Sometimes it’s hard to sort out the visual illusions that are part of the city, like this mirror wall that flashed by during a ride home on the bus.
Drove to Nordstrom’s the other day and had a hard time finding a parking spot in its deck. I finally found something at the very top, but it was good luck! because I was treated to this marvelous view. The dome and minarets are those of the old Medinah Temple. It used to belong to the Shriners. The circus was held there every year. Now (after a complete overhaul inside) it houses the Bloomingdale’s Home Store. Beyond it is a rooftop garden I never knew existed.
Judging from the size of the trees, it’s been in existence for many years. This garden sits atop a big parking deck. Note the lampposts and hardscaping. A glimpse of the pool. It’s pretty classy.
Click images to enlarge.
A wait for the el sometimes comes with a romantic view. Old and new elements mix in a way that’s pleasing. At sunset, asphalt becomes a ribbon of pink, yellow, and blue.
My route home was dotted with many such scenes. I love the building types that are peculiar to the country. The silos, balloon-frame houses, old barns collapsing. Corn cribs now rare. A cluster of forms that spells work and home, all in one.
Click image to enlarge.
Last Tuesday, I voted when the polls opened, then got in the car and drove off alone to Pennsylvania. My father was pretty sick and might have died, but he pulled through, recovering from a risky emergency operation.
I was glad I could be with my parents. My sister from Boston came down and was magnificent when More
The hi-rise I live in was designed in the 1920s by a Russian-born architect who did not envision how important cars would become. The building with 24 units has space for just 19 cars in its garage.
This in a neighborhood where, today, couples are rumored to break up over . . . parking. That’s how tough finding a street spot can be.
We knew when we bought here that the wait for a garage space would be 5 to 10 years. That was back in 2006. Our hopes rose in 2008 when a number of units went up for sale—but then real estate slowed with the economic crisis.
Meanwhile we pay to park our car at a garage a block away. Every morning we go there to collect the car, bring it back to our garage (where we’re allowed to park during the day), and return it to its paid spot at night—arrangements that weigh down everyday chores like grocery shopping or the fun of going out impulsively at night.
On the upside, we’ve become less car-reliant. We take mass transit, walk if we can, grab a cab if we must. Over time, these ways have come to seem natural. Having a spot in our own garage—now that will be strange.
The most astonishing display of fall color I saw was by the lily pond right here in the city. For years now, the people who run the parks have been working to reestablish native plants and habitats there. The efforts are paying off handsomely. The seemingly untended banks of the lily pond host native plants whose colors flame luridly as they begin to change.
The colors of this bank astonished me. The more I looked, the more I saw. Much of the brilliance came from the sumac, whose rainbow-like fronds sported shades of hot pink, orange, green, and dusty lavender, as well as many colors in between.
This ubiquitous prairie plant, long scorned and excoriated, is making a comeback, as urban gardeners rediscover its great tonal and sculptural beauty. Besides its amazing palette, the mature tree has a nice shape and velvety maroon “staghorns” on which birds like to feed.
I like the way the staghorns clustered around the rocky ledges, combining with sugar maples and clumps of dusty prairie wildflowers going to seed.
Click on pictures to see them in isolation against a black ground.
Contrary to expert predictions, the foliage was spectacular in the Midwest this autumn. Particularly notable were the leaves of the oaks (which have yet to fall in many cases), hanging in thick leathery swathes of maroon and rust, their stands spangled with the brighter tones of sassafras, maple, and beech.
Thank you to everyone who visited my blog last month. It’s relatively new, and it means a lot to me to have received such a warm reception. I appreciate you. Celia.
Yesterday’s was an unusually beautiful evening, a very clear crisp atmosphere turning bluer and bluer as night was falling, until it insensibly faded to black. It was great to be outside in that blue moment, when the color of the sky quickened all things.