I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Friday, 10 October 2014

A View of New York

Hello all - it's a non-crafty post today!  I'm just coming to the end of a quick flit to the UK.  There were some work dates I couldn't shift when the New York job came up, plus it gave me the chance to go to the Andy Skinner workshop which was postponed from July - yippee!!

I'm so happy the new workshop date coincided with these couple of weeks.  So I get to do some mixed media work on Saturday and then off to the airport at the crack of dawn on Sunday for another month in New York.  It's a hard life, but someone's gotta do it...


I'm sorry I haven't found much time for visiting lately, or even for sharing my New York adventures.  The job I do requires full immersion - no surprise that I didn't even discover crafting until I went freelance! - and I know I'm incredibly lucky to find such creative stimulation in my work life.  Sadly, it doesn't leave much time or energy over for anything else… but I'm here with a few photos today.

My pictures don't include the conventional views of NYC; those photos of gleaming skyscrapers and the Stature of Liberty have all been done already many times over, and so much better than I could.


And rather than hit the conventional tourist trails on my Sundays off, I've usually just set off to walk the streets and simply encounter whatever I encountered.



So this is a personal journey… a more idiosyncratic tour around some of the things which have caught my attention.

For one thing, I've become obsessed with trying to capture echoes of New York's history.  If you've seen my new Pinterest board, Old New York, you'll know where/when I'd really like to visit!

For much of the time, we've been rehearsing on Washington Square - you can imagine that delights me, with its literary heritage.










I love the brownstones - the four and five storey houses and apartment blocks built in the 1800s - and have spent many hours on my Sundays off wandering the streets of Greenwich Village and the lower East and West Sides.










The leafy streets offer a respite from the bustle of uptown New York, and you find stoops covered with beautiful pot plants - the closest most New Yorkers get to having a garden of their own, I guess.











I'm always in search of buildings with a bit more character and a bit more history about them (if you look past the chichi renovations…).  Click on the photos for a closer view.


What can I say?  I'm just not a steel and glass kind of person - but anybody who's a regular here at Words and Pictures could probably have guessed that!







I'm hugely taken with the fire escapes…
















… something about the industrial look and the iron against the walls, and those dramatic diagonals.











There were some really fantastic balconies and stairways on some of the theatres.  Just check out those street lamps too.








I remain in awe of the vision and ambition which led to the planning of the vast grid which starts part way up the island.


It's a plan which envisaged a metropolis of millions covering the whole of Manhattan - and this was in 1811, when the actual population was barely 100,000, taking up only the southern-most tip of the otherwise ruggedly rural island.

Now, from the higgledy-piggledy downtown streets of the early period, everything straightens up into right-angled streets and avenues.









It means you get these incredible vistas that enable you to see from one side of the island to the other or, it sometimes seems, almost the whole length of the island along the avenues.

It suddenly gives real meaning to a song like "On the Sunny Side of the Street"...







I spent half a day wandering the High Line - created to give New Yorkers another outdoor space.

They've converted the disused elevated railway tracks into a walkway-come-nature reserve.  The whole thing is a couple of storeys above street level.








There's beautiful planting along its whole length (more than 20 city blocks)…













… grassy areas to sit…














... and water features (that dark area is trickling water - enough for kids to splash in before it disappears down the grille)…





… there are various types of seating along the way...


… and - being New York - places to get something to eat and drink (I had the most delicious spiced pear ice lolly!)...





… as well as views over the Hudson River.














And all the time you have this extraordinary juxtaposition of nature and urban architecture …













…and the sense of being raised above the streets, yet still dwarfed by the buildings.














There are meadow grasses jutting out over roads (spot the yellow cab!)…











… and plants alongside rusting railway tracks.














Here's about as touristy as this tour gets: at one point you get a view across the grasses and rooftops to the Empire State Building.











And if you look right in the centre of this picture… yup, that's the Statue of Liberty there in the distance!

I will admit to being a little in love with her.  On my commute (sometimes necessary depending on where we're rehearsing) across the East River, you get a great view of her, standing out in front of the soaring buildings of the financial district, and there's something very moving about her - valiantly standing her ground, yet so very tiny compared to the vast Atlantic in one direction and the huge metropolis behind her.





There were couples and families who'd clearly come to spend the day with picnics and newspapers.

It wouldn't suit me to have to sit in such close proximity with other people, not to mention the thousands strolling past - not my idea of relaxation - but I suppose when you live in a city this populous and busy, you learn to make your peace with the congestion of humanity.






I'm a hermit by nature, so while it's fantastic to get to spend time in this buzzing, inspirational city, I couldn't do it forever!  I was really lucky to get a few seconds people-free to capture this shady birch bower.

The High Line is another example of New York's capacity to realise its ambitions -
 a vision, a statement of intent, made into reality - well worth a visit if you're ever in the city.








For my first five weeks in New York, I was lucky enough to be living less than five minutes walk from the corner of Central Park.


These fantastic stone figures were outside one of the office buildings on my walk to the subway each day.










I finally remembered to take my camera with me and take a photo of them on my last morning in that apartment.  The layers of stone are just beautiful.













There were also these great tiles to admire in the subway station itself.  At some stations the tile work dates back to 1904, the very first subway openings.  These are from the 1930s.











When I return on Sunday, I'll be staying in Brooklyn - so I get the fantastic double of the Manhattan experience and the Brooklyn experience… as I say - it's a hard life.













As many of you know, I spent a lovely day browsing flea markets and antique stores with the wonderful Marjie Kemper.  We found a couple of extraordinary things along the way…

She did much better than me at taking pictures of the two of us - I never remember to get the camera out for people!








I hope to tempt her to the Brooklyn Flea when I get back.  It's literally two minutes walk from where I'm staying, so I'll try to take some photos then.

I'm also still hoping against hope that I might be able to go to her class at the Ink Pad on my last day in New York in November… it'll depend on how the show is looking by then.







One day I did remember the camera for was the People's Climate March on 21st September.  It was amazing to be part of the hordes marching through the streets… though if truth be told, I did very little actual marching.

As you can see, there were some lovely banners and costumes around.








I was there for two and half hours and by that point my part of the march hadn't even set off… 

There were just so many people stretching along the route of the march that where we were, nearer the back, we simply couldn't move.  I'm afraid I started to find the crowds and the noise a little overwhelming.










As I beat a retreat, I found part of the reason why we hadn't started to move… This is the road to my apartment, not even part of the march route, just a filler street jammed with people still filtering into the march.

It was the same in street after street alongside the route - more and more people trying to join in, and singing and chanting and cheering as they waited.





Oh, and on one of my meanderings I found maybe the best shop window display ever!  I hope that through the reflections you can see some of the fabulous vintage details - musical instruments and all (yes, that is an old honky tonk piano in the background).  Well done, Ralph Lauren!








So, a very partial view of New York - and really only the tip of the iceberg as far as my wanderings and work go (the theatre I'm working in is here, if you missed that link, and the play I'm on is Tamburlaine - very gory, and politically a very hot potato given it's 425 years old), but since so many of you have been kind enough to ask about it all, I thought it was about time to fill you in a bit!  I hope you enjoyed it…

I'm certainly enjoying New York itself far more than I'd expected.  I'm not a city-type, but there's no doubting the ferocious energy of NYC - it's infectious…  I can't wait to get back there on Sunday.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Hope you all have a great weekend!

The city is like poetry; it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines.
E.B.White

Silence?  What can New York - noisy, roaring, rumbling, tumbling, bustling, story, turbulent New York - have to do with silence?  Amid the universal clatter, the incessant din of business, the all swallowing vortex of the great money whirlpool - who has any, even distant, idea of the profound repose… of silence?
Walt Whitman

58 comments:

Kath said...

thanks for the fabuoous trip down memory lane...NYC is my favourite city in the world...love it's friendly people...quaint and quirky architecture and especially the food in Little Italy and Chinatown...oh I'm feeling quite nostalgic now for another visit...any room in that suitcase...hugs kat xxx

massofhair said...

WOW WOW WOW Alison, i am so pleased you have shared YOUR view of New York here. I have NEVER wanted to visit such a bustling city but it seems they have made headway making the walkway with such wonderful seating and access to nature.

Cities are not my thing but can really appreciate the history, the buildings and the feeling of regeneration you have portrayed here.

Most wonderful post, thank you so much for sharing and looking forward to the next part of your adventure.

My favourite image is of the stone layered shapes, they are magnificent and such beautiful colours, i wonder if they change when or if they get wet...

Glad you made the Andy Skinner workshop and had a quick visit back home.

Looking forward to your next most inspiring post, hugs :-) xxx

Sue C said...

Sounds and looks amazing Alison ! I'm not city person either but you've certainly shown there is a flip side to every coin. Hope the show goes well ! Sue C x

toni said...

Fantastic Alison sounds like you are having a brilliant time. I love New York !!!! How fab to meet up with Marjie ! Love seeing your pics of the other side of NY keep 'em coming please xx

Helen said...

Your photos make me want to jump right on the plane with you and experience New York with you - I've never been, but would love to... any room in your case? It's so lovely to hear from you; hope to see more soon.

Amanda said...

What a wonderful insight into New York from an alternative perspective perhaps down to the fact you are lucky enough to work there rather than visit as a tourist. I have never been due to my flying phobia which I am slowly overcoming (flew for the first time last year) and New York is on my wish list, infact you have just made it move further up my list just behind Venice and Iceland which for now are nearer lol.
Enjoy your return visit.
Love
Amanda x

Fliss said...

Wow Alison! Absolutely stunning photos and I'm quite green with envy as you're so lucky to be over there.
The sunny weather looks lovely too as we're in the middle of deluges and flooding here!
Fliss xx

sam21ski said...

WOW how exciting, thanks soooo much for sharing your wonderful photos xxx

Juliz Design Post said...

Fabulous photographs and nice to see a different take on New York to the usual photographs.
Julie x

May said...

Hi Alison, Fantastic photos...I must say I am also a bit of a hermit, & city life is not for me anymore (well not big cities anyway) ... But I would love to visit this amazing City of New York...Wonderful post Thanks for sharing... Hugs May x x

Paper Profusion said...

Such a pleasure to read your wonderful post Alison and see those photos. Thanks for sharing it all. Have another terrfic month ahead. Try to catch the audio tour inside Ellis Island, it will be busy inside but I think you would like. Nicola x

Mrs.B said...

Fabulous pictures Alison, and it's great to see another side of NYC rather than the usual tourists.
Loved the image of the stone figures.
So pleased everything is going well.
Avril xx

Meggymay said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on NYC, there was such a variety of of interesting photos, not at all what I imagined the city to look like. The stone figures looked awesome.
Yvonne xx

Chris said...

Hi Alison and it was so good to read your post and see what you've been up to in New York, I loved all your photo's and your story of your wandering a. Hope your second stint goes just as well and good luck with it. Chris xx

Redanne said...

How wonderful that you found time to see the 'real' New York Alison, your pictures are fantastic - my favourites are the skull/skeleton chair and all those wonderful fire escapes! Hope your second visit is just as amazing. Anne xx

Buttons said...

What a wonderful take on this city = not one that's been high on the bucket list but you've tempted me sorely with this non-tourist view. Surely Kath and I could fit into that suitcase of yours for the return journey?! Wishing you a safe, happy and successful trip. Jenny x

Julia Aston said...

what a wonderful tour through NYC Alison! I think NYC has something for everyone somewhere within it's borders! Thanks for your view of it!

Marci said...

Loved your photos! My daughter was in NYC last Saturday to go to the Brooklyn Flea, she had heard a lot about it. But, it was POURING rain, and they were closed! She said she also liked the High Line. Hope your next trip goes well!

Rita said...

Looks like a place I would enjoy Alison. Fabulous pictures. Missing all your creations, but you are certainly enjoying this lifestyle at the moment and I'm sure you will have lots of stories to tell when you return. Take Care. Hugs Rita xxx

chrissies said...

I am sure you will relax and enjoy the workshop Alison and also make something incredible.

Wonderful photographs of your New York exploration and a great way to get a real feel of the place I'm sure.

Have a good time again when you go back tomorrow and enjoy your wonderful if busy, life

Thank you for sharing it with us

Love Chrissie x

chrissies said...

Not sure if my comment arrived as my internet is playing up but I won't write it all again.

Summary-loved the photos and have a great time when you get back to New York

Love Chrissie x

maria's knutselplezier said...

Wow Alison this looks and sounds as a real dream trip, I'm a bit yellous now, I hope the workshop Andy was olso such a pleasure!!??

Have a nice weeknd
Maria

Deborah said...

Love your butterfly's eye view of New York, Alison. I've been to a lot of places in the States but not NYC - yet. So glad you are enjoying your time there. Deb x

Cestina said...

I am so not a city person but New York is different. There is something about the energy there that is overwhelming and entrancing. I too walked and walked and walked on my three all-too-short visits.

And the museums!!!

Thank you for bringing all those memories back so vividly. I look forward to the Brooklyn report....xxx

Evelyn Walter said...

Wonderful photo lane you did, dear Alison! So inspiring to read about "your" NY (I admit,you challenged my knowledge in English language). One big dream of mine is to visit this city, but I have to hoard some money, but one day....
Oh, the flea markets of NY must be wonderful and nice to see a picture of you and Marji!
I´m looking forward to see more of your adventure
Have a beautiful weekend!
xxx Evelyn

darcydaydream said...

Sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing. I've never been to New York and it's one of the places on my to go places. You have made it look even more enticing. xx

Lys Scrap said...

Thanks Alison to share your personal view of New York. It adds a new dimension in my (only imaginative) sound of this city.

Inky and Quirky said...

Your pictures are truly wonderful Alison,you bring the city to life in the pictures. I love the NY loft apartments with their high ceilings and internal exposed brick walls. It's such a vibrant city.

Sounds like you're having a great time too :)

Big hugs
Donna xxx

Trish said...

This was a beautiful view of NY that many do not see. Thanks for sharing this wonderful collection of pictures. I love your blog!

Dianne said...

Hello Miss Alison, it's wonderful to see you posting, I'm having withdrawals :O).. I'm so honored to share your journey with you. Love your old New York photos on pinterest. Well I am not a city girl my self and love old building which is why the UK is my kinda place especially the small villages,I always wanted to see the Chrysler Building it has wood from around the world, anywho, we like the same things so these photos is like we are there with you how exciting is that. take pics of people, not my thing either, wow I love those stone people how kool are they, looooove the tiles, and those windows with all the fabulous vintage detail fabulous, well I had a fabulous visit here today thanks a million for sharing them it is the only way I would see New York, hope you have a wonderful time at at the Andy Skinner workshop, and a safe trip back, ((( HUGE HUGS )))..

froebelsternchen Susi said...

What a wonderful post, thank you so much for sharing !
I♥NY!

The Andy Skinner workshop was terrific for sure!

Looking forward to your next inspiring post
xxx
Susi

Sandy said...

Your pictures are wonderful Alison! I like seeing your pictures better than the usual tourist ones. I have a whole new impression of New York through your eyes and I must admit I would love to visit!
What an experience you are having and I know you must be extremely good with your coaching!
Ah to take an Andy Skinner workshop!
His style is so different from what you do - this ought to be a great experience for you.
Spending the day with Marjie Kemper (I know I misspelled her name) was delightful I'm sure. I know she sure was excited!
My love to you Sugar - break a leg!
Sandy xx

Helen Arroyo Hall said...

I'm so glad I opened this post. Lovely pictures! I was born and raised in this wonderful city and had my first job after college right on Park Avenue, for Marvel Comics. It's far too expensive to live in now but my daughter and I hope to fly in for the Kitchen Sink workshop at The Ink Pad in November. Good luck in your endeavors and thanks again for sharing.

Mary Elizabeth said...

Oh Alison, it was like walking there with you. I love NY. My Mom isn't such a big fan. But it such a fantastic place for inspiration and awe. Thanks so much for sharing these photos and your experiences with us.

It looks like it will just be me and Mom coming to the play. I can't wait to see the gory 425 year-old hot potato! Looking forward to catching up with you in the Big Apple.

Hugs (and hope you are having a blast with Andy Skinner) -- Mary Elizabeth

Anita Houston said...

You and I are so simpatico...looking for the old and unique! I love the photos and the High line snippets! It's great to see NYC through your eyes! Wish I could join you. Good luck with the play as well!

craftytrog said...

Thanks for that wonderful tour of NYC Alison! Those stone people definitely stand out for me...fabulous!
Enjoy Brooklyn, & see you soon!
Alison xxx

Coco said...

Oh Alison, I'm very surprised by your photos.. I never went to US and I would never have imagined NY like that, with so many nature places and vegetation! That's great to see all these wonderful photos, thanks for sharing them even if as you said, it's maybe only the tip of the iceberg.. but a very lovely one! And ooh.. you're so lucky to have had the chance to follow a workshop with Andy Skinner, i envy you! :)
Hugs, take care and see you soon here or there my dear Alison Coco xxx

Netty said...

oh wow you are truly having a wonderful adventure Alison, thank you for sharing all those wonderful photographs, especially loved the layered stone statues.

Carry on having a great time. Hugs Annette x

Shoshi said...

What a wonderful post, Alison. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it from beginning to end, and loved all the photos. You have captured a side of New York that I am sure most of us didn't know existed. Like you, I enjoy buildings with character and history, and like you, when out and about I usually forget to take photos of people!!

I look forward to your Brooklyn post with eager anticipation.

Shoshi

Shirley Chillman said...

Well I might not have been to NY but I feel as if I know a bit more about it after reading your post and seeing all these stunning pics Alison. The Statue of Liberty is on my 'Bucket List' of places I would love to visit. Been to US twice but both times were the other end of the country. Thanks for all the newsy gossip sweets keep it coming.

Warm crafty hugs from Shirl x x x
ShirlsCards.

pearshapedcrafting said...

Loved your view of New York - definitely better than a guide book! So glad you had a chance to find some of your kind of places! Take care, Hugs, Chrisx

Kirsten Alicia Sheridan said...

What a BRILLIANT blog post! Thank you for showing us YOUR New York. As you said, we're all so used to seeing the usual tourist photos. The High Line looks wonderful & I loved the stone figures. I'm going to save this post just in case I ever get a chance to visit NYC. I'm glad you're having such a great adventure & I hope everything goes well with the play.

Etsuko Noguchi said...

What a fascinating post and Pictures!! I never seen the beautiful NYC's photos. Hope you are enjoying NYC time and I'm looking forward next pics xxx

Kim said...

You are but a short ride to NH, Ms. Alison, which means you must come and visit me!! Soon!! XXXOOO Kim

Nikki Acton said...

Wow some amazing photos. Hope,you are having a wonderful and productive time. Missing your crafty inspiration though. Nikki x

Kelly Neis said...

Thank you for sharing your photos, they look fun and I love the architecture in them. Cities are all so different and yet similar styles. The March would have overwhelmed me too. A lot of people in one location.
Have a wonderful day,
Kelly

Astrid Maclean said...

Don't know how I managed to miss this one, I guess I'm running way behind too.

Fabulous photos, - just the way I like New York (I've been lucky enough to visit several times..) This is the perfect time of year too, you have captured New York at its best, well IMHO anyway.... And lucky you to catch an Andy Skinner workshop in the bargain...

Terry said...

What a fabulous collection of photographs and memories! That skeleton chair is amazing!!! Hope you are have a great week!

Anke said...

Beautiful view of NY, wonderful photos.

Hugs
Anke

Marjie Kemper said...

What a great post! Love seeing some of your pics and hearing your perspective. I am glad you've been getting so much wandering in on your Sundays off. And yes... I am very open to the Brooklyn Flea!

Yvonne Garner said...

I have been thinking of you and wondering how it has been going! Thank you for sharing and a belated welcome to the U.S.! Just one state over in PA! Best, Yvonne

Yvonne Garner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lynnesbowsandbelles said...

The fire escape spoke to me because I have a stunning black and white framed photograph which I bought during my birthday celebrations in New York (when I was 30) - it was one of two stunning photographs I purchased (purchased from a rather pleasant Frenchman no less LOL).
So enjoyed this stroll around the streets of NY with you.
Wishes
Lynne

Kay Wallace said...

I love NY! Thanks for sharing your view!

JackieP Neal said...

What a great post Alison! I so enjoyed your small tour of NYC! Certainly from a view not many have experienced- I never had! I love the green area above the city- how clever! Thanks so much for taking the time to show and tell with us! xoxo welcome back!

Lisa S. said...

I love your view of New York Alison. It's been a while since I've been there (here on your blog too, sorry) and it was great to see your version of NY. I'm with you on the hermit thing and being overwhelmed with the mass of humanity. I love the vibe and energy but that many people daily would drain me lol. Hope to see your version of Brooklyn soon. :) Off now to check out your fabulous makes, have an awesome week. xx

Kezzy said...

Wow such a gorgeous view of New York, I love how you have expressed your likes, truly beautiful post. :-) Kezzy xxx

Lisa M said...

Had to come back again for another look. A vicarious vacation is good for the soul and so much cheaper at Christmas time. :)
HUGS!!