Posted tagged ‘NYC’

My Dog the Yeti: Effects of the Blizzard

January 23, 2016

After our morning blizzard walk, the dog and I hit the streets again mid-afternoon, shortly before NYC’s travel ban went into effect.

Upper Broadway was quiet.IMG_2380.JPG

On 108th Street, a flock of sparrows fluttered between bare branches and the shelter of a building’s decorative shrubbery.IMG_2383.jpg

Many more people were now in Riverside Park to sled on the fine slopes.IMG_2393.JPG

And yet the park had a ghostly look.IMG_2400.JPG

The dog contemplated the blizzard.IMG_2397.jpg

And I contemplated the dog, wondering what he sees.IMG_2404.JPG

A well-camouflaged squirrel munched on an unidentifable object.IMG_2410.JPG

Dark-eyed Juncos ventured out in search of food. IMG_2409.JPG

Heading home, the streets were empty.IMG_2412.jpg

Inside our building, I discovered the dog had transformed into a yeti.IMG_2421.JPG

And if not a yeti, then what? I ask you. What is this creature? What?IMG_2413.jpg

Slowly, the dog returned to his canine form. IMG_2416.jpg

Fully dog again and dry, the beast slept off the transformation.IMG_2376.JPG

The Blizzard and the Dog Walk

January 23, 2016

The dog must out.

Neither snow nor rain nor sleet nor gloom of night stays the dog and his walker from their appointed rounds.

We went out this morning around 8:30.

Riverside Drive is empty.image1.JPG

Inside the park, we spot a handful of sledders.image3.JPG

Deep inside my beautiful retaining wall, the raccoons are nestled all snug in their beds.image4.JPG

The windblown dog is happy in the park (though he may not look it here).image2.JPG

But where is everyone?
image5

Back at home, snow, snow and snow.
FullSizeRender-1.jpg

 

I’m Loving Me Some River Views

January 11, 2011

One of the good things about winter is branches bare as bones.

Bare branches reveal the river's proper domination over its namesake park, Riverside.

Oh, I know: in mid-winter, when the pale sky presses down until it hovers barely an inch above your head, when the wind blows savagely off the Hudson like it’s hungry to tear your face off, when everyone you pass on the street has the pinched and pasty look of Dubliners in the 1970s before the Irish imported fresh fruit and vegetables, on days like those, a bit of spring foliage might warm the cockles and lift the spirits.

Spring comes to the secret garden at Saint John's Cathedral.

But the thing about leaves is, all that lush vibrant beauty masks and obscures wondrous things. Like the river.

What river?

From May to October, you can barely see the Hudson through the leaves, unless you head right down to its banks.  A glimpse here and there, sure, but not enough of a vista to appreciate the essential river-ness of the river, the way it moves and the power of its currents flowing north or south with the ocean tides.

The river as sculpture gallery

On calm, clear days, the smooth surface is a broad skein of blue silk. On windy days, it’s a chopped and pitted sheet of metal that Thor pounded with his hammer in a fit of rage. And however it appears, the sight of the river tells me there’s always a way out. Just follow the river to somewhere, anywhere, not here.

Looking north to the George Washington Bridge

By February, I’ll be craving buds and green leaves, but right now, in the middle of this snowy winter, I’m just loving me some river views.

A Visit to Dallas

July 10, 2010

NYC’s recent heat spell has awakened sweat-enhanced memories of 17 summers in North Texas. To a transplanted New Yorker, life in Dallas is mostly summer. It stretches easily for eight months, from April to November, during which the air never cools. Even in the middle of the night, the city is like a warming oven; the sidewalk, streets, buildings and cars are perpetually warm to the touch.

Texans call the early unstable days of summer “spring;” these days are characterized by an apocalyptic enthusiasm of weather: thunder storms, flash flooding, hail that ranges in size from marbles to baseballs – baseballs, people – and has given rise to an entire sub-industry of car and roof repair,  and regular tornado alerts.

Once the Texas so-called spring has roared itself out, the long, hot days of summer lay themselves down over the city like a heavy quilt on a winter sickbed. Days of 100 degree temperatures pile up like dealt cards and when it’s not 100 degrees, it’s 99 or 96, so what, really, is the difference?  From inside an air-conditioned house or car, it looks beautiful out there.

But, oh my friends, it’s hot.

Texans who run or garden or bike tend to get up and out early. Which is what I did on a quick visit to Dallas last month.

My friend Ellen was excited to show me a turkey vulture nest she had spotted a few days earlier, near the bike path around White Rock Lake.  So at 7:30 one morning, we headed out to bicycle the nine or ten mile loop around the lake.

The sun had already begun its relentless shine and the temperature was in the 80s when we stopped at a swampy area to admire a pretty little coot.

It swam placidly about, enjoying the company of two lively juvenile wood ducks.

Further on, a mixed group of water fowl relaxed and foraged

while on the other side of the path, a charming fox squirrel found something tasty to munch on.

In NYC, I miss fox squirrels, just as I missed Eastern gray squirrels when living in Dallas. Bigger than grays, fox squirrels have a lovely reddish tinge to their undersides.

Snow appeared to cover the ground beneath a nearby cottonwood tree.

Hot and thirsty, we took a water break out on a dock

and watched two peaceful fishermen.

Back in the saddle, we neared the turkey vulture nest.

“There,” Ellen whispered. “In that tree hole.”

A turkey vulture nesting in a tree hole? Really? I moved closer.

“Ellen,” I said, “That’s a duck.” 

And it was. A strange-looking, carbuncle-adorned duck.

A Muscovy duck, we determined, after consulting the Audubon Guide on my iPhone. If it is wild, rather than an escaped captive, it is an unusual find. Either way, we were thrilled with the sighting.

After the bike ride, no matter how much I drank, I was thirsty. So another friend pulled the car up to Sonic where, in addition to selling burgers,they sell drinks “as big as your head.”  In Texas, a person needs a drink as big as her head. We bought two.

Summer in North Texas will eventually be followed by four stunningly beautiful months of autumn. Texans call these months “winter,” but people from the Northeast know better.  A person doesn’t really need a winter coat in Dallas, just a jacket.  That’s not winter. That’s fall.

It’s true that every couple of years, a thin winter-like layer of snow dusts the ground, and a crop of undersized snowmen springs up on the lawns like mushrooms after a rainfall.  These snowmen tend to be brownish in color, due to the amount of dirt scraped up by their Creators along with the snow.  And once in a very great while, a winter ice storm turns tree branches and grass blades to crystal.

But the main game in Dallas is summer. And right now, whether in NYC or Dallas, it’s all about the heat. Time to find some shade.


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