Saturday in the City
At my friend's engagement party this winter, I sat at a table with a bunch of friends, people I grew up with in Westchester, and we all declared how sick we were of New York. Tired of the cold and concrete, we started plotting a group move to California. We fantasized about houses on the same block, trips to the beach, more space and sunny days. When our friend Ginger overheard us, she said something along the lines of, "Yeah, you all hate NY now. But just wait till spring comes. As soon as it warms up, you'll love it here again." How right she was. When it's 70 degrees, without a cloud in the sky, and flowers seem to be sprouting from every street corner and you can finally escape your cramped space and feel the energy that makes NYC so special, there isn't any other place I'd rather be.
This weekend's weather made me think of Ginger and her comment that night. We spent Saturday in the city with my cousin Brooke and her son Blake, starting off in Central Park with a walk along The Reservoir, a spot I used to run around when I lived on the Upper East Side ten years ago. From there, we made our way to a playground that Blake and Nico loved, but with ladders leading to secret tunnels and concrete walls and chains making it impossible to chase after two little boys, Brooke quickly changed its name from the Ancient Playground to the Awful Playground and we got out of there as fast as we could.
With the promise of a sweet treat, we lured Blake and Nico back into their strollers. I wanted to go by Glaser's Bake Shop, a place I discovered a few years ago. Open since 1902, it smells like heaven the minute you walk in, has an old-fashioned, homey feel and all of the rustic desserts—doughnuts, buns, cookies, pies, you name it—look amazing. On Saturday, I settled on a small black and white cookie, a dessert that always reminds me of New York. The black and whites at Glaser's are a nice alternative to the saucer sized ones sold around the city and I couldn't think of a better way to spend 70 cents.
My Mom lives nearby, so she met us at the bakery and we all walked to Carl Schurz Park, a lovely spot where the Harlem River, East River and Long Island Sound meet. Nico brought along his beloved stuffed bear and was sure to show him the pretty view before we watched little dogs lolling around at the dog run.
We ended our day at the park's playground. Leo's at the age where sitting on my lap while his brother plays just won't cut it. He wants a piece of the action. And on Saturday, he got just that when I let him go inside the sandbox. People without kids are probably wondering what the big deal is while those with just one might be shocked. I don't remember letting Nico go near the sandbox until he was at least 1 and maybe even older, worried about germs and whatever else is lurking in there. But just like everyone told me, once you have two little ones, you loosen up a bit. (Who am I kidding? You loosen up A LOT.) In this case, I'm so happy I did. Leo loved the sand. He loved it so much that he let out squeals of joy while letting it run through his fingers and swishing it around with his bare feet. In fact, he loved it so much that he tried to eat some by the handful, more than once. And that's where this new and improved and laid-back Mom tried to draw the line.
(My apologies for all the fuzzy images. I forgot my camera and had to rely on my blackberry all day. Looks like someone needs an iPhone...)
Glaser's Bake Shop
1670 First Avenue (at 87th Street)
Upper East Side, Manhattan