Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunny Sunday

I stretched the faded kikoi over the terrace to shade the middle part and to create a mini airconditioner for the apartment. It makes a big difference. Then I climbed onto the roof via the landing's trapdoor, and burned my bare feet taking pictures from above. Such a good argument for greenroofs. Everyone should be made to walk barefoot on the roof membranes of their buildings.

Cluttered canvas. The roses are fading and fluttering down today, petal by petal.

New York Harbour ahead and to the west of the terrace. The downtown tip of Manhattan is out of the frame to the right. On the other side of the water is New Jersey. The island is Governor's Island, the big white monolith is, I think, ventilation for the tunnel from downtown Manhattan to Brooklyn. Way to the left (south) is Staten Island, not seen. That's where the orange ferry is going. The ferry's free.
End of rooftop tour.

Night Out

As I was getting ready to go out last night to have dinner at the nArchitects, for Eric's birthday, what sounded like several choppers thudded low and vibratingly over the roof. Bloody pilots, I muttered.

As I emerged from the 23rd F subway station in Manhattan, about two hours later later, loaded with the weight of a cooler bag over my shoulder filled with pink champagne, Meerlust Grappa chocolates, apricot jam and Patrick Leigh Fermor's Between the Woods and the Water, wrapped in African embroidery, I saw crowds lining the twilit Avenue of the Americas, a.k.a. 6th Avenue. Police cars blocked off 23rd Street. Cops cluttered the corners.

Ha. Either Prince Harry or Obama. I knew the Obamas were going to a Broadway show. Sure enough, a phalanx of motorcyles passed. Then some support vehicles. Then a flurry of dark- windowed limousines. My heart leaped, tears pricked, and I waved! More black SUV's, something like an armoured truck, an ambulance, and more motorbikes. Good grief. Nothing like a quiet, inconspicuous night on the town for our president.

But I walked to East 22nd Street smiling. It had been them thudding low, shaking our foundations, from JFK to downtown Manhattan, on their way to dinner at Blue Hill. Local has never had it better.

At dinner (the non-presidential one) it was good to meet up again with Elaine and Craig, whose Norwegian National Opera House has just been awarded the Mies van der Rohe prize for architecture. They also designed the library at Alexandria. Dinner parties with stories like this are wonderful. They plug one's small life into a big one. We planned a Communist Party for my eventual citizen-becoming. One of the things I have to do, again, when I am sworn in, is reiterate the fact that I have not joined the Communist Party since my last interview.

So what does one eat at a Communist Party? Cold borscht (better than it sounds, I assure you: picture ruby-coloured consomme), iced vodka, blinis...and...roast sturgeon?

N0t bad, Comrade Capitalyist.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Two years ago on the terrace

I missed my poor blog's birthday. It is two years and one week old. Estorbo started a blog first, in February of 2007, and soon I thought that if a cat could do it, perhaps I could, too. These pictures are from that last week of May, 2007.

It was a solitary time, and after a spell of deep blues, I made a certain amount a peace with it. I liked what I did for a living, who I knew, and where I lived. And it is still my theory now, that until I reached that sense of self and independence, I would not find that elusive, very specific person I was longing for. But at that point I was resigned, and had no theories.

Two months later he arrived on my blog in reponse to a query on mine on his website, chewing Japanese gum because I had written about it.

Uncannily, he met, and surpassed, the laundry list of expectations I had sub-consciously and wittingly long fostered, fine-tuned and dismissed as unachievable in one man.

Now Vancouver will leave our lives, and about that, I am very sad. It is the loveliest of cities.

In six week he will be here, for keeps.

That's about long enough to decently chill a bottle of champagne?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday evening terrace

Sunchoke salad

Sunchoke - Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus - and radishes...waiting to be chopped.

My mother used to grow Jerusalem artichokes in Bloemfontein, in the middle of South Africa. I remember their tall yellow sunflowers against a warm brick wall. I hated the tubers: poor substitutes for potatoes, I thought, as a child. Frauds. But New York and all grown up.

I love raw sunchokes. Very crisp, slightly sweet, very nutty. And thanks to jvdh for reminding me about them.

If I had a big sunny garden, I would add them to a flower border, and eat them when the flowers were done.

With fennel and watercress. Vinaigrette of 1 part sherry vinegar, 1 part cream, salt and sugar and pepper, 3 parts walnut oil. Dissolve salt and sugar in vinegar then add cream and oil. They can't dissolve in oil.


Local Stress


Click on image to enlarge.

Thanks to Jay for the email! Now please try and convince Slakplaas to start their blog! There's a whole world who would hang on their every word and photograph...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rose-arama continues

If you are rose-aphobic this is going to be a tough week. Then there'll be a bit of a break as the first flush fades, and respite for a few more weeks, maybe three, while the next wave gathers strength.

The lovely and unusual thing about the mist cloud today, is that the particles of water were and are so tiny and soft that they accumulate slowly without dashing the roses to pieces, and without just slopping straight off, like real rain.

Last year the New Dawn was very hot and faded and flopped very fast. In this cooler weather the petals stay suspended and shell pink.

The roses at the corner

Walking home this evening, still in the light mist cloud, I could smell them before I thought about them and saw them.

They were not this spectacular last year. I wonder if they were fed?

This deserted garden and its glorious pink roses...

The building in the background is the one Estorbo got trapped in once. It seems to be coming down. Apparently the Long Island College Hospital owned this row, and left the houses in near ruin.

Roses in the mist

Prettier than gorillas.

Well, I did say that May was rose month.

Today in New York we are in a cloud.

The roses like it.

It makes them last longer.

For two weeks I love the New Dawn. The rest of the year I mutter about ripping it out and replacing it with a grape vine.

But it think it heard me and is putting on a show, just in case. New Dawn is the thorniest rose I know. Very good burglar proofing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

East Houston median

This was April 16th...more or less when I got The Idea to transform this strip.

Below, April 30th, prepped:

And April 30th, planted:

And below: today, May 27th!

The catnip - Nepeta 'Walker's Low'. So far no sign of the Eldridge Street raccoon rolling in it.

The agastache - hyssop - beginning to smell very anise-y. Flowers in a couple of weeks, we think. The bees will party, we hope.

Rozanne geranium just starting in amongst the roses and catnip.

More nepeta.

The first Iceberg roses. What has not fared well, though, is the Itea, sweetspire. Parts of the bushes are dead, and it may be water-related, or transplant shock. Research needed.

Fennel Chicken

Looking at my archives, I see I wrote this post a year ago. The recipe for the chicken bouillabaisse, or what I prefer to call now, Fennel Chicken. A couple of weeks ago I made a large pot of of it and then froze it into about 5 servings, eating one last night, on this bed of mashed potatoes. So simple. So good. This time I used the chicken leg-and-thigh pieces...less fiddly than wings.

Wings, I've decided, are best if they are crispy.



[04/09For (yet another) update on the median, click on the here...]

New Dawn at dawn

A mighty wind two nights ago flung the petals about.

We want rain. It's been teasing us for a week.

A shipment of pleached beeches is in from Buffalo, for a hedge on a rooftop, and I'm told they don't look good. "Lots of dead leaves," sounds ominous. But I'm hoping it is dead leaves they hung onto from winter. About to find out.

Snip snip

The best thing about roses: they can be snipped and brought inside. From May to November, in this 'sphere...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Walking home

My last stop today left me near the Brooklyn Bridge, so I decided to walk home over it. It's fun to walk home over a tidal strait. It's a mile across, so one feels virtuous, too. Near the foot, in the little park at City Hall was this sign. I laughed out loud on the street for the second time this week. I'd better watch that.

No team sports permitted. Passive recreation only.

I'll just let y'alls imaginations take over.

This lovely clematis is on Henry Street.

Square Diner, Tribeca

I was very hungry at twenty minutes to three this afternoon, and had twenty minutes before an appointment in Tribeca. I was outside a diner. New York is not really America (in so many ways). It has very few diners. In fact, a diner-dedicated post is a great the making. I'll wait for the Frenchie because this one will need really good photographs.

So I thought: Diners seem fast, so...

I sat down. A menu was thrown at me. I scanned the grilled sandwiches section. I chose. I ordered. No pleasantries were exchanged.

Fifteen minutes later I was back on West Broadway, well fed. Inside me was a wholewheat grilled Swiss and ham, and a whole Coke. Wow. Coke is delicious. Which is why I hardly ever drink it.

$10, including tip.