Posts Tagged ‘spring in New York City’

Springtime in New York City once meant horse-drawn flower carts

March 21, 2022

If you want potted flowers in contemporary New York City, you head to a garden center or farmers market. In an earlier Gotham, however, you waited for the flower carts to come, laden with petunias and begonias and other beautiful varieties for replanting in front yards, back yards, and on terraces.

Artist Henry Ives Cobb Jr. was moved enough to capture this scene, somewhere on Fifth Avenue. The date is unclear, but it looks like the flower cart is the only vehicle still pulled by a horse.

[Kaminski Auctions]

Spring flowers arrive on a rainy Village sidewalk

March 27, 2017

Few artists painted the moods, rhythms, and rituals of the seasons like John Sloan, who moved to New York from Philadelphia in 1904 and spent the early 20th century in Greenwich Village—living and working for almost a decade at 88 Washington Place.

His windows facing Lower Sixth Avenue “gave Sloan a view of street life from an elevated vantage point, which he frequently incorporated into his paintings,” states the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston.

A real-life wagon loaded with vibrant flowers was the inspiration for his 1924 painting “Flowers of Spring,” which belongs to the MFA.

As Sloan (at left in a self-portrait from 1890) himself recalled in his book Gist of Art:

“This picture has, in a very direct, simple way, handed on the thrill that comes to everyone on a wet spring morning from the first sight of the flower huckster’s wagon. The brilliant notes of the plants surrounded on all sides by wet, city grays.”

Sloan’s beloved wife, Dolly, is the woman on the left with the umbrella.

[Hat Tip: Kathy van Vorhees]

Spring in New York brings flowers—and floaters

April 21, 2010

Warmer weather in the city means pretty cherry blossoms, outdoor cafes clogging sidewalks . . . and a reliable spike in the number of bodies found floating around in New York City’s waterways. 

Yep, it’s a documented phenomenon. These “floaters” are the remains of people who ended up in the river during the winter, either by suicide, homicide, or accidentally. 

Why do they reappear in spring? Frigid water often keeps a corpse submerged. But once temperatures rise, gases are produced in the body that force it to come to the surface . . . and get picked up by NYPD harbor boats.

The identities of many floaters never make it into the papers. But one turned out to be monologist Spalding Gray.

His body came up on the Brooklyn side of the East River in March 2004, two months after he’s thought to have jumped off the Staten Island Ferry.