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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A COUNTRY GIRL TAKES IN NEW YORK CITY

 On June 20, 2014, my neighbor, Lindsey Arnold, and I piled on a bus in Scranton, and were in New York City in a couple of hours.  I liked the bus idea because this country girl does not do well in traffic, and New York has traffic like I have never seen.  It makes Houston look like a slow day in Abilene!  I was astounded at the fancy, high priced cars that were blazing  their way through the Lincoln Tunnel.  Believe me, if I was driving in New York, I would get a car that was already bent up, old and decrepit.  We are nearly there!  Here is the way to Madison Square Garden, where Joe Champlain performed.  Joe was the main character in Stay Away Joe, a book about the Indians at Havre, Montana, written by Dan Cushman, and.
We got off at the Port Authority and walked up to Times Square.  Here we are wandering around, and around.
Just looking and looking at the sea of people, and sights that one get glimpses of on morning news.  Here we are in the big middle of what seemed unreal several hours ago.
It is hard to be a tourist in such a crowded little world. 

 I kept running into people, because I was gawking, taking pictures,  and not looking where I was going.
New Yorkers head out and don't look sideways, just straight ahead, with eyes focused on their destination.  They are either walking in a bee line or they are trying to sell you something like this man.  He is trying to sell Lindsey a tour.  We should have done it.
Lindsey is looking at the cab.  Should we or should we not?  We didn't.
It would take a year to do and see everything here on the Square.
Times Square is one big billboard.
There were people everywhere.  Now that I am older and a lot more cautious, I can't help but think what it must be like when a disaster like 9/11 hits a crowded place like this.

This is the fanciest McDonald's I have ever seen.  It is lit up like a theater.
New York has variety.  This man's advice becomes more relevant as each day passes, but people just pass him by like he is a fireplug anchored in the concrete, or they just try not to see the message.
These characters are making a living posing with all the tourists.
 Lindsey, and I both posed with these characters (my pictures are sideways and I can't get them straight), then we tipped them a dollar.  Hello Kitty and Iron Man were insulted.  I think they expected at least a $20!
Mounted police ride nice looking horses.
Here comes the hay for the horses right down town in the Square.  Being a truck "skinner" in this town would be one big challenge.
Rickshaws are a good way to get around.
Villains who have nothing to do, and happen to have a can of spray paint leave their mark.  Ugh!  Go get a job, and amount to something.  

Madam Tussaud, and Ripley's Believe it or Not, side by side on the Square.
 There don't seem to be any vacant buildings that are boarded up.  Every square inch is used space.  All of us from the rural areas are used to buildings being boarded up, or being torn down because they have been empty so long that they are falling down.
Old architecture is the most interesting.  I wish I knew more about this building.
Lindsey called one of her friends, who lives in Connecticut.  They happened to be in the city, so they came and guided us around.  There are tour guides all over the streets, so we got one to give us the Empire State Building tour. 
Movie memorabilia is on one of the floors.
Lindsey and Allison.
The view from the observatory deck was great (if you could squeeze through the folks).
The top of the Empire State Building.

This is a wonderfully, amazing place to visit, but I prefer the wide open spaces for living.  I have a fear of being trapped, and this place looks like it would be a trap if a grid went down, or a bomb went off.
 That is the Statue of Liberty on the little island.  We didn't get to see her on this trip.
See the green on the roof?  This is New York roof top agriculture.
Macy's
Concrete and steel.  I am so glad I live where there are mesquites, grass, and miles of open space.  Those yellow dots are all the taxis wending their way along the street.
After we got done with the Empire State building, we struck out on foot to go see the library, and along the way we saw old buildings.  This is on the National Register for Historic Places.
We passed a brownstone apartment,
saw a dog walker,
 caught a glimpse of the Chrysler Building (one of the most beautiful buildings in city),

I got waylaid by a self published author and didn't make it inside the library.  
The outside of the library is pretty darned impressive.
 Lions guard the front of the library.
Lenox Library, founded by James Lenox, Dedicated to History, Literature, and the Fine Arts.  MDCCCLXX.  One hundred forty-five years old--and magnificent.  I wish I had gone inside instead of talking to the author.
Grand Central Station is the last sight on our list.
The craftsmanship is amazing.  It seems that a building has to be at least a hundred years old to have any character.
Contrast this with the buildings behind it.
On the inside of the station.
 The new, and improved "green" lights.
 Ticket counter.
 Mass of people, each with a plan and a purpose.

 Lindsey and the bunch.  I was impressed with how clean it was.  I expected to see trash laying around, but it wasn't so.
Just one of the tunnels for the different lines.
I found this interesting blog on the history of the station. 
I didn't think that I could ever get tired walking, but I was whipped by the end of this excursion, and was ready to get on the bus and head to Scranton.  I would love to go back, do some tours, and really look things over.  If you plan to go, start training for the walking, and then get some really good shoes.  Plan for lots of time, and figure out where you can go to the bathroom ahead of time.  I am like a first grader.  I want to know where the bathrooms are and when we are going to eat.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

BEFORE VERA BRADLEY, THERE WAS VERA

Way back there, in the 60s, I was studying Home Economics at Texas Technological College, and fell in love with all the beautiful things of that day.  One of my classes took a field trip to a store located on 34th Street in Lubbock, Texas that was filled with beautiful table linens, Danish Modern pieces,  beautiful colored glass, and gorgeous tableware.   That is where I discovered and fell head over heels in love with Vera.  Vera prints are so pretty and unique--truly a reflection of the 60s with lots of bright colors, especially turquoise and green, pink and orange combinations.  She used flowers and geometrics in her designs, and there was usually a cute ladybug beside her signature or somewhere in the design.    

 I got these brand spanking new place mats at a thrift store in Montrose, PA.  They are treasures and I will never use them.  Robert and Marina can put them on ebay after I die.  I hope they get rich selling all my valuable stuff.
More about Vera!  Amazon has a book about her, but it is pricey, so I will rely on Wikipedia and blogs for the information.  This is the good part about blogging--I have to do research and learn something.  Vera was very fortunate to have been born (July 24, 1907) into her family, and I wish all parents could be as wise as hers.  Fanny and Meyer Salaf encouraged each of their four children to figure out their passion, and then go for it.  Vera's dad bought all of her sketch books, just to encourage her, and took her to The Metropolitan  Museum of Art on Sundays.  Oh, if only all parents would take the time on Sundays to spend with their kids doing things.  The world would be different. Vera went to design school and then worked as a textile designer.  She met and married George Neumann, an Austrian, who had family in the textile business back in the old country.  They started their own textile printing business on their tiny apartment kitchen table.  The only thing they could silk screen print was place mats.  Their work sold, and business grew.  Eventually, they had to move to larger quarters, and they finally ended up in a mansion in Ossinig, New York where they lived and produced.  Either during the war or after, Vera started buying parachute silk, and began making the fabric into scarves with her signature and bug printed on them.  I do believer hers were the first signature scarves.  Later she produced fabric specially designed for clothing.  I am always happy when I hear of a successful business that started in a garage or on a kitchen table, or a tent (like Laura Ashley).  Then I hear of businesses going out of business that started with an SBA loan, or  DOE loan like Solyndra, and I wish these people could have started small and either grew or crashed in the fledgling stage instead of adding to the national debt.  I graduated from Texas Technological College just before it became Texas Tech University, and then I received my master's degree from Texas Tech University, and I wouldn't take for my education.
For more on Vera, just go to  http://fashionsfinest.fuzzylizzie.com/vera.html