Sunday, November 28, 2010

Meet the Neighbors

You would think that sharing walls, halls and elevators, we would get to know our neighbors well, but such proximity tends to make New Yorkers more private.  We've been here for over 7 years, and I'm still meeting long-time neighbors for the first time.  Different schedules in and out the building account for a lot of that.  And a recent mid-week use of the co-op laundromat introduced me to a whole new crowd.

I met our human neighbors at the other end of the hall soon after they moved in, but rarely saw them since.  Lola became acquainted with their then one cat because she runs out when we come in and inspects every door.  I imagined the neighbor's cat sniffing back when Lola was there.  

Last week, one of the humans rang our bell to ask if we knew a reliable cat-sitter because hers had backed out for the holiday weekend.  I immediately volunteered our services, and she was very relieved.  Through a  few brief elevator encounters, it somehow became clear that we are cat lovers.  

For two days, I visited Chloe and Pumpkin to provide food, play, scooping and affection - well, only Chloe on the last.  Pumpkin is apx 3-4 months old, and was a little skittish with me unless I had a toy on a long string.   Both are rescues, which always tug my heart-strings (and also told me they have good humans).  

Pumpkin on the left, Chloe on the right.  

On her return, our neighbor said the ladies seemed much more relaxed than usual after being "alone".    I'm pleased, but I think Lola and Mr. Beans were a little miffed at the "new cat smell" I brought home with me.

Chloe - in a familiar Lola-like pose.  So affectionate and sweet.  Within one day, she was climbing into my lap.  

Pumpkin - she was hard to photograph, but is a very lovely little gray girl.  She has those natural "sad-eyes", but I can tell she really is a feisty one.

I would like to introduce the ladies to our team, but I wouldn't do that without their humans' permission and presence.  

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What a difference a Flea makes

The Brooklyn Flea left the school yard a block away and moved indoors into the Williamsburgh Bank Building (the big "middle finger" salute in my header photo) until next Spring.  Add a chilly wind and a holiday weekend, and we get some very quiet streets now.  Peaceful, but I miss the hubbub, bub.

No more cafe tables filled with brunchers.  
The plane has been grounded. 

I asked this little lady's person if I could take her picture, and she happily obliged.  Tyra Banks would have been impressed at how she turned, looked at the camera and moved every so slightly for every shot - I just the SLR fly.

The Farmers' Market - I've never been able to see so far from one end to the other.   

Tomorrow - a visit down the hall to tend to our feline neighbors while their people are away.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Views

With the wonderful new job has come two more great perks:  an iPhone and a different path to work.  To most, the commute would seem nearly identical to my old - same train options, same train stops.  However, getting to the new workplace takes me along 40th Street and the south side of Bryant Park, instead of 42nd Street on the north side of the Park.  South of 42nd Street is a completely different neighborhood, yet I'm only 3 blocks from where I worked for over eight years.  Even the light seems different.  I've happily been very busy and haven't had any time to explore, but with an early closing before the holiday, I took a quick walk with my new toy vitally necessary business communication device before heading home to rest and get rid of this annoying cold once and for all.  

My favorite daily sight is this restored Carousel on the south side of the Park.  

I don't know if this wonderful Carousel runs all Winter, but Bryant Park turns into a Winter fair through the holidays with lots of activity.  

The rink and the surrounding structures are temporary - amazing what they can put together for just a few weeks.

Pleased to see the fountain running into the cold weather.  I remember the bad old days of Bryant Park when this never worked and the Park was used nearly exclusively by the drug dealers and drug seekers.

Many stalls filled with a variety of gift items.  I've done well here in the past, but things are starting to look less unique.  For the family we see on Christmas, I usually buy variations of one gift for everyone.  The most popular - colorful hand knitted socks good for cold winter nights, but I didn't get them here.  

The area was full of visitors that will be performing in the Thanksgiving Day Parade tomorrow.  

This was a happy "mistake" as I was learning to use the camera on the iPhone.  Before I got one, I suggested to one iPhone user that they could surreptitiously take photos of people by pretending to be playing with an app.  I now realize that is not as easy as I thought.  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Close to Home

No neighborhood walk this weekend. I came down with a cold yesterday afternoon - I blame the subway. I thought a little walk would do me some good, but only made it as far as the Brooklyn Flea (1 block away) and had to come home for some tea and a nap.

A lot of sirens got me up early this morning.  About 15 fire vehicles, including 2 ladder trucks, showed up for something happening in the large co-op building (out of the picture) across the street.  Brooklyn's Bravest ran a lot of hose inside, but we didn't see any smoke, so hopefully no one was hurt and there wasn't too much damage.

Our narcissus is blooming - a great plant for near-instant gratification, but I'm not overly fond of the scent.  A little too cloying for my taste, but not a problem with this cold.

There were some fine animals over at the Brooklyn Flea.

Wonderful weather vane, but too pricey for my budget.

About 10 days ago I started a new job after a long period of unemployment (thus the extra subway exposure that led to my cold).  Beside my minor and temporary health set-back, I am thrilled.  The job and my new colleagues are great, and it all became even more wonderful when, taking the stairs out last night, I heard this little brigand meowing up the stairwell.  Turns out he lives in the office building, and his name is Tiger.  According to the maintenance man, Tiger is about 8 months old, very friendly, hasn't been fixed (which I strongly encouraged) and seems to be in good condition.  He was a little shy with me at first, but appreciated a good neck skritch.  I hope to see more of him!

Now time for some more nyquil (ugh) and a nap.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Abounding Color

After the carnival-like atmospheres of Halloween and the Marathon, this has been a quiet weekend in Clinton Hill/Fort Greene except for the colors.  The Autumn foliage came late this year, but it is now busting out all over.

There has been some discussion about the etiquette of taking pictures of strangers.  This couple saw me taking the photo as we approached each other, and as we passed, I simply said, you make a beautiful silhouette.  They looked pleased and laughed.

I've been taking pictures of these houses in dappled sunlight every week.  Once the leaves are down, I will take a series of photos about the diversity of architecture in the neighborhood.

No post about the neighborhood is complete without a dog.

An artist's display at the Farmer's Market.

This lady graces the top of the security building in the courtyard our co-op.  I don't know her story, but I like her spirit.

Saturday night's moon setting behind the Williamsburgh Bank Tower.

This was a "mistake", but it reminds me of an artist whose name escapes me.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

On your mark....

There was no extra hour of sleep this morning.  After Lola woke us up with her usual pre-dawn clawing, pawing and noise-making, the sounds on the street began.  Soon there were sirens, church bells, cowbells, whistles, barking dogs, cheers, clapping, hooting and then the High School band down the street playing the theme to Rocky for 4 hours straight.  We are at mile 8 of the NYC Marathon, right at the top of a long uphill slope (thus the hill in Clinton Hill).   I did not take pictures of the elite runners - too fast and very serious!  Show me the throngs!

First the wheel chair racers come through.

This neighbor has a problem with anything on wheels, and was howling at every one.  She really is very sweet, but her person finally took her inside - I think it was too much stress for her.

Then the wait for the rest of the race. The long shadows are great at this time of year.  

A brief break from marathon coverage:  this young lad looks like the wired haired dachshunds my family had - more fluff than wire, large, sturdy, rounder nose/snout and very blond.  I miss them.  This dog is some complicated mix.

Back to the race coverage - here are the regular runners!  Many people had their names boldly displayed on their gear so some  "Way to go Anita, you can do it Enribe, looking good Jose!" encouragements got us smiles and waves.

My favorite sign.

Oh come on now.  It was cold - about 40 degrees for most of the race.  I know people heat up when running, but seriously?!

Save that energy lady - you have 18 miles to go!

This spectator must have high-fived about 20 runner in two minutes.

I have the world of respect for these athletes, but I think this little guy had the best mode of transportation today - a deep purse and the subway.

Some of the spectators were pretty spectacular too.

Small and simple.

I'm not sure I understand the message, but I liked the artwork.
Back to the warmth of the home.  The view from the bedroom.  I love the way the runners appear from under the canopy of trees along Lafayette Avenue.

We see more costumes on the slower runners.

Lola's form for race day - in the sun, and on the heater.   Cats are so smart.

At about 1pm, it was like someone turned off the marathon.  The noise suddenly stopped until a truck came by with a speaker system announcing that this was the "official" end of the race, and the streets would be open.  A few more tired and slow runners bravely continued to come through.  I was glad to hear that Edison Pena, one of the Chilean miners, finished the race - quite a feat for someone who had never run more than 10 miles before - not to mention spending 70 days in a mine.

And then after all this, the Jets won in overtime!!  Overall, another great day.