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Saturday, 27 April 2013

Diamond blue baby New York City...

It's (finally) spring time in New York. The blossoms are out and this city is more raucous than ever. Perhaps the winter storms and sometime snowfall muffled the horns, the blaring car-stereo-tunes and the shouting from the streets; I noticed how the sirens cut through the greyness and bitter winds with their hollow bleating even in March's wintry temperatures. But with the arrival of the blossoms and blooms in the park the noises on the streets are louder than ever.

Central Park in the spring

To greet the spring New York hails The Great Gatsby - Luhrman style - in a couple of weeks. I have mixed feelings about good old Baz after the farcical and touching Strictly Come Ballroom and inspired Romeo and Juliet were followed with the Disney-fied "Consumption, the Musical" that was Moulin Rouge.

Fashion Forward: The Great Gatsby

Nevertheless, New York is going to be roaring like the twenties in two weeks. Only today in my local thrift store I overheard two young NYU students debating whether a particular dress would do for a party in its honour. Fear not, young ladies. it won't be a struggle to find a headband, short dress or bob cut among the fashion followers of the world in a month or so after its release. In fact they are probably in store right now. You too can be Daisy (with the added bonus of being pre-unhappy but shockingly wealthy marriage and nondescript child).

Alternatively, there are those others in the Mad Men corner. A period piece for every figure, then. Busty redheads who become partners, short-haired, long-legged gamine girls who marry money. There are entire fashion lines devoted to the series in store now.

Sixties Style on Madison Avenue: Mad Men

So many of the features of both depict the fundamentals of New York City. Opportunity (in all of its beautiful and sordid channels); secrecy and anonymity; wealth and other riches; brevity. Scott Fitzgerald could have been writing about New York itself: "In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars."

The Great Gatsby is whimsical. For me it conjures elements of Oxford particularly, when we all were characters playing out romances and adventures in black tie, in scholars' gowns throughout those dreaming spires. And now that the haze has returned to Manhattan, with the promise of summer on the horizon the whimsy has returned here too. Engagement photographs and fashion photo shoots abound in the park and the tulips and snowdrops vie for space in its lush gardens.

Whimsical Central Park, through the late afternoon sunshine

Winter was long and bleak. Reflected here by the dearth of posts. Now that spring has returned even I have found my voice again and sit here on the Upper East Side with the windows pushed all the way open to let in the sun, the shouting (!) and the starling songs on the trees outside. The tourists never really left, but like the bees buzzing in the gardens once more they are here again. The music is loud again, the New Yorkers are out cursing on the streets, and our dreams are beyond us, not behind us.

Lana Del Rey - Young and Beautiful