Saturday, July 23, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

It is a hot and humid Saturday.  The temperature has been stretching towards the 90 degree level, and is now about 95 degrees.  Forecasts call for this sort of challenging weather to continue for many more days.  100 degrees may be reached.

I've been a lazy blogger, but will try to give you all a bit of a catch up of recent city views.

Last Monday, I met a friend over at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to see a very fine exhibit of opaque watercolor miniature paintings from India.  These beautiful paintings currently belong to The Kronos Collections, but are "promised gifts" to the Met.  Please do click on the link to see the Met's information about the show.

Sometimes I find exhibit labels irritating.  The labels for this show were wonderfully informative and actually quite witty in explaining the setting and story line of the scene depicted in each painting.  I definitely intend to return for another look and will make use of the available magnifying glasses.  The air conditioning was another plus!

My Met membership has expired, and for the time being, I will be taking advantage of the "suggested contribution" to attain entrance to the wonderful museum.  Having worked there for quite a few years back in the 1970s, I feel no guilt at now making minimal monetary contributions.

The pictures I have added to this post show a pretty little desert plant I bought at the farmers market.  I plan to use it as a subject for some watercolor studies.  The plant's colors are almost iridescent.

I confess that on several evenings this past week I did force myself to watch the Republican Party's Convention in Cleveland.  There was much anger on display and also an attempt to spread fear. 

However, on one evening, I fixed myself an early supper, and then walked a few blocks down to Lincoln Center to see the opening event to this year's Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors festival.  Everything is free and a variety of performances are on the schedule.  I've provided a link for folks who might be in New York during the festival weeks.

July 20th's headliner was Patti Smith and her band.  She has performed several times before at the Out-of-Doors festivals and is a New York City favorite.  I am fortunate to have met Patti and to have been given an inscribed copy of her memoir, Just Kids.

It was a swell night outdoors, under the almost still full moon.  Patti read a bit from Just Kids, declaimed an Allen Ginsburg poem and then, she and her band, including guitarist Lenny Kaye, played for about two hours.  Lots of Patti classics, but they also played tribute covers of When Doves Cry, This Will Be the Last Time, and My Generation.  

There were thousands of folks attending the show, some very early arrivals got to be close to the stage where rows of folding chairs were lined up.  No one really sat down after the music started up.  The rest of us just found a bit of space somewhere in Damrocsh Park plaza.  Folks of all ages from babies to folks older than I am.

The spirit of the evening was fabulous.  Lots of smiles and some very varied dance styles on display.

On yet another hot morning, I walked over to Central Park to watch a playoff game in the Broadway Show Softball League.  It was truly too hot for such activity.  I actually left for my walk home before the game was over, and while the Hamilton team was well behind in runs.  I was wilted and decided to act my age.

Let's see, what else got me out of the apartment?  Yesterday two friends and I decided to brave the heat to meet for lunch at a Greek restaurant that has sort of become our clubhouse.  The food is delicious and very reasonably priced.  The location on Ninth Avenue is in a neighborhood traditionally referred to as Hell's Kitchen.  Appropriate in the current heat, even if the neighborhood is yet another area that has undergone lots of gentrification.

My friends and I had a marvelous catch up visit and agreed to meet up again soon.

Last night, the media reported another shooting incident, this time in the Munich suburbs.  I turned the television off.

Even with the overnight heat, I slept well and woke up early enough to accomplish my outdoor errands before today's true sizzle struck. I will now stay indoors near my fan and lots of cold water for the rest of the day.  Salad is on the menu for supper tonight.  I've noticed that the 1954 film Hobson's Choice is on television tonight, along with many other viewing choices.  I've also got several books on my to-be-read stack.

I'm hoping that this post has given you all an idea of how city summer days may be experienced.  Thank you so much for your visits to and comments on my previous post.  Summer in the city can be very enjoyable if you pace yourself!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

We are now into deep summer in the city.  It is hot and it is humid.  Continuing my celebration of retirement, I am delighted not to have to ride the subway except when I really want to.  The train cars are chilled by air conditioning, but the subway station platforms are very hot.  The loudspeaker systems broadcasts warnings to passengers of possible heat-related stress.  I always take along some sort of card in my tote bag that will serve as a fan.

Above ground, we have had some rain and so leafy greenery and grasses are flourishing.  The above trio of Upper West Side brownstone houses show off a mid-summer wreath of wisteria vines.

Central Park is very overgrown, but lingering there is not so pleasant in the current weather.  I actually chose to miss last Thursday's Broadway Show League's Thursday softball game in favor of going downtown to have my brilliant hair stylist scissor off my crazy grown out hair.  I am back in precision bob land again.  It is good to feel the occasional breeze on the back of my neck.

Even in this heat, with the help of my apartment's cross ventilation and the three speeds of my trusty Vornado fan, I've been doing some embroidery and some knitting.  I've made several gifts for friends, some using cotton yarn and some using wool.  The fair isle mitts in the following picture may eventually be added to my etsy shop.  I am working on another pair now in a different color way.

As a lazy bones, I've also been watching tennis at Wimbledon, Le Tour de France all over scenic France and even some international football championship games.

Seeing these positive athletic achievements, and those of nature's summer feast of green growth has provided positive alternatives to recent news stories.  There is much being reported by the media every day about horror that people are inflicting on people.  Lies that people are telling, arguments that people are provoking.  Not just in this country but also around the world.

I continue to try to do my tiny part in the cosmos by being kind, trying to be thoughtful and caring for other people.  Trying to understand points of view that differ from my own.

I wonder what part the hot weather plays in the current atmosphere?

Perhaps those of you who grow your own produce will be amused by this series of photographs of a tiny fenced-in triangular sliver that is designated Sherman Square.  It is not a square.  It is officially a city park area.  This year, it does not seem to be receiving much care from city gardeners.

On the Broadway side of Sherman Square, trucks from Fresh Direct, an on-line grocery ordering service, park and unload their orders for customers from the immediate area.  There truly does not seem to be much either fresh or direct about the process, but each delivery does seem to have a certain ironic content. 

A few blocks downtown on Broadway is another little triangle where a mini version of a farmers market is set up several days each week.  I have shown you all photographs from this space before.

During the summer, free concerts are being held in the midday sun here each week.  The music is fine, there are chairs and tables for folks to have their lunches while listening to the music.  I cannot imagine how hot the musicians must get during their performances.

All the same, it's a great idea.  Also available at the little farmers market are some beautiful freshly cut flowers.

More reasons to be cheerful.

 Other reasons to be cheerful are the visits you all make to these posts and the lovely comments you write.  I continue to think that the blogging community is a very positive place.  

Let's continue to celebrate all that connects us and explore our differences, keeping open the possibility of learning from each other.

Happy Summer!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

Last evening a friend let me know the news that the brilliant New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham had died at the age of 87.

His photographs over the years have chronicled what all sorts of folks were wearing all over New York.  Mr. Cunningham was a true gentleman whose city views were legendary.  I am fortunate to have taken a few pictures of him, like the one above from an Easter Parade.

New York loved Bill Cunningham and we are going to miss him so much.  I am glad to have had opportunities to chat with him over the years, and amused that he would always call me "young lady." 

Monday, June 20, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on the night when a strawberry full moon will rise in an hour or so.

I bought these and some more strawberries at the farmers market and have enjoyed this collection with heavy cream for dessert tonight.

It's been a tough time recently, and I have decided to keep the details to myself.  Instead, let me show you a few other finds from the farmers market.

Taking another look at these photographs that I took last week reminds me of the beauty that arrives with every day.

Here is another reminder.

The next photograph is a huge bundle of chamomile flowers.  I have some chamomile tea bags in a tin in my kitchen.

It's a treat to help yourself to some sugar snap peas that were picked earlier that very day.

A complete change of topic with the next photograph from a door over on the Upper East Side.  The door knocker is similar to one that Tom Stevenson recently saw in Spain.

This is a tiny construction site of a white and lavender cardi being knit for a friend's soon to arrive baby.  Bamboo needles.  Postcard in the background of a Scandinavian wooden toy I saw in an exhibit months ago.

Reading a variety of books is another way for me to take my mind off worrisome current goings on.  Dark Money can tell you about the Koch brothers, and more.

John Claridge's wonderful photographic essay on London's East End is a book whose publication I helped to underwrite.  It's a book well worth looking at.

If the countryside is more your thing, as it is in my dreams, I would recommend to you, The Running Hare.

This is not a well thought out or written post, but I just wanted to take time to post something to say hello to you all.  I really appreciate your visits to my blogs and your comments.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

There is a horrific story from Orlando, Florida, filling the news today.  Many lives were lost and others were changed.  Gun violence continues.

Earlier this afternoon, in order to also find some positive images, I chose to take a walk around the neighborhood to embrace the brilliantly sunny day and pleasant breeze.

As I crossed Amsterdam Avenue at 74th Street, I saw some heavy equipment and some white parked at the rear of the Beacon Theatre.

I was curious to see more equipment parked along West 74th Street between Amsterdam and Broadway.  (You can see the corner of the famous Ansonia Building peeking over the left side of those trees.)

I decided to investigate what was going on at the Beacon.  It's a grand old movie theatre that has been through several renovations over the decades.  Before the renovations I remember seeing the Kinks perform here many times.

Across 75th Street I saw a television sound truck.

Crossing 75th and Amsterdam, I spotted lots of stagehands taking a break, and more white tents.

These tents extended the full length of the north side of the Beacon.  I like this picture with the two policemen, the bright orange-red traffic cones, the barricades, the top of a fire hydrant, some trees and a yellow taxi.

This is a side entrance to the Beacon that leads right into the theatre.  Lots of security chaps were making sure only those supposed to enter were entering.  Have you all guessed which big show is going to start at 8 pm tonight?

It's the Tony Awards Show...where the best of Broadway gets their statuettes.  

Preparations take a long time.

The Beacon Theatre is part of the same building as the Beacon Hotel.  The red carpet for arriving starry invitees to walk upon stretched for several blocks.

Following the path of the carpet encouraged me to take some more photographs of Upper West Side architecture.  The building in the following photographs was originally a bank.

Its upper floors are now condominium apartments.

The architect was long ago inspired by Italy.  Apple Bank's logo really seems out of place.  It was not part of the original design.

Here is where the red carpet begins at 73rd Street and Broadway.

Here is a photograph of the southern end of the bank/condo building.

Just across 73rd Street is a little park that leads to the subway station.  This lady had a very good vantage point from which to watch the stars arrive, but she would have had to wait for several hours.

Easier just to show up next Thursday at the softball game!  

Something else was going on all along the western side of the tree-lined Broadway median strip. A street fair!

All sorts of delicacies and products were on sale.

Even though the weather was grand, the crowds were rather light.

This was probably because over on the East Side of town, the annual Puerto Rican Day parade was making its way up Fifth Avenue.

I hope that you all have enjoyed my neighborhood stroll.  If I had not noticed all the Tony goings on, I'd planned to show you all some flowers from yesterday's Union Square farmers market.

Here are just a few.

I have forgotten what the flowers in the following picture are, but I thought they were very dramatic.  Worthy of a Tony, perhaps.

Thank you all for your continuing visits and for taking time to leave comments, too.  Even when it can seem that many bad things are happening in our shared world, there is also much good to discover.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

It's been a beautiful June day, and this morning I walked over to a part of Central Park that I don't think I've shown you all before.

At the foot of this curving pathway is an area that includes softball fields.  These fields are the site where various amateur softball leagues compete during the warm months.

Some games are scheduled after office hours, at twilight, for teams made up of corporate office workers.  Other teams are composed of players who work at night.  Today's scheduled games featured Broadway Show League teams.

Chain link fencing surrounds the outer boundary of the entire area, but the various individual ball fields are marked by colorful markers on the lawn or sandy surface.  There are some small bleachers for friends, family and passersby like me to sit on, but I think it is more fun to get close to the fence.

I was fortunate to watch a great game between the casts of two hit Broadway shows, An American in Paris, and Hamilton.  Hamilton is due to pick up a lot of Tony Awards at the June 12 ceremony.  Their softball team is also remarkable.

Some cast members had brought their dogs along to the game, but those pups knew that they weren't allowed on the field.

The Hamilton team wore yellow and green tee shirts.  American in Paris went for the blue and grey.  The above picture shows the record keepers for each team going over their score keeping records to make sure they agreed on who was actually on the field, due to bat next, and even what inning was just being played.  Many of the players certainly relied on these two fellows to keep it all agreeable.  There were also two umpires who made decisions about whether a pitcher's toss was a strike or a ball, or whether a runner beat a throw to first base.  This is very low tech; there is no scoreboard, only the official clipboards.

I understand just a little bit about cricket, and urge those of you who don't understand softball (a variation of baseball) to just enjoy the photographs of adults going back to childhood fun on a glorious day.

I watched some of the innings from the American in Paris bleacher  area, and then as the sun took over that shady spot, I moved over to the Hamilton side of the field.  Those Hamilton players were really good.  I was interested that each team had several female players who filled the catcher's position.  The catcher is the one who catches the pitcher's toss if the batter doesn't hit the ball out into the field.

The home plate umpire stands just behind the catcher.

Even though we were in the midst of some Broadway stars (none of whom I would recognize, having not seen either show) it was all just a very relaxed atmosphere.

 A camera man from a local television station recorded a few innings and there were also several other professional looking cameras on the scene.

Most of the team tee shirts had players' names or nicknames on their backs.  Some of the nicknames were quite funny

The little one in the following picture was pretty oblivious to it all.

I think that the fellow in the following photograph (number 1) might be a star of the show because several folks wanted to take their picture with him.  We just smiled at each other.  He was very young; many of the players were not so young.  Lin-Manuel Miranda, the big star and creator of Hamilton, is not on the team.

Hamilton won, by a score of 8 to 2.  I think that I will return to see some more of their games.  The team had a great spirit and were very good sports, too.

At the end of the game both teams ran out to the middle of the field to congratulate each other on a good game.

The rest of us strolled away, some to another part of the Park, some like myself walked home to make a sandwich for lunch

It's been quite a few years since my own work schedule allowed me to follow the drama of this particular league.  The freedom granted me by my retirement now allows me to reacquaint myself with this very enjoyable city view.  I almost forgot to mention that these games are totally free, no tickets required.

Thank you all for your visits and kind words about my recent knitting post.  I hope to see you here again.