Posts Tagged ‘Fifth Avenue’

Yesterday’s snow storm which didn’t even have a name I believe, certainly caused enough havoc in some places.  New York which is famous for its iconic landmarks  such as the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Chrysler Building and many, many more also has a few new icons.  One of which is the glass APPLE cube entrance to their Fifth Avenue store.  

A snowblower plowed into one of the walls and shattered the glass all the way from top to bottom!



Photo by Christina@christinagignac

Apple’s flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York is encased in a beautiful 32-foot-tall glass cube near Central Park.

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I’ve been checking my blog stats and have noticed a really strong uptick in the number of people visiting the blog that are looking at a previous blog post about Easter Hats.  In New York City, every Easter Sunday the Easter Parade takes place on Fifth Avenue and hundreds and hundreds of people come out to walk (parade) along the Avenue.

It is a day of colorful, creative, beautiful, outrageous, big, small, funny and fabulous hats. chapeaus, bonnets, derbies, top hats and straw hats!  I make my own creations, sometimes re-cycle them with new flowers and ribbons.  You have no ideas how difficult it is to store these broad-brimmed hats in an apartment!!

As Easter is literally around the corner and if you’re going to make your own Easter bonnet, the time would be NOW!  So here are some inspirational creations for you look at and if you’re successful, you’ll be all set for a Kentucky Derby Day party.

Lavender Lady

Lavender Lady

Red Roses

Red Roses

Sun Flower Sue

Sun Flower Sue

Black & Cream Dream

Black & Cream Dream

Pink on Pink on...

Pink on Pink on…

Dramatic Plume

Dramatic Plume

Aren’t these stunning? Hats can be so flattering. For more Easter Hat photos click on the link below.


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If you live in New York City, you have seen this!  A ginormous blow up rat squatting in the middle of the sidewalk or on the street (taking up a parking space!).

I saw this photo and comments from my friend, Greg Moore on Facebook.  I asked for permission to reprint it because first of all, I wish I had thought of posting a blog about it myself and secondly, it seemed so perfect a contribution to my ONLY IN NEW YORK category.  Now here’s my question, does this only happen in New York City?  Please comment and let us know if the RAT has relatives in other cities.

union rat, Greg Moore, New York city, contractors

I’m the City Mouse!

This thing is about as “New York” as the Statue of Liberty…or the Empire State Building! I have a feeling this is one of those “only-in-New-York” kinda things! It’s the giant, inflatable “strike rat”! Whenever there’s a labor dispute or a strike where they feel that a business is hiring workers unfairly, they (I guess) call “Rent-a-Rat”, this huge, hideously ugly, inflatable rat, which they park on the sidewalk in front of the offending business. This guy has been outside my office building all week. I’m DYING to interview this guy who sits next to the rat all day long. I have so many QUESTIONS for him: What is your job title? What do you tell your family you do? What do you put on your resume? What is the rat’s name? What would differentiate a “good” day from a “bad” one? I saw him pack it in, right at 5PM. He deflated his rat, shoved it in a bag along with his folding chair and headed toward the subway. (this one, by the way is the SMALLER one! They also have one that’s about 3-stories high! I know that, because the apartment building next to mine apparently hired non-union doormen and they hauled out the HUGE rat…and its head appeared right outside my third-story window for about a week! Rather alarming…but very New York!).

Thanks to Greg Moore for his astute observation and comments.

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When you think of funky neighborhoods in New York City, Fifth Avenue doesn’t automatically come to mind.  Known as one the best shopping meccas of the world, you just don’t think you’ll see much outside  of the box.  Well that is except on a parade day when Fifth Avenue is transformed into an ethnic cultural oasis or on Easter Sunday when many New Yorkers, moi included, don some vintage or outrageous finery, big bonnet and all and parade up and down those blocks between Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany’s.

Murray was out on Fifth Avenue the other day and he captured some interesting images:

cell phone, iPhone, texting nun, sister

Checking her email?

compact, face powder, nun

Mmmm my nose is shiny!

A Real Live Red-Haired Mannequin

All I can say is I hope he was worth it!

If you’re going to have a Mohawk, might as well be blue!

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It takes a couple of days for the photos to get up and online.  Today, our friend, Helen, posted her photos and I have snagged a few to show my readers.  She was much better than I was at taking pictures!  And I’m happy that there is one of her in the bunch because I didn’t have one and she spent the day with us at the Parade.

More to follow…hopefully by tomorrow – those will be the ones my son took and I know he snapped some really great ones.

Easter Parade, New York city, easter hats

Each year we meet up with this lovely couple from MA. Their outfits are impeccable and authentic!

Easter bonnets, easter hats, new york city

Bigger Is Better??

easter egg, easter parade nyc 2012, violets

Which came first the egg or the violets?

Easter parade, easter hat, Helen Uffner, sunglasses

Our friend, Helen is on the far right!

Greg Moore, Easter parade, top hat and tails

Our friend, Greg in top hat and tails! He looks so debonair.

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If I had the money, time, where-with-all, materials or money to buy one of these FABULOUS hats, you would have seen me on The Avenue yesterday parading like a peacock.  These fantastic creations are by Dee’s in Kentucky where these hats are created for the Kentucky Derby.  I realized as I was scrolling through the gallery of photos of one more terrific creation after another, how much I would love to go to her store and take one of the classes on making a real Derby hat.  Maybe I just will do that next year!!!

Easter parade, easter hat, easter bonnet, NYC

Pink and Green and Light as Spring

Easter hat, easter parade nyc 2012, easter bonnet

Classic Black and Red and White

Easter bonnet, easter parade, nyc 2012

Think Ribbon Candy, Yum Yum

Easter parade

Step out of Church and onto Fifth Avenue

Easter parade, easter hat, nyc 2012

Perfect with a Channel suit

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What an absolutely glorious day for an Easter Parade! Not too hot, not too cold, not windy, just sunny and warm.  The weather brought out thousands of parade walkers and watchers. 

The Easter Parade is unlike any other parade in New York City.  There are no restrictions, guidelines, leaders or such.  It’s day to parade down Fifth Avenue (well for about 8 blocks) wearing your going-to-church finery, your Easter bonnet.  Actually that was the original concept way back when, now there are aspects of it that are circus-like but what do you expect, it IS New York.

Well off to the Parade we went about noon, Peter, my son, Joel and myself.  We were dressed up and if I do say so myself, my hat looked great.  We had our picture taken, and taken and taken.  This really cracked Joel up; He’s a photographer so when person after person asked us if we would pose for a photo, he started taking pictures of people taking our photo!

I didn’t take as many pictures as usual because for some reason, I kept getting my camera tangled up with my pocketbook and the whole situation was awkward.   I have a couple to post and hope to have some of Joel’s photos to post tomorrow.

Easter parade, 2012, easter nyc, Joel Berti

Debbie, Joel and Peter

easter parade photos 2012 new york city

Yes those are real feathers!

easter parade new york city 2012

As Yellow as an Easter Peep

easter parade 2012 NYC

Me, Matthew, Michele and Peter "on the Avenue"

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YUP, it’s DONE! 

Of course I had to go “balls to the wall” while “under the gun”.  And now to explore the origins of these motivational expressions!

Balls to the Wall

It probably doesn’t mean what you think, or do you?  Well it does mean, as in my case, to go all out, full throttle as fast as you can.  And full throttle is the key to the meaning and origin of this phrase.  It’s a military aviation term;  Many planes have a ball-top grip on the control sticks.  The throttle, the mechanism to accelerate the engines, is pushed all the way forward towards the firewall which prevents an engine fire from entering the rest of the plane.  The joystick, which if pushed forward to the firewall sends the plane into a dive, so literally putting the balls to the wall would send the plane into a maximum speed dive and figuratively going balls to the wall is doing something all-out with maximum effort.

Under the Gun

This one’s so simple, I’m sure you already know it or will figure it out in a second.  Want to get someone to do something real quick – point the gun at them!  And as in my case, you can do it to yourself although that does sound rather suicidal.

I managed to get the hat done before dinner, scrape the hot glue off my fingertips, pack up the ribbons, sweep away the scraps of leaves and wire clippings.  The end result is slightly different from I had planned – not sure how I forgot about the “mirror” effect.  I had done the whole hat before I realized my error!  However, I figured a flower here, a ribbon there, a bit more crinoline and probably  I could make it work.  I think I did, do you?

Easter Parade, New York City, purple hat, yellow lillies

Purple and Yellow - So EASTER!

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What do those two expression conjure up in your mind?  Well if you are in my age category, these phrases have  been used for years to denote a deadline that is rapidly approaching, the sense of urgency needed to complete a task.

This is a two-part blog: First of all let’s explore the origin of these expressions.

Down to the Wire

There is a wire strung above the Finish Line on race track so that a camera set above the wire can photograph the contestants as they cross.  Most often used in reference to horse racing where two horses may cross almost simultaneously.  The camera captures the image of one horse winning by a nose.  The metaphor has extended to other races such as political elections where the candidate can win by a nose, get nosed out and finish out of the money.

Back Up Against the Wall

I was surprised when I did the research about the origins of this phrase.  I stated that it had more to do with a deadline when actually it’s  more like making a last-ditch effort (before the deadline?) to win/complete because retreat is unavoidable.  It literally means when your back is up against the wall you have no choice but to persevere because you have backed up as far as you can, and are now against the wall with the enemy advancing. 

So what is part two and how are they related?  It’s now Thursday at 4:00pm and the Easter hat has yet to be made!!! YIKES!  Time is running out like a pin hole in a water bottle – NO, actually I think I am now in the pin-hole-in-a-balloon stage and it’s about to whiz right past me. 

I’ve  made several Easter bonnets over the years, sometimes re-working a previous hat into a new creation, sometimes inspired to start from scratch.  So what’s  happened to me this year? I believe these are the inside/outside forces that are counter-attacking my creative efforts;  I’ve been slightly down and out, mildly depressed for the last couple of months (don’t ask, there are so many reasons and none to be aired in the blog) and BECAUSE of that I, as has been my life-long nemesis – Eat.  It has been a sugary binge of cookies, cheesecake, and ice cream, preceded by two of my favorite food groups,  peanut butter and bread.  Ok, we should probably also throw in the pasta, cheese and nuts into the mix.  This all adds up to an extra 10 lbs so I’m not feeling like I want to dress up (probably won’t fit anyway) for the Parade and  so who needs a hat?

Additionally I’m annoyed at my daughter because she can’t find the flower ring I made for Finley last year.  I planned on re-doing it with pink roses.  Now I have to return the roses and I guess Finley won’t have an Easter bonnet.  But as my husband reminded me, what’s important to me is not necessarily important to my daughter.

Lastly, we have the inevitable holiday celebration/dilemma/debacle that hounds most non-intact (read divorced) families.  I understand that she is in the middle so to speak, so instead of Peter and I and Chiara and family strolling along the Avenue, a rather unwieldy number of participants will be converging for Brunch, Parade and supper – that’s not exactly what I want to do.  Besides, we’ve now been invited to join a fun group that takes dressing-up in period clothes very seriously for a drink at The University Club and also meet up with them at a predesignated spot where a mutual friend and superb band leader, Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra is going to perform on Fifth Avenue.   So I think we’ll go to the Parade with my son, maybe meet up with the family gang on Fifth Avenue but if not, we’ll see them all later for a light supper.  BUT of course, I MUST stop typing and go create the hat 😦

Finley Ray, Easter parade 2011, Fifth Avenue, Easter hat, easter bonnet

Finley and Gigi on the Avenue 2011

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It’s a grand day to be Irish for sure…however, if you live in New York City like I do, then even if you’re not Irish, it’s grand day after all.  The sun is shining, the City is full of green-clad, shamrock-adorned folks.  Kids are wearing Irish cable knit sweaters and green deely-boppers on their heads. Kilts in every tartan you can imagine, politicians sporting green carnation boutineers and tams.  The air has been filled all day with the wailing mournful sound of the bagpipes.

We went to the parade early today and took Finley with us.  She enjoyed hanging onto the barricade at curbside and watched as bagpipers, horn-blowers and drummers marched by.  The flags were flying, the bands marching, majorettes twirling and thousands of people walking up Fifth Avenue following the famous green center line.

It was the perfect day for a parade, not too hot, not too cold and not raining  as it has in some past years.  However, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would hear the familiar “I have to pee”.  If you’ve been to a parade with a child, you know it’s inevitable and if you’re on Fifth Avenue in the middle of Manhattan, you know it’s impossible!

I gathered her up and we pushed our way through the crowds to get to a side street.  We were in the East mid-60’s so I figured if we got to Madison, perhaps I would find a restaurant or store where she could use the rest room.  As we were rushing past stores and shops, I was telling Finley, “no, not this one, no we can’t go in there, no bathroom”.   With that inimitable wisdom of a three and a half year old, Finley said, “Why not, every place has a bathroom”. As they say, out of the mouths of babes!  After a two block hike with little Finny repeating her needs to me in a plaintive voice, I spied Bar Italia and walked in and said to the hostess at the door that I needed to take her (Finley) to the bathroom.  She looked at me and smiled and said, “I’m sorry, the rest rooms are only for our customers”.  I was furious!  I looked at her and said in a loud voice, “That’s ridiculous and it’s illegal” and swept past her carrying Finley and walked right through the entire restaurant to the back, asked a bus boy where the ladies room was and carried Finny in.   I noticed someone had left a Dior compact on the vanity so on my way out, for a final coup de grace,  I slapped the compact down on the counter in front of her and muttered, “someone left this in your ladies room” and stormed out.

Boy did that feel good!  By the way, I don’t know whether it’s legal or not to restrict the use of a bathroom in a public restaurant and I certainly understand that  restaurants don’t want derelicts or homeless people coming in to use the facilities;  However, I’m a woman of a certain age carrying a toddler, really what horrible things  might we have done in that bathroom?

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