Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Star In The City

During the holidays, a large star hovers over the intersection of 5th Avenue and 57th Street. Because this is the tony part of Manhattan, inhabited by many jewelry stores, it’s easy to see it only as a symbol of the diamonds and other expensive jewels inside those stores. As I stood a bit further up the street, a steam pipe's exhaust sent small clouds drifting towards the star. I stood for a few minutes and watched them drift by. Now it was easy to see that star as the one that glowed, so much higher in the sky, so many years ago.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

More and More

On the Upper West Side of Manhattan is a tiny shop with the perfect name of More & More. Especially during December, it is a stellar example of the art of design maximalism. Painted pewter Santas stand in the window and dangle from the edges of cake stands. Orchestras of  angels play unheard music for stern wooden Saint Nicks. Look beyond the snowmen, birds, and  reindeer hanging from the ceiling and you will discover glittering paper houses and snow-dusted trees. How much more can the friendly and creative owners possibly cram into this wonderland of a shop? More and more every time, it seems.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Blue Christmas

At the turn of the twentieth century, Santa Claus was not restricted to exclusively wearing red. Vintage post cards show him donned in green, brown, blue and violet, as  well as in full length fur coats that would be the envy of any 1950s starlet. His attire could be a dignified robe, various styles of jackets, or even something that looked more like a pair of long  johns. Nowadays, his sartorial options are limited.  At ABC Carpet & Home in New York,  I was happy to see blue Santas created by Ino Schaller Bayern, gathered on a table. I could almost hear Elvis singing about a blue, blue blue Christmas in the background.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holiday Ground hogs

Bergdorf Goodman's Window Display Wizard Dan Hoey and his staff have outdone themselves----again! This year's theme is "Holidays On Ice." Clocks and hourglasses are frozen among the icicles surrounding a New Year's Eve party-goer. A July Fourth soldier rides a horse of ice and the pale grass of Arbor Day springs from icy roots. My favorite window is a smaller one celebrating Ground Hog Day. Where does one obtain an albino groundhog? That camera-toting squirrel must be related to the scarily aggressive ones that ravage the plants on my porch. Bergdorf's windows alone are reason enough to go to New York in December. But you can also view them at 
Bergdorf Blog

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Great Big Aquamarine

The Hope Diamond is the star attraction at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum but a rival is on display in an adjoining gallery. The 10,363 carat Dom Pedro Aquamarine radiates a mandora of rainbows. That's five pounds of pale green gemstone.  Its obelisk shape repeats that of the nearby Washington Monument and is also a reminder of the natural crystalline structure of many minerals. Dug up in Brazil, it was a much larger boulder that broke into three pieces when the workers dropped it. Many large gems have a bad luck story in their background. The aura of unluckiness that clings to the Hope Diamond will always be more glamourous, but this big aquamarine is my new favorite.