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The Beautification of New York: Springtime in Manhattan

Here in Gotham City, there are a host of symbols, signs and signals to inform us that we are entering a new season: are you ready?

The springtime splendor of Madison Square Park (Ph. Flicrk.com)

Seguing back to Spring and the Beautification of New York, Id’ like to remind you of some of the cities splendours, at this time of the year. Beginning with the Macy’s Flower Show; with this year contribution ‘once upon a springtime’ opening on Sunday March 25th and running thru Sunday April 8th. Take a moment to stop and smell the roses, when Macy’s is transformed into a breathtaking floral showcase. 

Macy’s flower show (Ph. L.W.)

I realized recently, after viewing a photo of Pennsylvania Avenue, that the only beauty left in DC are the Cherry Blossoms. The quintessential sign that Spring has sprung.

Here in Gotham City, there are a host of symbols/signs/signals to inform us that we are entering a new season. (in spite of the ongoing Nor’easters) What we will have at hand shortly, are the smells of Spring, in all its glory. Weather warming, and colors changing…like it or not. I am not a fan of pastel colors, and so the thought of dyed Easter eggs & women in pink, make me miss the hues of Autumn…always longing for what I cannot have!

Springtime in New York, is ripe w. events and opportunities for those of us who hibernated for the months preceding, allowing the pleasures of shedding layers, applying sun screen, and bathing in the warmth of (soon to be) summer air.

In 2011, I was fortuitously connected to an editor who coordinated a meeting with his publisher, under the premise of a book, based on my film business. Within 2 weeks, I had a signed contract!  Due to issues w. photographers (who I hired to work on the project) and the need for approval from business associations; the book was never complete. For the past 7 years I am reminded of this missed opportunity, when the flowers begin to bloom. Thus, Spring is not my favorite season. However, what it does bring to mind is the title (of my unpublished work) ‘behind closed doors’, (which btw has been used by others, since)! it is also symbolic of a variety of experiences I’ve had throughout my life in Manhattan; covering ‘all’ seasons.

The intrigue of what happens behind some of NYC’s most exquisite doors, was in my mind a seductive and sanguine expectation, that would whet the readers appetite. Resulting from years of pounding Manhattans pavement; a favorite mind game has been the ability to allow my curiosity to roam. It also revolves around the mysteries lurking behind some of the most nondescript facades. One would expect grandeur when walking down Fifth and viewing magnificent mansions. But in areas such as Soho / Tribeca / Chelsea/ E & W Village; where doors do not reveal their hidden secrets; this imaginary game becomes far more heightened.

Pomander Walk Entrance (Ph. L.W.)

Some of the city’s hidden jewels, that personify the title of my ‘deceased work’; would be Patchin Place, which stands proudly in a cul-de-sac in Greenwich Village. It was originally built in 1850 for waiters working at the Brevoort Hotel. Another gem, is the Staple Street Skybridge, unchanged since the early 20th Century, when it was constructed. Nurses could be seen pushing trolleys of gowns & blankets back & forth across the overhanging cross bridge connecting 2 buildings on Staple Street. But one of my personal favorites is Pomander Walk… a New York treasure, built in 1922. It includes a quaint community of Tudor Style cottages tucked behind an inconspicuous metal gate on West 95th St.

Years ago I was invited on a house tour, and was a guest at the home of a well- known contemporary – artist. At that time he lived in the far West Village, in a graffiti laden building…similar to many others on West Street, in the ‘80s. Upon opening the door to his loft, the scene was startling. An indoor pool, situated at the foot of his massive bed, and scattered with a variety of lilies; just to give an example. The rest of the décor, too shocking to reveal, filled an erotic imagination and was equally entertaining in scope. (I believe LaVoce is only ‘R’ rated)

Macy’s flower show (Ph. L.W.)

Having spent the past 20yrs in residential sales, I cannot remember another home that held as much surprise. And I can assure you, I’ve seen many. The largest component, in my opinion, of an unexpected decor, lies in the creative spirit of the owner. Surprisingly, I’ve seen very few exceptional examples. Although in Manhattan, the range is wide, and there are many with the resources and style to create wonderful homes. What I’ve observed is that many people rely on the taste of their decorators, leaving very little in the way of a personal statement. An occasional photo / book collection, are the exceptions. One must realize the large amount of part time residences that comprise the city. Many spend as little as a few weeks in their apartment / home. While the rest of the year, is spent at other locations/ traveling. The slings & arrows…

Seguing back to Spring and the Beautification of New York, Id’ like to remind you of some of the cities splendours, at this time of the year. Beginning with the Macy’s Flower Show; with this year contribution ‘once upon a springtime’ opening on Sunday March 25th and running thru Sunday April 8th. Take a moment to stop and smell the roses, when Macy’s is transformed into a breathtaking floral showcase.

Spring Still Life (Ph. Nick Guylian)

On April 1st, you can stroll down Fifth in your finest frocks & feathers; {bonnets ‘not’ mandatory, but highly suggested} and join other paraders for NYC’s Easter event of the season.

But for those who prefer indoor adventure, The Tribeca Film Festival, begins this year on Wed. April 18th and ends on Sunday April 29th.  The 2018 feature film program includes 96 films from 103 film makers, with 46% directed by women (the highest percentage in the festivals history) BRAVA. ‘This year’s lineup celebrates American diversity welcoming new international voices in a time of cultural and social activism’ says Paula Weinstein, Exec. VP of Tribeca Enterprises.

New Fest, the NYC LGBT Film Festival offers a wide and thought provoking range of work from some of the city’s most innovative directors/ producers/ actors. Dates to be announced.  

The 10thAnnual Brooklyn Folk Festival runs from April 6th – 8th and is held at St. Anns Church on Montague Street in Bklyn Heights. The lineup includes bands, workshops, jams & events.

Earth Day is celebrated this year on Sunday, April 22nd. Beginning in 1970, when millions marched, the focus was on the negative impact of 150 years of industrial development.48 years later, the Earth Day Network announced that this year’s march will focus on mobilizing the world to end plastic pollution. I personally would like to see it celebrated more than 1 day a year, perhaps once a month!  

Take advantage of all that NYC has to offer, during this colorful season, and before we beg for cooler weather and the return to Fall!

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