Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On and over the street

Storm brewing downtown, from a rooftop in Soho.

On patrol on Sullivan Street.

On Canal Street.

On Lafayette Street.


I've got mail

Rich pickin's at the Canal Street post office today. It seems they have recreated a mini Prince Street Station within its huge, marbeled halls. And I was able to use my key to PO Box 19...to open PO Box 19...at Canal Street. They actually took out all the old boxes from the old station and built new walls to put them in.

I wasn't expecting anything exciting. The usual credit card offers, catalogues, blablabla.

But what was insssside?


First, the next issue of Go! Always a good thing. On the editorial page a picture of my cousin, who wrote the editorial, as a baby in her mother's arms. My mothers' sister.

Then, a small, stiff envelope from the US Government: I didn't even open it. I knew what was inside. A large envelope from them, too. That I opened...my original certificate of citizenship returned (I had to send it in to get what was in the other envelope, and I was very nervous about it after all the snarl-ups I've experienced in this pro-trac-ted process). It was in one piece.

Then, a letter from the IRS. Uh-oh. Oh boy. I opened it at once. Never delay bad news. Inside it was a letter saying that...they were paying me back! A lot! Like enough to more than justify what I spent today having my Heywood Wakefield chairs reupholstered. And then some.

Jeepers. I opened the little stiff envelope at home. The emotion that was absent at the swearing-in arrived when the little blue book was in my hand. My passport.

Bubbly, anyone?

Silk Road

I was converted to these flamboyant lilies a couple of years ago, after The Lily Garden popped a bonus bulb into my order. I thought I would hate it, that first year, but, while I was suspicious, watching its huge, painted petals unfurl, it was the scent at night on the terrace, and the night pollinators drawn to its suggestive inner sanctum, that seduced me.

This plant, one of three, now, is about seven feet tall, and would be stunning in a broader border.

The flowers are about 7" across at the mouth, not fully open.

The anthers are beautiful things. The pistil a little...um...

More pollen on everyone's noses.

Summer rain

I know this won't make me popular in this neck of the woods, but I wouldn't mind a couple more crashing thunderstorms. I look forward to walking home in the rain, feet out of my slippery flip- flops, clean water rushing through the streets, feet bare in street streams.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer supper with herbs

Chives, basil, parsley, tarragon, mint and fennel:

I had bought a huge tomato. And I was thinking of how there is often a platter of them on the bar at Fiorello (one of the best bars to sit at in the city, drooling over all the antipasti on display): fat slices, lightly herbed.

First I salted and peppered my slice. Then I chopped herbs. I wanted my tomato heavily herbed. Then I drizzled some deep green olive oil over the top.

With a red potato salad (chives, sherry vinegar, Lebanese olive oil), red onion slices and wild Alaskan smoked salmon, a pretty good summer supper. Noilly Prat in the glass.

Lilium Seafarer

...is open on the terrace.

It is my favourite.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Summer food again

Garlic scape soup.

Feta, cucumber and watermelon salad. Don't forget the basil.

Green space

A quick fix for a bare spot...I bought some tall green Nicotiana langsdorfii yesterday at GRDN. Retail therapy was needed. The Russians are coming, and I became insecure about the terrace, looking at it with a jaundiced, post-May-roses eye.

The Russians are Olga and Elena, and their RTVi crew, making an episode or maybe episodes about New York roof gardens. They found 66 Square Feet and we met on Friday to talk about possibilities. I did my best not to fall into my Russian accent, assumed occasionally to make Vince weak at the knees. I think the Russians will be a great asset for the Communist Party, tentatively planned for later this year, to celebrate citizenship and birthdays and husbands and blogging friends. Comrade.

Anyway, there will be an interview in the 66 square feet, as well as a crew shadowing visits to some roof gardens already in existence, and some in the making.

Sprucing up was needed. The climbing Iceberg rose is looking sad, post severe blackspot, and I know it wants to go into some real, deep soil. When we move later this year, will it come with us? All depends on what we find to rent. And that is a mission, Finding the Right Place. It must have outdoor space, and I would love a roof, but we will have to see what is available.

It will be hard, and sad to leave this little terrace and sunny apartment, but the noisy neighbours who crash around in the wee hours of the morning are making it a lot easier to get ready to leave.

It will be exciting looking at neighbourhoods together. The flavors of each are unique and sometimes subtly different. One has things to consider such as aspect, light, garden space, space- for-friends-to-eat-together (priority), view, subway, sunsets, shops...Atlantic Avenue has spoiled me completely. How do I leave Sahadi's??? Maybe I won' t need to.

We shall see.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Book Triage

I am re-reading Seven Pillars of Wisdom...but first I had to glue it back together again. Badly bound, and in five pieces.

Evidence of mass dog-earing,too.

It is a very interesting book. It's going to be a long and dusty ride.


A muggy, blue sky and big cloud day.

With, at the end, as I was trashing and rearranging the (bloody miniscule!) terrace, a rainbow.


The rainbow made it to Vancouver, too.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday evening in increments

6.16pm, above Forsyth Street.

6.17pm, the Median on East Houston.
6.18, the Median in the middle...

6.18pm, over Orchard Street, and the not so Lower East Side.

8.06pm, from the terrace, looking toward Jersey.


8.34pm, looking north east over downtown Brooklyn.




Terrace growings on

The fig is figging.

The gaura is in bloom.

The seed-sown cosmos is making buds. I would still like to visit Lesotho when the cosmos is in bloom. How it got there in such numbers I don't know, since it appears to be Mexican.

Then again, if we applied the same standards to exotic and alien and non-native humans as we do to plants, we'd all have to go back home.

Wherever that is. And whenever that is. When does who you are start? Through how many generations of bloodstreams does your DNA have to course to turn indigenous? If you are a plant, never.
If you are a human that is hard.

Imagine. North America draining swiftly and returning to Mexicans and First Nations. And they in turn back-paddling across the Beiring Straits? Beige South Africans schlepping back to Germany, France, England, Holland, to shiver under unfamiliar skies. South America seeing mass exodus. Spain popping at the seams. Australia returning to didgeridoo-accompanied silence. All going back to the native ranges.

To bloom where we belong.

In the end we'd all land up where I started.

In Africa.

East Houston Street

The newer part of the Liz Christy Community Garden on East Houston is planted mostly with vegetables, herbs and fruit. The cobble-lined gravel path has been completed and looks very good.

The park I must still design for the lot across the road on 2nd Avenue's corner has been put on the back burner until my garden design plate has been cleared a little. Hopefully I will be able to dedicate some weeks in late July or August to its creation on paper, and we intend to plant it come September.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Three Tribeca rooftop gardens

This is where the light comes from. Up. This, where I am standing, is a garden on a second floor, on the roof to the rooms below. So it is a rooftop garden.

This kind of situation is known in the trade as a Shade Pit.

My philosophy is to embrace the shade...we will make it work for us! Woodland serenity now.

It has some akebia doing quite well, but very top-heavy. And will all soon be built and planted from scratch.

Below, a few streets away, is one of our gardens on a high corner, with views of the Hudson.

Seen from the edge of this third roof, below, where I hope to see a garden in a month or so...