I took both of these photos on 86th Street near Lexington. This sidewalk fruit stand, an elderly customer and her home health aide, seems very iconic of New York City in the summer.
Below on the subway platform, I like how well put together the ladies in early summer, before the heat and humidity take their toll. The contrast between their careful appearances and the decades of subway grime is also very New York City.
Framing a second floor apartment entrance, this mature grape vine’s fruit are turning purple in mid August. I blogged earlier about the elderly woman who takes care of this garden. I have not seen her since she told me, “I like flowers, but I also like flower lovers.” She also mentioned how much she enjoyed my garden, too, although she has never been to our upper floor balcony.
Her entire garden, which includes the amazing grape vine, a fig tree and some tall roses are growing out of five or six plastic buckets on the edge of the narrow street and a few hanging plants with blue flowers outside her entrance. The plants intrude a little on the street, but mostly the garden is vertical.
Last weekend Tsukishima held a lively omasturi (festival) in the summer heat and humidity. The dog above is wearing a traditional happi, a short cotton jacket with a design showing group affiliation. Old and new Japan seemed to come together as this dog’s owner participated in this ancient ritual with his “chosen” family of two well-dressed dogs.
Connecting street festivals to the theme of Tokyo Green Space is the alternative use of streets, not for automobile traffic but for commemoration, community, leisure, and drinking. There is a relaxed atmosphere to Japanese festivals that bring a small-town feeling to the enormous metropolis.
The shrine (omikoshi) paraded through the street is incredibly heavy. This one is being lifted by at least 40 people, with spectators throwing buckets of water and spraying hoses.
A group of mostly elderly carpenters led the procession singing a haunting song. If you click on the YouTube video below you can hear the chorus followed by a soloist and then the chorus again.
And finally, a very short video clip of carrying the shrine and chanting.