Thursday, July 20, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

Since my previous blog post, much work has been continuing along my street to repair the damage recently done to the electrical power sources.  The city heat has been oppressive, but the teams of Con Edison workers have nonetheless been working very long hours to complete the massive project.

It is a pleasure to share some pictures that might illustrate the nature of the challenge.

The above photo shows a large tangle of old wires removed during the repair work.  The following photo shows the same tangle, plus an iconic yellow taxi, a parked bike, and also orange traffic cones placed along our stretch of Broadway during the massive repair work being done below street level.

The following picture, looking south on Broadway, indicates what a large section of that avenue has been temporarily removed from vehicular traffic access.  If you look carefully, you will see some of the workers in that crevasse.

On my own street, lots of large vehicles arrive for their part in the process and then depart, their places to be filled my other large vehicles and equipment.  It is quite an operation.

The workers are very professional and keep their various "work stations" very tidy and safe.

In this closer view of the same team, you can tell that one of the men is working below ground.  The temperature above ground is 90 F.

Plywood protective boxes have been constructed to keep non-professionals from getting too close to the open man holes.

A close look at the next photo will show you that there are many such "purpose built crates" along the street.  Everything is progressing steadily, carefully and surely towards a successful completion.  

Just to switch up the photographs a bit, I wanted to share this bouquet that I saw at yesterday's Union Square farmers market.  I have given the address of this blog page to some of the electrical rescue teams, and hope that they will see the flowers as a thank you for all their hard work.

I also thank you all who have visited and commented on my immediately previous post.  Together, these two posts show some different city views from those that I often share.  It's all part of NYC!

Monday, July 17, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

Hot weather settled in here in the past week, and along with the humidity, some other challenges occurred in my neighborhood.

Last Thursday afternoon, as I was washing my brushes after some hours of working on my current painting, I noticed that the electric lights were flickering and that my fan's rotating blades were slowing down.  

I suspected an electrical "brown out" which sometimes is put into place by Consolidated Edison, the electrical utility, to protect the electrical grid from an actual brownout. I clicked on a local TV station's 5 o'clock news and learned that some vast thunderstorms were in nearby areas, but would probably pass the City by.  No mention of a brownout.

I switched out the TV, shut down my computer, and then the lights went out and my fan stopped.

As sunset was still come hours away, I decided that I'd better fix a  quick pasta supper in my tiny kitchen, making use of my gas stove and my two flashlights and that's what I did.

Next on the pre-sundown agenda was to walk downstairs to see what was going on at street level.  The elevators were shut down, but dimmed lighting was still on in the hallways and stairwells.  I wanted to also buy some additional "D" batteries for my large flashlight.

It was when I reached the lobby that I discovered that my half of the block was roped off to any vehicular traffic and that many (perhaps over a hundred) folks from the City Fire Department, Police Department and Con Edison were hard at work putting out a very smoky fire that had been caused by underground electrical explosions.  It was an amazing sight to see what was happening at the Broadway corner.  Even the subway station and trains were affected.

I walked in the opposite direction to find a shop and buy my batteries, then came home, chatted awhile with fellow tenants and apartment building staff and even a few firemen, then walked up the stairs to my apartment, had a wash, and went to bed.

The fire was put out overnight and massive Con Edison work has since continued to restore electricity and repair and replace damaged equipment.

These are just a few photographs from my front window showing a bit of the work and equipment.

In the photo below, you might be able to make out the giant elevated "vacuum cleaner" that was being lowered into the man hole in order to draw out all sorts of trouble-making debris.  While this was going on, other Con Edison workers were using hoses to flush out the area.  This process was being repeated all along the block.

I'm glad to report that my apartment's electrical power was restored by 10 on Friday morning.  Other large building residents and businesses in the immediate area were not so fortunate, and had to rely on generators provided by the city.  This was, and still is, a huge repair job.  It is amazing to see how many stages are involved.  I truly admire the workers' skill and dedication.  

I wanted to take more photos, but did not want to get in the way of the amazing teams of workers.

I have returned to working on my current "rescued" painting that I abandoned about 25 years ago.  I am thoroughly enjoying this process.

It's also grand to have my trusty little fan back in service.

Thank you all for your visits and comments.  I have been continuing to post more regularly over on by Instagram page which may be found here.  Now it is time for me to return to work on that painting.  It's almost, but not quite, done.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

As the end of June grows closer, and summer's heat and humidity have indeed arrived in New York, I admit to having become an even lazier blogger.  Before July actually shows up, I'm determined to show you all some city views.

My favorite NYC farmers market is the one in Union Square, and it has finally come into its glorious summertime bounty.  Flowers and produce displays grow more marvelous every week.

Another June feature is rain, even thunderstorms.  Sometimes the downpours coincide with farmers market days, and keep me indoors.  Sometimes the weather is perfect, just like the strawberries in the following photo.

On rare cooler days, I continue to work on a current knitting project, a tubular fair isle cowl destined for eventual inclusion in my shop.  The colors are cooling, even if the wool yarn is not!

Something else that has been taking my waking time is my recent return to oil painting after a sixteen year break.  I have begun trying to rescue a painting I abandoned back then.  Within the first few hours of sitting at my old easel, I realized how much I have missed painting.

Pleasant weather has also added opportunities to get together with friends.  There have been lots of lunches and museum visits and walks in Central Park. 

I've been reading quite a bit, and would recommend two recently finished novels, Transit by Rachel Cusk and Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves.  Keeping up with constantly changing current events and writing and calling my elected government representatives has also been a regular activity. 

There have been lots of walks around my West Side neighborhood.  My smart phone keeps track of my walking mileage, and I am sometimes surprised to discover how many miles I have walked!  Always wearing sunscreen, as I dutifully follow the advice of my excellent dermatologist.  A recent semi-annual skin cancer check up received the "your skin looks fine" verdict and I rejoiced.

On Sundays, another farmers market takes place along the Columbus Avenue sidewalk behind the Museum of Natural History.  It's a short walk for me, and a fine alternative to the much larger Union Square market that requires a subway ride.

Delicious tomatoes have finally appeared.  Cauliflower looks grand, too.  Actually, just about all the summer produce is now on display.  Cherries, zucchini, varieties of peas and beans, lettuces...the works!

On a recent hot Sunday afternoon walk home from the farmers market, I encountered a sweet little kitty who wandered onto the hot sidewalk in front of its home, offering me a warm greeting.  

However, realizing just how hot that concrete sidewalk was, the little kitty gracefully retreated toward a shadier spot.

On another sunny afternoon, I left my oil painting, to take a walk around the neighborhood, and passed by Lincoln Center, discovering this rather wonderful oversized ballerina sculpture had been installed in Dante Park.

The sculptor (whose name I did not discover) clearly was having fun with inspiration from Degas.  This ballerina seemed to be wishing she could be on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House, along with the American Ballet Theater company.

Or was she perhaps gazing at the ice cream truck parked right in front of the Lincoln Center Plaza?

One late afternoon this past week, NYC's commuting home hour was also the time for a series of very fierce storms to pass through the metropolitan area.  Lots and lots of strong rain and wind.  The following morning was a gorgeous sight as I walked across Central Park to meet a friend at the Met Museum.  After viewing a very interesting exhibit of ancient Chinese art, we had lunch at a Park cafe terrace and then walked a bit.  That was when I saw the above scene.  One of the grand old willow trees by the Lake had toppled over during the storm.  It will be interesting to discover how the Parks Department will handle this fallen beauty.

I am hoping that this long overdue blog post will give you all an idea of what else has been going on around here.  I will leave you all with this view of the progress that I have been making on rescuing my old painting.  I think it is almost done, but want to let it rest for a while.  (Hot summer days can also encourage painters to take naps!)

As always, thank you all for your visits and lovely comments.  I realize that I owe you all many visits and will be trying to catch up with commenting on your summer posts.

Monday, May 29, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York on a cloudy Memorial Day Monday.

I am sure that many families who've wished for better weather are hoping that the sun returns in time for a picnic or other outdoor plans.

Clouds outdoors give me a great opportunity for an overdue blog post, showing you all some city views from late May.

Even though yesterday was also a bit overcast, I went out for a long walk, passing by some of my favorite brownstone buildings on my way over to the neighborhood Sunday flea market and farmers market. It's always a pleasure to make note of the old houses' decorative details.

The photo below of 108 shows a building that has recently had some facade work done.  I rather like the entwined vine motifs, but wish that the seams between the panels had been better disguised.

The two houses in the following photograph have also recently had some loving care.  I'm glad that the moss wasn't all scraped off.  You can tell that this is a holiday weekend by the plastic-encased newspapers that have been left on the front steps.

I only bought some Cameo apples from the farmers market and did not find much of interest at the flea market.  I continued my walk along other avenues and discovered a rather lack luster street fair along many blocks of Broadway.  Lots of fried food, grilled meats, lemonade, and somewhat suspect linens, carpets, handbags and cosmetics.  The straw hat stands had possibilities, but would have been busier on a sunny afternoon.

During the past week, while not reading detective novels, knitting and keeping up with the breaking news from the President's foreign trip, I've also been continuing to post photographs of some of my old paintings over on Instagram.

After having these paintings all to myself for decades, it's been fun to have a quick way to share them with other eyes.  If you all would like to see them, just click Here.

Thank you all for your visits and comments.  I do apologize for my not having done much visiting myself.  I promise to have a major round of catching up very soon.  Ahh, looks like the sun might be trying to break through, so I might now go out for another walk.

Monday, May 22, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good Monday morning from New York.

It's a bit cool and rainy today, but at the weekend the sun was shining and I noticed that some new sculptures have appeared along the median malls along upper Broadway.

This large bronze mother and child sculpture is by Joy Brown and has been installed at the West 71st Street exit of the 72nd Street subway station.

It is possible to find out more about this public art project by having a look at the Broadway Mall Association link here.  The following photo shows the Joy Brown sculpture on the mall at Broadway and 79th Street.  Its curves seem to echo the architecture of the Baptist Church in the background.

I'm still probably spending far too much time trying to keep up with various current event developments, but thought I would share with you a photo of a painting I completed towards the end of the last century.  I am thinking of getting out the oils again this summer when it will be possible to keep my bedroom/studio window open without fear of a pollen attack.  I am posting more photos of old paintings on my Instagram page.

Thank you all for your visits and comments on my prior post with the pictures from the Met exhibit.  I will be getting back there eventually for another look and more photographs.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good Thursday morning from New York.

This has already been a tumultuous week in our country.  I have spent many hours indoors, staying away from hay-fever-producing pollen, but instead following developments on the political, governmental front.  

The pace of various investigations seems to be quickening, even though the President has fired the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Russian governmental officials met with the President in the Oval Office of the White House yesterday.  American press members were not allowed to take photographs.  Tass was allowed to take photographs.

On Tuesday, I did escape my apartment.  I met a friend at The Metropolitan of Art to view a fabulous new exhibit honoring the Comme des Garcons designs of Rei Kawakubo.  You all may enjoy viewing the link in the previous sentence.  I will also share with you some of the photographs that I took while touring the exhibit.

The exhibition designers have created a set of bright white stages and "fitting rooms" that are starkly lit to allow viewers to see many details.

The groups of mannequins sometimes show designs from differing collections.

In many instances, it is possible to have a very close up view, allowing one to examine the tailoring and materials.

Lots of creativity has been used in creating the head dresses, too.

Many of the black garments reveal to the viewer that they are not completely constructed from one shade of black.  Black can have a cool blue tone, or a warmer brown tone.

Some of the garments might not be what one would choose to wear, and yet in some cases, a particular garment might be very wearable.

I do plan to visit this exhibit several more times and only present a small sampling here of what I saw on Tuesday.

It will be interesting to see if the exhibit draws crowds as the weeks go by.  On Tuesday, it was fun to see that some of the visitors were also dressed in very interesting ways.

I am hoping that some of you who see these photographs might also be able to visit the exhibit.

Over on my Instagram page you will also be able to see a short video I made at this exhibit.

Thank you all for your visits and comments.  Now, I will turn my attention back to watching Senate hearings and working on my current Intrelac knitting project.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

It is now May Day Eve.  This realization reminds me how I have become a very lazy blogger.  It also reminds me that it's been grand to have been spending much more time outdoors as my winter down-filled coat has been traded in for various layers of cotton, silk and wool.

At home, on the breakfast front, Quaker Oats Old Fashioned oatmeal, prepared with raisins, a dash of cinnamon and brown sugar and milk, has been replaced by the simpler goodness of Cheerios.  Winter and summer oats promise to be kind to my cholesterol levels.  When berry season appears at the farmers market, strawberries will replace the raisins. 

Over in Central Park, flowering trees have been flowering.

Daffodils have surpassed their peak blooming season.  Tulips are on display.

The blue sky days are blissful.  Even when clouds roll into town, we now know that snow won't be part of the package.

Romantic couples (memories...) and friends rent rowboats to travel the Lake in Central Park.

My Mom just celebrated her 99th birthday, and I hope that she won't mind my sharing with you all the watercolor anemone blooms I painted for her card. 

On the knitting front that is always lurking around my apartment, I have begun an experiment with a new technique, Entrelac, that creates a sort of basket weave effect.  I have been following the technical advice given by Entralac.  Once you get the gist of the basic maneuvers, there are countless variations possible.  Give it a go...not that complicated.

My recovery from that February fall is almost complete.  I have participated in some more political activities and continue to communicate with my elected governmental politicians.  On a bus ride yesterday, I noticed that "stand by" barricades are still up in front of Bergdorf Goodman, located diagonally across Fifth Avenue from Trump Tower.

The NYC taxpayers continue to fund this, as the First Lady and her son still dwell in TT.

Moving along, here is a view of the current garden space that is planted just above the subway station at 72nd Street and Broadway.

On an afternoon walk today through my neighborhood, I stopped to take this picture of a classic Upper West Side brownstone building that features a well-chosen planting for its parlor floor window boxes.

Thank you all so much for visiting and leaving your comments.  I continue to also appreciate the pleasures of Instagram and invite you all to also visit me at my page there.  I also promise to continue visiting you blogging pals.