Friday, March 10, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

When I look out my window, I notice that the morning's big floppy snow flakes have now yielded to very fine snow.  The sky is brightening, too.

Thank you all for your kind response to my previous post.  I am pleased to report that I am steadily recovering from my fall.

Yesterday was sunny and unseasonal in its warmth.  A friend and I had plans to visit the Morgan Library.  It was to be my first such day out for pleasure, not merely accomplishing a required errand.

As I was having my oatmeal and tea breakfast, I followed my routine of listening to BBC Radio London via the laptop.  It's fun to have this vicarious London visit at the beginning of my day.  However, yesterday's news of the death of a favorite artist, Howard Hodgkin, at age 84, definitely saddened me.  As a small remembrance, I took this photo of a postcard I bought at London's National Portrait Gallery many years ago.  The postcard is placed on top of the cover of the current issue of The New Yorker magazine that features a scene from an art gallery opening.

I now understand that the NPG will be exhibiting a Howard Hodgkin retrospective this spring.  I would like to see that show, as well as quite a few others that are on a late winter/early spring schedule.

However, yesterday I went to see the marvelous Emily Dickinson exhibit at the Morgan.  I admit to not being as familiar with ED's work as I would now with to be.  My introduction to her genius has arrived via the beautifully poetic blog post Merisi's Vienna for Beginners.  I definitely recommend this site to you all.

The current exhibit is in a medium-sized gallery space on the second floor. reached by a glass-walled elevator.  Entering the door to the gallery takes one into Dickinson's 1800s era in New England.

I took a few photographs to give you an idea of the quiet, yet thrilling atmosphere of the exhibit.  The above photo is in Dickinson's mature handwriting, and the following photo of the adjacent label tells of her interest in another poet.  Please forgive my not quite centering the photo of the label...I'll blame my bandaged finger.

Another section of the exhibit features a digital slide show of the poet's herbarium, which clearly indicates her close observation and desired connection to nature.

Here is a photo of just one page from the slide show.  In a protective glass case next to the slide show device is the precious herbarium itself, open to one page.  I decided to rely on the digital pictures for my own photographs. 

I would recommend this exhibit to any of you all who love poetry.

I would also recommend settling into the sunlit atrium cafe on the Morgan Library's main floor.  My friend Elizabeth and I decided to each order the extravagance of the Morgan Tea.  It was delicious!

The "new" extension to the Morgan is a well-designed three-story space.  Through a doorway, one may also enter the original Library building which is also a must see.  

Mr Morgan's actual library is quite luxurious.  Even the huge carpet is beautiful.  In this current age of billionaires who do not always practice philanthropy, it's interesting to contemplate how it is that we mere ticket holders can visit what was once one man's library.

Quite a hearth and quite a tapestry.  Morgan's office also contains some precious paintings.  The link to the Library's site that I have provided above will give those interested much more information.

It was a great pleasure to join a good friend for such a day of cultural treats.  It was easy for me to reach the Morgan via the subway...just two stops away, plus a very short walk.

I'm looking forward to being able to share more city views with you all very soon.  There is so much to see!

Friday, March 3, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

As February has given the stage over to March, I would like to thank all of you who have left comments on my prior post, and to present a bit of a catch up.

After the February snow was cleared away, our weather warmed up, and it was a pleasure to take some walks in Central Park.

Not many flowers besides snowdrops and aconites were blooming.

On Sunday afternoons it was fun to observe international fashions while strolling along a pathway by the lake.  Ducks swam in the lake.  

Meanwhile, I'd also been knitting, keeping up with current news developments, conferring with friends, calling and writing to my elected governmental officials, and participating in rallies and marches.  Those of you all who visit my instagram page will be able to see a video I filmed at a rally a few weeks ago.

Last Sunday, I participated in a rally and march to honor Freedom of the Press.  The rally began at the HQ of the New York Times, and then the group continued over to the Fox Network's News Corporation building and then walked over to NBC's Rockefeller Center HQ.  

Each of the rallies in which I have participated have been friendly gatherings.  When I left last Sunday's demonstration, I decided to walk home.  It was a sunshiny day and I enjoy walking.

Fate intervened.  I stumbled on an uneven patch of sidewalk and had a hard fall. My forehead struck the sidewalk with a sound I will always remember.  My right hand struck metal grating that delivered a two inch laceration to my right hand.  I am thankful to be left-handed and to be able to type this post.  Gentlemen working at a nearby Halal food cart immediately came to my assistance.  They helped me up, poured bottled water over my bleeding finger, wrapped that finger in a mass of paper napkins, and flagged down a taxi that took me to the emergency room of Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital.

My hand was x-rayed, treated and sewn together with eight neat stitches.  My poor noggin received a CAT scan.  It was determined that it was safe for me to go home.  And so I did, via another cab.

Since then, I have been quite a homebody, taking required antibiotics, regularly applying my friendly ice pack, and changing the bandage on my finger every morning.  I visited my primary care doctor on Tuesday, and will see a "hand specialist" doctor on Monday.  It has been so weird to watch the migration of colors across my face.  Sort of Francis Bacon meets Lucian Freud.

The actual pain has been minimal, and I took only one of the prescribed pain relief tablets.  My friends have rallied to my assistance, yet so far I have found I'm able to handle my reduced daily requirements.  On Wednesday, March 1, I began this year's Lenten chocolate fast.

I found an old, long unused, pair of large black sunglasses that I've been wearing whenever I leave my apartment...even to check my mailbox in the building's lobby.  Would not want to frighten my fellow tenants.  The building staff have been very helpful to me

A few weeks ago, I bought a large pot of hyacinth bulbs, and it has been a comforting pleasure to watch the flowers come into full bloom, bringing their delicate scent.  Today I snipped off the final two stems, and placed them in this pretty little cup, given to me some years ago by two artist friends.  I think this picture is a happy image with which to end this post.

I'm greatly looking forward to regaining full use of my right hand, and to setting aside my ice pack.  I miss reading, drawing, knitting, but am still able to keep track of developing news.

Again, many thanks to you all for your visits and comments. I hope to be catching up on your recent posts very soon.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

It has been a while since my last post.

Over nine inches of snow fell upon New York City.

I was very glad to have retired last March and to no longer be responsible for any snow shoveling.

City Sanitation Department trucks with snow plow attachments made a quick job of clearing the streets, as apartment building employees cleared the sidewalks.

Meanwhile, while keeping warm indoors, I began a new knitting project.

Knitting continues to be a relaxing, even calming, activity as I continue to follow the actions taken by the new President and his staff.

This afternoon, I watched a 75 minute long press conference held by the President.  It was very alarming to watch the President's behavior.

Back in the 1970s, during the evenings when I watched televised coverage of the Watergate Hearings that occurred prior to the impeachment of Richard Nixon, I began crocheting a complexly patterned bedspread.  I almost finished that bedspread, and eventually donated it to a charity thrift shop.

These last two photographs are of parts of a knitted patchwork blanket I made for fun, not as a distraction from worrisome governmental developments in our country.

It's possible that I might now be taking a pause from blog land, because my concentration is now on other matters.  I am still posting over at my Instagram page.

I imagine that before long I will be back here with some more city views.  Thank you all for your visits and comments.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

The sky is a brilliant blue today and the sun is shining.  Alas, that sunshine has some fierce competition from strong breezes, and the temperature is definitely below freezing.  It's a good day to spend some hours indoors in blog land.

Current events here and around the world have continued with twists and turns since my last post.  Thank you all for your visits and comments.  Although I have not been to any additional marches, I have been keeping close attention on the news, and have watched many Senate confirmation hearings regarding Presidential Cabinet appointees.  I have been calling and writing to my Senators and Congressional Representative.  Many of my friends have been doing likewise.

Perhaps it is not too late to wish you all a Happy Lunar New Year!

A friend sent me this tiny Almanac whose pages are filled with daily advice about what is Good and what is Bad.  I am greatly enjoying turning to it for guidance.

To thank my friend for the gift, I painted her a card with a Fire Rooster image for 2017.  My birth year designates me an Earth Rooster.

While indoors watching the Senate committee hearings, I have also been making progress on my striped socks.  The sock on the right with the red, white and blue needles is all done except for the tricky Kitchener stitch bit that with close up the sock's toe.  I need to concentrate a lot to manage that maneuver.  It will require a quiet, well lit place.

I'm including the following photo of a pretty green doorway that I saw in the Chelsea neighborhood, so that all the pictures in the post won't have been taken indoors.  The doorway qualifies as a city view.

My current tower of books borrowed from The New York Society Library are a rather eclectic bunch.  The following book is a 50th anniversary edition of a beautiful nursery rhyme book.  I had never known of this book during my childhood, and was introduced to it via the Instagram site of a fine artist named Debbie George.  I recommend both the book and Debbie's site to you all.

I've just finished reading the following detective novel.  It's quite a long book, and the plot has many layers.  Not all of the police are innocents.

This is the third time that I have borrowed the Springsteen autobiography.  I don't want to read its pages too quickly.  Bruce is just a bit younger than I am, but close enough in age that it is easy to identify with much of what he writes about.

I will be starting to read this new Margaret Drabble novel later today, with hopes of finishing it by Monday, so as to be able to return it to the Library.  Once again, the author and I are very close in age, and that has added to my appreciation of her previous books.

Just for fun on a chilly February afternoon, I thought I would show you all this pool picture.  I wish that I could see the upcoming Hockney show at the Tate.  

It's about 3 p.m. now, and I think I might venture outdoors for a very short walk.  I wish you all an excellent weekend.  It's my hope to be posting here again soon.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

I woke up on this foggy Sunday with a few achy muscles, perhaps as a result of a long walk I took yesterday afternoon.  I will share a few pictures showing some of the folks who were walking along with me.

You all may already have seen news regarding this walk, described as a women's march.  My photographs are those of an amateur, but will give you an idea of what I experienced along the route that sprawled  westward along East 42nd Street and then turned uptown on Fifth Avenue.

In the above photograph, you may be able to see some children waving to us from the window of the Grand Hyatt Hotel.  If you click on this link, you'll be able to learn how that hotel intersected with the early career of our new President.

The following photo features a poster that amused many folks in the crowd.

 The crowd was much larger than expected, and has been estimated to have included 400,000 people.  We really moved along at a very, very slow pace.

It took hours to reach Fifth Avenue.  

Police barricades had been set up along Fifth Avenue, to prevent the marchers from spreading onto the sidewalks, as had been possible on 42nd Street where there had been no barricades.  The above photo is a view looking down Fifth Avenue.  It was taken at about 43rd and Fifth.

I'd not seen any police presence along 42nd Street, and the slow-moving crowd had been very friendly and orderly.  Along Fifth Avenue, there were police officers who were helping at intersections with crosstown streets to let pedestrians cross east or west.  No crosstown vehicles were allowed.  Not much Fifth Avenue shopping going on.

As we drew closer to our destination, the pace of the march slowed.  I  elected to leave the group just after we passed by St. Patrick's Cathedral, and continued uptown behind the barricades on the westside sidewalk of Fifth Avenue.  This allowed my tired legs hopes of being able to be able to walk all the way home.  I imagined that the subway stations were going to be packed.

Another amusing poster.

The crowd was made up of family groups, school groups, friendly groups and individuals like myself.  My decision to participate was formed after watching the new President's inaugural address.

In the above photo, the tall building with the zigzag rooftop and the golden glow is Trump Tower, the march's 56th Street destination.  Security measures prevented most of us from reaching that location.  That didn't matter.

By the time we reached 54th Street many folks, like myself, had decided it was time to go home.  Folks were milling around, trying to locate friends, or rejoin the groups with whom they'd traveled together earlier in the day.  The warmth of the sun that had been a welcome factor was rapidly chilling.

Time to walk home.  I walked over to Sixth Avenue and continued uptown to Central Park South and westward to my apartment.  Along the way I noted that the Trump Parc space that was available on Election Day is still available.

Opportunity knocks.

I may be posting a brief video over at my Instagram page.

Once again, I thank you all for your visits and comments.  I will now return to knitting those striped socks.  I did not knit a hat for the march.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

Halfway through January, we seem to have been embraced by a collection of grey rainy days.  It's good to find strategies to uplift our spirits.

I actually prefer a light snowfall to a lingering span of rainy days.

Coping strategies can involve homemade soups, sampling various teas from an elegant tea chest Christmas gift, reading, and knitting.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending my first Vogue Knitting Magazine Live event.  My own pre-retirement work schedules had prevented my attending these events in prior years.  The magazine sponsors such events in various parts of this country, so they are not just for New York area knitters.  

It was quite interesting to have a look at the various stands and see lots of beautiful yarns, and lots of very enthusiastic knitters.  The Shetland Wool Week stand was my absolute favorite.  Do click on the link in the prior sentence to find out more about that Week.  How I would love to visit Shetland this fall!  

Another treat was being able to tour the Vogue Knitting Magazine event along with a lovely lady visiting from California.  Many of you all might be familiar with lori times five's Instagram page?  If not, click on that link to acquaint yourself with a special person.

Because I reminded myself of just how much yarn I already had at home, I was able to resist making any purchases, but will share a couple of photographs I took.

Yesterday, my friend Elizabeth and I took a walk through rainy Central Park, over to The Metropolitan Museum of Art to see a few exhibits and have lunch.  It was interesting to discover some unusual decorations around the Museum's Great Hall and grand staircase.

Although we were not permitted to walk upon it. a very large, floral patterned carpet had been laid upon those stairs.  Around the Great Hall could be glimpsed large hedges of faux boxwood.  The information desk was being transformed into a pergola.

When I asked a security guard if a party was taking place later, I was told that the special decorations were for filming that would be taking place.  He was not able to divulge the identity of the film.  I'll see if more information becomes available as time goes on.

It was pleasant to see the spring flowers blooming on the carpet, but we eventually retrieved our coats and umbrellas, left the Met and walked a little ways down Fifth Avenue, until Elizabeth boarded a downtown bus, and I walked back home across the Park.

Even on a sort of gloomy day, there was still much to attract my eyes.

Bare branches are like delicate ink drawings.  The well worn sidewalk patterns could inspire lots of knitting.

There were some touches of green to be seen, and I also saw some rather spindly-looking snowdrops over in the Strawberry Fields area.

Elizabeth and I saw none of the usual crowds either in the Park or in the Met.

Back home, warmer and drier, I took a few more photographs of the scarf I've recently completed.  I thought of it as a sort of sampler of various fair isle motifs scattered over a neutral background.  The motifs were knit from wool; the background yarn is a blend of wool, linen and alpaca.

Another view.

And another.

And, just for fun, here's that scarf again, along with the socks I'm now working on, spread across my knitted patchwork blanket, made many years ago, but oh so welcome during the winter months.

Somehow I like the look of the mish mosh of colors and patterns.

There is a lot going on this week, besides what I've reported here.  I elected to keep this a low key mid-January city view.  Thanks to you all for your visits and comments on my New Year's post.  Whether or not those black-eyed peas are giving me extra good luck, I feel very fortunate to be part of a warm blogging community.