Wednesday, November 23, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York on the day before Thanksgiving.

The extremely blustery weather we've had for the past few days vanished overnight, and was replaced by a beautifully sunshiny day.

Perfect for a walk across Central Park.

Although not many folks appear in these scenes, I saw hundreds upon hundreds of locals and tourists enjoying the sights at a relaxed pace.

As you can see, even with the recent windy days, there are still plenty of leaves on the trees.

The Park's many underpasses and overpasses provide all sorts of vantage points.  I liked this picture showing pathways leading downhill.

I'm also showing you all this view because it includes a cute little dog.  Dogs were also having a fine day, playing with newly found sticks and rustling around in fallen leaves.

I've shown you this part of the Park many times.  It is called Dog Hill, and is great for sledding when snow finally arrives.  Today it was a great canvas for colors and shadow shows.

After taking care of my errand on the Upper East Side, I waited at the bus stop to catch the 79th Street crosstown bus, knowing that bus route would no doubt be altered to allow afternoon and overnight preparations on and around 79th Street and Central Park West for tomorrow's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I got off the 79th Street bus at the corner of West 86th Street and Columbus Avenue, and walked downtown past the streets that were being cleared of parked cars, and where lots of parade-related barricades were being set up.

Prior to 9/11, a neighborhood tradition, on the eve of Thanksgiving, involved heading over to the area around the Museum of Natural History to watch the inflating of giant balloons that would grace the parade.  However, nowadays, that tradition has become much more security aware, with lots of police and stringent rules about how to get a brief close up view of the balloons as a very long queue of children and adults slowly snakes its way along a specified path.  

It is not as much fun as the old timey version that was quite laissez faire.

In these photographs you are looking east across Columbus Avenue.  The trees behind the police department tow trucks are on the grounds of the Museum of Natural History.

This view is not only a vanishing point exercise, but also a westward view of West 79th Street, indicating how even more barricades have been set up, probably for herding this evening's crowds hoping for a view of the balloons.

One more view, which may or may not be a more clear depiction of the line up of barriers.

Unusually shops along Columbus Avenue close up by about mid-afternoon, on Thanksgiving Eve.  The area really does become Parade Staging HQ.

I thought you might like to see one of the Museum's turrets, and one of the holiday snowflakes that have been hung along the Avenue.  And, another police vehicle.

Shady West 78th Street has been closed to all but residents.  In the distance, you might be able to see a large balloon.  Besides lots of police and sanitation department personnel, I also saw many Macy's employees with clipboards, directing proceedings in a friendly way.

Parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren were beginning to gather around, hoping that at this early part of the afternoon, they just might be able to experience a less regimented viewing as part of their family traditions.

One last view.

I am hoping that you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving and that you have enjoyed this collection of city views.  I am indeed thankful to be part of the blog community and additionally glad to have recently joined Instagram.  Thank you all for your visits here and there, and for taking the time to leave comments.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

I've delayed attempting a new post because this has been a tough week.  It seems longer than ten days since our Election Day.

I cannot believe that Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States of America in January.  I am 71 years old.  When I was 18 and in my first year of college just about this time of the year, President Kennedy was assassinated.  Classes were cancelled and we were allowed to leave for an early Thanksgiving vacation.  Thanks were given for different reasons at different family dinners.  My parents were not Kennedy fans.

I remember Nixon, the Vietnam War.  I remember being amazed that Reagan could be elected President, and then that he dismantled the union movement in this country.  What I mean to indicate is that I have seen a series of historic changes.

I remember growing up in the segregated south.  I remember being in college before I actually met a black person as a classmate.  My private college allowed black students to enroll in order to have Federal funds help to renovate the Library building.  The funding laws had been changed.

Starting back in the Nixon years, I volunteered on many political campaigns, and my recollection is that the candidates I supported lost, but I continued to volunteer in other years.

I remember being disappointed by President Clinton, and not voting for him in his re-election attempt.  I voted for a third party candidate.  The second President Bush took office, and I took part in anti-war marches, not that different from those I participated in back in the Vietnam years.  I remember many things, and try as I might, I cannot stop being a news junkie.  Lots of "I" this and that in this post, but these are my memories.

I was glad to be able cast my vote electing President Obama.  

This year was difficult.  I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton, but felt that Donald Trump was and is beyond the pale.  And now, he will become President.

Over on my Instagram page I have posted my first ever video that shows folks passing through the underground passageways of the Union Square subway station where a spontaneous conceptual art project has taken off.  Anyone can leave a post-it sticker message about the election.  It is true freedom of speech.  Write and stick whatever you wish.

Those of us who were living here when 9/11 took place remember all sorts of messages being left around the city from friends and relatives seeking information about the whereabouts of their friends or relatives feared to have perished in the terror attack.

The visual appearance of these subway messages reminds me of those days, even though the messages are coming from very different impulses.  The earlier messages were and these are very moving.

The farmers market continues to offer autumn harvested bounty to us city dwellers.  Life's routines continue.  We hug friends, get flu shots, meet for coffee, bundle up on chilly days. select our favorite apples, dark green leafy vegetables and pretty potted plants.

Meanwhile, I keep on painting my Christmas cards and finishing complicated knitting projects and reading borrowed library books.  And...I keep tuned into news reports, hoping that there might be some sort of glimmer from the President Elect suggesting that he might want to throw a bone to those who did not vote for him.  That bone has not yet been tossed.

Today I took a long walk diagonally across Central Park to Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.  The weather was lovely.  My favorite luxury shop had a giveaway with purchase offer at a cosmetics counter I favor.  

Just across 57th Street from the shop is where the week's news has centered.  There have been numerous protests at street level, and many floors above, the President Elect has been making news by the process he has chosen to select people to fill his Cabinet.  The 56th Street block between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue is closed to traffic.

The 57th Street intersection is a very busy one, particularly as the Christmas, or holiday as many deem it here, season arrives.  Many tourists are in the City to enjoy next Thursday's Thanksgiving Holiday.  Fifth Avenue is not a wide avenue.  Currently, police are everywhere, news trucks and news camera crews are everywhere.  Barricades extend beyond the boundaries of the sidewalks taking up two lanes of street.  Pedestrian and vehicular traffic moves very, very slowly, even when there is no ongoing demonstration.

The sound of an ambulance siren is different from that of a police car or a fire truck.  While I was briefly in this area, I did not witness any such emergency vehicle trying to make its way along Fifth Avenue.  I did notice that the many various NYC buses whose route includes Fifth Avenue did seem to be few and far between.

Yesterday, the Mayor met with the President Elect to try to work out some way to make this area safe for all.  It is unclear whether the President Elect has chosen to actually live full time at the White House, or whether he prefers to commute between DC and NYC.

The President Elect and his family, including the grown children involved in his campaign and the family business, are spending the weekend at a Trump golf club in New Jersey.

After taking these few photographs to give you all an idea of the scene, I walked home, passing by yet another Trump property (in name anyway...I don't know if he actually still owns this building) where opportunity knocks.  The building is at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Central Park South.  The former tenant was Whiskey Bar.

Thank you all for visiting here and for your comments.  I hope to be a little more cheery in my next post.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

I would like to share some photographs I took yesterday morning.

My polling place is located in an elementary school that is just a short walk around the corner. 

I waited until about 11 a.m. to vote, in order to avoid the crowds that would have been queueing up before going to work earlier in the day.

Note that another attraction was the bake sale, held to raise funds for the school.

There was still quite a long queue waiting to vote, since this polling place is shared by three Election Districts.  Everything was well organized.

When you reach the front of the queue, you check in with the Poll Worker, and sign the log book that bears an image of your original voter registration at that location.

You are then given a long ballot sheet enclosed in a folder, and make your way to a little desk where with a provided pen, you mark your choices.  Then you join another queue and feed your paper ballot into a voting machine that scans your ballot.  Then you have voted!

As I made my way out of the Polling Place room, I saw that plenty of folks were still in the hallway waiting to vote.

Next on my agenda was the Bake Sale.  There were numerous tables filled with home baked treats.  Little girls "manned" the tables, explaining the pricing, which items contained nuts or gluten and so forth.

I bought pin wheel cookies and chocolate chip filled blondies.

When I left the school and continued on my neighborhood walk, I noticed many other folks wearing stickers like the one I had been given.  We smiled at each other.

Back at home, I made lunch, and painted a few more Christmas tea cup cards and then took a nap.  I woke up in time to fix supper and then began to watch televised election coverage, and also stayed in touch with an election night chat room on The New York Times website.

By 8 p.m., it was clear to me that the polls were very wrong.  Not only with respect to the Presidential race, but also the Senate and House of Representative races.

A NYC friend and I began trading emails just before midnight.  Neither of us were huge fans of Hillary Clinton, but felt that Donald Trump was beyond the pale.

I tried to go to sleep about 12:30, but didn't actually get any sleep until well after 2 a.m.  

Now it is a new day.  In January, our President and the two houses of Congress will be controlled by a single party.  Voters who felt fear and anger have been victorious.  No one can truly guess what will unfold.  Financial markets seem to have recovered their overnight swoon.

I do feel tired, numb and a bit scared, but have also just finished doing my weekly laundry.  It is time to make a tuna sandwich for lunch.

Thank you all for your visits and comments.  It's good to have this place to record these recent memories.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

Before I go outdoors to enjoy another splendid autumn day, I wanted to share some pictures showing how apple season has brought its bounty to the farmers market.

Friday is the day that my favorite apple farmer, whom I call the Apple Lady, brings her selection to the Union Square market.  

This gives me an opportunity to sample apple varieties that are unfamiliar to me.  No need to select a Red Delicious here, when you can take home a Golden Russet. I admit that some of my selecting is dependent on the visual beauty of the apples, and also whether they lean toward the sweet or tart.  Any totally tart apple is not for me!

The recent weeks have also brought a change in which plants are available.  I have purchased a white cyclamen and have learned that, in a few weeks, the Christmas cactus plants will make their first appearance.

I forgot to make a note (which I guess I could have done on my smart phone) of what the following plant is called.  i just liked its shapes and thought it would be fun to draw.  I didn't buy one, just took its picture.

This ground cover with its shiny dark green leaves and bright red berries is also a favorite subject of mine.  Again, I postponed my purchase, but took a close up view.

It was difficult to resist adopting one of the cyclamens with the brilliant blooms, but I stuck with my serene, elegant white bloomer.

This final photograph shows you all which five apples came home with me.  I've already forgotten the individual names of this quintet, but can report that the one on the lower right hand side of the picture tasted delicious!

It's such a grand time of the year ... not too hot, not too cool, and mostly, not too wet.  During my indoors time, I continue to paint my Christmas tea cup cards, finish up a few more knitting projects, read a variety of books, and make soups.  

It's been fun to reconnect with many familiar blogging friends via my still new connection with Instagram.  Please do visit me There.  I have no intention of abandoning blogging.

I do intend to vote next Tuesday, and might even be posting a report or two both here and there.  Thank you all for your visits and comments, which certainly add to my knowledge of the world that we share.