Sunday, November 25, 2018

A Retail Destination

There is a place in southern California that I make a habit of visiting every summer when I spend a few days along the coast.  It's not your usual tourist attraction but to me, it's just as good.  It happens to be a nursery business called Roger's Gardens.  Oh but, it's so much more!

Of course you will find plants galore, from pretty daisies to succulents to every kind of rose you can imagine, all kinds of trees and some of the most beautiful hibiscus I've ever seen.

You will also find those little extras that will enhance the look of your garden, like statues and pottery and pretty  and unique fountains.

Roger's Gardens opened for business in 1965 by Roger MCkinnon in the city of Costa Mesa.  In 1970 the business was purchased by Gavin Herbert Sr. and was eventually moved to it's present location in Corona Del Mar.  Mr. Herbert developed friendships with some of southern California's rather elite residents such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and John Wayne.  In the mid 70's he purchased the original Disneyland Bandstand that sat in the middle of Main Street back when Disneyland first opened.  It now has a place of honor in the middle of the garden.

Roger's Gardens isn't just a nursery.  It's also a retail heaven selling not only patio furniture and decorator pots but, also every kind of gift and collector item you can think of.  They even have a selection of gourmet items like fancy pasta and tapanades.  I frequently bring something tasty home with me.

Part of the fun of my annual visits is that every year, the retail space looks different with all kinds of gorgeous displays and tempting items.  Sometimes I'm glad that this place is located so far away from home.  I'd be in shopping trouble if it was close by.

It even has a special Christmas section that is open all year long.

And two yeas ago, they opened a restaurant called The Farmhouse at Roger's Gardens.  They serve what they call "field to fork" food and I've eaten there three times now and can highly recommend the delicious creations they serve.

Just picking out these photos made me want to visit there again.  I will be looking forward to my summer escape in 2019.  

Sunday, November 18, 2018

City Dreams

When I was in New York I visited a lot of museums and galleries and saw some amazing works of art and creativity but, there is one exhibit that stands out in my mind and it was at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art).  It was a retrospective of works by the incredibly creative and visionary work of Bodys Isek Kingelez (1948-2015).

Kingelez was based in what was once Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo.  He started making his sculptures after the country's independence
from Belgium and his work reflected dreams for his country as well as the entire African continent.

His sculptures are created from a wide range of everyday materials and found objects such as aluminum cans, plastic objects of all kinds and colored and/or commercial paper.

He never traveled outside of his country until 1989 which I think makes some of his creations even more impressive and unique.

His creations range from single buildings to sprawling cities of futuristic skyscrapers.  And as his collection grew, he began using increasingly unorthodox materials.

This exhibit represents the first time his work has been seen in the United States and spans his entire career.

Looking at these models made me think of the modern skylines of cities like Dubai, Doha and Shanghai.  The ever changing London skyline even came to mind.

A lot of vision came from this artist who lived most of his life in a relatively under developed country.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Observations Around the Big Apple

For this week I have a series of random shots around New York City.  They are just observations I made while making my way around the city that never sleeps.  First up, a view of Times Square from my hotel window.  From this vantage point it doesn't look at all like the madhouse it is.

Growing up in the Midwest where there are a number of Amish communities, I found it very interesting to find an Amish Market in the middle of the city.

This is another view from the hotel window.  I loved looking out at all the tall buildings but, one in particular caught my eye.  In the far left, the tall one with what looks like a platform jutting out from it.

I zoomed in to get a closer look.  What on earth could that be?  It looks like the building is still under construction and this might be some sort of future observation deck.  In its present state, it gave me shivers of fear just thinking about standing out there.

My friends and I attended a special party in a gallery space in the Chelsea area and I snapped this shot of the sunset out the gallery window.

I loved the view out the window while having lunch at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art).  I thought that street to the left was so perfect looking it almost looked like a movie set.

To the right in the view above was an office building of all glass that we could see into.  The people that work in that building are on constant view.

One of the more unusual sights was The Naked Cowboy prancing around Times Square wearing nothing but his tighty whities and a hat.  Mind you, it was 50 degrees out.  He must be pretty hot blooded.

Rockefeller Center was in full "Fall" mode with some elaborate displays to admire.

I was totally amazed by the lights in the lobby of the Met Breuer, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's contemporary art gallery.  This museum opened in 2016 and occupies the old Whitney Museum building at 75th and Madison.  All that contemporary art and I was awestruck by the ceiling lights!

It wasn't until my last day in New York that I noticed I could see all the way down to the Intrepid Museum on the Hudson River from my hotel window.  I zoomed in to get a shot.  I visited the Intrepid on a previous trip to New York many years ago.

New York is a city of endless discoveries.

P.S.  I found some information on that observation deck.  It's on a building called Hudson Yards and the deck is on the 100th floor.  It will be the highest observation deck in the western hemisphere and will be surrounded by a 9ft high glass wall but will be open on top.  

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Lucky View, Unlucky Window

Every now and then when I'm flying into a special city, I will get an extraordinary view that makes sitting in a window seat for five hours worthwhile.  That is what happened on this most recent trip to New York.  I don't think I had ever seen such a good view of Manhattan on a previous flight.  The bad news was that the window I was looking out of was not very clean or clear.

But, that didn't stop me from grabbing my camera and snapping a few shots on our approach into the Newark airport.  I cleared these up as best I could with the editing software but, as you can see, they are still pretty grainy looking.

As we swung around along he tip of Manhattan, I used the zoom to get a closer look at that jungle of tall buildings.

And then as we passed the tip, I caught sight of a tall object on an island.  Could the be what I think it is?

So I cropped the photo to make sure of what I had captured.  Sure enough, I caught sight of Lady Liberty standing guard with her welcoming light.  A perfect sight to be greeted with on any trip to New York.

And as the plane got lower on it's landing trajectory, I could look at all those buildings and know that I would soon be down there amidst those architectural giants, looking up at them instead of down on them.

The best airborne photos I ever got are still the one's I got when I was leaving Europe from the Venice airport.  You can see that shot here.