Friday, July 6, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from a very hot and humid New York.

I am very lucky to have today, and Saturday and Sunday as days off.  Unlucky, perhaps to be relying on my little apartment's open window'd cross-ventilation and Vornado fan, but still...I don't mind relinquishing the extreme chill of the shop's air conditioning for this free time.

This morning I watched Roger Federer gain access to the Wimbledon finals, glad that I will also be able to watch that final match.  Then, before the other men's semi-final match got very far along, I ventured downtown to the sublime Friday Farmers' Green Market at Union Square.  The growing season is beginning to show results.

Swiss chard is very, very beautiful, with its striking contrast of color.  Alas, I don't like eating it as much as looking at it, so I just took a photo, and didn't buy any to take home.

Radishes in so many varieties.  The milder French breakfast radishes are my favorites, so I had to have some of those.

All sorts of peas were on offer.  I took a handful of beautiful sweet sugar snap peas.  I might draw/paint them tomorrow before adding them to the next supper menu.

On to squash.  Summer squash and some other more exotic varieties.  I took a few little zucchini, and did add one of them to tonight's tortelloni recipe.

Well, it was midday, and even with my layer of protective sunblock, I was feeling the heat, so  I next decided to take a little break from the Square's market action to venture into the nearby Barnes & Noble shop to browse the international magazine stalls.

On the way way there, I clicked a few more pictures to show summer in the city.  These bicycles were lassoed to their metal stands just next to a map showing various bike lanes around the city.

There were several of these mobile food stands parked along the same block.  I wondered just how hot it might have been inside this cart, and felt sympathy for the folks who were working there.  Business was pretty good for them.

Just to the right of the food cart I saw this gleaming bike, with the Heineken truck behind it.  Both offered potential cooling effects.  I remembered days of yore when I actually did ride on a bike, seated behind my boyfriend.  Glad to have done that and to still be alive.

The third floor of the Union Square Barnes & Noble store is a rich source for international magazines.  I was so happy to finally find the July issue of Country Living Magazine, and to be able to read the featured article about fellow blogger Emma Mitchell  whom I was so lucky to meet last spring at the Selvedge magazine fair.  She is a very talented lady, and this article might inspire others to follow their own dreams.

I also bought an early fall issue of Vogue Knitting magazine.  I have lots of my own textile-related dreams that I am hoping to make into reality.  More about all that in the following months.

Having cooled off considerable, courtesy of B&N air conditioning, I ventured back out into the midday sun, and took a few photos of pretty posies for sale at one of the marker stands.

I didn't think that any of these lovely flowers would have survived the additional heat of my required subway train ride back uptown and so I was content just to take these photos.

Still, I was so tempted.

What I did take home with me, along with the vegetables, were some little pots of rosemary and basil.  They have already contributed to tonight's pasta.  I don't expect my apartment's windowsill's light and heat conditions will allow very long life for these herbs, but how I will enjoy them while they do last.

I also plan to use them as subjects for some drawings.  Nature is the perfect model.

It's been interesting to read other blogs from around the world during the past weeks, and to really see how this 2012 weather is extreme in differing ways in various places.  How I do hope that New York will cool off a bit.

Otherwise, I might have to go to another movie before my return to work next Monday.  Earlier this week, I cooled off in a neighborhood cinema watching Woody Allen's newest, To Rome With Love.  It is interesting to see another example of Woody taking his familiar plot and dialogue bits on the road to new locales.  I really enjoyed the popcorn, the theatre's air conditioning, some of the actors' performances, and a chance to see Rome a long time after my 1982 visit.

I am reading The Wind in the Willows, for the very first time, thoroughly enjoying its wit and observations of animal (even human animal) behaviors.

Many thanks to you all who've visited here.  Thank you for your comments, too.  


  1. It sounds like you've been able to take advantage of the best of your city, even in the heat. Such beautiful produce!
    After reading your last post, on the elevated walkway, there was an article in our local paper on that very walk. It was a sweet coincidence and I felt quite 'in the know'.

  2. Loved reading about your trip to the market. There's one near here on Saturdays, and I may have to go over and poke around tomorrow.

    Hope things cool off a bit for you and that you enjoy the rest of the weekend.

    Hugs, Carol

  3. Don't you just love how summer produce is as beautiful as it is delicious?! I know I do. I love the way that Swiss Chard looks, but I've never eaten it. I will have to try.

    Enjoy your free weekend! Here in the Midwest, we are also having a huge heat wave. It's been over 100 degrees for weeks now. I'm ready for cooler days and longer evenings, though I can hardly believe I hear myself saying that.


  4. Vegetables, herbs, books, magazines, food, pictures. A little voyage with just about everything, Frances. Thank you for taking us with you.

    We're starting to get warmer weather up here. It might get up to around 90F, when you count in the humidity. We have long-since retreated into the cooler comfort of our air-conditioned apartment. At 90F, it is far too hot for a reasonable human, or Bear, to be outside.

  5. Heat and humidity are a very debilitating combination, I can see why you needed to retreat into the bookshop. We are having the wettest summer ever here in the NW, flooding everywhere.

    I wonder if you have the Inga Moore version of Wind in the Willows?

    I hope you enjoy your weekend creating in your kitchen and planning your Autumn knitting projects.

  6. Hi Frances!
    Well nice to visit the familiar haunts with you.
    Loved your Swiss Chard comments
    yes! most picturesque but not so yummy.
    Off to LI today.
    Buster full of Benydryl so most floppy poor chap.
    Keep cool
    today is going to be VILE, I think.

  7. Oh Francis, good that you are off work for a bit and that you can enjoy the farmer's market etc. How funny that you are also 'in tennis' we just wanted to go for visit the last time some open private gardens and our friends prefer watching tennis final instead. How surprising that you can get fresh peas from the farmer's market! I love the picture of the big bike and behind the Heineken truck. Would it be safe on a bike in Big Apple, I wonder?

  8. Lovely as always, Frances. That bike is FABULOUS! Oh how I wish I could be a teenager again, clinging to some guy's jacket and flying down a highway... :)
    Beautiful flowers and veg...that chard is divine. Would love to see your artistic interpretations of the herbs etc.
    Heat? What is this? Still relentless rain here I fear. :(

  9. A totally ordinary day going to the market and a little shopping trip to B&N, a stroll round memory lane and a few pictures, what could be less exciting.

    Or so one might think.

    When it's you doing the strolling, observing, shopping, admiring, it becomes a picture of the sweetest way to spend a summer's day.

    After a trip filled with happiness and pleasure what could be better than carrying your treasures home and making use of them, each in their own delightful way.

    I wish I could send you some of our cool temperatures in exchange for a little of our heat.

  10. that should be 'your' heat, of course

  11. God Lord Francis, there I was happily pottering through your lovely day and then I read that you are reading WITW for the first time and keeled over with surprise; it is my favourite book ever. I cannot read the chapter Dolce Domun without breaking down and I must have read it a hundred times. I almost envy your virgin read!

  12. Hi Frances... lovely to visit your blog and hear about your travels around the city. I know what NY can be like when it is hot and humid. When we were there last - 2008 - it was so hot and humid there was an electricity failure on the upper east side, due to all apartments etc using air con. It made my skin prickle every time we went outside.

    Here today has been beautiful! About 21 degrees with a slight breeze... rain forcast for the next week though. I treat myself to a Hibiscus plant today and hope it will be happy living in the porch. Once flowering it will be the most vibrant orange; I cannot wait to see it in all its glory.

    I haven't read WITW either and knowing you are reading it, makes me want to source a copy too!

    I am sat looking at the garden and have just seen a perigrine falcon land on the garden table after a failed attempt to eat one of my greenfinches. I know it is the circle of life, I just wish it didn't happen with my little birdies.

    Sending a breeze your way, A x

  13. How lovely to read of your market trip. It is warm here but so wet!

  14. Hi Frances - I really enjoyed this tour of the market and was struck by the abundance of fresh vegetables - what a great resource in the middle of the city.
    Your heat seems unbelievable, literally, compared with the summer of torrential rain we're having here. It really is a time of extremes in weather.
    Glad you're loving WITW - one of my most memorable childhood reads!
    Hope NY cools down sometime soon ... xo

  15. Thank you so much for a blog full of delights on a morning when I can barely see across the road because we're shrouded in a swirling sea mist! Cx

  16. I have memories of my dad growing
    his own Swiss Chard in NYC's Central Park along the 79th street transverse in the late 1940's.
    I think Swiss Chard is the Italian version in style but not fact of the America Southern dish made from Collard greens,which can also be bitter.

  17. I wonder if like me you watching the Men's Wimbledon Final. Murray started to well but Roger seems to be proving too much for him right now! I love Barnes and Noble in the US and really miss Borders bookshop here in Scotland.

    Nailbiting - Murray hanging on with his fingertips......!

  18. Frances it is lovely to catch up with you, I so enjoy your walks around the city, I loved the last post along the walkway, and the lovely photo of the two girls sitting. There are so many lovely flowers and fresh produce in this blog, I can really feel summer has arrived with you. Here the weather is very slow to pick up, but it is warm. Best wishes.

  19. Hello Frances I loved seeing your colourful farmer's market pictures beautiful vegetables look in big bunches, making repeating patterns! It feels very summery on this post too which is very enjoyable for me in the rainy UK.
    I hope you enjoy your creative projects and have a happy week.
    Helen x

  20. Hope you had a lovely weekend Frances. The market looks good. Oh, to have fresh peas. That is such a treat!

    Wish you a happy week and please send some sunshine to Holland!

    Madelief x

  21. What wonderful veg photos Frances! You have far more there in your market than I do as yet in my garden. Hope you had a lovely weekend.

  22. And Wind in the Willows! How good to read it for the first time. I do hope you love it.

  23. I hope you're a bit cooler this week!

    I adore Wind in the Willows, it has to be my favourite book. Enjoy x

  24. Frances, somehow I missed this. I wonder what Ratty and Mole would have made of that bike 'n' truck picture.
    Captures the parts other beers can't reach. It could be the subject of an advertising poster. As I have said many times before you have missed your vocation. You should be selling your city to all we benighted souls, huddling and yearning to breathe free and watch the great green Heineken trucks.

  25. I look forward to making NYC nostalgia visits here someday not too far off Frances.
    You do capture New York so well!
    merci carolg

  26. Hi Frances! Whenever I visit your delightful blog my wish to one day visit your beautiful city grows even stronger. And believe me, one day I will come over and see it all.

    Thank you for your always so delightful comments in my blog. I have always been impressed you your thoughtful and well written comments, and even more so now after my four month break. So nice to be welcomed back. I am also grateful for the advice you offered on my little spacing problem. Thank you.

    Wishing you a lovely summer in that remarkable city.


  27. I'm so pleased to have found you via Pipany. I'm going to take a while later with a cup of tea to read your blog. I hope you're not too hot in New York still, just a glimmer of sun here would be nice!

  28. Reading "Advanced Style" I liked the title of your Journal and also reminded me of 2 granddaughter's that now live in New York.
    City View in my past but finally my dream come true. A small cottage at the edge of my woods was finished 2 1/2 years ago.
    Weather so bad my small garden is about through. Liked seeing items from your Farmers Market - believe my granddaughters frequent these.
    Especially, Sarah, my vegan girl.