Monday, December 21, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York on the shortest day of the year.

The past few weeks have been filled with a mixture of required days at my workplace, visits to various parts of the city to take care of various Christmas-related matters, visits with friends, card and gift making, and a bit of baking.  I do sleep very soundly.

The Union Square farmers market has been showing off lots of greenery and colorful plants.  The scent from those trees is very pleasant and adds to the spirit of the season.

I've brought home a white cyclamen, a deep pink Christmas cactus, a tiny pink flowered kalanchoe, and a bunch of red berried branches.  I mights still bring home some greenery before the 25th.

There's really not enough room in my apartment for an actual tree, so I've been enjoying just seeing all the trees on offer around the city.  Sidewalk stands can easily be found by looking for large inflated Santas or snowmen.  The following photographs were taken on a very warm, overcast, foggy day.  Can you see the tree salesman in his Santa's hat?

I thought those of you who saw my Halloween post might enjoy seeing how West 69th Street looks now.  It's a quieter time than October.

Some of these houses do have lights that transform the look of the decorations after sundown.

This is a very subdued look welcoming folks to this brownstone's front doorway.

I do like all these wreaths.

I usually begin my annual painting of Christmas teacup cards mid-October, but this year other demands upon my time delayed my painting until mid-November.  Santa's workshop was in session!

The cards are painted on watercolor blocks, then the quartets are cut apart, and messages added.  Every card is just a little different from the rest.

Some of my inspiration for this year's cards came from a painting of Chervil found in my newly acquired copy of The Concise British Flora in Color.  I splashed my own colors around the picture.

I'll echo the handwritten message on the card here...HAPPY CHRISTMAS!  Thank you all for your visits and comments during 2015.  I'm now looking forward to a New Year filled with lots more blogging adventures with you all.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

The pace of December has increased.  Last Sunday my friend Elizabeth and I attended the annual holiday open house at the very grand Fifth Avenue New York Public Library.

The Sunday afternoon weather was quite mild, much more pleasant for waiting in the queue for the grand doors to open than were some prior snowy Sunday afternoons.

Once inside, there were other queues, some for coat checking, and some for puppet shows and story telling, which took place a regular intervals in various elegant library rooms.

I always enjoy seeing the excitement of the children and seeing many great holiday outfits.

Red dresses are always a popular choice.  Some parents adopt headgear created by balloon artists.

This little girl's hat might be just a little too large.

The following photograph shows an elegant water fountain.  Other beverages were and white wine, punch and sparkling water.

This plaid dress reminded me of one I once wore as a child.

There were lots of refreshment tables throughout the library halls.

Punch to the left, linked pretzels to the right.  Cookies at the end of the same table.

The interior of the library provides many beautifully tranquil spots, even during this big party.

Here's a balcony view of the main entrance hall.

One of the costumed stilt walkers needed a bit of help on her way to a little sit down break.  The hallways have lots of interesting exhibits on display.

The balloon artist in red and green is having a consultation with a little girl about which balloon shape she would prefer.

The following photograph shows a "living statue" whose sporadic movements elicited high-pitched squeals from children just passing by.  Very amusing!

Here's another balcony view, showing one of several glee clubs who provided entertainment, as did a traditional jazz band.  Upstairs a very cool jazz band was playing sets in a large room that provided chairs for folks who wanted to sit, sip their wine and listen awhile.

Red dress, white tights and shoes were a very good look.

On the library's lowest floor, there is a ballroom, where a band played lots of tunes for all sorts of dancing.

To the right and left of the dance floor were tables featuring a light buffet that also attracted lots of attention.

It is such fun to attend this annual event.  It's always a great way to get into the holiday spirit.  Since the weather was so mild, after leaving the party, it was pleasant to walk up Fifth Avenue, taking a few more photos of various decorations.

The above photo is of Saks' main floor with its festive garlands.

Below is a photo of one of Saks' holiday windows. with lots of daylight reflection.  I realized that many Fifth Avenue shop windows seemed to have used many Swarovski crystals.  I wonder why they used similar themes.

Just across Fifth Avenue is the very tall Rockefeller Center Tree.

The Saks windows celebrated various parts of the world, and I took a photograph of the one honoring beautiful Paris.

The windows look very icy, even if outdoors on the Avenue, it was warm.

Continuing along, I came upon some pretty table top displays at D&G.

Tiffany has lots of elegant little vignettes.  With gems.

At last, I approached Bergdorf Goodman, the shop whose windows always set the standard.

I think that Bergdorf's made excellent creative use of the sparkles.  As always, I apologize for the reflections, yet sort of like the look.

The lady miner above looks quite chic in her lavender.  In the following photograph, we see the king of the sea.

Another view.  He is covered with pearls.

Here's his tortoise.

I love the turbaned monkey fortune teller.

The redhead's dress is magnificent, isn't it?

The next picture features the Crown Jewels.  Wow!

These windows draw many admirers.  I like the greenery framing the windows.

One more dazzling photograph.

Even the more sedate mannequin by the side door to the shop is rather elegant.

Just across West 58th Street is the Plaza Hotel.

This office building brings out its candy canes every December.

Yesterday, an appointment way across town on the East Side, allowed me to see what Bloomingdale's had done in its windows.  More crystals is the answer.

I found these windows very shiny and showy, but not very beautiful.

For a complete change of mood, here is a traditionally decorated Upper East Side townhouse.  It's great that the pretty tree has not yet shed its leaves.

My destination was very near the East River and it occurred to me that I might not before have ever posted a photograph of the lovely 59th Street Bridge, that Simon and Garfunkle once sang about.  The bridge has now been formally renamed to honor a former mayor, but many folks still think of it as the 59th Street Bridge.

I'm hoping that you all will have gotten some idea of what some parts of New York City look like now.  It's possible that I might yet manage another post before Christmas.  Time is growing more precious with each hour.

Thank you all for your visits and comments.