As I’ve written before, one of the reasons I bought this house was its proximity to Manhattan and Brooklyn. And, one of my goals for this year was to get comfortable driving in and out of the city, find the best routes, the best times, and then learn new neighborhoods. Although the island of Manhattan is quite small compared to the number of people on it, there are very distinct neighborhoods each one quite different from the next. So far, I am pretty comfortable on the Upper West Side, mid-town, Union Square area and parts of Chelsea, and I’m learning Brooklyn slowly but surely. The traffic on the George Washington Bridge looks more daunting than it is because I stay in my lane that exits onto the West Side Highway (Henry Hudson Parkway), also called West Street at the bottom of the island. It is right on the water and, on a beautiful summer day, there are joggers, bikers, walkers, sailboats on the Hudson, children everywhere in Riverside Park.
On Thursday I went directly to Union Square to meet Rachel for a day of shopping, having lunch, and then driving out to Brooklyn to pick up Mason (their dog) who is spending a week or so with Sydney and me in the woods! Rachel and I shopped at Nadeau (furniture with a soul) for unusual pieces that are apartment sized. It was fun for me to introduce her to a place for a change. Then to brunch at the Union Square Coffee Shop which I have always enjoyed. Vendors were setting up for the art show in the park, the city was setting up portable drinking fountains which enthralled lots of little children, and portable charging stations if your cell phone needed a boost were setting up in the park.
Lots of Citibike installations, a much-debated subject up here. Most of the people we saw using them to get around looked like they hadn’t been on a bike in a good long while so it seems to be serving its purpose for providing transportation between short distances.
We headed to Babies ‘R Us to learn about car seats, high chairs, strollers, etc. What an education. First of all, I was surprised at the fact that just about everything in the store was made in China, even the things that parents put in their baby’s mouth. I also was surprised that my children survived their infancy, toddler years, and childhood without all the equipment that is “necessary” today. It’s clearly a miracle that they made it through without being scarred for life. The complexity of strollers — with adapters to put the car seat in the stroller, one touch collapsing mechanism, reclining and not reclining, storage, drink holders (for baby and parent), jogging strollers, running strollers, walking strollers, handbrakes for jogging downhill — it’s absolutely mind-boggling! We learned a lot (Dave, too) and left without buying anything! I am now searching online for sources for baby items that are not made with materials that are questionable! Anyone out there want to provide information, feel free!
By 3:00 it was time to get to Brooklyn over the Manhattan Bridge which I hadn’t used in ages — all the NY bridges are architecturally interesting and beautiful (Rachel says the view of the GWB above looks like an angry face — Welcome to New York! — From the Manhattan Bridge you can see the skyline of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge not far away to the south. Then back through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the West Side Highway with Mason in the backseat heading home to Lords Valley. I didn’t take into account the fact that New Yorkers evacuate the city starting rush hour on Thursdays during the summer and so was stuck on the Henry Hudson Parkway for an hour before I ever reached the bridge again to head back.
This is why I moved here. Believe it or not, I don’t mind the traffic and am always proud of myself when I find everything, get parked, and find my bearings. I enjoyed going into a bookstore (which I sorely miss up here) but most of all was delighted to spend a day with Rachel. I never get done all the things I think I will and am learning to take it slowly even in New York City and enjoy the ambience and the people. Going in again on Wednesday to my dentist, then to Eataly for shopping and lunch, then to the Columbus Circle mall to pick up a few things. Lots of gas, lots of parking costs, but worth the price every time.