Translation from English

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Flower District (II)

As noted, Flower District is blossoming again....below, tourists are for some reason fascinated by ad on side of pay phone enclosure...they took several pix of it with their cell devices...

Spring in the Flower District (I), retail stores changing

Well, as Spring has come to the ever shrinking Flower District, more flowers and plants are out on display...just as the local daffodils have finally started to bloom. Tulips are threatening to bloom in many places now...delayed by a cold Spring....

Graffiti never really goes away

Over in the Garment District, two trucks show different approaches to graffiti...

The truck on top is just a typical average grey truck which has been defaced..

The one on the bottom was painted over with " Art Graffiti" on purpose-- but other people have added new scrawls over it anyway...

Actually, I feel the Art Graffiti truck is pretty successful visually, it is just a shame other graffiti minded people don't leave it alone...

I wonder when the City stopped its "zero tolerance" policy on seems to be creeping back into the subways too....

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Billions of Cicadas on Their Way

Yeah, the Cicadas which live underground nourished off roots for years and years are due back this year...

I wonder how many there will be in NYC? Probably not as many as in the areas around NY...
I wonder what Central Park would look like if the Cicadas really come up there...

Well, we will see... 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Arrives, or so it seems--St. Vartan's Park playgrounds

WEATHER has been fluctuating lately ( getting very cold at night but Springlike during the day) and now they say April will average above normal temps by the time we are through.

Well, youthful energy is bursting out on the local park playgrounds, that's for sure...though it never really stopped all winter. Only thing that kept people off the play areas was snow, and then the little kids made snowmen. But people were out there all winter, just dressed more warmly...

The Amateur Artist....

Just for fun, I am including a horse head sculpture I did for an art class some years back. In truth, it was all experimenting for me, because I had no training or experience with sculpture at all. But I will inflict it on you anyway

Art, Design....what is modern?

When I was growing up, I was always hearing adults saying, " I don't know much about Art, but I know what I like."

People in Manhattan are not modest about what they know about Art. They usually just do not talk about something at all if they don't like it-- except when it gets out of hand, like Graffiti.  ( I occasionally saw Graffiti that was artistically inspired but most of the time it was just-- well-- vandalism).

Most of the art stores around here cater to just about every taste in Art.

Take this painting. Please. ( LOL). In my opinion it shows the triumph of the idea of Design over the Idea of Art, something for which we have to blame critics, and prominent artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. They were naturally very talented artists for whom realism was easy --and also boring-- and so they got carried away more and more with design experiments. ( If you want to see Picasso when he was back in realistic mode, he did a lovely portrait of his daughter that is in the mode of realism with the influence of Impressionism , for instance).

I cannot explain completely why I like some artists more than others but if pressed I can tell you why I like individual works of art. I like to paint and draw myself, but have not done so in a while...I am too aware of the limits on my talents. Here is a nude I did some time ago which my art teacher at the time HATED-- but I have artistically minded friends who like it and I like and that is good enough for me

Friday, April 5, 2013

To Hell with Bloomberg

I have noticed that Ruffino has started a big ad campaign which obviously shows nostalgia for the carefree, more risk taking days when people rode around joyously on motorbike and bicycles without helmets....and all the other safety features which we now have to have.

New York's over aggressive little billionaire Mayor of course, even wants to tell people what size soda containers they can buy...before he moves on to some new restrictive idea. All for your own good, of course.

I sense a spirit of revolt brewing in people which the Ruffino people also have picked up on-- even if , in the end, people will just go along with the safer lifestyle choices. 

Also, for older folks, who would not like to be young again and have that kind of sublime over self confidence ( at least in some areas) of their palmier days?

Remanants of Hurricane Sandy, five months on

While the power was out for a week in this area (or even longer for some unlucky people),
there was not the real damage that Hurricane Sandy inflicted on Coastal areas. ( Of course, NYU and Bellevue hospitals, which are on the edge of the East River, had real flooding problems and it must have occurred to someone finally that having their emergency generators down on the lowest basement floors which would be the first places to flood and the last to dry out was not the wisest of ideas).

I follow the progress of Recovery from Hurricane Sandy on WNYC, which always it seems has some kind of update on a Sandy-related story on its website.

Kitsch Everywhere

It has always been there to see, of course, but I was just struck again the other day how many stores and delis around here have "kitsch" ( cheap and tawdry and lowest common denominator taste) items for sale around here, even though this is such an "upscale" area.

The local Rite Aid, where I took this shot, has a whole section filled with all kinds of figurines and other objects that are--well, you could call them whimsical and cute etc. but they are all pretty much in the "kitsch" category when you think about it.

Some delis in particular have stuff like this, including such outdated items as weird cute ash trays for sale. ( Guess more people than you realize still smoke, they just do not do it in public much any more. Wait a second, just the other day I passed about four of five people in quick succession on Second Avenue who were all puffing away on cigarettes. One was a much older woman, not badly dressed at all but with a rather haggard face, up on raised area above the sidewalk that was part of the Kips Bay Plaza Apartment complex. 

She was puffing away with grim determination on a windy day and was indeed like a small smoke stack...

I saw a young intern at my clinic not so long ago ( I now go to a clinic for older people) who, when I told him I had quit smoking some years back, actually asked me if I would tell anyone I knew who still smoked why they had to quit. He seemed upset as he said this, as if he was running into older people all the time who probably just told him, " I'm too old to quit now," or something. 

Fact is, I don't know anyone well who smokes-- whoops, I DO know one man in my building, he looks much younger than he is still is, who is an integral part of our Tenants Association. Every once in a while he ducks into the courtyard behind the building Community room to puff away furiously for a few minutes.

I would never think of telling him, "Hey, you ought to stop smoking." I mean, he knows that. And I, like Mark Twain, quit smoking hundreds of times before I was able to finally stop for good --going to Nicotine Anonymous and using Nicotine lozenges is what made all the difference for me. My group had some great people in it, some of whom had not smoked for up to ten years or so, others who had just started smoking again after three or fours years off of the evil weed ( I know that pattern all too well). 

Listening to how addicted these people felt resonated very strongly with me and the shared resolve and support I felt there helped me more than I can tell you.

Oh yeah, I paid no attention at all to all the mystical "higher power" aspect of our meetings...I am more interested in what someone like Paul Tillich has to say than in the watered down semi religious stuff they use at Nicotine Anonymous. 

This Neighborhood has more young kids than ever

This whole area of lower Murray Hill/Kips Bay had a noticeable number of small children when I first moved in here ten years ago, and seems to have more than ever now.

Was just walking around the other day and realized how many windows on houses have child window guards on them...required by City law. Usually, you really see a lot of these mostly in housing projects where poorer people live ( fact: poorer people in NYC have always had more kids than better off people, also, number of singles and childless couples in Manhattan in particular is a much bigger percentage of the population than most places in America).

And, of course, you see the endless parade of nannies and young mothers with baby buggies and strollers out on nicer days --they seem to favor certain hours but I have never kept a log of this so I am not sure what those times are...

I guess the same pattern has been holding true for years: people move in here and have a couple of kids and then move on to some place else, and are replaced by new young(er) couples who start to have children.  As elsewhere in America, a lot of the mothers are over 30 I would say, because they wait to finish school and establish themselves somewhat in careers before they have kids. The double incomes are a necessity for many people, especially because it costs so much to live in Manhattan.