Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Winter 4

Sheep Meadow 

Sheep Meadow 

Lincoln Center Plaza

Lincoln Center Plaza


Truth to tell—I actually like "weather," yet feel myself ready for spring now that Gotham has had one snow storm after another—excepting, of course, the huge one that was hyped to death but did not happen. So great was the fear of lawyers (read politicians) that the subway stopped in preparation—an unheard of occurrence. I read afterwards that the wrong computer model was used. I did get some nice pictures however. 


Photo Credit: Daniel's Dinky iPhone 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Friend Anne

Amne Wiggins Brown 

Yes, the greens are no more, but the faux cranberry branches, gilded pine cones, and running reindeer still grace the mantel, along with framed photos of Anne Wiggins Brown, the first Bess of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. 

We had become friends, Anne and I, after we talked for hours about her studies at Juilliard in the 1930's. She lived in Oslo, Norway, but visited Gotham several times after we met, each time coming to the apartment and making me sing for her. It did not surprise then, when a Fulbright application appeared in my mailbox. I knew right away who had sent it, but also knew I was not the person to facilitate the translation of her autobiography into English, much as I treasured our conversations about singing and many other things. 

Anne was one of two persons I knew who spoke with a beautifully rounded "ah" vowel (the other person was Kitty Carlisle Hart), the kind of which can only heard in B&W movies from the 1940's. She was as beautiful and cultured as the sound of her voice, possessing a refinement of manners that is rare today.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Tabletop Christmas Tree





A friend recently remarked that once a tree is chosen and cut (he finds his upstate in a field), it is always the prettiest one, which makes sense when you observe that our brains, whether we know it or not, live in the present, rather than the past or future.

I've featured ours already, albeit in different light. And as far as that goes, this amateur photographer prefers these shots for their softness of light—light which is northern, cool and blue-grey to the eye. I give it a few days at most until the ornaments go back to their felt 1950's sample case, since the greens are more than ready for the tree pits that line each side of the street.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Day Walk

Sheep Meadow 

Looking towards 5th Avenue and Central Park South

Looking towards 5th Avenue 

Frick Museum 

Frick Museum Garden 

St. James Episcopal Church, Madison Avenue 

East 72nd Street 

Bethesda Terrace 

Central Park West 


A Christmas Day walk took Mr. Husband and I across Central Park to the Frick Museum and Madison Avenue, then back across the Park at 72nd Street, where we passed the Bethesda Terrace. It was a beautiful afternoon, with "stormy" light making the towering new building seen from Sheep Meadow look somewhat interesting for the first time ever. More tall buildings will be going up in the years to come, which will significantly change the skyline.

Speaking of building: The Frick Museum wants to build a tower where a lovely courtyard garden now stands (my photo of the Frick with a tree), which is protected by the Landmarks Commission. This kind of proposal having been shot down once before, we'll see what happens. Change is relentless in this town! 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas



The photo above was snapped Christmas Eve morning at 10 am, when our local classical radio station WQXR broadcast Lessons & Carols from King's College, England, in real time. I made a pot of darjeeling while listening, and puttered around the kitchen getting things ready for today, when we'll host our ninety-five year old neighbor Charles for dinner (who caught Edith Piaf in his arms during her last appearance in Gotham—she died shortly afterwards—and also climbed the pyramids when he was ninety). Jacque Pépin's steamed turkey is on the menu as it was at Thanksgiving, while dessert will be a chocolate log from the fabulous French bakery around the corner. Sharp eyes will notice that I moved the tree to the other side of the table behind the sofa, where it is more at home in the room. It's an art, is it not, this thing called beauty? I'm still learning.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas at The Apthorp



I had a wonderful afternoon lunch with a friend here in Gotham yesterday, whereupon I sailed down Broadway to pick up a Christmas turkey at Fairway Market, passing by the Apthorp and snapping a few photos of its entrance. 




I was in one of the apartments once, which had a huge living room: 30 by 40, with 18 foot ceilings—the apartment had its own entrance right off the elevator, and hallways so wide extended arms did not touch the walls. That was years ago, before the building was taken over and made into condominiums, and the impala-buckback-something-or-other on the gate was gilded. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Bringing in the Green



I told myself that I wasn't going to do very much decorating this year, but found myself with a tabletop tree (see previous post) and garland on the mantel. The later was sourced from a Christmas tree stand a few blocks away: so really, all I had to do was tie it up via exists screws, and bring some gilded pine cones and faux cranberry branches out of storage. All in all, that took me about 15 minutes to execute from start to finish. 




The leftover branches found their way to frames, which makes for a very Victorian-styled Christmas; fitting perhaps, since the building was erected in 1895—the whole street of interconnected houses popping up in one fell swoop as I understand it. 




The gilt mirror dates from around 1850, and has been in the apartment since the 1950's, while the framed "green man" is 18th century—or so I was told. And yes, that's a green velvet curtain which separates the alcove kitchen from the main living area. You can see an antique china cabinet in the reflection, which is topped by a few old serving trays which I plan to restore, their current finish being beyond repair, but handy when a serving tray is needed. 




My mother's Seth Thomas is on the mantel, along with silver candlesticks which will receive a shining over the weekend, and a framed letter by Manuel García—a legendary voice teacher, who wrote this particular one on his 100th birthday in 1905.