April Showers Bring May Flowers ~ Williamsburg, Brooklyn

I’m quite fond of some good ol’ clichés; I use them and I’ve come across many in recent articles. Yet they are considered a no-no in writing.

Cliché, defined: a phrase or idea that has been used so often that it is no longer interesting or effective. (Source: Oxford American Dictionary)

There’s a reason why a cliché is a cliché; like a quote, sometimes it describes something so succinctly, that – depending on the nature of the writing – it might be just the right wording you’re looking for.

Recently, I read an article in the New York Times by A.A.Gill: My London, and Welcome to It, that was dotted with clichés; from phrases such as the river runs like dark silk through the heart of the city, to non-specific words like charming, wonderful, and beautiful.

Reading his prose, I thought it brilliant; I wasn’t bothered by his choice of words one bit as I was swept away by the tongue-in-cheek writing style.

While I do strive to do justice to my travel writing by utilizing concrete descriptions, I believe there to be a time and a place for clichés. But that’s just my two cents.

While silence may be golden, I’d love to know your thoughts: when do you think it right, or wrong, to use a cliché?

In the meantime, kick your feet up and scroll through images of a lush and blooming Williamsburg, peppered with some oft-used phrases. Enjoy!


Stop and smell the roses.

Green thumb.

Out on a limb.

Perfect storm.

Pretty as a picture.

Under the same roof.

Two to tango.

The Bedford

Old meets new.


Spring to life.

Art imitates life… or vice versa.

Everything old is new again.

Understated elegance.

Woodley and Bunny Salon

No pain, no gain.

Lighten up.

Fada Restaurant

Everything but the kitchen sink.

Store bought.

Peas in a pod.

Man’s best friend.

Labour of love.

Green Dome Garden

Nip it in the bud.

Russian Orthodox Church

Knock it out of the park.

McCarren Park

Photographing til my heart’s content.

The last laugh.


60 thoughts on “April Showers Bring May Flowers ~ Williamsburg, Brooklyn

  1. Do you know, I think this is my favourite post yet of yours, Marina. It’s fun, clever, original (bizarrely, given the subject!) and the pics are fab’. I love that first image of the roses against the red paint.

    I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you that I am guilty of not only using clichés, but also over-exclaiming, too!!! I’ve come to accept this character flaw!


    • Are you calling this a ‘unique’ post Syders? 😉 Glad you liked it; I loved pulling it together! And you may have noticed I also over exclaim – many exclamation points are necessary to make a point in the blogosphere as I talk with my hands in real-life! The roses were so red – I am glad the colour came across in the pic. Thanks for your lovely comment; made my Wednesday!

      • LM’s personal big dislike is how people are now on self-help ‘journeys’… Glad I made your Wednesday. It’s long gone for me – 1/2 way through Thursday! 🙂

  2. I think clichés have their use – if not used to often. And particularly if it possible to use a cliché with a twist. Anyway your photographs of flowers in Williamsburg are such a delight (nondescript word), they really show you have enjoyed taken those pictures. Full of joy, colours and visual impact. My favourite is the picture of the Fada Restaurant as well as the one with the flowers in the bath tub. I just love those two red spots on the wall.

    • I agree with you Otto; a cliche reinterpreted is always fun 🙂 I am so glad you feel that in the photos Otto. Those red splotches remind me of jelly fish… and the bath is quite a comment gardening pot in the neighbourhood. Maybe because it has a drain? 🙂 thank you!

  3. Great article to giggle over as I have my breakfast! I especially love ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ as it is a phrase I associate with my parents generation and I can just picture my mum grumbling away and using it!

    • Laura! That’s so funny; I agree with you about these phrases being used by parents. And, I think that they used the cliches with full seriousness. ‘One born every minute’ is something I remember mum saying; dad’s fave was ‘bull in a china shop’. As kids, we’d look at our parents wondering, “what does that mean?”… Little wonder, they were cliches. Glad you enjoyed – thanks!

      • My mum’s top line is ‘It will all end in tears’ which is used for an incident she doesn’t like or doesn’t understand. When we were young children this phrase would come out as a response to any rough and tumble games. Now it is used as a response to British politics! There is certainly a place for cliches though and I suspect I use them way too much in my writing….

      • Your mum’s use of the cliche has progressed through generations and into the political realm! That just shows the universality of cliches. There’s a time and a place for them, and I too think I use them too often!

  4. Yes, the BEST yet! Are you kidding me? Those roses? That clmbing hydrangea? I am personally a major fan of the cliche..you see I think some of the best things simply ARE cliche…there is just no other way to look at it. I say once we try to do away with cliches we have officially taken ourselves too seriously! My two cents for the eve – I adore these gorgeous shots of life sprouting up everywhere! 🙂 xo! Wonderful!

    • Thanks Shira! Brooklyn is humid, and blooming, and green, and beautiful. I am glad you liked the post. Cliches seem to come too easily to me but they sound so ‘right’. Time is of the essence, down in the dumps, hold your horses – I love ’em all. Until them, I’ll continue to ‘stop and smell the rose’s, as these types of things ‘make my day’ 🙂

  5. Great selection of photos, Marina 🙂 I love the photo with a sink full of flowers 🙂 People are so creative 🙂

    You got me thinking now about non-specific words such as beautiful, charming and so on… I didn’t really think of them as being non-specific and I use them a lot… but you are right, writing these kind of words is, as we say back home in Lithuania, ‘empty talk’ 🙂 But I love these words, to me they sound good in a sentence 🙂

    • Kristina! I am glad you liked the photos. Can you believe that it is a bathtub on legs?! I always use the words – beautiful, charming etc too – and it takes some creative thought to talk/write around them. But I do love them too, and will never stop using them. Glad you think the same. Thanks so much 🙂

  6. AA Gill writes some very good travel and restaurant prose. It reminds me of my life in England as he always wrote in the Sunday broadsheets. I haven’t read an English newspaper in 10 years and Mr Gill has disappeared below the literary skyline. Cliche, in French, is the word for a photographic negative:)

    • How apropos, that cliche means a photo negative. Art on film developed onto paper. So interesting (I am pondering this right now;)) I only used AA Gill as an example of the cliche being used by a talented writer… Though he is allowed to break the rules, the cliche isn’t lost on him. It’s a sad thing about not reading the newspapers; I loved Saturdays and Sundays for laying the paper out and reading it for the morning. I can easily visualise my dad sitting back and reading too – a happy image. Now it’s all about online reading/squinting (though I don’t miss the ink covered fingertips). Thank you!

  7. Beautiful Pictures Marina! I love the red splotches. Like you, I’m not anti cliche per se. At the end of the day and when all is said and done, cliches become what they are because, as you say, they say something in a particular way that makes people want to use them. I don’t necessarily agree that they lose their effectiveness through overuse. However, the argument that they betray a lack of original thought, well, I guess in certain circumstances that is true. But when it comes to photography, should I not take a long exposure of that beautiful waterfall, or that lonely tree bent against the ravages of the wind because someone, assuming an intellectually superior position, is going to dismiss it as a cliche? Of course not. I think the same goes for writing. 🙂

    • Thanks Adrian, and so well put about the cliche in relation to photography. I always think back to when I started noticing photos – none seemed cliche to me, and then I did start to notice a similar trend with the ‘typical’ scene, but I stand by the thinking that if one finds beauty in it, it should be photographed.

  8. Favourite AA Gill Lines…
    “Personally I dont think it ever was a fish. I think they were growing antibiotics on a panty-liner.”
    “The octopus was like something sent trough the post to speed up a ransom demand.”
    “The baby back ribs were like eating the evidence in a war-crimes trial.”
    ‘Rolf Harris is a difficult man to hate but that shouldnt stop us trying’

    The man is a master of cliche avoidance….

    • What a great way of putting it – salt and pepper! Such a great comment to read, and glad that the pinch of salt and grind of pepper was seasoning enough! Thank you!

  9. I’ve just stayed on the island now that the weather has been nice but these photos are really making me want to trip down across the bridge and spend a day eating, walking around and napping in the sun. You made everything look so alive and calm.

    • Hi Posky, Well I have to break it to you: Brooklyn really is this calm and alive. I am so lucky to walk through such a cool ‘hood everyday, especially when I am just across from manic Manhattan. It is the best of both worlds and I hope you take the day to spend here 🙂 Thanks!

      • Now that the G and 7 trains are back in cooperation and I’m requiring my motorcycle from storage, I might just do that.

  10. I love the show: Californication, and reading this on Twitter today made my day 100x better:
    @SHO_cali “Clichés are clichés for a reason, man! Because they f*cking work!” –Apocalypse #Californication xxx marina

  11. Reblogged this on Marina Chetner and commented:

    Fishbowl New York recently reported that Vanity Fair publisher Graydon Carter recently described Williamsburg just so: “Literally I could have been going to Chad,” said Carter. “It was not what I expected. The architecture wasn’t as interesting or as baroque or as industrial — it looked like Queens to me.”
    Has anyone been to Chad? Based on Carter’s experience, I certainly want to go! I heart Williamsburg, Brooklyn and all that it is.

  12. AA Gill writes wonderfully. I miss his writing as I haven’t read an English paper in years and can’t be bothered with on line papers. He also writes the best, and most abrasive, restaurant reviews. The one disappointment with the handsome and erudite Mr.Gill is his voice! Check it out some time. Wonderful pictures that have started my morning very well.

  13. Well, I think you put 110 percent effort (:)) into this post! And Clichés used this way I love, clever clever clever.
    I’m not a fan of the cliché and try to avoid at all costs. It keeps me boxing as they have a habit of morphing and developing with time and are often genré specific.

    As ever your pics draw me in.

  14. I love “Fada” and “The Last Laugh” – this was a good nostalgic tour for a former New Yorker. I moved to the Seattle area last year – so very different here, but both worlds are full of great surprises. (BTW I found you through a comment you made at Draw & Shoot).

    • Thank you! I am so glad you visited my site and stirred some memories! I miss NYC too and reblogging those posts brought back great moments for me too 🙂 And thanks to Karen for introducing us!

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