Sunday, January 21, 2018

Snowfall from Inside a Taxi

Winter has thrown its chilly blanket of ice and snow over parts of the country that rarely experience it. Today I'm sharing my favorite photo of this winter, captured from a taxi during a snowstorm. Looking out through the fogged-up window, the view seemed to capture the essence of a snowy day: muted monotones, indistinct outlines and exciting jolts of the yellows and oranges that mark this as a city street. For a moment, everything was an impressionistic painting instead of a slushy intersection. It's easy to enjoy the scene when you are safely inside looking out.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Look Up! Look Down!

Set me loose in a city and I am happy to wander the streets for days, gawking at the architectural details, looking up at the capitals of columns and down at the patterns of tile floors. A great day is one during which I've discovered an elegant wrought iron gate or a stone squirrel climbing up the stone foliage surrounding an entry. Artists and craftspeople of a bygone age took great care in creating all those details that enrich the cityscape. Open up your eyes, look up and down and all around you. Enjoy the show!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Last of the Santas

I've always felt sorry for the Leftovers, the heart-shaped boxes of chocolates still poised on shelves on February 17th, the jumbled rolls of wrapping paper whose designs were not deemed festive enough to be chosen in December, the stuffed bunny with a strange expression who did not find a place in a child's Easter basket. Now it is too late for this small platoon of chocolate Santas. What went wrong/ They look so friendly with their gold foil packs slung over their red foil shoulders. Well, except for the one who has been dealt a death blow, possibly by the eager grasp of a small child whose mother's back was turned for a moment. Goodbye Santas. We will welcome your replacements next Christmas.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Snow Covered Benches Along Riverside Drive

A walk in the midst of a snowstorm is a magical experience. Big fluffy flakes (the best kind) muffle the relentless sounds of the city and soften some of the sharp edges. The first flakes bring out the patterns of the paving and highlight features like benches, doors and wrought iron gates. Not quite monochromatic, subtle yet dramatic, gray skies above but everything getting whiter by the minute. Best of all, if you are a visitor, you don't have to shovel the snow.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Shrine, Madonna and Child

A small portable shrine sits in a glass case in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, not far from where crowds gather to admire the museum’s famous Christmas tree. Carved from wood in about 1300, it was probably a commission for a wealthy German noble. Meant to represent the miracle of the Incarnation, the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus open up to reveal what had originally been all parts of the Trinity. Only God the Father remains, but the painted "wings" still tell the story of the Nativity in colors as bright as when the shrine was made. As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, I am thankful that small miracles of craftsmanship like this have survived to remind us of why we celebrate that day.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Flower Power At Bergdorf's

For 2017, Bergdorf Goodman's holiday windows are a salute to various museums and sites of interest. This one, featuring the New York Botanic Gardens seems to time travel back to the Swinging Sixties.  The gardening books are created from fabric and embroidered with titles in fonts that are straight out of Fillmore East posters. Where have we seen those models? Perhaps in a 1968 fashion spread for the London fashion company Biba.  Excuse me while I go listen to my copy of "Sgt Pepper."

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Light Show, Saks Fifth Avenue

The holiday windows make New York City an alluring destination in December. But the most spectacular sight is the light show that plays out every few minutes on the facade of Saks. This year's version is my favorite so far. A clock ticks down then the turrets and gates of a castle appear. Colors wash over the turrets, fountains splash up and the aurora borealis moves across the "sky."  Thousands of people can watch from Rockefeller Center right across the street. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, nearly everyone stops to turn their faces upward, oohing and aahing. It's a communal experience full of the joy and wonder that we all hope to find during this season.