1.21.2013

BROOKLYN GREENS


It was a field trip kind of day, a holiday. I went to Brooklyn for a long walk in Prospect Park, and was struck all over again by how many moments of unsurpassed elegance there are in this city, often unheralded, discreet.


This time what did it to me were the ceiling tiles in the 1905 Boathouse. I could have sworn they were Guastavino tiles of the sort that are found in the vaulted arcades in Grand Central   Station but no one could tell me.

I was especially taken by the color of the tiles, and their raked, corduroy texture.


After craning my neck and staring at them for a while, my gaze drifted down to the water in front of the building; there were the same, murky, emerald to bronze to mud hues.


And then because I was in a walking kind of mood I visited the botanical garden next door, where I was entranced by a wizened and quirky survivor of a tree, a Camperdown Elm planted in 1872. Marianne Moore, one of my favorite poets, saved it from certain death when she wrote a poem about it in the late sixties--at a time when the parks were suffering from general neglect, and, as Moore wrote to her friend Elizabeth Bishop, she was becoming afraid for her safety in her neighborhood. A group of concerned citizens came to the tree's rescue.


My first camellia sighting of 2013, a dashing crimson against the leaden sky.

And not far from her is a scarlet gate whose audacity is far more remarkable in the dead of winter.


Sluggish fish, halfway hibernating under halfway frozen ice.


And more of those Brooklyn greens in murky, half frozen water. 

84 comments:

karens said...

very cool pictures. especially the second to last one.

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Mia said...

Great pictures Dominique, you must be enjoying your new home! Imagine the work and talent that went into laying that tile, so perfectly.
You must be have been heartened to hear President Obama mention environmental concerns in his inauguration speech yesterday, its certainly a step in the right direction.

Judith said...

That tile reminds me that Pantone has made emerald green its color of the year for 2013 -- which along with the President's speech and Bernie Sanders' plan for action, I'm taking as positive omens for real leadership and action toward halting climate change. Thank you for taking us on your walk. I wasn't aware of these gardens and will definitely go there on my next visit to Brooklyn.

Karen Rand Anderson said...

just a lovely post... thank you Dominique for this midwinter urban uplift.

Daniel James Shigo said...

Thank you for the photos of the wonderful emerald green tile! I found a few of their cousins that came from a Victorian hearth, but have yet to decide how they should be purposed. As well: thank you for your beautiful blog. Wonderful to discover this cold January afternoon.

JSBB said...

Thanks for the outing! Your The greens were nourishing, and the scarlet/tangerine accents refreshed my January eyes. I've missed your posts, and am grateful for the glory you see and share.

Julie Price said...

wow-so beautiful!

katrinakenison said...

Dominique, Your greens are absolutely refreshing. From where I am in New Hampshire, any photo essay today would have to be a study in grays. Beautiful, too. But I am so happy to see green. Your eye is exquisite. Thank you for sharing what you see. xo

lindab said...

This is the sort of thing you do so well. Thank you for the moving images and their correspondences here and there. It has a beautiful arc from murky green/browns up to the camellias and down again through the golden fish above and, again, under the water.
All feels rather French Impressionist..but...we're in Brooklyn. PS leaves on our camellias are also greenybrown today in this sub-freezing snap.

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warren said...

What struck me on our Christmas visit was how well tended the parks look now. My memories of Central Park include graffiti on every surface. Now it looks as if folks are really proud of their habitat.

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Meredith Glazier said...

Frozen ice.....is there a kind of ice other than frozen? I should get out more. Kidding. I need to buy a camellia this spring. One good thing about global warming.....camellias and figs in my Pennsylvania garden.

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