Thursday, September 15, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

It's been a while since I have given you all a true idea of how bountiful the stands are at the Union Square farmers market in late summer.

The time has now arrived for a pretty long show and tell.  Let's start off calmly, with these pastel hydrangeas.

We can increase the tempo just a bit with some dahlias.

Now it's time to start collecting some freshly picked veg, like these splendid okra samples.  They make a great addition to curries.

This same stand is one of my favorites.  They are at Union Square on Wednesdays, and have a slightly smaller set up on Sundays on the sidewalk behind the Museum of Natural History.

When I make my purchases, I will say "See you Sunday" or "See you Wednesday."

This vast array of radishes and carrots of many colors is at another farmers stand.

I particularly like the wide variety of lettuces that they sell,at reasonable prices.

Another nearby stand has brilliant arrays of spicy peppers.  These are all too hot for me, but I admire their visual beauty.

Oh look at the colors of these zinnias!

Some of the stands feature both produce and flowers.  I am leaving some of the surrounding area in these pictures so that you all might have a better idea of the scale and set up of the market.

There are quite a few bakery stands, under sheltering umbrellas.  I think this picture is too shady to show the deep teal blue green of this shopper's hair.

Let's see some more dahlias.  If you squint your eyes and look at this photo, the flowers almost look like daffodil blooms, with white edges and pink or coral trumpets.

Aren't these colors beautiful?

These flowers have a bit sharper spice to their colors.

Here's another vista view showing you more of how the market is arranged along the western and northern edges of Union Square, and how tall buildings are just across the surrounding streets.

Here is another sweet pastel display amid all the shining bright produce.

Sunflowers get their own aisle under this large umbrella.

Bright sunny and cooler shadowy areas make for pleasant browsing.

The success of Union Square's market lead to many restaurants opening nearby.  You will often see chefs shopping for very large quantities of fruit and veg for their kitchens.  However, now many area landlords are demanding very high rents for the restaurant spaces, so some of the original restaurants are having to relocate, trying not to move too far away.

It's definitely corn season, and this fellow was restocking his stand from huge baskets he'd carried over from where his truck was parked nearby.

New varieties of potted plants also begin to appear as September begins.

Chrysanthemums were all over the place!

Here's a real parade of plants.

I thought this purple kale was beautiful.  I didn't buy any, but definitely wanted to take a photograph.

Leaving the northern end of the Square, I saw another city view that I thought might give an idea of the area.  You can see some of the large trucks the farmers drive in from their farms, mostly in New Jersey or in "upstate" New York.

On that particular market day, I took a Madison Avenue bus uptown to take care of a few errands.  When I got off the bus, I enjoyed a bit of window shopping.  We've been having one of the weeks when the fashion designers show their designs to store buyers and wealthy patrons and celebrities.

This also means that windows of designer shops like that of Missoni, that I show here, want to put on a good show.

I thought that Missoni's chosen fall palette was interesting.  I've always liked all the zigs and zags and stripes of the company's designs.  The reflections in the window's glass add something to the collage of color and shapes.

I'm hoping that you all have enjoyed a farmers market visit and a taste of Madison Avenue fashion.  

Thanks so much for your comments on my prior post.  I particularly appreciated the smart phone information.  I am still weighing my options and learning more every day about factors that will help me with my decision.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

This the first September Sunday, which means tomorrow is September's first Monday, which is designated as Labor Day, an occasion to honor workers.  Current political office seekers may be marching in parades and giving speeches.    

The U.S. Tennis Open competition is underway.  The Arthur Ashe Stadium has debuted its new roof that can open and close.  It rained last week and the players and spectators discovered that the stadium is really noisy when the roof is closed.  Lots of hard surfaces for sounds to bounce off.  The rain on the roof sounded like heavy drumming.

A former hurricane named Hermine is blowing its way up the Atlantic coast.  We have been advised that the main concern to the NYC area will be along our shore lines.  Beaches are closed for this three day holiday.

During the past week, I had reason to take the crosstown 79th Street Bus.  This bus has a strange, but interesting and challenging route that requires skilled drivers.  These two photographs were taken while "my" east bound bus was stalled on West 81st Street.  This often happens due to double parked vehicles, icy streets, or road repairs.  Last week's excuse was road work.  I was glad to have my camera handy, so I could take a few pictures as the bus was allowed to slowly make its way past all sorts of equipment and red flag waving workers.  The bus driver was very patient.

Perhaps you can tell from the photos that tree leaves are beginning to change colors and that some branches are already looking bare.  I was very glad that I'd allowed plenty of time for that particular bus ride and was able to still have time to get to the library, and then take the subway downtown to meet a friend.  

These two pictures are close ups of some of my favorite old cushions that I made long ago.  Although the original fabric is beginning to wear out, I do not want to discard the cushions, and so I've been doing a helter skelter bit of embroidery and applying of patches. This is a relaxing technique to play with when the weather is way too warm for knitting with wool yarns.

In the recent slightly cooler days, I have also finished another pair of woolen mitts.

I'm in the early stages of another pair that will feature cool blue/ green and warm neutral colors.

More drawing and painting has also been underway.  The next photo is more of a doodle than a painting, but I wanted to explore a newly purchased watercolor tube of a color called Opera Rose.  I like the name very much

Sometimes when I take pictures and play with the computer's cropping tools, funny images appear, like the next one. I'd propped an open book against one of my needlepoint pillows.  When I saw the resulting photo, I thought it would be fun to disguise the picture's source.

The next photograph gives a better clue to the subject matter of this lovely book I have just checked out from the library.

I admire both William Morris and Mariano Fortuny, and also A.S. Byatt's writing, and thought I would mention this book in case some of you all might also be fans.

It's a small book, with many color pictures beautifully printed on heavy paper.  The book was manufactured in China.  I am going to read it slowly, to savor the experience.

Another pursuit that's been occupying my time is varying research with an eye to buying my very first smart phone.  I don't think I am a natural audience for these devices, but do recognize that I might find such a phone useful and even enjoyable to use.  

It is now the traditional back to school season, and so I am attempting a climb up this new learning curve.  I would welcome any comments you all might have to offer this novice either about the phones themselves, or about how to choose a data plan.

Meanwhile, thank you all for your visits to my previous post and your comments.  It's a pleasure to connect with you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

We are now in a new weather pattern.  The city is now 20 degrees F cooler than it was last week.  Energy is beginning to return.  I am giving my little fan a rest and enjoying being more active outdoors.

Having longer walks around the neighborhood is a pleasure.

My neighborhood has a mixture of architecture, and some crosstown street blocks have some charming brownstone and limestone town houses that have attractive little front garden spaces.  Other such houses present rather bland spartan faces to the street.

The pictures I am showing you here are along one side of a particular Upper West Side street that is always a pleasure to walk along.  I was lucky to have my camera with me last Sunday, and to find that the prettier side of the street was also the shady side.  A slight breeze was blowing, cooling the air, and encouraging me to take these photographs to show you.

I have no idea whether these buildings are filled with small or large apartments, rental or condo or cooperative.  What is clear is that there are some interested gardeners at each address.

These plantings don't seem to be the work of professionals but rather the resulting efforts of residents.  I imagine that even more beautiful gardens are behind the buildings.

These houses have their main entrances on the parlor floor one reaches via a stairway, but also have doorways at the garden level.  I once lived in a garden level 1840s brownstone apartment in Brooklyn.  There was no front garden but I shared a beautiful back garden with the other tenants.  That garden had been established by our landlady who also allowed me to plant a few more flowers and vegetables.  She was then midway through the renovation of another old house in the same neighborhood.

Back in those days, such old Brooklyn houses, ripe for renovation, were priced at about $25,000.  It was the 1970s, and that was quite a lot of money.  The renovation and rescue of those houses also cost a lot and took a long time.  Many marriages, like that of my sweet landlady, broke up during renovations.

Nowadays, those houses sell for millions of dollars.  Even a floor through apartment in one of the houses I am showing you here would cost several million dollars.  Time passes.

I love the look of this tree's roots, and moss, and the little scalloped fencing which might protect it from unskilled car parking.

Moving along, I'll show you a few more front entrance ways.

Some of these areas have decorative gates; some have gates requiring a key.  Do notice the bars on the windows.

The left over bricks and stones in the following photo have been used to fill in a space where a tree once grew.  I like the arrangement and thought it might inspire some future knitting design.

I also like the rather funky look of this curvy decorative area.

Lots of greenery growing here.  I wondered what might have been intended to grow on the wooden lattice leaning against the wall.  It could be part of a past or future plan.

You can see the reflection of a building across the street.

Not far away from that shady block is this large building, The Lucerne Hotel.  Back in the 1920s, my great auntie lived here for a few years with her husband who was a tobacco company executive.  My auntie was widowed before I was born, and moved back to live in Richmond with a couple who were dear friends.

Auntie Mae never had children of her own, but was very fond of my late Dad, and very kind to me.  Every Christmas she would allow me to select a very special doll as her very special gift.  She also gave me a special, long lasting gift of teaching me to knit.

I cannot walk past The Lucerne without thinking of her.

When Auntie Mae died, she left an inheritance to my Dad that allowed me to attend college.  She also left me some beautiful jewelry and her knitting needles.

I still use those needles, particularly the double pointed needles, to create socks, hats, and these fair isle mitts that I have been making for my etsy shop.  I am now working on some red mitts.

I do wish my Auntie could see them.

It's been fun to share these late summer city views with you all.  Thank you for your visits and wonderful comments on my previous post.  Let's enjoy our remaining summer days, rain or shine...but I do hope our current temperature range continues.