Saturday, July 19, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from sunny New York City.

We've now entered into the days of heat and humidity.  Dramatic thunder and lightening, accompanied by heavy showers, add to the excitement of city life.

Strange little City mini-parks contain exuberant flowering displays cheer us as we walk the hot sidewalks.  I try to stay in the shade.

During my days off, I also try to stay indoors during the midday hours.  I have a fan and cross-ventilation, but no air conditioning.  This summer an unwanted complication has entered into my primitive climate control strategy.  Maintenance work is being done on the apartment building's exterior.  Teams of men arrive at 8 a.m. and leave around 4 p.m.  During their work hours they ride up and down on complex automated scaffolding platforms, stopping at a particular floor.  They use very noisy drills in their work.  While they are nearby one's own floor, one is advised to keep window/s and blinds closed.

This gives an interesting silhouette.  The noise and vibration of their necessary work really does disturb the peace. 

I have tried to stay away when the workmen are very near my floor.  It's more fun to meet friends in cooler, calmer places.  I took the bus over to The Metropolitan Museum of Art on the East Side, and was impressed by the curbside plantings outside some of the impressive apartment buildings across Fifth Avenue from the Museum.

These plantings were very well groomed, and quite different from those plantings behind the fence at Shermsn Square.

It was great fun to meet a friend at the Met and see some excellent exhibits featuring Pre-Raphaelite art, William Morris wallpaper, Byzantine design, and Indian miniature paintings inspired by ragas.  Each of these exhibits was beautiful and peaceful, and contained lots of imagery based on nature.

I returned home after 4 p.m. and continued with my current knitting project.  Yes, I am knitting with wool.

Using a cool blue and green color assortment seems more comfortable than using firey reds.

I like the notion that I might also be inspired by nature.

This project is being knitted as a tube on a circular needle.  I will eventually use that tricky kitchener stitch to attach the ends of the tube to create a cowl.  The cowl will be going into my Etsy shop.  Cooler weather will arrive.

New York City has complex rules for curbside parking.  I cannot understand why anyone would want to own a car in this city, although many folks do own cars.  I rely on public transportation and my two feet, but sometimes take a cab.

This week as the sun goes down I have seen a vast array of taxis parked on my street.

The reason for this is the observance of Ramadan by the drivers of these cabs.  There is a mosque in the neighborhood.

I hope that you all will enjoy seeing some of these summer city views.  It has been a pleasure to see your comments and to see some new followers, too.  Thank you so much for your response to my last post's tribute to Paul Mazursky.


  1. How lovely to see a post from you, Frances. I can imagine the humidity of the city, and coupled with workmen on your must just need to escape to quiet and cool places! We have been having storms with thunder here too,

    I love the idea of 'mini' flower parks to cheer you. How pretty they look.

  2. Though there are many, many things in its favor - social, ecological etc etc -the drawback of living in the city in a big building is the endless maintenance that you are currently suffering through.
    What a nightmare in hot weather!
    We are down to one elevator currently which makes people very grumpy...
    Your knitting project does manage to look cool indeed.
    I think it will rain tomorrow!

  3. It´s always so interesting to follow you and your city life Frances!
    Lovely pictures too...
    Your knitting is beautiful and I really love the colours!
    Have a sunny day, take care...

  4. Workmen AND heat - my deepest sympathies, Frances! There's incredible heat over here too at the moment, the muggy kind. We're hoping for a downpour tonight.
    Love your photos, as always.

  5. Poor you, heat and noise and probably dust.

    It is indeed a much better idea to spend time in the col of a place of culture. Food for the soul at the same time as comfort for the body, you are a sensible lady.

    I love your flower pictures; one always assumes big cities to be nothing but concrete and glass, yet so often you prove that assumption wrong.

    stay cool and happy and enjoy your creative side.

  6. Thank you for sharing your summer in New York, Francis! I am so sorry the hot and humid days are topped by such upheaval right outside your windows.
    I hope you have many opportunities to take refuge in cooler and quiet places.

  7. Dear Frances,

    You have my empathy! I close my eyes and can feel the sweltering heat you are describing so well. 2003 in central Paris we experienced a heatwave which left me, pregnant, panting for air in the still heat. We also had workmen and I was obliged to keep the blinds down when alone in the flat during the daytime. Athens was another HOT experience too. I recall a friend of mine advising me to avoid being out in the city centre from 1 - 6pm to avoid both polution and instense heat. This was impossible for me as I worked in the city centre from 1-10pm!

    New York is a city of extremes, isn't it? Freezing winters, hot, humid summers. What good fortune so many publc places have air-conditining and that you have such a wealth of museum!

    Here in Tours this week has been very hot indeed. The children and I enjoy the relative freshness of the morning to get things done. The afternoons bring a laziness I do not enjoy. I'm not very good at having to slow down!

    Sending you many cool, fresh thoughts. Do the thunderstorms bring respite, I wonder?


  8. It is hot, humid and thundery here too Frances. In fact the rain has just started too. It can't be much fun for you having to endure this weather and having to keep your windows shut. I hope the workmen finish soon. Your knitting looks beautiful.

  9. You really have my sympathy having to keep your windows closed, we have high temperatures and humidity here at the moment and my only relief is to get a through draft between the back and the front of the house. I love your knitting :-)

  10. Delightful post on "Summer in the city." Too bad for all that exterior work on your building. Makes ventilation very complicated, I'm sure. I would think that there are only so many air-conditioned spots one would want to go.

    Those knitting patters are intriguing. An exercise in being eclectic, perhaps?

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

  11. How lucky you are to have such delightful places to visit when you need to make your escape!

  12. Your knitting looks like you have taken your inspiration from nature, so gorgeous- those colour combinations.

    I hope your building looks spick and span after all the work is finished, it must be difficult for everyone, inside and out. I am sure it will all be worth it in the end.

  13. My heartfelt sympathy to you Frances. Hot and humid here too and workmen have just finished constructing an elaborate scaffold around the adjoining house, part of which has a platform directly outside our bathroom window, which I must now keep closed and curtained and a new section outside my returning son's bedroom window. Some of this scaffolding has been up for weeks now without any visible work going on, but I can never be sure that there won't be someone peering in. Can you take your knitting to a shady spot?

  14. Oh, I know how you feel! We have very often such periods of repairs in the neighbourhood! When we are at work, it's O.K., then we miss the noise, but when we are at home, it is unbearable sometimes to stay or to "gather up" one's mind. This is one of the minuses of living in a city. That's why we have one big dream with my husband - to live in a house in a small village!:) But since it cannot happen now, we escape to the mountain or to the seaside in summer...
    Thank you for this colourful and fresh walk in New Your city, Frances! You always show us how wonderful it is to live there. People everywhere like to be surrounded by flowers and green spaces!
    Have a lovely summer!!

  15. I do love New York but the way you describe the weather …. It is warmer than in Georgia where it has been in the high 70s lately. So good for you to have such great museums around you to refresh your body and your mind. In Paris they have a beach along the Seine – isn’t there a beach not too far away where you could sit under a sunbrella and get some sea breeze? The plants are doing well under this weather though with all the humidity.

  16. Lovely to catch up with you Frances.

    I do hope the annoying building work has moved away from your floor ... what a nightmare in hot weather!

    Great pics of the cabs, and thank you for explaining why they're parked on your street because I'd never have guessed.

  17. Hello Frances You are being very stoic coping with the heat, humidity and building work.....I hope it is finished now and you can be peaceful and have your apartment windows open again.
    Your photos of the greenery and flowers on your walks are lovely. I think your knitting looks lovely too in those cool shades.
    Helen xox

  18. I'm a bit late to comment, although I have visited - I showed your beautiful work to Ma who was most impressed and also enjoyed the views. I've just checked the temperatures there and it looks as if you're still suffering - I hope you find a cool space and some peace and quiet. Cx

  19. Lovely to read your wonderful words on life in the big Apple. I have found the heat here trying this year, and that's tempered with a sea breeze. We Irish rarely get temperature above 22-25 degrees, and if it goes as far as 27.7 as it did last week, the nation grinds to a halt. Snow has the same effect on us. We like it mild and a little breezy. Your patterns are marvellous. They remind me of some cross stitching Mum used to do years ago. Thank you for your wonderful pictures of NY. Keep cool, IE xx

  20. I wonder if knitting with wool inspires thoughts of cooler days....
    Lovely photos and words from your summertime city. I love how you make the most of your surroundings!

  21. Thank you for showing us the luxuriant planting in particular. I can imagine that urban heat peppered with those colourful flowers.

    For several years I was a nurse at Westminster Hospital in London and as it was a hop, skip and a jump to The Tate Gallery I would run there in my break to gaze upon Millais' Ophelia - I have always loved the Pre-Raphaelites and the meanings behind the imagery. We are fortunate to have some lovely collections here in the UK and also their homes to visit.

    Keep cool and hope that the builders finish soon.
    Thank you for calling in
    Best wishes