Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tea & Sympathy

This is the time of year when comfort food is in order - and comfort food usually means food you ate as a small child.
English food in the 1950's was spectacularly bland - but excellent in parts.
Take bubble and squeak - a  mixture of cabbage and left-over mashed potatoes - fried of course.
Bangers and mash...and so on.
Luckily I'm within walking distance of Tea & Sympathy

a wonderfully retro cafe where these things are to be had.

To be washed down with copious cups of tea and followed by custardy puddings to fend off the cold and replenish the calories used up walking there.

It's always very crowded which attests to its appeal. The decor a mishmash of things British

rather heavy on royal memorabilia - so I get to see the coronation mug I managed to smash on the very day I was given it.

Nikky Perry, the owner, can be relied upon to have lots of opinions vociferously aired - currently the fact that proper English Cadbury's chocolate is no longer to be sold in the US. See all about it in The New York Times

Luckily the shop next door still has some in stock as well as sherbet fountains, Maynard's wine gums and large boxes of PG Tips and all the things much missed by us ex-pats.
A blessing indeed.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Penn Station and People Rushing About

There is no shortage of people in New York...

and most of them are rushing about.

I was on Penn Station yesterday waiting for a train to Long Island. I wanted to take portraits of people, but, as usual, though others might think I was some sort of nut.

I rather hesitate to approach people with guns.

So, instead I started looking for patterns, and stayed in the same place and let people walk into the camera frame - like in Grand Budapest Hotel.

It was fun.


Robert does somewhat of the same thing in this painting of people in slightly warmer weather - all together - all separate.

I finally managed to have a conversation with a real person even though I didn't want any pizza. Sayed is from Egypt, which, according to him, is a much better country than Morocco...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

More of the Same...

Still cold - well,  it's winter.
But so cold you don't want to go out and do anything, and assume your friends don't want to do anything you stay home and think of all the things you could be doing...

People tramp around being miserable...

and try to cover up every inch of skin. I want a ski mask so I can dress up as a bank robber...

Pinwheel Park is deserted.

Citrus fruit looks extra zingy

and can be photographed at home.

We went to Long Island on Monday when it rained and rained and the garden became a giant puddle but the snow and ice lingered...
Not much snow left today but only 24 degrees F at almost eleven in the morning.
However, we could be somewhere where it is minus I'd better stop complaining!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Beastly Cold and a Party

The only news around here is that it is bitterly and miserably cold.
10 degrees Fahrenheit as I write. I wore two pairs of pants, two sweaters, two scarves etc etc to take the dog out.
Mostly I spy things out of the window...

There is only a little bit of snow...

but it's clear and biting and bright...

and extra cold in shadow.

The street is rather quiet.

When I go out, I look for spots of color. A bit late for donning the gay apparel. Ah Chelsea!

At home, I fill a Moroccan bowl with mandarins.

At the weekend I had help celebrating my birthday.

My cake was splendid.

Keep warm!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

2015 - it was only yesterday that we were all worried that the computers would all crash as the new century arrived. Instead all sorts of other things happened - both good and bad. I imagine that this fire hydrant, like me, has lived through it all. I found the festive glasses abandoned on the street.

We have now lived  for 17 years on 23rd Street (well, fifteen if you deduct the two in Morocco). This shot is from a friend's apartment looking down to Petland Discounts...

Flowers in mid winter - at the very luxe Dean and Deluca.

This taken on the evening of Christmas Day from the roof looking south past the Google Building to the new Freedom Tower.

Last -  light reflected through a prism. I hope to keep spotting the lovely, the unexpected and the trivially important in the coming year and hope to keep visiting your blogs too, to get glimpses into other worlds. Happy 2015.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Twas the Day before Christmas Eve...

Walking around in the drizzle - though the day is quite mild
I see...

that the artist Berch has decorated the barber shop...

that there are lots of wet berries on the holly on 22nd Street

and balls hanging from the trees.

The florist on the corner of 8th and 22nd is bursting with color.

The man handing out Metro bears a strong resemblance to St Nick.

Misty windows at Le Granne

and Santa's helpers at Bergamot

with charming hats.

Back at home the usual crew decorates the desk.
Remember trolls?


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter Reading

When not rushing around taking photos, writing, walking the dog,  gardening in a very confined space and, occasionally, cooking, you will find me with my nose stuck in a book. It was ever thus. I think I like books better than real life...they take most of the really boring bits out except poor Tess laboring in the fields in the opening of Hardy's novel and, of course, the even more wretched Ivan Denisovich...
One reads to explore other worlds, other lives.
However, a super book rather close to home - though written almost a century ago - is

The Homemaker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher in which a woman is perfectly miserable at home - though a meticulous housekeeper - and manages to make her family perfectly miserable too and then...well...things change.
I hate knowing all about a book's themes before I begin it.  (I'd read the preface afterwards!) This book should have felt a bit schematic and predictable but the author breathes such life into her characters that one really wants good things for them.
I read it in two days.
I also recently loved Margarita Laski's Little Boy Lost - a most moving but brisk and uncloying account of a father's search for his son in post-World War II France. It was originally published in 1949 and captures the gloom and poverty of Europe immediately after the war. 

My third recommendation is not a novel but a family history, A World Elsewhere,  is beautifully written and utterly gripping. In brief, Sigrid's mother, a young American abroad in Europe in the twenties of the last century, meets and marries a most charming, handsome, romantic - and impoverished - aristocrat. This all sounds wonderful - but this idyll turns into a nightmare when Germany goes to war.

So, happy reading in these long dark evenings!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Deck the Halls...

Well, actually no holly here though the holly trees round here are full of berries.
At the green market however...

there are wreaths galore

and garlands

and berries

bows offered if needed.

There is a strange pale sort of lavender

and  the hellebores - also called Lenten or Christmas roses...

 and skinny trees  - the kind I like better than fat ones.

Last of all a wreath made entirely of herbs.
So pretty
So practical.