Spring in Brooklyn

Spring was a long time coming this year, especially considering the epic snowfall and deep freeze we had to deal with. As a Floridian, naturally, I have not been amused.

It’s still cold somehow — how is it almost May and it’s still cold? — but the trees finally sighed and gave in, making for some beautiful bursts of color in an otherwise concrete-gray world.

Flowers bloom in Brooklyn

Pink, blue, and white: what seems like rare sunlight here.

The grass has barely started to grow back in after its winter under snowpack and ice, and the non-flowering trees, the sycamores and the London Planes and the pin-oaks and the like, are steadfastly refusing to turn green. But the cherry, pear, and another broad-petaled pink flower (apparently it’s a form of magnolia?) are exuberant, toasting this just-above-freezing weather we are expected to call spring.

Ft. Hamilton, Brooklyn

Ft. Hamilton High School’s majestic lines softened by cherry blossoms.

Empire State Building and pear tree

More typical gray skies, with a pear tree making an attempt at flowering.

The flowers were actually out well before the trees. First, of course, came the crocuses. These little fellows were springing from the tree-pit of a very uninterested linden tree above it. They were followed by the more ostentatious daffodils and tulips and hyacinths. When I was a little girl I loved all three of those flowers. Now I’m not so interested in them. But a snowdrop is always a delight.

Crocus, Brooklyn

The snowdrops were the first to give in to spring.

It can’t help but lift one’s spirits, even while one snuggles deeper into one’s winter coat. I think there is at least a possibility that we will have one or two warm days before September and the whole freezing process starts over again.

A chance, right?

I’ll be under the covers in the meantime. Someone alert The Weather Channel: let me know when it goes above 70 degrees in New York City, okay?

The Kelpies Take Manhattan

We had an amazing opportunity yesterday — to see the Mini Kelpies, which are two 1/10 size maquettes of the full-size Kelpies statues in Scotland. In case you’re not familiar with The Kelpies, they are these giant horse-heads:

The Kelpies, Scotland

The Kelpies of Scotland. Photo: TheKelpiesatHelix Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TheKelpiesatTheHelix/info)

Having never seen the full-size Kelpies, I can’t say with absolute certainty that they were no less dramatic in miniature form… but there’s no doubt that the mini Kelpies, set before Bryant Park’s staircase beneath the skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan, were incredibly striking. Maybe even goosebump-inducing. They were utterly fantastic.

Portrait with a Mini Kelpie. They're big!

Portrait with a Mini Kelpie. They’re big!

Kelpie in NYC

A rather forbidding Kelpie

I wish the Kelpies always lived in NYC. I would visit them every week… even if that meant slogging into Manhattan! There is just something about them — something that conveys the fierce power of a horse — which is amazing considering the medium, strips of shiny metal. They still have every bit of the expression and character of the original horses who modeled for them — two Clydesdales, as a matter of fact.

The Kelpies will be at Bryant Park until mid-April, according to their website. Bryant Park is behind the New York City Public Library, at 6th Avenue and 42nd St. Very easy to get to, so if you are traveling to the city, be sure to hustle over there and see them. (Pro-tip: Bryant Park has gorgeous public restrooms, something that isn’t easy to find in Manhattan.)

Later that afternoon, wandering our home borough of Brooklyn and desperate to soak up every last drop of sunlight and every moment of semi-warm air before winter settled in again, we found ourselves in DUMBO, walking towards Brooklyn Bridge Park…

Manhattan Bridge Reflections

Manhattan Bridge Reflections

Cal against Brooklyn Bridge Park, Manhattan in the distancve

Cal against Brooklyn Bridge Park, Manhattan in the distance

In the distance behind Calvin you can see the glass structure around Jane’s Carousel. This beautiful historic carousel was inundated with water during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It’s since been fully restored. We stopped by to take a glance but since it was the first warm day of the year, every prancing steed was taken! Another time. When New Yorkers aren’t quite so excited about taking off their coats and feeling a little warm sun on their faces!

Although after this winter, it’s hard to imagine that we’d be able to take warmth for granted again. I know we will, but… it’s been pretty rough.

Of course, cold weather means writing weather. I’m working on the revisions of my upcoming novel, Ambition, and you can read snippets and teases of it at my Facebook page, Natalie Keller Reinert: Horse Books for Grown-Ups. I’ll be posting more and more, along with photos and inspiration for the people, places, and horses in the book, as I get closer to a publication date. I am really excited about this book, which has taken several years to get to this point, the actual “Let’s publish this thing!” stage.

I also posted about my days with the New York City Parks Department Mounted Unit at Equestrian Ink, so don’t miss that if you’d like a first-hand look at riding in Central Park.