Hide And Seek

May 18, 2010 § 35 Comments

When it’s just Tuesday and the slow rumbling weekend seems a tad bit far away, I like to take a detour from the pulsating concrete and sink those well-heeled aching feet into tufts of soft greens.

Central Park is probably more approachable, but nothing beats the calm centennial trees of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, with their boughs dipping to the ground in every hue of green imaginable. Here, you are perfectly safe, ensconced in mighty arms that would not sway with every gust of wind coming your way. If the wind creeps in, it is only a murmur, a waft of intoxicating air from flowers in bloom.

Since its start in 1897, BBG has come a long way. Not just in the 52 acres it now sprawls, but also in the wide variety of plant kingdom it nurtures. The Cherry Esplanade has the largest number of Cherry blossoms growing in any single location outside of Japan. The Rose Garden has over 1400 varieties of roses, bursting in colors I have never known. The bluebells, the water lilies, the daffodils – they are all here – claiming their share of time over the year, growing unabashedly in sun and shade.

You could come here with a plan- have a picnic, read a book, compose a tune or photograph the scenic beauty. Or you could just walk in and let inspiration come to you. Better still, you could sink into the rolling green grass, and let it lull you to sleep tenderly. No matter how poetic this may sound in text, I say it from experience, when I say it is all true:)

I slunk away from the crowds one day, and peered into the oases deep within: under tents of green, amidst coves of flowering shrubs and those gardens within gardens.
Silhouettes formed behind petals and tendrils; slowly appearing among tall green blades that danced to the wind and kissed the sky. I just watched in awe as these veterans of solitude played hide and seek. In Nature, with Nature, as one.

* Click on images to view them large

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Disguised In Foliage

May 4, 2010 § 11 Comments

A recent trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens turned out to be quite different from what I expected. What I expected was devastatingly green foliage, blooming flowers and the sweetly pungent May air. All that, I found. But what I hadn’t planned for was the annual Sakura Matsui festival and the flurry of people who accompanied me on every other little patch of grass, along every other petal-icious branch and tree.

This festival weekend, the downer was that the cherry blossoms had already peaked past their bloom. What was lost in disappearing pink foliage, was more than made up for by the colors people brought along with themselves. Walking past the Bluebell Woods and approaching the Cherry Esplanade, I found myself slowly marveling at the people as much as I was enamored by the beauty of Nature around me.

The first Sunday of May,
We dressed up like Nature did.
Out we stepped into the sun-
In full bloom.

Running, posing, talking, playing – festivities abounded. Red, blue, green, pink and gold- colorful manes crowned many heads and bobbed about the green grounds. Kimonos flirted with jeans, and befriended skirts.
Which one is a disguise and which one is not? Colors that bewitch or sweet scents that intoxicate?!
Would you say adorned or disguised in foliage?

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Same Places, More faces

April 14, 2010 § 14 Comments

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It is just so that Union Square happens to fall in my way anywhere I go. Many, I believe, will confess so.

What draws us here is the rhythm of the place. Home to the wandering feet, surrounded by a host of stores and restaurants; this is where the idle spend their time chattering, skateboarding, juggling, reading, dancing, playing chess and taking power naps. Back in my school days, I was whiling away many of my evenings here…crackling shrill at the next best joke my friends offered, hanging around for hours and finally, yet slowly, feeling the cool breeze pick up and the humming getting quieter around us.

Calling it a people watching destination would be underestimating its place in this city’s maze. Union Square is this city’s heart beat. It is where myriad faces come together as one. Not just different skin colors, but also ages, professions, attitudes and attires.

If you lay down on the concrete or the grass, you could hear the traffic around you, a smattering of people talking, laughing, someone calling someone’s name, skateboards grinding, vendors selling. Stories unfold in wisps of conversations overheard.

If you took off your shirt, you wouldn’t be out-of-place, although one block down the road, you might have been.
If you took out your camera, your eyes would meet theirs and understand each other.

In fact, this is not about people watching at all. This is about just being with people. An understanding that comes from sharing a space and life in this city, with them.


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This Way, My Dear

April 11, 2010 § 1 Comment

“This way, my dear,” she whispered in her ear, “to Spring.”

And when Spring made its presence felt in this concrete jungle, there was just one exclamation point in the air:

Let the cool breeze drown out the humming and the honking.
Give us a piece of land, concrete or grass…and see us roll over and bask in the balmy sunlight.
I’ve got the sidewalk, the pole, the bench, the railing. Patches of green welcome, but not necessary.
Throw in a few free hugs. Give me a smile.
Yes, there is eye contact. Look at me, don’t you see!
Who says we are a demanding lot?


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Armory Art Show 2010

March 15, 2010 § 13 Comments

Sit back, grab a drink if you can, and savor these slices of art from the Armory Show 2010, NYC.

No less than a fiesta, the Armory Show is probably the supreme one in the City in terms of scale and popularity. Among all the others that graced New York City this onset of Spring, this show features 20th and 21st century Modern and Contemporary works of art from a whopping 230 of the world’s leading art galleries.
Sprawling over two piers, a mammoth view of art such as this can take one’s breath away! On the flip side, it could also leave one overwhelmed and grappling for a foothold. Art hung on every wall, floated from the ceiling and yawned lazily along the floor. Art was everywhere. Art was the idea.

Despite the crowds, the sheer joy of the trip was discovering the latest works by the current artists of our time. Now, while you stroll through the aisles of this gallery, I get a chance to return to those piers again, mull over works I had found interesting days ago! (That, is one of the priceless gifts of photography.)

While we are in the business of appreciating art, don’t forget to tell me what you think, like, love, dislike…and more. Did any particular piece move you? Maybe it is more than one, or maybe none at all?
I will be equally glad to talk about art in general. What is your cup of tea – perhaps Conceptual or even Abstract Art? Or is this not your cuppa at all? Whatever your take, it is welcome here.
The Juicer is hungry for some food for thought.

P.S. While I tried my best to capture everything that caught my fancy, I confess that I had to relent quite a bit of my time to viewing and just loitering about, doing nothing in particular; musing over everything essential, superfluous, radical, literal, ironic..and so on. You get the idea!
To make up for what I could not present here, I have listed a few links below. They do a great job of covering for the time when Ms. Alice had tripped into a giant Art hole and had to excuse herself from her photographic duties. I am missing some key conceptual art and sculpture pieces here:
Sunfiltered on Sundance
16 Miles Of String

A Snapshot Of Art Lovers

March 11, 2010 § 4 Comments

In the city’s inner circles, the past week has already been coined the NYC Art Week.
Several art shows rounded up the city, vying for its attention, imploring its senses and drowning it in a flood of art showings to wade in. One could not have welcomed spring in better spirits!

I spent my time visiting the Armory Show. The perpetrators had set up two piers with rows and rows of Modern & Contemporary Art from the 20th and 21st centuries. This behemoth of an art fair had swallowed me up in no time.

No sooner had I descended the piers confidently armed with a map and a resolve to conquer all that my eyes could survey; I had lost track of my well thought out plans. The show was vast and choking with artworks and visitors. For those who wanted to see as much as they could, covering the full show was a herculean task.
I emerged a bombarded and restless soul, wanting more time, craving more Art.

First, we take a look at the art lovers: the swarming crowds (recession, anyone?), quiet moments, tired feet and the occasional tête-à-tête. After what seemed like miles of walking and musing, visitors were plopping down on sofas and floors; resting the itchy feet that brought them here.

I overheard a number of art dealers talking about positive sales and it seemed that good tidings were in order. What have you heard about the art market recently?
Sales aside, two facts about the show are not debatable- New Yorkers are hungry for Art and the galleries have worked hard to represent it to them.

Opinions and artworks? Don’t ask just yet! I am still putting my thoughts together on that. Art, the artist and its viewer- it’s a complicated relationship :) Always hard to get all the answers, and the questions abound. Tell me, if you haven’t felt the same!

Of course, I have more images to share with you! Instead of crowding this post, I am leaving the joy and pain of Art for Part-II. Stay with me, for I will be back with more soon :)

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Spring Is Not Far Behind

March 4, 2010 § 14 Comments

…Or so I say soothingly, to whoever is willing to listen. After 16.9″ of snow only a few days back, it seems only fair to assume the weather will turn fickle again. And when it does, I will be back on the streets and here again with Street Art from another neighborhood.

I sneaked out to capture Midtown (in and around Bryant Park) while it was slithering under a torment of snow. A blizzard not withstanding, New Yorkers struggled and trudged on. After all, this was a weekday folks! Need I remind you what a hopeless bunch of workaholics we are!

Sure enough, there was work. But I  hope you wouldn’t miss the unmistakable sprinkling of play.

Take a peek, and grab a warm cuppa while you are at it. Winter is here. But Spring my friends, is not far behind.

Full declaration: These images are a mix of iPhone and SLR shots. And that’s because my SLR batteries died in protest, just halfway along the frigid walk. Brrr.

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