Sunday, July 24, 2011

Am I hot or is it crazy in here?

In honor of the 100-degree heatwave that is gripping the U.S. from the Midwest through the entire Northeast, we decided to remind you all of how freezing cold it was just five short months ago. So, please enjoy. Gaze upon the snowy shots and think cool thoughts!

Snow-covered Park Avenue looked like a movie set.

Snow comes pounding down in the pre-dawn hours.

On January 30th, Jean got a passerby on Second Avenue and Eighth Street to take her picture in front of one of the numerous mountains of snow created by the plows.

Valerie's red boots are a stand-out in the slush.

Who doesn't like a snowman? Valerie captured this mini-snowman on film for moments like this. (The placard he's carrying says I LOVE BEER.)

Jean snapped this snowman on East Third Street.

By luck, in late January, Jean stumbled upon one of the strangest and most spectacular variations on the snow man theme -- a giant snow squid -- in St. Mark's churchyard on Second Avenue.

This looks like a corpse outline, but it's really a snow angel, immobilized. Valerie dropped backward into the deep snow (one of those trust exercises, where you have to trust the snow to catch you), and then found the snow was just hard enough that she couldn't move her arms to make the snow angel's wing shape. All by herself, she could take the picture of the impression, but not of herself wrestling with the intransigent snow. Just a word of caution: if you ever see snow again, be sure it's deep enough before you do this. (Valerie did.)

The urban driver's double whammy: plowed in by the city plows and covered by sidewalk snow blowers!

Small restaurants that deliver made use of the snow by stacking their bikes in two tiers, something they wouldn't be able to do otherwise.

OK, dear readers, time for a quiz. What is this?

No. It's an igloo, silly! Imagine Jean's surprise to discover this fabulous little abode carved into a snow mound on Third Street. (Jean finds the strangest things on her way to work!)

There were two entrances: one at street level and one on top, about five feet off the ground. Very cool.

Snow-covered shrubs look like gigantic ice cream cones.

Someone with a sense of humor left his/her mark on this mailbox. (No, it wasn't us. We just stumbled upon it. Really!)

Don't the snowy rooftops look lovely?

In the spring, wisteria grow on the trellis, and in the summer the building's residents have drinks under the snow-laden umbrella.

Jean says: Imagine my horror when I looked out on the newly fallen snow to see rat tracks -- leading from the neighbor's garden right up to my building, right under my window! And there weren't any tracks signaling an exit!

Now, imagine my horror at the next snowfall to notice that Mr. Rat now had a partner! Two sets of tracks headed right to my building, right under my window (again, only in one direction). What gives?

The first few days, the paths on the sidewalks were so narrow you literally had to place one foot in front of the other.

In New York, everyone dashes across the street, amid stalled traffic, to get to the other side. What a rare luxury it was to stroll down the center of the streets as if we owned them. The absence of cars was eerie, though not at all unwelcome.

This picture of Central Park brings to mind the scene in The Bishop's Wife (1947) where Dudley the angel (Cary Grant, of course), takes Julia, the worried bishop's wife of the movie's title (played by Loretta Young) and Sylvester, their grouchy taxi driver (James Gleason) ice skating. At the end of the scene his two initially disspirited companions leave the ice looking like they've had a visit to the Fountain of Youth.

The large white spots in the air are the camera's take on snow flakes. The staircase, still pristine, looks like something out of a Currier & Ives print.

Our parting shot is of Fort Tryon Park, up by the Cloisters. We hope you enjoyed a little break from the current state of affairs. (Maybe we'll post heat wave photos next winter when we're all freezing!)

OTHER STEAMY TOPICS (in keeping with the weather)

Those of you who read our post on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty will remember Jean’s rhapsodic praise of the carved wood prosthetic legs worn by athlete and model Aimee Mullins. Ms. Mullins was recently interviewed by Harold Koda, head of the Met’s Costume Institute, at one of the Met’s public forums. If you weren’t able to attend, the entire interview is now available on line. Click here to see the interview. Here she is making a dramatic entrance in a floaty McQueen dress and stiletto heels. Many thanks to Robin Schwalb, who was kind enough to send us the link.

While you’re watching this very interesting interview, keep your eye out for the fabulous silver cuff Aimee’s wearing (above; click on the photo to enlarge). It seems to go on over the thumb, and cover part of both sides of the hand. It's somewhat reminiscent of the kind of splint you might wear if you had carpal tunnel syndrome, but you would WANT to wear this. At one point, the cuff comes up as part of the conversation, and Aimee turns to ask a question of the designer, Betony Vernon, sitting in the audience. Click here to see Betony’s steamy website.

And on another steamy note, if you’re in New York you might want to visit the Neue Galerie, where as part of their current exhibition, Vienna 1900: Style and Identity, they are now showing snippets of erotic movies filmed over one hundred years ago(!) in turn-of-the-century Austria. A small screen shows a continuous loop of about ten clips lasting a total of about twenty minutes. The movies were made by Saturn Films over the course of about five years, until the government put a stop to them, thinking they did not project the appropriate image of Austria. You can probably take the kids – there is some female nudity, but nothing terribly graphic. One is, of course, left to wonder how much self-censorship the Museum practiced, and what is on the full length versions. And one might be able to find out if one wants to, as Neue Galerie sells Saturn Filme, a collection of ninety minutes of Saturn Films (in PAL format), in their gift shop.


  1. I vowed last winter that should it ever get warm again, I would not complain about the heat, but alas, I have broken that vow a few times in the last couple of weeks. However,after looking at your winter photos, I am making a renewed attempt to enjoy it more and complain less.

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