Spring color quest (1): March flowers brought May showers

31 May

“May flowers” came in March’s near-record warmth here this year, and long before Memorial Day, New York’s flora had replaced much of its flower color with leaf green in shades of spring and even summer. Combined with the stretches of gray overcast we’ve had since March, the weather left me longing for more color at times, although I didn’t realize it until I noticed that color was on other people’s minds, too.

Around March 6, looking something up on the Huffington Post site for a NYC client, I stumbled upon an article about a Hindu festival of color called Holi. It looks like a a holiday I would happily embrace. I went to one of New York’s Little Indias to see what I could see, but I was too late.

Coloured powder cakes Hindus celebrating Holi (photo from The Huffington Post)

Coloured powder cakes Hindus celebrating Holi (photo from The Huffington Post)

Bittersweet, #10 on M-W.com's list of Top 10 unusual color words

Bittersweet, #10 on M-W.com’s list of Top 10 unusual color words

Around the end of March, color made it onto the Top 10 lists of the dictionary website Merriam-Webster Online, with fine art and other images providing examples.

Consciously seeking out color, I went to the Macy’s Flower Show. This was the first time for me, so I have nothing to compare it with. I’m told that in other years, it has expansively adorned the entire first floor of the Herald Square flagship store with live color. Renovation work moved it out to Broadway this year. Packing as many types of Brazilian gardens as possible into a tent on a flatbed trailer was a valiant effort, but I can appreciate how regulars might have felt disappointed. The show did have a contained feeling.

Overview of the Macy's Flower Show 2012 (photo from GardenEverything blog)

Overview of the Macy’s Flower Show 2012 (photo from GardenEverything blog)

Statues in the Macy's Flower Show 2012 (photo by DTH-LTJK)

Statues in the Macy’s Flower Show 2012
(photo by DTH-LTJK)

"Rooftop in Rio" in Macy's Flower Show 2012 (photo by DTH-LTJK)

“Rooftop in Rio” in Macy’s Flower Show 2012 (photo by DTH-LTJK)

I found the Macy’s window displays to be both more exotic and more exuberant…

Window display at Macy's Flower Show 2012 (photo by DTH-LTJK)

Window display at Macy’s Flower Show 2012
(photo by DTH-LTJK)

…as was as the home of the fashion store Desigual across the street:

Desigual store opposite Macy's (photo by DTH-LTJK)

Desigual store opposite Macy’s (photo by DTH-LTJK)

In any event, I saw plenty of vivid color that day, which was March 30. That night or the next, I even suggested to myself that I have a more intense experience of color in a dream.

Two dreams I woke with on April 1 did indeed have color prominent as part of their story lines, but despite the vivid input and the incubation, the color was tepid:

Sketch from "NYU Recruiter on Bookmobile" dream (by DTH-LTJK)

Sketch from “NYU Recruiter on Bookmobile” dream

“NYU Recruiter on Bookmobile” (excerpt)

…I turn and look to the back of the bus [a bookmobile], and I see an NYU (?) recruiter there whom I’ve talked to a number of times before about whether I should go back to school. I get up and go talk to him again.

He’s a big guy—about 6’3, broad-shouldered, with a military bearing and crew cut. Square-jawed and good-looking, in his late 30s or early 40s. He’s sitting at the end of a counter, with little stacks of square, pastel-colored papers (pink, blue, green, yellow) around him—study questions that he’s turning over and reading.

I ask him yet again about going to NYU. Looking up for jut a moment without changing his question-turning pace, he ask, “Will you be needing financial aid?—And do we get paid back?” There’s thinly veiled sarcasm in his tone, and I realize he’s tired of me and is calling my bluff…

Queens Library book bus (photo from Forest Hills Patch)

Queens Library book bus
(photo from Forest Hills Patch)

In WPR (waking physical reality), that bookmobile is vivid yellow on the outside, but the dream didn’t show me the outside.

Especially in this second dream, my association to the pastel Post-it notes, as well as the chain drug store, was one of tedium, something insipid.

“Pastel Drugstore Markers”

Daytime. I walk into the upper-level entrance landing on a new branch of one the big chain drugstores (CVS?). Glass walls on three sides of the store; pristine. (?-added later:) I immediately forget why I’m here. (Feeling)  I’m impressed by the cleanliness and orderliness, but I don’t like the commercial sterility one bit.

Sticking up from the tops of a number of the shelves and displays on the first level are wire card holders holding small, square (?) cards by a corner (so they look either diamond-shaped or pointed-down triangular [I can’t remember which}. They’re pastel blue, pink, yellow, and green—so they’re barely noticeable, which seems stupid. (Feeling)  Surprised when I notice them. I’m curious about what they mean, but in an apathetic way, because I suspect it of being some manipulative commercial purpose.

Rather than a CVS, in WPR this store is a specific Duane Reade location, at Broadway & 125th Street.

(Read the second and third installments.)


  1. Color quest, fall edition « - September 23, 2012

    […] of my spring color quest posts began with a mention of Holi, the Hindu holiday of […]

  2. Spring color quest (3): Finally, an explosion of color « - June 2, 2012

    […] the first and second […]

  3. Spring color quest (2): Pluralistic color « - June 1, 2012

    […] (Read the first installment, “March flowers brought May showers.”0 […]

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