Thursday, December 31, 2009

Z is for

Zingone's--a greengrocer (and more) in my neighborhood.***

The photos tell the story--Fruits, veggies and groceries

since 1927.

An old-world grocery. It's the sort of store where people have accounts. And orders are called in and delivered. A small-scale, low-tech Fresh Direct.

But not really.

The second story in the Metropolitan Diary tells all you need to know about Zingone's. And this blogger says it better than me what Zingone's means to the neighborhood.

Nearly all of our Christmas trees have come from Zingone.

Thanks, Mr. Zingone!

***And that's it. My Ravelry ABCs are done!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Y is for. . .

Yiddish--the second language of NYC. ****

So many Yiddish words are in the mainstream--schelp, glitch, mish-mosh, klutz---

However, here in NYC, we bump our Yiddishisms up a notch.

Several years ago, a friend and I were walking along the street. We passed an acquaintance of ours who thought of herself as a fashion maven. But she was wearing a hideous outfit that combined stripes and a paisley print in a rainbow of colors. Our conversation, after the what-not-to-wear passed, went something like this:

Oy vey! What's that schamatta she was wearing?
I don't know. Those stripes and paisley were ungapatchka. Schlocky fabric, too.
It takes chutzpah to wear such drek.
She doesn't even have a bissel of good taste.

My friend and I then turned to each other and began to laugh. Here we were two Christian gals originally from the suburbs talking like we were raised on the Lower East Side.

For a few years I worked with a couple of people who taught me some of the finer points of Yiddish. I think this was their reference guide.

**** This ABC mishegas is almost over! I need to get Z is for. . . done by January 3rd. (MY 2009 ABCs focused on NYS/NYC stuff.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


It's cold out there today! Temperatures in the low 20s with the wind chill pulling it down to the single digits. But nothing chases the chill away better than a snuggly shawl!

Is this gorgeous or what?! Many thanks to the multi-talented Sonja. The pattern is the Lilac Leaf Shawl Here's the link to the shawl on Sonja's Ravelry project page for the details.

I'll be meeting a friend (A knitter who I know will be oohing and ahhing!) for lunch this afternoon. First I'll wear the shawl wrapped around my neck and have the lacy ends peek out of my coat.

Then at the restaurant, I'll open the shawl up to all its beauty and wrap it around my shoulders. At this moment, I'm wearing the shawl over my nightgown--but, no, there won't be any picture of that!

I love this shawl!

Monday, December 28, 2009

X is for. . .

an eXcuse not to finish the 2009 ABC along?

This ABC Along on Ravelry finishes on January 3. I was doing fine till March. Took a seven-month stall and then began to pick up letters.

Now I'm stuck. Adding to the pressure is that I'm making the ABcs NYS/NYC-centric.

Could I do X is for Xmas decorations in NYC?

No, that won't work. That's the only photo I've taken of Xmas decorations in the city.

Could I do XL NYC? (eXtra large NYC)

Don't think so. I already covered that with V is for. . .

How about I write something about and take photos of x-rated NYC? But this isn't the 70s anymore. Times Square isn't the scary place it used to be with peep-shows, porno movies, topless bars and fleabag hotels.

Times Square has gotten so eXtremely cleaned up that tourists can pull up a lawn chair and sun themselves.

So that's not gonna cut it.

I think I should just x-out X is for. . . and move along to Y is for. . . .

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day

I celebrated Boxing Day** today, not by giving the servants the day off and distributing to them their gifts (LOL!)

BUT by literally receiving a few boxes.

I had written about my Aunt Ellie a couple of times. I'm now sorry to report that she passed away during the fall. She was 97 years old and had lived a life full of grace, joy and love. Aunt Ellie was also a most remarkable and talented needlecrafter.

When her nephew was packing up her house, he asked if I wanted any of her knitting and crocheting things. I told him I'd love to have her patterns, books and needles. And that's what's in those three boxes. Patterns. Books. Needles. Three heavy boxes worth!

Let's take a peek in one of them.

I'm so honored to have these things. I plan to go through the boxes at my own pace. Slowly and with care. And stopping to have chats with Aunt Ellie along the way.

(**Since December 26 falls on a Saturday this year, in the British Commonwealth Boxing Day will actually be celebrated on the first weekday after Christmas--Monday. )

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

W is for

water towers. ****

It's startling to look up and see these down-home looking structures. But New Yorkers need to flush their toilets and take showers! And our drinking water is so good, that people bottle and sell it.

The NYC water system dates from an 1800 aqueduct system that relies on gravity. At that time, people didn't live in buildings that reached up into the sky and so adequate water pressure could be maintained. But buildings got taller and taller and by the end of the 19th century, any building over six stories high was required to have a water tower.

And so it continues. The old water system works efficiently and fairly cheaply. There's 10,000 water towers in NYC! About a 100 or so new ones are made every year. Only two family-owned companies make and maintain the wooden and steel water towers-- and they've both been in business since the 1890s.

This fancy-schmancy building built a little house for its water tower. Can you spot it?

More information about the water towers here and here. And the history of the NYC water supply is here. I found this article about the building of a water tunnel interesting.

****Just X, Y and Z left! I think I may actually finish this ABC Along. My ABCs this year focus on NYS/NYC things.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

V is for

New York is a VERTICAL city-- ****

Tall buildings

Tall monuments

Tall bridges

Tall people

**** I may actually finish this 2009 ABC Along! My ABCs this year focus on NYC/NYS stuff.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow--the Day After

A winter wonderland no more.

Dirty piled up snow. Slush. Puddles. That's snow in NYC the day after.

The streets have been plowed. The sidewalks have been shoveled. Most of the cars have been dug out. Garbage is piling up. Since the sanitation workers were out plowing the streets yesterday, the usual Monday garbage pick-up is postponed.

All very dreary -- until I saw this!

A snow dog!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nearly a Foot of Snow?

Mayor Mike says we had a eleven inches of snow here in Manhattan.

Hmmmm. . . doesn't look like that much from our window.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

T and U are for

The Albany Times Union—my hometown newspaper. ****

Back before there were 24-hour news channels and the Internet, the newspaper brought the world into our homes.

In Albany, NY the Times Union—the TU was our morning paper. It was the first newspaper I ever looked at—not read—looked at. I remember lying on the living room floor with the Sunday funny pages—the comics—spread around me. I couldn’t read yet—but I made up my own stories for the cartoons.

As I got older, I read the TU every day. National, local, sports, home, society, entertainment—I read all the sections. In the TU. I learned about politics—local and national. High school sports results; Hints from Heloise, stories about world events, local reporting on fires and car crashes were all part of the daily read.

That’s a photo of my Pop reading the TU. Note also the TU on the table folded to the racing charts from Saratoga.

The TU was also the newspaper where my hubster worked for 17 years. He started as a copy boy, became an award-winning reporter and ended up as city editor before he left the TU for another paper. I didn’t know him during his TU days, but I knew his byline.

These days, I read the TU online every couple of weeks for the local news, the obituaries. The online edition also has a Fiber Arts blog that’s frequently updated. It’s a great source of information about the Capital District yarn shops, fiber events and knitting meet-ups. But you don't to be from the area to enjoy the blog--the several people who contribute to it write about and share their fiberly adventures.

****Still trying to catch up. My ABCs for this year focus of NYC/NYS stuff.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Scarf of Many Colors

I saw this scarf on a woman in Bed, Bath and Beyond. Just by looking at it, I knew it was non-wool and non-handknit--but there's something about it I liked.

It was bought at Loehmanns. However, I saw the same scarf in different colors today and that one was from Macy's.

The scarf-wearer is a knitter also and we talked about how to knit it. To me, it looked a lot like the Sarah Blanch Shawl (Ravelry link) from Folk Shawls. The stitch pattern is garter drop stitch.

Believe me, I have enough knitting on the needles right now! But maybe sometime in the future IF I need something easy-peasy and IF I have some oddball yarns around and IF I remember this post, this would make a good project.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's a Beginning

The other day, a friend gave me this sweet ornament that she made. Can you see the sparkles in the red yarn? I love it!

However since we don't put up our Christmas tree or decorate until this weekend, I've kept it on the OttLite all week.

Christmas cards haven't been written yet. Presents are not yet bought. This little stocking, instead of mocking me for my procrastination, gives me hope that I'll pull it all together. Soon.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shake Shack Scarf

Seen through the window of Shake Shack today:

Probably a machine knit--but I'm not sure. However it does look long and loopy and cozy to wear on this windy, chilly day. And since the high temperature tomorrow will be 27 degrees, I'm sure plenty of scarves and mittens will be making appearances all over the city this weekend.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hugs and Kisses Scarf

This scarf was being worn by a woman I took a class with this past semester. She said her daughter made the scarf. It wasn't until I looked at the photo that I noticed the cable is a hugs and kisses cable.

AWWWWWW. . . . how sweet!

An update on a past post. I'm still stalking that yellow scarf! The same woman had the Pilates appointment following mine on Monday --but she wasn't wearing the scarf.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A New Beginning

2010 is going to be the year of a sweater for me. Just one--my first.

Sometimes I think I need a knitting shrink to figure out why I have a sweater phobia because I've never, ever made one. I haven't even knit so much as a baby sweater. For the past couple of years, I've thought, "This is it--I'm doing it. I'm knitting a sweater."

But how many sweaters have you seen on this blog? Nada. Nothing. Zero. Calling Dr. Knitting Shrink!

However, at the Knitters Review Retreat, it all came together for me. I took a sweater class with Ann Hanson. Ann's skilled teaching gave me a huge boost of confidence. Plus I have my measurements and a load of tips for knitting a sweater.

And, sure enough, a pattern I've had my eye on--Jackie Leisure Jacket-- was for sale in the Retreat's marketplace. No excuses--"Oh, I'll buy and download it later." Suddenly I had the pattern in my hands.

One of the suggested yarns is Briar Rose's Fourth of July. Chris, of Briar Rose, was at the Retreat and, again, I had no excuse for talking with her right then and there and placing an order.

And that brings us to right now.

Look at me, I'm swaaaaaatching!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Near Miss

Yesterday, I wrote about a missed opportunity to take a photo of a nice-looking knitted scarf and I swore that wouldn't happen again.

The other day, I was rushing around town and noticed that, despite it being chilly, I didn't see any knitted hats or scarves. Ten seconds after I wished I would see something knitted--I spotted a knitter-in-the-wild. A knitter I know from the neighborhood.

I noticed she was wearing hand-knit socks and I thought I saw some knitting peeking out of her tote bag. But she was rushing, I was rushing--we quickly greeted each other and went our opposite ways.

I then stopped dead in my tracks. D'OH! Another missed opportunity! Surely I could have found five seconds to snap a shot? By then I was a half-block away and could see that my knitter friend was hailing a cab. I knew the photo would be fuzzy -- but I didn't care. This is a habit I must get into!

You really can't see this too well--but her socks are a heathery purple. Maybe self-striping? And doesn't that look like a red go-knit pouch in her tote?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Missed Opportunity

Since I'm a wimp, there's no photo of what I'm gonna be talking about.

As I was leaving the Pilates studio Monday, I noticed the next client's coat and scarf hanging on a peg. Scarf?! It was so nice-looking, I knew it had to be hand-knit. I fondled the scarf and asked the owner if she had made it. She didn't, but a friend had. I fondled it some more. Soft, soft, yellow fingering weight yarn. Stockinette done on large needles. Nice and squishy.

The scarf-owner told me she loves it because it's long enough to wrap around her neck several times. I continued to fondle the scarf. My Pilates teacher said, "Gee, you really seem like that scarf." The scarf-owner frowned and squinted.

Then I noticed the fringe. Personally, I don't like fringe at all. But this fringe was drop-dead gorgeous! I looked closer and saw that the knitter had used not only the scarf's yellow yarn, but she also used some gold metallic yarn. It was perfect! "Oh! Isn't this metallic yarn just wonderful?!" I yelled out. My Pilates teacher and the scarf-owner exchanged looks.

At that point, I thought about taking a photo. Then I remembered I was among non-knitters and the nervous looks I saw on their faces registered with me. I knew I was acting like a crazy knitting lady and that taking a picture of the scarf might just be crossing the line.

I dropped the scarf and left.

Now I could kick myself. With my first ooh and ahh and fondle of the scarf, I had already become the crazy knitting lady. Why did I worry about what they'd think of me? Why did I back down?

I'm looking forward to this Monday and I'm hoping that the scarf-wearer will have the appointment after me again. And I hope it'll be cold enough for her to be wearing that scarf. My camera is ready.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

S is for

Street vendors. ****

Fake designer bags,

dirty water dogs,


and bling,

roasted nuts,

Middle Eastern chicken,


and tablecloths--

All for sale on our streets!

****I'm a bit behind with the ABCs--but I'm getting closer. My ABCs this year focus on NYS/NYC things.