Sunday, March 13, 2011

New York in Bloom 2011, part four

New York in Bloom, the New York State Museum's annual fundraiser for its after-school programs, ended two weeks ago today. I usually don't post about things that happened so far in the past, but a couple of you have asked for a post focusing on the arrangement that were featured in the State Museum's Metropolis Hall, which chronicles the history of New York City. Moreover, I always relish the opportunity to highlight not only the State Museum's after-school programs, which have placed thousands of low-income young people on the path to college and careers, but also the good work being done by the State Museum's curators.

Fittingly, the entrance to Metropolis Hall features a relatively recent panoramic photograph of New York Harbor; this photograph replaced an older image in which the twin towers of the World Trade Center were prominently depicted.

Carol Zapp of the Bill Doran Company used salal, heather, sweet William, protea, brazillia, curly willow and grape vine to create the crowd-pleaser above; I was moving through the exhibits rather purposefully and stopped at one point to chat with one of the New York in Bloom volunteers, and several other museum-goers who realized that I worked in the building asked me to help them find this arrangement.

One of the first galleries in Metropolis Hall focuses upon New York's coastal life, including recreational activities such as cycling. Marilyn Ryan of the Garden Club of Kinderhook used roses, daisies, mums, and greens to create an arrangement that fit beautifully with the velocipede and other bicycles on display.

At one time, New York City and several Hudson Valley communities were whaling centers. Now, the sight of whales off of Long Island and, occasionally, in New York Harbor itself, is cause for a different kind of excitement and enthusiasm. This simple arrangement of spider mums, ginestra, pincushion protea, emu feather fern, bells of Ireland, croton leaves, trachelium, statice, and moss, created by Arnie Maliszewski of The Country Florist, subtly blends in with the skeleton of a right whale.

There were several lovely arrangements in the section of the exhibit devoted to the Port of New York, but the light was so dim that many of them didn't photograph well. However, this simple yet appealing arrangement was sitting under a spotlight; sadly, I neglected to record who created it.

Another gallery in Metropolis Hall chronicles the city's development from the seventeenth century to the present, using the development and expansion of Fifth Avenue as an organizing theme.
Barbara Guyette of W&P Enterprises used spray roses, "Amnesia" roses, Fiji mums, asters, solidago, carnations, Queen Anne's lace, and ferns to create an arrangement that complements a display of furniture that would have been found in an affluent colonial New Yorker's home.

Independent floral designer Mary Lourdes Genevieve's arrangement of fleur de lis ivy, standard and garden roses, forsythia, magnolia foliage, berzelia, French tulips, iris, eriostomen, and sheet moss beautifully complements pieces from the State Museum's extensive collection of colonial and early republican stoneware.

One Metropolis Hall gallery focuses on New York City's transition from a busy colonial port to the city of skyscrapers we know today. Eileen Horton of Laurel's Flower Shop created a refreshingly springlike arrangement of bells of Ireland, miniature carnations, lilies, gladiolus, larkspur, and lemon leaf that greeted attendees who entered this gallery from the south.

Medina Jones and Sarah Lince of the Albany BOCES created an arrangement Gerbera daisies (full-sized and miniature), amaranthus, leather leaf, Ti leaves, snapdragons, limonium, and larkspur that complemented panels chronicling early skyscrapers.

The City of Albany Garden Crew -- the public employees who beautify my city's public spaces -- created a miniature skyscraper of pussy willow, white birch, box elder, grapevine, white pine, oak leaves, heather, amaryllis, eucalyptus, carnation, rose, solidago, lily, chrysanthemum, sunflowers, bamboo, rubber tree leaves, and liatris.

Linda Knipper of the Capital Hudson Iris Society created twin arrangements of chrysanthemums, willow, and leather leaf wholly consistent with the sleek formalism of modernist towers of mirrored glass.

Most of Metropolis Hall focuses upon different Manhattan neighborhoods. The section focusing upon the Lower East Side chronicles the lives of immigrants who worked in the neighborhood's garment factories or did piecework at home and organized collectively on their own behalf. Jane Hulsopple of the New York State Home Bureau Federation-Rennselaer County created an arrangement of roses, pine, carnations, tree ferns, pussy willow, and curly willow to complement a display relating to garment production.

Above, my hands-down favorite, created by Beverly Kallner of the Kinderhook Garden Club. It consists of chrysanthemums, dasies, alstromeria, limonium, pompom mums, iris, baby's breath, million star, and . . . records documenting the immigrant experience!

At the top of the arrangement, a marriage certificate.

And at bottom, a certificate of naturalization. How could any archivist fail to love this arrangement? (Okay, I realize that, from a preservation point of view, this sort of display is less than ideal, but New York in Bloom is a three-day event and all of the records were placed well away from the flowers' water source. Moreover, these records are the property of the designer, who is absolutely free to incorporate them into her arrangements if she so chooses.)

This striking composition of lilies, gerbera daisies, pussy willow and other elements sat in the doorway of the storefront of the Tuck High Company, a Chinatown retailer. Unfortunately, I recorded minimal information about the creator, Maria K.

Another favorite, created by Merilyn Niles, Jane Arsenau, and Marge Lansing of the Blue Creek Garden Club for the southern entrance of the gallery documenting life in Harlem in the 1920s. It consists of lilies, faciated willow, alium, and Spanish moss.

Martha Kissinger and Marcy Corneil of the Bethlehem Garden Club created arrangements of chrysanthemums, roses, alstromeria, limonium, leather leaf, seeded eucalyptus, and bells of Ireland that would have met the approval of African-American cosmetics magnate and society hostess Madame C.J. Walker.

My first thought upon seeing this arrangement, which sat between the Harlem gallery and a section of the Fifth Avenue exhibit focusing upon Art Deco: "Take me here, under the disco ball." Independent floral designer Matt Decker used fiddlehead ferns, craspedia, "Schwartzwalder" calla lilies, crosconia, agapanthus, kiwi vine, a disco ball, and boogie music to pay homage to Studio 54.

The section of Metropolis Hall focusing upon a fictional Manhattan neighborhood -- Sesame Street -- is an enormous hit with the youngest museum-goers. Even though it doesn't feature any animatronic Muppets or sophisticated video, the under-fives approach it reverentially and gaze at it rapturously until their parents get bored and prod them to move on.

Oscar the Grouch doesn't seem to like the arrangement to his left, but then again, why would he? Margie Amodeo of Emil J. Nagengast Florist built it of green trachelium dianthus, Gerbera daisies, and greens.

Amodeo also placed glass bowls of Gerbera daisies -- Popover, Kayak, Carambale, Grandiva, Fire Starter, and Colt -- on the stairs of the Sesame Street brownstone.

Another section of Metropolis Hall focuses upon New York City's transportation infrastructure. It features a subway car (ca. 1940), a scale model of Grand Central Terminal (which I could devote hours to examining), and other artifacts such as this ornate West 58th Street ferry sign. Donald Bennett of White Cottage Gardens created an arrangement of ivy, quince, variegated pit [sic], lemon leaf, gladiolus, roses, and dusty miller that complemented it.

This appealing composition by Kathleen Rohlfs of Chatham Flowers and Gifts was comprised of knifeblade acacia, curly willow, magnolia, flax, fern shoots, dubium, green muscari, clematis, cymbidium orchids, anthurium, green ball dianthus, pincushion protea, lotus pods, sweet huck and quince. In the background, you can see graphic works documenting the growth of New York City.

With the exception of a small arrangement at its entrance, the most recent addition to Metropolis Hall--a gallery focusing on the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001--was devoid of flowers. It's a place for sober reflection, not aesthetic appreciation, and even the most subdued arrangements would have been out of place there.

The Fire Engine Hall, which occupies the northeastern corner of the State Museum, was another story. Always a favorite with children, the Fire Engine Hall demands bold compositions. This little engine stands ready to bring curly willow, plumeria, hydrangea, lilies, roses, and carnations to those in need. It was designed by Mark Felthausen of Felthausen's Florist.

This trio of arrangements by Lindsey Janawicz and Lisa Binnacchia of the Albany BOCES features hypericum berries, spider mums, anthurium, spiral eucalyptus, curly willow, solidago, snapdragons, roses, statice, calla lilies, delphinium, carnations, and alstromeria.

Connie Strong Wilbur of the Bethlehem Garden Club created this eye-catching composition of lemon leaf, amaryllis, anthurium, tulips, and curly willow.

Red was also a popular choice for the arrangements in the State Museum's main lobby, which featured a Sears Model K automobile (ca. 1910) that was placed on display for New York in Bloom. Erin Brady of Crazy Daisy Florist used roses, hypericum berries, Gerbera daisies, carnations, black fiddlehead ferns, alstromeria, and bear grass to create these twin pieces.

This stunning piece by Joan Reilly of Henry F. Clas Florist featured Ti leaves, carnations, hypericum, and gerbera daisies.

Although not nearly as eye-grabbing as some of its neighbors, this sweet, simple arrangement of iris, hydrangea, and delphinium made me smile. It brought to mind crocuses peeking up through the snow -- a sure sign of spring.

New York in Bloom really does seem to have given spring a much-needed push: after a colder, snowier, and icier than usual January and February, March is being relatively kind to us. The days are getting longer, and the daytime temperatures are consistently above freezing. The daffodils and the tulips -- a particularly welcome sight in this old Dutch city -- will soon start emerging from the ground, and in a few short weeks, New York really will be in bloom.

1 comment:

Lisa Rickey said...

I just love naturalization certificates. Doesn't matter whose it is. Something about them is just awesome to me. Great photos!