Thursday, October 29, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

Once again, it is that special time in my neighborhood when strange sights appear on West 69th Street.  Walking along this afternoon, at first I was surprised to see a pumpkin patch had sprung up over night.

And then I realized that there were several pumpkin patches.

And yet another row of pumpkins, with some corn growing at the top of the stairway.  And then, my eyes were caught by something just below a nearby window.

The brownstone row houses began to look just a bit scary.  On these stairs a perfectly gracious couple and their black dog were joined by several skeleton blue grass musicians with flashing red eyes.

Next door things got even creepier.

This collection gave a new meaning to Animal House.  That yellow Police caution tape seemed wise.

Looking up, I realized that lots of spiders of a generous size were settling in as new neighbors.

I'm not too sure about the identity of this spook, but it certainly did have a certain aura.

Jeeeepers!  More spiders.  Along with a warning to folks who were planning to park along this street on October 31.

As I look back at these photographs, it is somewhat tricky to separate the real from the other worldly.

Look carefully if you dare.

There was a steady rain all day yesterday and through most of the night, and so I am pretty sure that none of these creatures appeared before today.

How many skulls do you count in the following photograph?

Perhaps this chap is a tree-hugging environmentalist?

Down on the ground below, this fellow is having a little rest next to the large pumpkin.  Can you tell that he's crossed his legs and has a show on one foot?

Yet more spiders blowing in the breeze.

There's a rather mixed group hanging out at this entrance.

As a nanny passing by with her young charge pointed out, There's the Devil!  And more spiders, of course.

Here is a rather subdued addition to the shrubbery.  Just chilling out.

The rather elaborate entrance to this limestone building has acquired some new residents.  And didn't they just bring along another spider for fun.

Lots and lots of stretchy cobwebs on display, mostly white, but some in an unnatural green shade.

Just across the street, a chorus of ghosties were taking an afternoon break to feel the afternoon breeze and admire their chalky white pumpkins.

I hope that you can discern that the first red letter is a B.  The two jack o'lanterns look rather jolly, but do not be fooled.

This next entryway is quite elegant, and I wondered if perhaps a party might be taking place there on Saturday night.

If there is to be a party, at number 29, I think this gent is all set for a fabulous evening.  See how we waves hello to all who pass by!

I am hoping that you all have enjoyed seeing these amazing sights.  I wish you a very Happy Halloween, and thank you, as always, for your visits and comments.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

During the past week I have spent more time indoors than I prefer, in part due to some rainy weather.  Today was a beautiful day, and so I set off across Central Park before midday headed for a particular destination.

My walk took me past the well-groomed folks playing croquet on the well-tended lawn.  Sometimes it is amusing to stand just outside the fence and watch the proceedings which the players take very seriously.  I did not tarry today.

I passed by a lady who was checking her smart phone while her pup rested in its carriage.

I walked past the edge of the Sheep Meadow with those tall buildings at just south of the Park providing architectural accents to nature.

I passed by some morning glory flowers that were observing that it was still morning.

As my walk grew closer to Fifth Avenue I paused to have a long look at the beautiful American Elms.  These trees are an endangered species and are fenced off from any contagion that people might bring to them.

Here is another view of the elms.

And here is a close up view of a sculptural tree trunk.

This canine statue has been pleasing passersby for many, many years.

And then I reached Fifth Avenue, crossing over to the western side of Fifth, so that I would have the Park as the backdrop to the photographs that I wanted to take to show you.

Tomorrow is an October Monday that the States choose to celebrate Columbus Day as a national holiday.  There is a huge Italian Columbus Day Parade. I will be working tomorrow.  I was delighted not to be working today, because it is the day of the Hispanic Columbus Day Parade, honoring the country that funded Columbus's exploration.

Today's parade features contingents from Spain and also from Central and South American countries that use the Spanish language.  The Grand Marshall of the parade, a Colombian beauty who is seen wearing a camel colored coat in the following photograph, is also known as Miss Universe.

I was surprised and impressed that she was actually walking the parade route, rather than sitting in some sort of vehicle.  There were many other dignitaries walking along the route, before the musicians and dancers appeared.

 It was good to be patient.

At last we were treated to hours of entertainment by representatives of many countries dressed in traditional costumes, or in very glamorous versions of traditional costumes.

These groups moved along at a quick pace, following the tempo of music that was furnished either by loud amplified sound trucks or by live musicians.

There were quite a few floats that were sponsored by media companies of community organizations.

The Spanish delegation had bagpipers, who were wearing interesting hats.

As the afternoon continued, I saw many hats.

Flags from many parts of the Americas waved in the breeze.

This rather ordinary vehicle was transformed by being decorated by items identified with a particular country.

And perhaps this fellow is an alpaca?

Could this lady be an angel?

This dancer could seem menacing if he was not dressed so elegantly.

The parade route was a bit over a mile long.  I wonder how these folks managed to keep up their energetic performances.

Some of you might remember seeing some of these groups in my reporting of the Dance Parade last spring.

Beautifully bright colors looked great in the sunlight.

 Most of the participating groups were made of performers of many ages.  I enjoyed seeing the combination of generations.

I wonder how many hours they practice for this event.

At the right edge of this photograph, you will see a young police officer who never left his post during the parade.  Every so often I was also aware of a police officer walking a dog around the edges of the avenue.  Presumably the dog was there to sniff for dangerous items.

In the following photograph you will notice blue clad gentlemen following the bright pink clad ladies. The gents wore showy boots with bells on the spurs.

Although Miss Universe walked, other local beauty queens got to ride.

I like those hats and the ladies' intricately braided hair.

Here we have sparkly costumes with lavender feathered hats.

What a lovely smile on this lady who came over to quickly chat with someone standing next to me.

Tiny hats and tiny skirts.

Back lit green feathers keeping to the beat.

The fan-shaped headdresses on these dangers were fantastic.

Many different physiques were on display.

More of those headdresses.

This couple were amazing dancers.

In the following photograph, you all will notice a bystander on the left wearing a tiny hat.  He was very funny and had a collection of flags representing the various participants.  When Colombia passed by, he waved the flag of Colombia.  When Ecuador danced by, he waved the Ecuador flag, and so forth.  

I saw many, many twirly swirly skirts.

This vehicle represented Cuba.  It is possible that this was Cuba's first parade appearance.

A butterfly landed nearby.

This performer with the parasol was great entertainment.  Twas a man in that dress.

Still more color schemes.

What a profile.

This character was able to crack a whip.

Here's a beauty riding on a car's sun roof.

Powerful sunlight heats up the afternoon.

Ecuador was well represented.

I tilted my camera angle to capture these dancers.

I cannot remember which country these group represented.

This flag was a variation of our Stars and Stripes, with miniature images of the Hispanic countries' seals in place of the Stars.

Full house on this float...folks of all ages having a fine time.

I thought I'd show you another view of the sidelines, where the young police officer was still keeping an eye on everything.

The hats, white shirts and blue kerchiefs look very smart.

Tilting again.

One final parade view, showing another float that wanted to embrace a global theme.  

Although the parade's route was not too long, closing Fifth Avenue to other vehicular traffic really created lots of traffic jams.  My crosstown bus ride home took a very long time, but I was very glad to be sitting down!

I wanted to close this post with some close up views of some pretty plantings I saw outside an elegant apartment building

A few weeks ago, I watched a lady gardener at work here, and really liked her sense of style.

Hoping that you enjoy seeing the results of her work.

Fun to see what a bit of imagination can do.

 One last tree view.  Isn't the sunlight pretty behind the leaves of these trees on the grounds of The Museum of Natural History?

I'm hoping this long post wasn't exhausting.  It was such a great afternoon, I couldn't resist taking lots and lots of photographs, and have actually only shown you all a fraction.

As always, I appreciate your visits and comments.  Happy Columbus Day!