very tilted floor. In a way, having the images of the large buildings intruding via reflections does add to the madness.

This next picture is of a smallish window that featured parts of clocks, and a fabulous handbag.

I assure you the fantasy of this window was magical.
The background of this window was a multi-leveled doll house, with all sorts of creatures and characters dwelling in many cubicles and corners. Note the tiny mannequin mimicking the full-sized 1960's era lady in the black and white houndstooth.

The lady in white in this setting is joined by topiary unicorns.

Here is a close up showing part of another window's menagerie.

And in this tableau we see a chanteuse accompanied by a musical wolf.

By this time, the light was fading, and my fingers were getting a bit cold. And so, I made my way across 57th Street, past the annual display of candy canes, and found a bus home.

I hope that these pictures, flawed as they are, will give you all an idea of various ways that our city dresses up for Christmas ... or the Holidays, as they are referred to around here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

I have recently read many beautiful posts about the Advent season and how various folks celebrate it. I would like to share with you this beautiful little calendar that is hanging in my kitchen. The first window is now open, and I found a tiny candle hidden behind a lamp hanging outside one of the quaint buildings. I find these old fashioned calendars absolutely charming.

I thought it time to bring you all up to date on some activities that have been going on in Santa's workshop. Having decided that I did not like the way the multi-colored crocheted scarf with the circles in the squares was coming along, I unraveled the squares and have converted the design to a more lacy effect. These little loopy rings are fun to crochet and link together.
The above picture shows one end of the scarf, and the photo below shows another end, so that you can have an idea of how the colors flow. I have at least another two feet of scarf still to complete.

I had a shocking discovery this afternoon, when I discovered that my beloved rotary phone did not seem to be operating. For now, I will rely on my very primitive mobile cell phone, that was given me as a bit of a joke years ago. It was to be for emergency use, and so is now stepping into the spotlight.
Tomorrow, I am going to see if there is some sort of connecting wire available that will bring the rotary phone back to full strength.
It's time to return to Santa's workshop, as many calendars are now reminding me that December is underway.
Best wishes to all as you enjoy this season's excitement and joy.