Lunch in a Queens park that has just reopened. Big trees, new benches, giant frogs spouting water in the playground. I have excellent ice coffee–good enough to to drink black– Julia is eating a bagel with bacon and cream cheese–her idea. This is the way to take in 90 degrees in NYC.
A week in New York. Museuming. A quiet Fourth of July. And then yesterday. Also, a few mistakes, some corrected.
Traveling to and staying in New York is always part coming home, part visiting Cheshire and friends and part playing tourist. Add to that mix, this summer we observed David’s death day here. There is never time to write here. I’d so rather hang with my girls and chat than tap away.
We leave tomorrow for Turin. Time will come.
I was sure that we were leaving today, a day early, and had I not checked the check in process at United, I would be packing up now. It was in my calendar wrong although the correct information was in my travel plan pages. And I checked on the united website at least 4 times in the last two days irrationally worried that I was reading wrong.
Which has more to do with yesterday being death day than anything else. When woke up yesterday, the first morning scan of well being was oddly neutral. I am used to the wash of grief that usually accompanies the day, but I felt very little of anything until I got out of bed. And then it was not emotional grief but a physical sluggishness, that dream-like moving through a jello world. My body was remembering and carrying the rest of me along. Six years. A long time, an instant.
We did as we had planned with the day. Cheshire worked and Julia and I saw yet another museum. We met for an Indian dinner and came home to watch our newly acquired Miyazaki movie, The Wind Rises. By day’s end, I was tired and ready to let go. And now it is over and I am grateful for reprieve.
Some of our week’s activities:
We visited the Museum of the City of New York yesterday. It is uptown–103rd street on the east side–but easy subway access. It is a minor museum, about 8 or so exhibits of which we saw almost half in a few hours. The Yiddish Theater exhibit was dense and interesting. The film clips scattered throughout helped me introduce Julia to this theater scene that has always fascinated me. I was so please to see Molly Pecon, who was a favorite with my grandmother, featured. Julia liked the film of the changing landscape of the city and we both loved the Roz Chast retrospective. There was not enough to time to read all of the cartoons mounted and the quick action film of her painting the mural on one wall was huge hit. Tickets are reasonable (kids under 19 free) and the tiny cafe had fresh food and good ice coffee and lemonade. I’m sure it depends on the schedule but this is one of those hidden gems in a part of the city that tourists don’t usually go to.
On the Fourth, the three of us went to Governors Island. Me for the first time. Cheshire had been there before. Governors island is a state park now. It is a small island off the tip of NYC. It is accessed by a $2.00 ferry from either Brooklyn or Manhattan. It was first build upon as a fort for the war of 1812 and later used to house military and more recently the coast guard. It was closed as a base in 1995 and opened by the park service in 2002. There are two residential “neighborhoods,” one a cluster of wooden houses, most like farm houses and one somewhat grander with columns. The other cluster of houses are brick, looking Midwestern and solid. Many of the residence buildings are close but some are now used for art exhibits and music events. The two neighborhood clusters reminded me of idealized cohousing communities. There is a full lineup of activities, lectures and tours. People are encouraged to bring bikes which would be a great way to see the island. There is also bike rental. We walked around and did not plan any schedule. That was pretty nice too. We enjoyed a late lunch at one of about a dozen food trucks and topped it off with ice cream cones with out choice of sprinkles.
The ferry brought of back to Brooklyn at 6 and we left as people were gathering to claim blanket space to watch the fireworks on the Brooklyn side. Cheshire told me that when she was there last, the park was crowded. It was not crowded on July fourth and we enjoyed it greatly.
We spent a day last week at the Museum of Natural History. Julia took many, many pictures, and we spent most of our day in one corner of the fourth floor-the Dino and extinct mammal rooms. It was crowded and I have the feeling that every summer day is crowded. Julia’s only complaint about the crowds was that it was hard to take pictures.
On Sunday, we saw the Broadway production of An American in Paris. We bought tickets at TKTS in Brooklyn (tip: the TKTS line in Manhattan winds around the block. We waited on a line of 2 in Brooklyn.), and had delightful seats in the orchestra for a bit less than tickets at our local Madison Overture Center. Julia especially enjoyed the dancing and the Gerswin tunes were lovely to hear. Julia spoke out, asking questions, a few times during the show and a woman in front of us turned once. I used to be in a quandary about her questions, wondering whether it was fair to other theater goers, but truth is, that there is always someone talking, coughing or sneezing during a show. I don’t mean that distracting behavior at the theater is ok but that it is human. The first led lady behind us spoke a good deal more frequently and louder than Julia did. I always tell Julia before hand about appropriate theater behavior and correct the behavior as it happens (which is more than usually happens for adults). I feel very strongly about kids on the spectrum seeing the arts and not always at special performances.
Julia did her reading after her bagel. I made her go back to the beginning of the book and started her on a reading journal. This week has been very light on her work although we’ve worked hard on crossing the streets. Lots of streets, big and small, when you’re walking around New York City.