Friday, March 30, 2012

Poems Along the Way

Photo taken in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

"Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower—but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, all in all,
I should know what God and man is."

~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

Photo taken in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

 If God sends you down a stony path,
May He give you strong shoes.

~ Irish saying

Photo taken in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

"There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."

~ Leonard Cohen from the song "Anthem"

Photo taken in Central Park, Manhattan

in Just-
                            spring         when the world is mud
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles        far            and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

~ e.e. cummings -- from the poem "in just"

Photo taken in Marine Park, Brooklyn

"Winter's done, and April's in the skies,
Earth, look up with laughter in your eyes!"

~  Charles G. D. Roberts, from the poem "An April Adoration"

April is Poetry Month.  The Poets.Org web site states: "Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture."

I've always enjoyed reading poetry and I'd like to share some of my favorite poems from time to time this month on my blog, pairing them with a favorite photograph that I've taken, as I have done today.

How will you celebrate Poetry Month?  Check this link to see 30 suggestions on how to share a poem.

I'm linking this post to the "Pink Saturday" event on Beverly's blog How Sweet The Sound, and "Seasonal Sundays" on The Tablescaper blog, Tina's "Weekend Flowers"and "Scenic Sundays."  Thank you to all the blog hosts!

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Busy and Happy Days!

It has been a busy time for our family this month! We've had two happy occasions over the past two weekends. One was in Colorado, where my youngest grandson turned one year old! He had a joyful barnyard themed birthday party with many family and friends. There were lots of delicious foods to snack on, music and singing time led by a local talented musician, and delicious cupcakes which we all thoroughly enjoyed!  A few days afterward this Nonna and Nonno flew back home to New York City, just in time to get ready for another very happy occasion.......

Our daughter's bridal shower! Family and friends again shared in our happiness and generously showered our daughter with beautiful gifts galore!  It was a very exciting, loved filled day and one we will always cherish and remember.

With all these special occasions I have been so busy that I have not had much time to catch up, both with reading your blogs and answering comments on mine.  I promise to get back on schedule this week. Meanwhile, I am taking time to be thankful for all my blessings and savor them a little longer. Be back very soon!

I'm linking up a little late with Mary at the Little Red House for her wonderful Mosaic Monday event. Thanks, Mary!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vee's Note Card Party!

Vee, from the delightful blog A Haven For Vee asked us to join her in a special Linky blog party where we would chose four photos we would like to make into greeting cards, from the many we have published on a blog posts in the past.  It was not an easy task for me, as my blog is photo rich, and choosing just four photos out of the thousands I have used in blog posts over the past five years was going to be hard. Naturally, since my blog is a journal about my experiences in New York City, I had to chose one iconic view of the city out of the many I've taken.  This view above was taken a couple summers ago from my blog post about Governor's Island.  Governor's Island lies in New York Harbor, and the island was once a military base. It is significant to me as my father and mother both lived there when my father was on active duty in the United States Army.

The next is a photo collage I did from photos I took of the Statue of Liberty, which stands on Liberty Island which is also in New York's Harbor. I blogged about Lady Liberty on this post.  She is a very important icon for me as my maternal grandmother sailed by her on a ship in 1912. She then went through immigration on Ellis Island.  I wish I knew what her experiences on Ellis Island were like. All my Mother knew was that my grandmother came with papers that instructed where she should be sent, and she was put on a train to meet her sponsor in Pennsylvania, with those instructions pinned to her back. I can't imagine how brave my grandmother had to be to leave her homeland at nineteen years old, see the ocean for the first time in her life, and then get on a ship and cross that ocean.  Happily, her decision to take that chance would give her, and her future family, many opportunities!

The next photo I wanted to use was one that was an iconic view from Brooklyn -- the New York City borough where I've lived my entire life. This view was taken from my blog post about the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park.  The Brooklyn Bridge connects the borough of Brooklyn to the borough of Manhattan, and is well traveled both ways. There is so much to see and do in Brooklyn, and I hope you will look at some of my many posts about my borough to see why I love living here so much!

The last photo is of the construction of the new World Trade Center One -- also known as The Freedom Tower -- that I blogged about in December.  Everyone in New York City is watching this building at Ground Zero rise above the Manhattan skyline, floor by floor, until it will eventually be topped by a spire that will reach a symbolic 1776 feet above the ground.  The events of 9-11 will never be forgotten by any New Yorker. The 9-11 Memorial that lies in the footpaths of both towers that were destroyed are a poignant sight to see.  I visited them in autumn of 2011, but I still have not found the emotional strength to blog about them as yet. The new tower, however, brings a vision of hope and resilience to the New York City skyline.  America will never forget, but it tells us that we can, and will, rebuild and remain a strong and free country!

I hope you enjoyed my selections and that you will visit the other participants over on Vee's blog to see what photos they chose as their card selection.  Thanks, Vee!

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring has definitely arrived in New York City! Everywhere I look, both at curbside and parks, bulbs are poking up through the dead leaves on the ground.

Pansies that have revived in planters are aspreading their colorful cheer. Ferns and fiddle heads are beginning to grow in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden as well as the magnolia trees. Check out my post about the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Magnolia trees on this link.

Peach blossoms are in bloom....

....and even some early cherry blossoms are beginning to open, much earlier than in previous years due to the unusually mild weather we have had at the end of this winter season.  You can see my post about the cherry blossoms in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on this link.  The Garden also has a link up called the "Cherry Watch" with updates as to when the majority of cherry trees will be at peak viewing.  It is a glorious sight to see!

So what does all of this have to do with Spring cleaning tips?

Well, like most people, when the Spring season brings open windows to my house and longer daylight hours to my day, I feel energetic and revitalized.  I begin to see the cobwebs that have gathered on my ceilings and curtains and dust balls that have morphed into true dust bunnies.  I want to change my wardrobe over from winter to spring and summer clothes. This entails a lot of laundry and ironing for me as I switch my clothes from basement storage to my bedroom closet. I remove all the items from my closet first, and vacuum and dust.  I  bag up all the clothes, shoes and bags I haven't worn or used to donate to charity, and then replace what I do use and my newly laundered wardrobe.  Since I've been in Colorado for a few days, visiting for my youngest grandson's first birthday (more on that in a future post!) and since my daughter's wedding only a few months away, I am pressed for time for this season's Spring cleaning. So, BlogHer's Life Well Lived post of  Spring Cleaning in 10 Minutes a Day was a timely and valuable one for me!  I especially liked the tip to go through the refrigerator and medicine cabinet to throw away all expired food stuffs and medicines, both prescription and over the counter, that have expired, and to change the batteries on all my smoke detectors. These are tasks that are often overlooked.  I'm sure you will also find some great tips from Alicia's post and the comments she's received, and perhaps you'd like to leave some of your own Spring cleaning tips in the comments.  In any event, be sure to enter BlogHer's Life Well Lived Sweepstakes for a chance to win Kindle Fire by leaving a comment on this link. *

* (The BlogHer Life Well Lived Moments sweepstakes 7 runs from March 1, 2012 to April 5, 2012 and is only open to individuals who, at the time of entry deadline, are legal residents of the United States or Canada (excluding Quebec), are 18 years or older and who are registered users of at the time of entry. Winners will be randomly selected from all eligible entries. Click here for official rules. Good luck!)

I'm linking this post to the Mosaic Monday event on Mary's blog Little Red House -- please check out all the beautiful mosaics joining in today's event on Mary's blog.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saint Patrick's Grave in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland

My photo of a Saint Patrick Statue
 Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

When everyone celebrates Saint Patrick's Day around the world on March 17th with parades, leprechauns, shamrocks, corned beef and cabbage, green beer, etc, it can be easy to forget that this day is the feast day of a real man who, for the most part, lived and died in Northern Ireland around the early part of the 5th century, and converted the then pagan Irish natives to Christianity.

My photo of a St. Patrick Statue 
 Church of St. Joseph
Brooklyn, New York

When Saint Patrick was around 14 years old he was kidnapped from his Scottish homeland by Irish raiders and sold into slavery in Ireland.  He was forced to work as a shepherd for six years, living under harsh conditions and suffering hunger and cold. Patrick turned to God for help as he wrote:

"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."

Saint Patrick
Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

He eventually escaped through divine intervention and returned to his homeland, where he entered the priesthood and rose to the position of Bishop.  Patrick had many visions of the people of Ireland begging him to return:

"I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: "The Voice of the Irish". As I began the letter, I imagined at that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: "We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us."

St. Patrick,  Church of St. Joseph, Brooklyn, New York

Legend has it that Saint Patrick used a three-leaf shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish people, using its three leaves to symbolize the concept of three divine persons of God: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He left a particularly strong impression in Ulster, especially in the Downpatrick area, although at the time of his death he had not yet converted the whole island and was still subject to persecution. After nearly thirty years of missionary work he died on March 17, 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick.

I was very fortunate last year to be able to visit Downpatrick one of Ireland's most ancient and historic towns, when I was on a trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland last April of 2011. You can read about that trip, and others I've made to Ireland if you scroll through my Ireland label here.

In Downpatrick, I visited The Saint Patrick Centre, located at 53A Market Street, Downpatrick, County Down.

The Centre is an exciting interpretative exhibition that tells the fascinating story of Ireland's Patron Saint through Patrick's own words, as you can see in the photo mosaic above. A series of interactive displays allow visitors to explore how Patrick's legacy developed in early Christian times and enjoy the fabulous artwork and metalwork which was produced during this Golden Age.

The highlight of my visit to Downpatrick was in the graveyard of Down Cathedral, which is part of the Church of Ireland. It stands on the site of a Benedictine Monastery, built in 1183. Unfortunately, the church was not open on my visit, but interior photo links can be found at the bottom of this web page.

Slightly behind, and to the side of the church, on Cathedral Hill, is the graveyard.

There, on the crest of a hill overlooking the town of Downpatrick, lies the remains of Saint Patrick in a grave located under this slab of granite from the nearby Mourne Mountains.

On top of his marker were a few dried-out bouquets of flowers that may have been laid there a month before, on his feast day last year.

I read the inscribed placard that says the remains of Saint Brigid and Saint Columba are also interred in this cemetery.

Tears came to my eyes as I touched the stone.

I was so touched and grateful to see the final resting place of the Saint whose name I bear and in the country of some of my ancestors. This was one of the most memorable and spiritual sights of all I've seen in Ireland!

Have a very

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pink Under the Bridges

I haven't participated in Beverly's Pink Saturday for a few weeks, so I looked through my photo files for a few New York City "pinks" I haven't shown as yet. This scene from a day I spent walking through the new Brooklyn Bridge Park (see that post here) jumped out at me, because directly under the Brooklyn Bridge stand the post Civil War era Tobacco Warehouses whose bricks have aged with time to have a pretty pink hue.

Information for the Brooklyn Bridge Park web site: "The Tobacco Warehouse, originally built by the Lorillard family, sits on the upland of Empire-Fulton Ferry Park, just north of the Brooklyn Bridge, and just south of the Empire Stores. Together, these landmark 19th century warehouses are vivid reminders of the shipping activity that once defined the downtown Brooklyn waterfront."

"Constructed in the 1870s as a tobacco customs inspection center, and saved from demolition in 1998, the roofless rooms of the Tobacco Warehouse provide one of the most compelling public spaces in Brooklyn Bridge Park."

A close up of one of the beautiful patina on the metal shutters over some of the windows.  The open roofed warehouse building is sometimes rented out for private affairs in the summer......

...and sometimes even the streets of the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn become venues for parties!

Another pink hued building in the area is the Eagle Warehouse. Completed in 1894, it had a number of uses before being converted into apartments in 1980. The site on which the Eagle Warehouse is located formerly belonged to the Brooklyn Eagle, a well-known local newspaper. From 1846 to 1848, the paper's editor was Walt Whitman. In the late 19th century the Brooklyn Eagle moved its offices to a different location. The site was subsequently purchased by the Eagle Warehouse & Storage Company, whose name was probably derived from that of the Brooklyn Eagle. Prominent Brooklyn architect Frank Freeman was commissioned to build a new fireproof warehouse on the site.

The Eagle Warehouse & Storage Company used the warehouse primarily to store furniture and silverware, the latter kept in giant fireproof vaults in the basement. The building was subsequently used for a variety of purposes. In 1977, it was designated a landmark structure by New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The acronym DUMBO comes from the words "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass." and, as you can see in the photo above, this area is full of other vintage faded red brick buildings that are now renovated into expensive apartments and condominiums.

One of the pretty archways under the Manhattan Bridge in the DUMBO neighborhood.

If you look closely you can see that the letters in this sign that was  in front of a bakery in the neighborhood are all rimmed in pink.  I think this is a good philosophy any day of the year, but it is especially nice in honor of Pink Saturday, don't you agree?

I'm also adding this post to:

Many thanks to all the blog hosts!

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