Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bonnets


How does one spend Easter Sunday? We met up on 6th Avenue at 49th Street and walked across to 5th Avenue for the Annual Easter Bonnet Parade. The Easter bunny had been in the morning in the form of Margie ringing our doorbell and giving us some chocolate rabbits. The Easter Bonnet Parade unlike most New York City Parades, the Easter Parade is a less than organized event. From 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. the area along Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th Streets is closed to vehicular traffic, and folks wander the street admiring various Easter Bonnets and Easter outfits. The Parade has been “operating” since at least 1900. It doesn't have any floats or marching bands more a milling of people with or without cameras. Outfits range from elegant to outrageous. The parade is advertised as having everything “From outfits accented with live animals to civil war period costumes and the latest high fashions, there is a little bit of everything for the parade viewer”. We didn’t see the military but certainly saw people in their sartorial splendor and some in their highly fanciful and uncomfortable outfits.
It was a pleasant stroll up 5th Avenue (crowded but pleasant). People with hats or outfits tended to stand still and other made their way to them to see what they had assembled for their outfit. Some were sensible enough to stand in the intersections where there was some sunlight and it was a bit warmer. We spent quite a while just strolling along taking photos.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A trip to Astoria


An invitation to Queens was not that unusual or the fact that we actually accepted the invitation given that it was from Ann another great AUSSIE consultant but what made it all the more unusual was that it meant traveling out to a location near where I work and even more unusual is the area of Queens in which we arrived. It was like ending up in a tiny piece of English- complete with drizzling rain.
Ann our host made us all feel welcome and a tad intrepid in our exploration of an area that we hadn't seen before. The afternoon vanished due to the great food and company. Before we knew it we were back on the train heading back to Manhattan a tad puzzled by where we had actually been was it NYC or London?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Coming back to spring


Apparently Dorothy Parker said “Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants.” She was right in some ways. On our walk across the park, on our way to philosophy, was indeed “all mucked up with plants” we saw snowdrops and (I think they are) crocuses all in bloom with the daffodils getting close to blooming. It is such a beautiful spot. We got a cab up to 79th Street then walked across from west to east to the philosophy school. This week by pure chance we entered the gate at 79th St and walked via the Shakespeare Garden, which is where we saw the crocuses and snowdrops.

As we were walking down the gentle slope from the Shakespeare Garden we came across a group touring gardens with an historical society tour guide who was a bird watcher and while he was pointing out aspects of the gardens and trees he spotted a yellow bellied sap sucker! You can sort of see it here- this was taken on my little camera so not very good zoom but we could clearly see the little woodpecker hammering away at the trunk. The guide was saying it was very early for them to be in the park and that this one had possibly sequestered (my interpretation) itself in the park over the winter.

Signs of spring have been every where this past week- yesterday I went past a group of gardens “replenishing” garden beds with about to bloom daffodils, the piles of emptied pots bagged and waiting to be removed. They had nearly completed their task and I was taking some quick shots of their work. They glanced over and noticed that I was photographing a pot that was still unplanted; one gardener came over and quickly completed the task. So I actually did them a service by photographing their handiwork.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dogs in diapers?


If I hadn't had to post (in a mailbox) the letter with my claim for lost luggage I wouldn't have seen it- so perhaps something did come out of the mishap with my suitcase roaming the earth somewhere or is it hiding behind that big red suitcase that's not lost exactly just doesn't know where it is.
As I was walking up Broadway towards the 49th St station there they were a woman carrying a French Bulldog cradled in her arms as she jay walked back down towards 48th St. It was the flash of white of the disposable diaper that caught my eye more than anything else.
I was questioning myself about it all as I text my friends to let them know of another sight in NYC. I composed my text message on the train as I thought perhaps I'd forget about seeing them. The replies trickled in over the day.
The questions I initially asked and were added to by friends I am compiling here.
What type of dog?
Since found out it was a French bulldog by seeing one on the cover of a children's book I saw in a book fair in a school- spooky really seeing that on the same day as the dog itself but all another story.
Is this normal to have a dog wear diapers? Why did she do it? Does the the dog have some special problem? Was she taking it to the vet?

The thing that worried me me than anything was that I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me as I almost started to accept it as normal behavior. It was the way the dog was being cradled with its diaper on.

Having just done some research it is me!!! There are disposable diapers for dogs, cats and pet rabbits! Just another day in the USA I guess.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

39 Steps on 42nd St


A pleasant Sunday in the theatre this time. Not quite the multi-sensory time I had recently. This time it was to see "The 39 Steps". What a wonderful way to show off the actors theatrical skills. The multi-role playing cast (other than Richard Hannay) were quite incredible. It's not to say the the role of Hannay doesn't require as many "miming" skills though just not as many roles. The changing between roles and the mocking of each others abilities and the poking fun at theatre itself was sustained and sustainable for me anyway.
The quick changes from role to role were cleverly costumed as well as often funny.
I couldn't imagine how The 39 Steps could be funny as it was from memory a drama/mystery. But it certainly was funny due to the melodramatic nature of the plot really. My favourite piece or perhaps my greatest admiration was for the knocking out of one of the characters who fell stiff to the ground and did a full body flip backward seemingly on his head.
It was a fun time to spend on a Sunday afternoon despite the overpowering smell of moth balls from a nearby patron.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Where does it go?


I'm talking about time not my luggage this time but then where has my luggage gone? Still no sight of it so looks like I'll have to put in a claim and try to reclaim all that is lost.

But time has just flow over this past week. The weekend was busy to a certain extent with visitors and philosophy and getting ready for the week. And then the days working just fly by. I think it is the visiting different locations each day. They are all so different and the demands of the work is so different each time that by focusing on that one day the entire time you are there means that other time just slips away.
Each night has been filled with some event. Our first New York Scribblers
meeting was last night.

We ask kids to write for a long period of time and we as adults who had lots to say really struggled with maintaining our writing and were easily distracted. We seemed to seek recognition from each other for either our work or ideas or just checking that no one was doing any better than the other.
We started by having tea together and then settled to writing for half an hour. It took all of us a while to settle in to it. Eventually the chatting stopped as we began our selected piece of writing. It depended on the expanse of the event or idea how long we wrote. We maintained a certain rhythm for a while but by twenty minutes it seemed to peter out and we needed to talk about what we had been doing. We compared writing topics and what we had written so far. Then wrote a little longer, another twenty minutes but in my case really pushing it.
We finished up with a cuppa and a debrief but perhaps next time we need to state what our goals for writing will be in between times.

For the sake of having a lovely picture on each entry I've included the picture taken at dusk in Prague- I love the light and the colour of the building.