Cherry Tree Blossoms in Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery (All Photos By Gail)
Today, April 22nd, is Earth Day, so I wanted to celebrate something from the earth that adds value to my life each time I leave my house. For me right now, that means spring flowers. We didn’t get to fully enjoy the unique beauty of spring in 2020, due to the pandemic lockdown, but now many parks and botanical gardens are reopened and in full bloom. On the weekends especially, I try to spend as much time outside as possible, and flowers are my favorite subject to photograph. Please enjoy this carefully-curated selection of ten beautiful flowers taken during my recent adventures in and around the NYC area.
As soon as weather turns from winter to spring, you are going to see a full spectrum of jewel-hued tulips pop up all over NYC. These guys were hanging out in a public planter in the Flatiron District.
Purple Crocus’ on the High Line (All Photos By Gail)
In the Covid Life, I’m fortunate to be able to work from home, be in good health, have enough food, cable TV, and everything needed to make the lock-down more comfortable. I really can’t complain. I can get by for a few months without going shopping, eating in my favorite restaurant, or seeing a movie in the theater. The one thing I do get a bit wistful about is not being able to fully enjoy the beauty of Spring.
In an email I received from them this morning, the Museum of Modern Art was quick to remind me that, “Five hundred tulips are blooming in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden right now, and no one is there to enjoy them.” Thanks for the reminder! Spring, the season of renewal, is happening all around us while we are being advised to stay inside. It kills me. In a normal year, I would have at the very least attended Sakura Matsuri, the Cherry Blossom Festival hosted by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden — which is such a terrific way to usher in the season. Even the NYBG’s Orchid Show closed prematurely. Beauty is still out there, so I preserve it on my walks. If you’re struggling with Cabin Fever, please enjoy a little bit of spring in this week’s edition of my East Village Life.
Tompkins Square Park is the closest park to my home; being located between Avenues A and B, and between East 7th and East 9th Streets. There have been a few outstanding flowering cherry trees there this spring. Check them out!
As much as I wish we could have trees that look like this year-round, they surely would not be appreciated if their beauty was not so ephemeral.
Here’s a closer look at that same tree. When I checked the Instagram accounts of my neighbors on this particular afternoon, everyone was posting their own photos of . . . that same tree. It was just too perfect.
Different tree, same park.
These were across the street from my apartment, on 14th Street outside Stuyvesant Town. I love the side-by-side contrast of the trees against the blue sky, and then the red brick building.
I took this photo very late in the afternoon, which is apparent by the light, or lack thereof. This tree enjoys its life inside one of the East Village’s community gardens that add so much value to this neighborhood.
When I posted this photo on Instagram it got twice the usual number of likes. I think that has something to do with the visual appeal of the white flowering tree next to the white building. This is First Avenue just south of 14th Street.
A cool thing about Cherry Blossoms is that you don’t have to get the entire tree to capture a great photo; in fact, a small cluster of flowers, or even a single bloom, can convey so much more about the beauty of spring. This photo was taken on the High Line in early March, one week before lock-down.
Also, the pink color is like a magnet, attracting me to the tree.
“I think that, with hindsight, this may have been a moment in my career where my own past and present truly came together, more so that with other collections, which, however much I cherished them, were a carefully stitched-together tapestry of obsessively researched elements. My Grunge collection was more ‘felt’ than it was thought.”
The 1993 Grunge collection secured Anna Sui’s place in the history of fashion. She saw Seattle’s grunge music scene as the major force in the youth culture of that period, and used the layering and mixing typical of its style to great effect, riffing on the youthful sincerity of the movement to produce some of the most influential looks of the nineties.
Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Ensemble, Detail: Polyester and Cotton Tank and Leggings with Totton Kilt and Shorts
Grunge style sprang out of a Seattle subculture in which a new wave of musicians, including Nirvana fronted by Kurt Cobain, sported a “thrift store” style of dressing that seemed to mirror their novel sound. This “un-fashion” style chimed with the decade’s rejection of the excesses of the 1980s and quickly went from subculture to mass culture. Marc Jacobs, working for Perry Ellis at the time, glamorized this style to create a grunge collect for Sping 1993. Sui’s references to grunge in her own collection, in contrast, are colored with optimism and a “hippie” sensibility. The outfit seen here features a kilt, widely associated with grunge, as well as a flower belt more reminiscent of the sixties or seventies
Lunchbox by Designs from the Deep, Cowhide/Rubber Boots by John Fluevog for Anna Sui
Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Ensemble (Spring 1993) Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design
Exaggerated proportions and visual intricacy define this maximalist ensemble by Comme des Garçons. The elaborate coat and bodysuit, in various fabrics including cotton, wool, nylon, polyester and linen — and in assorted shades of pink, red and white, are part of the Spring 2018Multidimensional Graffiti collection, which appropriated the works 10 artists ranging from the 16th century to today.
Shown Here in Contrast to a Minimalist Design By Narciso Rodriguez (Left)
According to Women’s Wear Daily, the result was a mash-up of prints and textures that allied to “the possibilities inherent when wildly unlike visual perspective coexist.”
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Minimalism / Maximalism at the Museum at FIT in Manhattan Through November 16, 2019.
Canadian designer and visual artist Mara Minuzzo painted this solitary Pink Horn Chair as part of a marvelous series of Midcentury Chairs, which were on exhibit, along with a selection of her more abstract paintings, in the Lustre Contemporary booth at the recent Affordable Art Fair NYC, Spring Edition. You can see the full series of chairs, and lots more fantastic contemporary Pop art, by clicking on that link!
“Slinky was once just a little old everyday spring on a ship,” read a brochure describing the origins of the popular toy. Speaking about inventory Richard James, it continued, “One day Dick took it home to show his family. His little boy, Tommy, surprised everybody by making the spring walk down the stairs — all by itself! That gave Dick the idea to make this little old spring into a toy. His wife, Betty, named it Slinky!” What started as a chance discovery went on to become an international bestseller that has helped generations of children ponder the principles of gravity and tension.
Richard James, who began his career as a naval engineer, spent a few years perfecting his design before bringing it to market in 1945. It was Betty James, his wife, who brought Slinky its international success, marketing the cleverly named toy with a catchy jingle and playful television ads. When she died in 2008, The New York Times estimated that the number of Slinkys sold since the 1940s could circle the globe 150 times.
This Slinky was Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, The Value of Good Design, on View at The Museum of Modern Art Through June 15th, 2019.
Geoffrey and I took a walk on the High Line (aka The Highlands) this past Saturday evening to get from his place on West 30th Street down to the Jonathan LeVine Gallery on West 20th Street. We definitely saw a few signs of Spring. Check it out.
I love the purple tree against the detail of the brick wall.