Thursday, December 22, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

It's been a very busy bunch of days since my last post, and I do not want more time to speed past before I show you all a rather poor photo of one of my watercolor wish each of you a Very Happy Christmas!

Work at the shop continues to be very demanding, and it's up to all of us to keep our energy levels high as we help many folks to make their various seasonal shopping decisions.  We are all beginning to truly look forward to December 25, when the shop will be closed.

I've also been doing lots of cookie baking and baked cookie giving, and enjoying getting together with various friends, opening beautiful cards from folks all over the world, and generally enjoying the spirit of this season.  Today the daylight began to increase!

May I again wish all of you a very Happy Christmas, and thank you again for all your visits to this space.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

During the past week I have been taking some time off from my official job, and instead have been working at home.  This homework has centered on preparing for Christmas.  I have been painting Christmas cards and making lots of gifts.  Part of one of the gifts is pictured below.

However, I have managed to leave my version of Santa's workshop several times.  One evening I attended my employer's annual holiday party, held in a party space on the 20th floor of a building.  The space had a wall of windows that gave us all spectacular views of many New York icons, like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.  It was grand to see many folks who work in different company departments.  The recorded music was very loud, the buffet dinner was delicious.

This afternoon I attended a totally different Christmas, or Holiday as many folks tend to say over here, party.  It was the annual open house at the gorgeous Fifth Avenue main branch of our New York Public Library.  Friends of the Library, like myself, who donate a little bit to the Library are invited.  The Library is otherwise closed to the public on this particular December afternoon.

It's a very special day, and always presents an interesting mix of young family groups and much, much older folks.  What we have in common is that we all love to read.

I have written posts about these parties before, so I hope to have included some different photos this time around, like the following view of the entrance to the Rare Map Room.  I have done research there myself and can vouch for the scholars that are always available to help anyone.

Just down the marble hallway from that doorway is this charming water fountain.  Lions play a big part in the architectural details of the library.

This rather blurry photo shows a library volunteer dressed up in a lion costume.  Many children enjoyed chatting with the lion and have group photos taken.

The various other literary characters wandering about moved rather quickly, so I do apologize for more blurs.

Yes, Mr. Scrooge was back again, and as grumpy as ever.

The library's party does not rely on recorded music.  Various performers are stationed throughout the building.

Can you dance on stilts?  This duo can, and you can see that our friendly lion is trying out a few steps, too.

Lots of folks were creating balloon sculptures for children of all ages.

The little fellow below is enjoying his new Santa hat, complete with beard.

You can see yellow taxis rushing down Fifth Avenue from this magnificent window.

Carols were sung by the West Point cadet glee club.  As always, I am shocked at how young these cadets look.

Here's another balloon hat fan.

The building really is lovely, but if you look around, you can see that there's also room for some restoration.

There are lots of security personnel on duty, and some of them are folks I have known for many years from seeing them at various branch libraries I have used over the years.  It's fun to catch up with them at this party, too.

This fellow is a talented juggler who can teach anyone how to do a few tricks.

On the third floor are many large murals.  Can you see that the gentlemen on the bench below is using his laptop?

I believe that the following mural is Biblical.

The library has been exhibits and has extensive collections of documents and art.  The Hockney print below was included in a little show hung along one of the hallways.

I hope that you all have enjoyed seeing a bit of this open house.  I am now going to show you some photos I took as I walked up Fifth Avenue on my way home.

Here's a little different angle on the famous giant tree at Rockefeller Center.

The buildings that make up Rockefeller Center are splendid examples of the art deco style.  Here is a frieze that's above the doorway to one of the buildings.

A bit further up Fifth Avenue, I notices this large space is empty.  In the recent past it has housed a Walt Disney themed store.  I am not sure how long it has been empty.  An Armani shop is just a few doors away.

Here's a view of the crystal studded snowflake that hangs over the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.

These are just some of the heavy planters outside the Trump Tower building.  They are there to keep some determined person from driving a vehicle into the building.

Tiffany's has gone a bit tacky this year in my opinion, with these very gaudy surrounds added to their usual elegant little display windows.  To my eye, they have a bit of Disney about them.

And so, let's cross the Avenue and take a look at the exquisite holiday windows at Bergdorf Goodman.  This year's theme is the Carnival of Animals.  This allows the shop's very talented visual team to recycle lots of familiar props in new ways, and to also show off some very, very elegant outfits.

Today's light was a bit subdued, but in some of the following photos you will still be treated to multiple reflections.  I like the effect, and hope that you all will not mind.

I could not resist taking a few close up views of this seascape.

Birds of a feather flocking together.

Those birds are now ready for their portraits.

Here's another close up.

I may be able to return to take some more photos of the BG windows, but that will conclude today's taste of that taste.

I continued walking westward, and wanted to show you another sculpture by the artist who made the shiny blue bird that I included in a prior post.

Let me assume for now that there is no connection whatsoever between that giant green apple and the giant glass Apple shop just across Broadway.

And here's some more greenery.  The following stand is just one of many that offer us Christmas trees of many shapes and sizes.

Here's a little reminder that it's still possible to catch a glimpse of a beautiful rose in bloom on this fourth day of December.

This has been just a pleasant day.  It's now time to think about what might be for supper, and then, it will be time for me to return to my own little North Pole.

Best wishes to you all on this second Sunday in Advent.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Happy Thanksgiving from New York.

The above photo was taken last weekend on a walk across Central Park.  The weather was warm, only a heavy sweater and scarf were required.  I kept hoping to see some brilliant autumn leaves, but think that I missed prime leaf time.  However, my photo does somehow remind me of colors from a Pissaro painting.

Now, on to today, a cold day when down-filled coat, gloves, scarf and hat are required for anyone who got up early enough to walk over to Central Park West to see a bit of the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade sponsored by Macy's, the big department store.

No matter how hard I try to have an early enough start, I never quite get to the parade in time to actually get close enough to see floats featuring minor celebrities or marching bands. I do however manage to see lots of balloons.  Some are part of the parade and some are for sale to parade viewers.  

I am not sure why the Sanitation Department truck was parked on West 72nd Street.

There were several other large delivery trucks along this block, and their cargo contained bundles of hundreds of green balloons, each printed with information promoting an upcoming revival of the Peter Pan stage show.  I thought this balloon giveaway was a clever promotion, but wonder what the folks selling balloons thought.

The young lady on the cell phone in the following photo was selling cotton candy and this spun sugar bouquet found purchasers as the minutes passed by.

Dora and Sponge Bob were popular balloons for sale.  The Sabrett umbrella in the background is above a stand selling big (possibly stale) pretzels and hot dogs.  Remember this was around 9 o'clock a.m.

I found a spot adjacent to the Dakota apartment building and took this photo to show you the sunny, clear blue sky.  It was chilly, but not too windy.

The parade began just about five blocks north of where we were patiently waiting.  The little  girl in pink had a great view, courtesy of her father's strong arms.  They were from across the Atlantic.

This little fellow, with his animal design hat pulled low over his own eyes, slept for the first 45 minutes of the parade.

The shadows cast by the buildings and the sharpish sunlight did not grant me ideal photography conditions.  I did not take too many pictures of the giant balloons.  This one is the Pillsbury Dough Boy, a character that first appeared in television commercials decades ago.  I think it's funny that he is still a crowd pleaser.

I certainly do not think it at all odd that the famous beagle Snoopy still can wow a crowd.

I think that he deserves more than one photo.

See you again next year, Snoopy!

I wonder how many of the family groups watching the parade were going to follow Ronald McDonald to find a snack to keep them energized before they sat down to a traditional turkey dinner?

Here's another little cutie wearing a wonderful, warm hat.

After about an hour of parade watching, I realized that I was beginning to feel a bit cold, and so after witnessing Spider Man's arrival and departure, I made my own way back home to warm up with some hot chocolate.

Since that delicious hot chocolate, I've been dedicating myself to some intense Santa's workshop activities.  I love painting my Christmas cards and making gifts, but realize today that I am way, way behind my usual production schedule.

I hope that you all will have enjoyed this little peek at a New York City tradition and again wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.