Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Light of Return

About a week after the solstice the days begin to get slightly longer. I usually notice it in the afternoon as the sun hesitates before sinking behind the buildings.

It is young light, really bright and short lived.

I walked across the Williamsburg bridge the day after Christmas, amazed that I was able to do anything at all.

It was cold and the colors on the bridge were rich.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December Snow

We had our first snow of the season today. Well, there was a little snow on Sunday but it did not do very much.

This storm started with big heavy flakes and great potential, but it never really got cold enough to stick. At least the city did not deploy its usual army of snow plows and salt spreaders.

The sun slipped past the clouds in the afternoon for a bit of alpenglow. As soon as I noticed, I jumped into my boots and rushed outside.

December light, my favorite, is fleeting.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Last Bit of Sunlight

This is the sun slipping behind the cloud bank of the approaching nor'easter. The storm, which the weather service has named (!), is supposed to create all kinds of holiday travel drama. I am thankful that I do not have to go very far to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Yellow and Green

I have been noticing a lot of green and gold this fall.

It looked good on the garden weeds.

This was one of those afternoons when the sun bounces off dark clouds and the colors are really rich and saturated.

While we were electing our communist mayor last week, the young son was home from school. So I took him up to Central Park to climb on the rocks.

The elm trees, something of an obsession of mine, were at their autumn peak.

I tried to photograph the young son leaping around, but it came out as a blur with no child visible.

We wandered around the ramble, and for a moment he felt a little lost.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October Light

I do have a thing for October light. It is hard to capture the evening light because the afternoon shadows are so long.

In my neighborhood, the buildings are still low enough and the golden light spills out around 5.30pm.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Eyes on Graffiti

I took my camera with me when I was running errands on my bicycle. It was mid afternoon and I wasn't sure there would be anything to photograph. I had forgotten about this wall I kept wanting to catch.

The bars on the eye are a trompe l'oeil, an eye that is a trick of the eye.

When I was crossing the Williamsburg bridge I noticed that workers were resurfacing the building with the JR photo. Its days may be numbered, so I photographed it as well. 

Meanwhile, Bansky has been in New York putting up art and creating frenzy.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Equinox: Missing the Point of the Sun Triangle

For years, I have wanted to visit the Sun Triangle sculpture on the equinox. It was designed by a geophysicist named Athelstan Spilhaus and it is supposed to line up with the sun at noon. The sculpture is an the Avenue of the Americas right across from Rockefeller Center. It is in front of one of those brutal skyscrapers that loom along the avenue. I have never managed to get there at noon, or the equinox was cloudy. This year everything fell into place.

Equinox light is usually pretty harsh and midday is blindingly bright. On Sunday, though, the light was actually quite pretty.

The stained glass panels at the Myrtle Avenue station were illuminated which is rare. Most of the time they are inky black as there is very little direct sun on the station.

I probably should have done a little google search before rushing off. I was not sure what would line up with the sun. I thought I would figure it out when I got there. But it was not obvious. I was misled by the oval maps of the northern and southern hemisphere near the sculpture. I figured that the triangular shadow would line up with the southern hemisphere in the fall and the norther hemisphere in the spring representing the sun passing the equator. 

I was wrong. In fact the longest side points to the sun at the spring and fall equinoxes, the steepest side points to the sun at the summer solstice and the shortest side points to the sun at the winter solstice. The maps are a red herring. I would not have been able to enjoy the moment in any case as the sunken plaza was closed off for Sunday.

I could go back at the solstice, but I am not sure I will. It is not as exciting as Manhattanhenge, unfortunately.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Checking in on the Garden

I did not do a lot of work on the garden this year. We painted the fence white and laid some slate tiles in a spiral. The rose bush did not do well, victim of the cats leaping around and breaking its canes in the early spring.

Luckily, the neighbor's morning glories climbed over the fence.

I trained a few vines from our side up the fence to meet the others.

We put a bin on the patio to gather leaves for mulch and weeds grew out of it.

A morning glory climbed up the bars on our window.

Out of the base of the crate sprouted the usual suspects that grow literally everywhere.

I love this little blue flowered weed and I am delighted that it sprang up. I had seen them out front last year and was tempted to transplant them. But I decided that transplanting weeds is like playing with fire. If I find some next year I may change my mind. The flowers remind me of lobelia, without all the fragility.


This castor plant self seeded and came back from last year.

It was so pretty with its purple stems and veins. Unfortunately, I accidentally cut its delicate stem while trimming the grass and it withered on the vine.

I felt really bad, but then the scarlet runner beans, which had been a little depressed, suddenly got it together and bloomed.

Some things I planted this year are still settling in like the wisteria and the forsythia. The light is shifting and the plants seem to know that the season is winding down.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Farewell to Admiral's Row

The demolition of Admiral's Row, which was looming for years, has finally begun. Construction walls have been built around the fence.

Totally off topic; the light on that manhole cover was really pretty.

There are portholes in the wall to watch the progress, but of course the weeds have grown right up against them.

Some of the plexiglass has broken and the weeds have grown out, spreading up the wall.

Others have climbed over the top.

Through one of the broken portholes, I could catch a glimpse of the old ruins.

I have resigned myself to the disappearance of my favorite example of nature taking the city. I just hope that when the developer's are building their big new shopping center, that they leave a few trees in the parking lot, to provide a little shade and a faint memory of the weed jungle that was there before.

Friday, August 9, 2013

San Francisco

Not the Golden Gate Bridge

I have been in San Francisco for a few days and it is definitely a change.

The hills are far more intense than I had imagined.

We are staying on the edge of the Little Italy and Chinatown. I guess it is the San Francisco equivalent of Mott and Spring Street. The pork buns are incredible.

The apartment  is rather old, several layers of paint lock some of the windows shut.

The windows are the kind with ripples and imperfections.

They make the view even more amusing.

I am in love with the stove.

There is so much lush greenery, but few trees.

I have been appreciating the strangeness of the buildings.

Some of them look as is they were made of Wedgewood china.

Everything is so pretty, I feel as if I have nothing to add.


The hills distort the distances. What looks like a short walk turns into an epic journey.

Haight-Ashbury was really pretty with lots of colors and decorations. But there were also sad, faint echos of what was there before.

This tree is on one of the rare tree-lined streets, the angle of which threw me off balance when I looked up.