Oh, it was a fine Easter Sunday for a parade along Manhattan’s famous and fashionable Fifth Avenue and taking part in the annual Easter Parade.
This was not your normal parade with floats, huge balloons and marching bands but, a people’s parade where everyone could join in hat on head. As far as the eye could see there were the most outrageous, elaborate, playful, ludicrous, entertaining, ridiculous and just plain silly chapeau, caps, bonnets and headdresses. Most of them homemade and a few purchased off the rack.
The Bonnets were festooned with mounds of ribbon, tulle, feathers, bows and topped with butterflies, chickadees, eggs, flowers and anything pertaining to this exciting and always anticipated season of spring. A few were dainty and modest but, most of them were loud, proud and over sized to the extreme in width, depth and height. Some of the hats were augmented by wonderful whimsical costumes. And, humans were not the only ones strutting their stuff on this warm sunny day, quite a few decked out doggies showed off their finery and stole the show from their loving owners.
Put on your frilly, silly bonnet and enjoy the parade.
Yesterday, I was off from work and, with all good intentions was going to spend it doing a little spring cleaning around the apartment. Those domestic and good intentions went by the wayside as I stepped outside the front door, laundry bag in hand, and felt the warmth of the sun on my face and everywhere I looked I saw green. Bright new green. The lawns no longer brown and dull by winter’s icy hand, gave off a verdant shimmer, the trees now fully awake from their cold weather hibernation, sprouted tiny delicate green leaves and tender shoots. Some early blooming Magnolias were showing off their young vibrant blooms with pride. Cherry blossoms in white and pink looked delightful and beautiful against the blue sky.
The world before my eyes, vividly painted by spring’s hand, made me realize….the laundry and cleaning can wait! Woohoo! I ran back into the apartment seized the camera and away I went on a quest to capture the greening.
I live in a development called Garden Bay Manor and it has some lovely but, slightly neglected garden pathways and that is where I spent my time with the camera. The goal was to photograph anything green or flowering and that even included weeds, my favorite weed being the Dandelion. I know it is the scourge of many people’s lawns but, around here they make the neglected lawns look pretty good. 🙂 A few of the tenants have created small gardens of their own and blooming with early daffodils, tulips and Grape Hyacinth as well as the aforementioned Magnolias. Wild Geranium Weed carpeted the ground with tiny purple and white flowers, the latter with centers of blue and yellow.
I came upon a woodland chair carved from and still attached to a tree right in my own back yard and beneath a budding tree, a child’s memorial to their recently departed gold fish, Fred (RIP); a sprinkle of now dried dandelions graced the grave stone.
I didn’t go far in my quest but, I felt I captured the best of the coming season and look forward to rest that spring has to offer in the coming weeks.
Enjoy this little home grown ramble through my world.
Usually, at this spring time of year, I head over to the Bronx Botanical Gardens for the annual orchid show but, this year I decided to try a new venue: Macy’s Annual Flower Show. This year’s theme is Carnival.
When I stepped through the doors of Macy’s department store on Herald Square, it was completely festooned with gorgeous dazzling spring flowers. Walking up the center aisle, brightly painted carousel horses, roosters and white rabbits greeted you bobbing slowly up and down resplendent with grand bouquets of flowers. The jolly sounds of Calliope music floated through the air imparting the feel of a spring circus.
I was amused to find a tropical fish tank in the middle of the store and stopped to admire the gold and white fish and their delicate lace like fins. Wending my way through the familiar department store displays of fine jewelry, fragrant perfume, women’s high fashion bags and shoes (oh, what will power I had!) capturing the spring blossoms that enhanced the finery surrounding me.
I’ve mentioned many times that I consider photography as art. Like an artist I create with my hands and eyes, manipulating a camera and a computer to bring the image alive. I create the image twice: First in my head, as I scan the scenery or an object before me, creating a mental composition; Second, through the lens, focusing on the details and capturing light and color to make the image appear real or surreal.
With all that said above, I paid a visit to Socrates Sculpture Park, on Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City Queens, last Sunday afternoon, to practice what I preach. A frigid day for wandering around an outdoor exhibit but, when the sun is shining there’s no keeping me and my camera indoors. I hadn’t been to the park for a few years and was eager to take a look at the current exhibit from the Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition.
I got off the Q69 bus on the corner of Broadway and 21st Street, hung a right and walked up toward Vernon Boulevard photographing this edgy, commercial urban neighborhood. The primary colors seemed to be popping out everywhere; yellow blue, red. I was artistically smitten by a gritty old blue Mercedes that had its rusted parts sanded down for a much needed repair and paint, and the results created a smooth fluid abstract designs that even Salvador Dali would have appreciated 🙂
The park is a big open grassy space, once an old industrial landfill on the edge of the East River and, it takes only a minute for you to spot something out of the ordinary or what looks ordinary but isn’t, like a huge mound of dirt corralled in a rusted fence. There were winged feet in a frosted pond, a garden of disembodied heads, huge block letters, proclaiming “MORE LIGHT”, which wasn’t hard for me to relate to, a flat-bed truck that would begin to play The Doors “Riders on the Storm” when you got close to it. Over sized wire chairs and coffee cups, and a large yellow boulder like piece entitled “Swiss Cheese.” I took my time admiring each of the sculptures as I contemplated how to best place them into my image compositions. Almost everything in and around that park is considered art even the desiccated and decaying bits of old dock and row boats lining the shores, where I spent a happy amount of time, and the bright welcoming orange steel gates of the park.
This park sits right along side a narrow sabulous strip of land known as Hallet’s Cove on Vernon Boulevard. At the far end there is a weather beaten red wooden warehouse with an aging yellow crane and can be quite picturesque if you have a good imagination, which I do.
Please click on this link Socrates Sculpture Park to read the names of the very talented artists who created these amazing pieces of urban art for this exhibition.
My lens was pointed skyward to capture the 19th century cast-iron and red stone building facades against a contrasting deep blue. I never realized before how many red buildings there are downtown. Some of them topped in blue or oxidized copper green. Almost all of the buildings had a water tower perched right on the corner of the roof or sported a huge billboard on the side, advertising fashion, food and neighborhood bars.
St. Patrick’s Old Church, on Mulberry Street was going through a renovation and I could only get a corner glimpse of the cemetery but, the outside of the building was beautiful in its color and Gothic style, and gleamed in the sun and I was able to capture a few reflections in its windows.
Because the sky was bright and the slender streets were in shade, that made for perfect reflections of the towering buildings on the hoods of cars, store windows and of course puddles. I zoomed in and pulled together a singular grouping of buildings all different shades, styles, heights and widths showing off the dynamic changes in each neighborhood I passed through. One of my favorite buildings of the modern architecture and the best reflections, ever, is the glass and steel, Astor Place Tower! It’s like photographing images through fun house mirrors. I’ve photographed these neighborhoods many times over the years and each time I look through the lens I see something different and create something new.
It was getting near five o’clock and I had not had anything in my stomach since breakfast other than a cup a Cafe Au Lait at the salon (yeah, I know. Life’s tough) and I was hungry. My parting shot was of the Astor Place train station’s reproduction of the old striking blue-green, IRT kiosk, where I descended into the depths of Manhattan and caught the #6 train heading uptown and home.
Last Saturday my sole purpose of going to Central Park was to shoot the Ice “Festival” that was taking place in front of the Naumburg Bandshell, sitting at the end of the Mall and Literary Walk. I had visions of leisurely wandering around and photographing a variety of beautiful cool crystalline sculptures glistening in the sun.
By the time I got to the Bandshell it was at least fifty people deep packed in, sardine like, craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the festivities and being serenaded by a pounding, driving beat blaring from giant speakers on either side of the shell. Nearly shattered the eardrums.
If a person was over 6 feet tall they had a grand view of the sculptor’s skills as he wielded his ice carving accouterments to the delighted oohs and aahs of the tall viewing crowd. I on the other hand, being a mere 5’2” had a commanding view of people’s backs and shoulders and if they were my height, heads. Even at that vantage point I could only get a squint at the tip of a large lump of ice in the far distance. That, and the claustrophobic conditions, convinced me to turn around and get the heck out of there. Better luck next year.
Back to the beginning of my arrival at the park.
When you exit the N or R train at 5th Avenue and 60th street, climb up the stairs and gaze out over a rocky wall on your left, a lovely serene vista lay before your eyes, a picture perfect Central Park scene, The Pond. It is always a visitor’s focal point throughout all seasons. My favorite is the winter season when Jack Frost has put down a smooth layer of ice on the water and where plump colorful ducks nap or nibble at water plants along its crusty frozen edges.
I played around the massive rocks littered throughout the park, capturing the snow that had melted and then froze over creating delicate lace like patterns that clung to their edges. There were also thick chunky icicles within the cracks and crevices of these infamous boulders which, were left by a passing ancient glacier thousands of years ago.
As the day warmed up the snow started melting and I sloshed through slush and squatted down to watch a runnel of melt water under the ice and snow, pool into a bubbly foam. Large puddles cast wonderful reflections and the trees, those beautiful trees that line the Mall walkway, provided spectacular back drops and foregrounds against the late afternoon sky.
Not a bad day at all, really. I hope you enjoy this walk in the park.
All was serene and balmy yesterday evening and then Wham! Niko arrives, rapidly lowering temperatures to below freezing and by morning became a blowing, blustering blizzard (it is still coming down as I write this.) Global warming at its best!
Obviously, I did not go into work today but, I was up early and opening windows all over the apartment so I could capture the beauty of this second winter storm of the season from the comfort of my humble abode. In fact I’m still in my ‘jammies and have not intentions of getting out of them any time soon.
Snow plows and shovels are out trying to clear paths as the snow slowly buries the block in a white cloak of cold.
Time for another blueberry muffin and a cup of steaming coffee.