Monday, June 5, 2017

The quality of one big family

Sunday picnicking in Central Park. 2:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Monday, June 5, 2017.  It was a quiet weekend in New York. The weather was fair with occasional clouds promising rain, which came but with never much more than a soft spritz. The temperature was mid-70s when there was sun, and high 60s in the evening.

My neighborhood — the avenue — is almost entirely residential. The people you see outside mainly live here or nearby. They come to the park and the promenade by the river with their children and their dogs, including the joggers, the skateboards, the bicycles. In a way it has the quality of one big family. The daily rush and tension of the metropolis seems to evaporate almost to silence at times. I say “almost” because this is New York, the city that never sleeps — and can keep you up too.
On Sunday afternoon, Church of the Heavenly Rest on 90th Street and Fifth Avenue held a Neighborhood Block Party with live music, a bouncy castle, face painting, balloon animals, food stands, a silent auction, and a community art project. These rescued parrots, however, were the big attraction. Hector Lopez of Orlando Birdman Rescues is the "father" of these birds, who as a young boy developed a passion and love for birds ever since he began flying pigeons with his father. He's since dedicated his life and home to saving, training and sharing his family of exotic rescue birds. Photo: JH.
Last Thursday night, the New York Botanical Garden held its annual Conservatory Ball. This is regarded as the last great gala ball of the season. For not a few, it means they can head out East or North to the lakes or the shore for the summer. It is always held in a large tent near the Enid Haupt Conservatory. The dress is black tie for the men and ball gowns for the ladies. There is a cocktail at sunset in the gardens surrounding as well as a special exhibition. This year's exhibition, CHIHULY, showcases 20 monumental new installations. The exhibition also includes a collection of drawings and paintings on paper by Dale Chihuly throughout his career in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library’s Art Gallery.
Deborah Goodrich Royce, Catherine Marlette Waddell, Gillian Miniter, Alexandra Lebenthal, and Caroline Williamson.
What makes this dinner unlike any others in the city is the environment in which it takes place. You are in a largely pastoral space far from and yet still in the middle of the metropolis, and you are surrounded by nature’s beauty magnificently preserved and presented. That is the great luxury that the New York Botanical Garden offers anyone who visits. For a black tie evening, at sundown in a beautiful grand tent, it is a respite of pleasure to attend.

Cocktails were followed by an elegant dinner and an evening of dancing in the Conservatory Tent. Proceeds from this Ball help underwrite the Garden’s internationally acclaimed programs in children’s education, which serve more than 325,000 children and families in the tri-state area, and botanical research programs, which influence conservation, climate change, and biodiversity causes worldwide.
Gala Chairmen were Alexandra Lebenthal, Gillian Miniter, Deborah Goodrich Royce, and Catherine Marlette Waddell. Honorary chairs were Friederike Kemp Biggs, Maureen K. Chilton, Ann Johnson, and Caroline Williamson. Journal Chairs were Amy Todd Middleton and Kimberly Putzer.

The evening raised $1.7 million for the Garden.
Here are a few of the fabulous Chihuly installations and other scenes from the evening via JH ...
Clouds in my coffee, clouds in my eyes.  This was a weekend of clouds. Dazzling blue skies with vast cumulus clouds moving through majestically trailing gossamer.  For some reason I’m in awe. On both Friday and Saturday afternoons the skies were hosting and I was taking in its majesty with my camera either in my little convertible or on walks with the dogs.
Late Friday afternoon by the river, looking north toward the RFK Triboro Bridge, two passenger ferries are moving south coming from the Harlem River.
The same hour same spot, looking south toward the Ed Koch 59th Street Bridge.
A few minutes later about four in the afternoon,  I got my car from the garage. I’m at the corner of 83rd and East End Avenue looking west…I’m heading to the West Side. 
On the same corner is this Piaggio LXV 150 scooter. Very cool, no?
Here we are waiting for the light to change at Park Avenue and 79th Street. Looks like the storm clouds are going elsewhere to drop their rain.
Three minutes later we’re at the corner of Fifth and 79th, waiting for the light to change so we can enter the transverse across the Park.
Five minutes later, it’s blue skies and beautiful clouds wafting through on the corner of 81st Street and Columbus Avenue.
Moving south on Columbus (with the American Museum of Natural History on the left). I’m planning on going to get a haircut. I say “planning” because when I get there I find out it’s an hour or more wait. Forget it.
So I go up Broadway to Price Wise Discount to pick up some house supplies and then drive across West 86th Street heading back east with the clouds passing by without a hint of rain. And so it was right through Saturday night and Sunday morning into the early afternoon when the sunshine was briefly interrupted by the slightest spritz.
 

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