cityscape


While we were in Brooklyn, New York we wandered through Fort Greene Park.  The park was first designated over 170 years ago at the suggestion  of Walt Whitman.  The history of the site dates back to the Revolutionary War when the British held thousands of captives in prison ships in the nearby bay of the East River.  Over 11,500 people died from overcrowding, starvation, disease, and bad water while on the ships.  The remains of many of these martyrs are entombed in a crypt within Fort Greene Park.  Also here is the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument to these people.  I was drawn to this door at the base of the monument.  It’s weathered look, it’s textures, it ornaments and details all caught my eye.  As I studied it closer with my camera I looked through the column and caught the sunlight illuminating the window of the door on the other side.  It was eerie and beautiful all at the same time, much like the history behind this site.

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A whirlwind weekend in NYC, all thanks to a Christmas present of tickets to see the Broadway production of “Hamilton” at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.  The show surpassed my expectations, as did the entire weekend.  Unbeknownst to us, our hotel was located in the heart of one of the largest festivals – the 91st annual Feast of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, Italy.  We had the smells, sounds, and tastes of Italy all outside our doorstep in the heart of Little Italy.  We took in many of the standard sites in the City, but also included some unique items.  An AIA architectural cruise around Manhattan Island gave a new perspective of the buildings and the history of the area; a trip to the Tenement Museum and to the Transit Museum helped give additional historical perspective; a meander through a huge street fair in Brooklyn was filled with wonderful food and beverages.  But amidst all the hustle and bustle of crowds and noise, we found a reverent quiet at the 911 Memorial and One World Trade Center.  It was a hot evening as the sun was setting, but the light illuminated the surrounding buildings with a distinctive glow.  The importance of this place and the glowing colors seemed to create a hush causing everyone to pause, reflect, and remember.

As our temperatures rushed into summer highs yesterday, people were resorting to the tried and true ways of staying cool.  Mid 90’s and high humidity cause some Minnesotans to shelter in air conditioning, while the majority choose to embrace the weather but cool off by a lake.  Whatever wind that’s blowing across the lake surface cools and becomes a delightful and welcome breeze.  People were out at Lake Como canoeing, kayaking, walking, relaxing and savoring the warmth of summer; winter’s cold seemed a long way away!

Like the flip of a switch, spring blew into the Twin Cities this past week.  Last Monday, May 1st, brought us snow flurries in abundance – it looked and felt more like November than May.  But as the week wore on, the temperatures rebounded, the sun appeared, and the leaves started opening.  The tulips and daffodils became riots of color, the crabapple trees were awash in pinks and whites, and the once-barren, brown grass became green again.  This weekend found people outside – gardening, walking, running, biking, having parties on their patios and decks – anything to soak up the warmth and the return of spring.

womens-march-mn_1471cp_staatsWe joined a crowd of 90,000-100,000 people in the Women’s March Minnesota yesterday.  With an expected crowd of 20,000 it soon became apparent that many more people found this an important event to support.  Light rail and buses were overflowing with commuters, but everyone was in good spirits with the intentions of the day; songs erupted – “Lean on Me,” “It’s a Small World” – and everyone joined in.  Navigating the sidewalks and streets that were filled with melted snow and ice was part of the day.  The crowd of women, men, and children moved slowly toward the Capitol building, all in support of a movement for respect, dignity, health, and family.  It was good to join family, friends, and others who marched peacefully throughout this country and throughout the world bringing attention to the concerns of many.

cold-in-the-woods-15405_staatWe seem to be on a weekend snow schedule – the last three weekends have brought fresh snow.  However  this weekend’s precipitation has been followed by blue sky and plunging temperatures.  I was snowshoeing in the woods yesterday morning.  Temps were the highest they were going to be, 5 above, and the wind was starting to blow.  I listened to the sound of my snowshoes dropping into the six inches of fresh light snow, and the wind that was picking up the powder and blowing it sideways.  The brittle oak leaves would rustle in the strong gusts, then settle down to silence.  It was eerily quiet and foreboding of the subzero temps that were fast approaching.  Then I heard the sound of a snow plow truck, and I was reminded that I was still in the city and the “woods” I was enjoying are actually a part of the University of Minnesota golf course.  A quick dose of reality that there is nature all around us, and it offers up its beauty to us whenever we want to get out and appreciate it.

winters-arrival-ordway-japanes-garden_14930-staatsWe knew it was coming; it was even later than usual this year.  But winter’s arrival is always a shock, especially when the temperature drops 30 degrees in one day, the wind blows and gusts, and the rain turns to snow.  For less than 48 hours we have been below freezing.  The snow fell Friday afternoon and evening, and here in the Twin Cities we have less than an inch on the ground.  But the white was evident on the plants and grass, and the cold was enough to put a layer of ice on the water in the Ordway Japanese Garden at Como Park.  One tree bravely held on to its bright red leaves – the only real spark of color in the now-winter landscape.  In this beautiful quiet this morning, the only sound was the waterfall that was continuing to gurgle and the geese whose flight south to open water took on a new sense of urgency.

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