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Posts Tagged ‘cities’

ivy graffiti

Last fall, I was impressed by the multi-colored transformation of ivy on the side of a building above the Prospect Highway, which outdid the artistry of the graffiti underneath it. To my dismay, I recently discovered that the ivy has been cut back and entirely removed from the lower part of the wall, leaving a mass of dead leaves on dead branches still clinging to higher part of the wall, extending almost to the roof, out of reach.

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Michael Jackson in tree
Photo courtesy CBS

Though perhaps a bit off topic, this CBS13 article from my hometown, “Family Sees Image Of Michael Jackson In Tree Stump,” was too good to go unmentioned. Talk about plants making shapes and speaking to us! And holding mirrors up to our minds…

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phyllisworkingingarden

My roommate Phyllis working in her vegetable garden in the overgrown garden in our backyard. Bird’s eye view.

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streetscenewithgiantweed

On a walk through Gowanus yesterday, at Union St. and 4th Ave., I was attracted by this monster of a weed because of its billowing, large shape and its adjacency to two other interesting things: a billboard and a vacant lot.

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trashintree

Speaking of “urban tumbleweeds,” a.k.a. plastic bags and other trash blown through the city, I began to notice back in early spring just how many street trees have some kind of trash caught in them. It’s probably not so apparent now that the trees have grown their full summer coat of foliage, but back then the number was astonishing. Nearly every tree I passed had some kind of plastic bag, ragged rag, bit of orange construction mesh, or other scrap adorning its bare branches, as if this were some kind of fashion trend for trees.

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parkinglotbelowsmithststation

Last summer I ruminated about whether urban plants are able to “sleep” in the presence of street lamps. (It sure is difficult for those of us humans with a light shining right into our window!) My mind came back to this question as I was taking a few more pictures of plants at night. Above, truckers take their night’s rest next to the trees in the parking lot of a Lowe’s below the Smith Street subway station in Brooklyn.

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If a plant was trying to talk to you, would you know it? Would you be able to decipher the message?

As I passed a giant spread of ivy covering the chain-link fence along Prospect Ave. (betw. 5th + 6th Aves), I noticed shapes made by the ivy in its in-between spaces. Might these shapes be imbued with some sort of meaning? If so, could the length of the ivy-fence be read as a headline?

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Excited that the topic of discussion had turned to the tree of heaven, I went out yesterday to photograph (in the rain) my favorite specimen of ailanthus altissima so far: a couple of trees growing in a tiny city park that borders the Prospect Highway. Well, actually, describing them as “in” the park isn’t really correct because, typical of this strand of misfit tree, the trunks actually sprout from the ground just beyond the park fence, squished up between it and the wall of the highway! You can see them against the ivy-covered back of the park in the right half of the picture above.

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