Thursday, August 25, 2011

New York Lives!

Every time I tell people that my dream is to design in New York City, the reply is ALWAYS "what? There is no GREEN in NYC." I can see why they say that. I mean, "concrete jungle where dreams are made of"...right? Wrong! Well, at least partly wrong. Let's first point out the obvious - the heart and center of NYC is 843 ACRES (not square feet people, acres) of greenery. Did you know central park is 6% of Manhattans total area? That means that the most expensive real estate in the country is dedicated to greenery! Well at least we've got something right.
Ok, so we have Central Park, but what about the rest of New York City? What else is there to work with? This is when I tell people that they need to open their eyes. There are plants everywhere we turn! Whether it's residents making the most of their roof, front porch or even windowsill, or groups of individuals creating living, breathing areas to escape the craziness of the city, there is a co-existing garden in our concrete jungle. I'll take you through some of what I found in my recent trip to New York.

I took a ferry from Bridgeport the Port Jefferson in Long Island to start my trip. I was enthralled by the little boat town on the north shore. It is so charming! I loved walking around this charming area. I found a perfect garden store filled with books and wonderful antiques. I was thrilled to chat with a fellow gardener. Later my friends came to eat dinner with me and we got to watch fireworks. It was a perfect start to my vacation.

I was also told that there will be a Charles Dickens festival in December. I can't wait to go!!

Port Jefferson is a wonderful place to escape the city and enjoy time with friends and family. But now it's time to move into the city. What does NYC have in its backyard?

There are so many things to showcase in this beautiful park that I'm afraid it would take an entire blog to do it justice. Therefore I am including the link to the park here. What I love most about the High Line is that it is the best of both worlds. They have created an enchanting take on the city. It isn't an escape from the hustle and bustle, nor is it the bright lights of Time Square. Instead High Line Park uses greenery to increase your appreciation of the city. Since it is above street level, the skyline is framed in such a way you can't get from the Empire State Building or a helicopter ride. It is a truly remarkable city experience. Take a look and see what I mean. 


What a beautiful day to walk around the park. But I still had more places to go!

I love people watching. Whether they are contemplating art, relaxing in a beautiful garden, or even people watching themselves. And that is one reason why I love going to museums. I mean, think about it what is really going through people's heads as they look at art. "Wow, this sculpture really used light and form to bring out the emotion in this chipmunk..." or "why the heck did someone decide to create a sculpture of a chipmunk?"or even "I think someone left their half eaten hamburger on that pedestal... oh wait, I think that's a chipmunk..." Ok, I jest, but the truth is I love museums because I appreciate the way they encourage people to expand their creativity and minds. Which is also why I particularly love the gardens that accompany most of the museums. I can't think of a more perfect place to contemplate art than when you are surrounded by it. The garden at the MoMA has a modern design (of course) and created a very welcoming and comfortable atmosphere. It's fun to see how gardens can reflect their surroundings.

Now here is a little treat! You can actually find these in many areas around the city. I don't know what they are officially called, but I called this one a garden alley because that is precisely logical :) I stumbled upon this after leaving the MoMA and desperately needed to feed my hanger (hunger+anger=hanger. I more commonly say "hangry" but you get the picture). This little treasure was right next to Le Pain Quotidien on 53rd St and 5th. I claim this a perfect lunch eatery for a couple of reasons. 1. There was a waterfall to stimulate the sound of nature 2. The walls were covered with vines so one is surrounded by greenery, and 3. When looking up all one sees is the tree canopy! In every way one is surrounded by nature - in the "concrete jungle." It was incredibly peaceful and I actually enjoyed sharing my lunch with 60 strangers. 

Lucky me! I saved the best for last. Wave Hill Gardens is a gorgeous public garden and cultural center up in the Bronx. Forget the Bronx Botanical garden! As wonderful and vast as it is, the botanical garden is usually overpopulated and overpriced. Plus, I feel so overwhelmed going in there. I would need to dedicate three days just to walk through it! Wave Hill Gardens is perfect because it isn't as well known so you can really get some much needed one on one nature time. I was also able to walk through most of the developed areas of the gardens. I felt like there was a perfect mixture of enough exploration without feeling overwhelmed. And for the last hour or so I was there, I just sat in a chair that overlooked a view of the hills and wrote in my journal. I was completely content. My flower brain was satisfied while my exhausted body and mind took a nice long rest. And a must see of Wave Hill is their wonderful little art gallery. Just check out the art I found at the bottom of this post. Incredible!

The one on the right is a close-up of the one on the left. Amazing, right!? I guess it is thousands of words and phrases from religious books. The artist cut each and every letter out and pasted it into this pattern. Absolutely incredible. 

Well my friends, that's it for this tour around NYC. Let me know when you're in town and I will take you wherever you want to go! Whether I've been there or not. There is always more to be discovered in this bursting city. And as for me, I am determined to continue the search to find the hidden living spots in our so called concrete jungle. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In an Octopus's Garden

"I'd ask my friends to come and see-ee an Octopus's Garden with me!"

I think it's best to let Ringo Starr explain where he got the idea for the famous Beatles Hit "Octopus's Garden." Said Ringo: I wrote “Octopus’s Garden” in Sardinia. Peter Sellers had lent us his yacht and we went out for the day… I stayed out on deck with the captain and we talked about octopuses. He told me that they hang out in their caves and they go around the seabed finding shiny stones and tin cans and bottles to put in front of their cave like a garden. I thought this was fabulous, because at the time I just wanted to be under the sea too. A couple of tokes later with the guitar - and we had Octopus’s Garden!

I think we all need time under the sea. When I want to go collect shiny things to put in my garden, I go to NEW YORK!

Can you believe that even though I moved to Connecticut in May, I didn't make it to New York until AUGUST? It's amazing how easily we can forget what inspires us. Luckily - and unfortunately - my friend Michael was about to leave NYC after living there for a summer internship, so I had a great excuse to go and visit!

I had a wonderful time re-visitng this amazing place and these amazing people. We went all over the city and about once and hour I practically shouted "I LOVE NEW YORK!" Sadly I didn't document as thoroughly as I should have, but here are a couple of the shiny things I collected along the way. 

Um... YUM. These gigantic cookies hail from Levain Bakery. I think it took six years off my life, but it was WORTH it!

Don't you love crazy performers in Central Park? I do! This was a fun Jazz quartet singing something awesome but I can't remember what it was. I guess you'll just have to go to Central Park to find out.

Michael. He is serenading Mitch and me with "Bella Noche" on the lake in Central Park. Add a black and white striped shirt, a red scarf and a straw hat we'd be ready to teleport strait to Italy!

I'm not sure why I'm making this face, but it's probably because I couldn't find the right face to show how freaking happy I was. Yep... that's it.

Mitch - waiting for that special someone to complete this romantic setting.

Ze happy trio! We were stuck in a little lake-side nook. But it was pretty so we took a picture before venturing out.

Check out those roof-top gardens! How I would LOVE to be designing in the city.

Speaking of our Beatles tribute, we saw this shiny article at the imagine circle. Someone created that amazing piece of art with tiny tile pieces. Ahhh-mazing.

Well, we didn't get in to the musical, but how cool is THIS!? That's right, I HEART The Book of Mormon. All over the city. Thanks for the publicity :)

After a walk through High Line Park (which I will post pictures of in my next blog post) we found a hope board with this cool crochet shopping basket. People are endlessly creatine! 

This person quoted one of my favorite musicians, Bon Iver, for their hope. It is from the song "Skinny Love." Listen to it. Look up the lyrics. Let it change your life!

And as if my trip wasn't cool enough, Michael and I found that they were filming "The Avengers" when we got to Grand Central Station. Of course they were trying to hide the fact by giving the move the code name "Group Hug," but Michael had super detective skills and discovered what it really was. I wanted to rush in during the filming, but I had to rush to catch the train instead. NOOOOOOOO! 

And so my first trip back to New York was incredible. But my shiny garden is not even close to being full. And as I promised a garden tour around New York, I will deliver. So keep watch!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Lifetime of Change!

So you may be wondering WHY on earth I haven't posted in a bajillion years. Maaaaybe you haven't, but I tend to be an optimist so we'll go with the first ;)

So the reason I haven't posted is... Dah - da - da - DAH! I moved!

That's right. I moved from my beautiful little country apartment in Newtown,

To the wonderful beachside of Bridgeport!

Above is a place called St. Mary's by the sea and it is about a mile away from my house. I don't have a picture of the house yet, but I am now living with a wonderful woman named Mary Jo (and my rent is a lot less expensive WAHOO). When I get some more pictures I will make sure to post them :)

And! Another big change... I sold the Blackura!

Yes, my 'lil baby blackura is now in the hands of an Italian New Yorker :( But it was a necessary change. He (the car) was just a little too small for me, and since I work with a lot of plants and people, I figure I would need a little more eh-space! So my brother sold me THIS CAR!

What a grand picture, eh? It's almost as good as riding horses on the beach, but WAY more hippie ;) So I have a GPS system (only way to survive in CT!) and her name is Bonnie. I, therefore, decided to name my new Subaru CLYDE! It's so wonderful, they help each other navigate the great North East to enjoy our little shenanigans... and grand escapes!

So there is a little update. But I have much more that has been going on, so I will be back again soon! Next we will take a horticultural tour around NEW YORK CITY! Go crazy people, go crazy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Hate Sandcastles

Oh-kay. It's time for perfect picture of the day:

Picture this: You're at the beach. You're making a beautiful sandcastle. Then Mr. Big Shot with the new jean huggies viciously slashes it to the ground with his tonka truck. All of a sudden your love of sandcastles fades with the tide. All you want is revenge. Oh! you think you have a little suprise in your diaper! That tonka truck better watch it's back...

I think we've all had these days :)