Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Dying Rose

Early November brought me to tears many times. I often feel very sentimental at this time of the year because of the beauty of autumn, because it is so short and the leaves will fall leaving the trees dead and naked, because another year is coming to an end reminding all of us who care to notice how fleeting our lives are.

The holiday season is very timely. The preparation, shopping, cooking and stressing out about family gatherings is all about taking our minds off the sad beauty of the late fall. A visit to NYC a couple weeks ago reminded me that I love autumn more than any other season, but I have avoided writing about that because I didn’t want to disclose a secret drama queen inside of me. But this time I cannot contain myself. A visit to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden brought these sentiments to the surface, so please bear with me, my tears and my pictures...

Beside the Botanical Garden there were other highlights including Chinese and Islamic Art galleries in the Metropolitan. The Islamic Art Galleries are newly remodeled. I didn’t have a chance to take pictures there, we had a real guided tour and it was amazing. Because of proliferation of recorded tours I almost forget what a difference a lively and passionate guide makes. As for the Chinese art my preconceived notions that this art is very decorative and doesn’t reflect human nature were based purely on my ignorance

SoHo, as usual, was fun. The latest instrument of choice among street musicians is piano. Here is the guy who is touring across US with his little dog and little piano

And here is another one in Washington Square park with the spectacular grand piano recital of popular classical pieces

The logistics of these performances is very difficult to imagine.

On a sunny November Saturday the SoHo street gallery gained a new energy. The artists were in full force inside

and outside

The high fashion and utility wear crocs all within a few small blocks

And finally the Botanical Garden

The beauty of the fall was most pronounced in two major highlights: the bonsai trees and the rose garden. The bonsai trees were just a wonder of horticulture. I had no idea that any tree grown in certain way can became a miniature tree i.e. bonsai

The rose garden is a different story. The rose bushes in November unexpectedly displayed the beauty of dying. Beauty is a quality normally associated with youth and blooming. But take a look at these flowers and you might see a whole different dimension of the world of beauty. The bloom looks naïve next to dying

You suddenly realize that the character and the whole story only come out when the living thing is approaching the end. This one looks like a woman trying to hold on to her youthful charm, but she knows it is over - the colors are fading, the petals becoming feeble

Isn’t it lovely to get old together?

And here we are with wrinkled rose petals and the realization that the end is near

Do you still think that beauty is just for the young?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

To London Again

Early September I traveled to London again. ( ) This time with Patrick. It wasn’t daring but rather fabulous journey.

Even though the upper class tickets were a bit dear, the anticipation of the London holiday made economy class flight more than bearable

 London is a capital a former world empire. As a DC resident I cannot wait for America’s fall from world domination and the District of Columbia becoming more like London.

On Trafalgar Square domesticated marble lions and the ultimate ship in a bottle

The first day walking around
left no doubts - the Russians
are here

Discovery - Texas finally got its independence

The window shopping is a stunning experience. Splendid museum pieces for sale

Among so much luxury merchandise some treasures like these Martini sleepers

The astonishing price (160 pounds) for  seemingly ordinary swimming trunks. Is it the turtles?

Black gold – white diamonds: De Beers customer on Bond Street

The art of being British - all you need to be a real Gentleman

Even garbage looks fabulous behind such an elegant iron fence

Street musicians at Covent Garden

The truly international nature of London restaurant scene

The Goat memorial. Don’t ask me why

One of the striking changes in London is how much better looking Londoners have become. I think the reason is food. We are what we eat. The food is spectacular. London shows traditions (in this case bad cooking) can be defeated. Here are just a few shots from the famous

Best strawberries ever

Marvelous olives

And sales girls to die for

Of course London is not imaginable without the Royal parks. They are gorgeous 

and well taken care off with specialized deposit containers

London has its share of gated community in this case with lions signifying the exclusive disposition of the inhabitants

We had an extensive cultural program. It included the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden with all the glory of Italian opera (Puccini Il Trittico). That was obviously a once in a lifetime experience

National Gallery - 3 times, no pictures allowed, so I had to do some fast sketches and notes to remember the pieces which impressed me the most 

And of course the mighty British Museum

with required educational experience

Tate Modern is a major modern art museum. It has many interesting pieces which make one wonder what artist wanted to say to the world

and what he told museum curators In order to sell his/her art


Late 20th century left many scars on London cityscape

They even redesigned old classic phone booth

can it possibly be considered an improvement?

Glorious bridges with stunning views over the city were my favorite discovery and visual experience this time around

I'm missing London already...