05 September 2009

The High Line

One bit of evidence that life with Sacha children is getting easier is that we are starting to venture again into day trips. In the past, every time we'd get to this stage of family life, I'd done go get knocked up again and set us back a few years, but NO MORE.

This week, we went to the High Line. I'd been looking forward to this because I felt a personal connection with the project, as less than a decade ago, I did some grant writing when it was in its planning stages. As I tried to monitor its progress through my young child rearing haze, I was amazed at how quickly such a large scale public work came together; you have to marvel at what money can do.

We found parking on the street, and had lunch at The Red Cat, where we had cocktails with lunch — David and I, not the kids; we don't let them start drinking until after 5.00 — and Gabriel impressed us by ordering chicken livers. Never mind that he didn't care for them, the fact that he is always willing to venture far from typical children's fare is gratifying.

Aside from the thrill of snapping photographs of your child providing the illusion of them perched above 10th Avenue, to your amusement and their grandparents' alarm, it was worth it on many counts.

The High Line encapsulates everything that is wonderful about New York City. More promenade than park, it is civilized, and urbane, and provides interesting and unexpected views of the city. The path ebbs and flows, meandering enough to keep things from getting monotonous, and there are many inviting places to sit along the way.

The day before we went, it did cross my mind that it might be dangerous for Sacha, or exhausting for us to keep him away from the edge, even though I realistically knew there was no way this was actually possible. He has so many creative ways of making the most mundane situations dangerous that it has permanently altered my way of thinking. As it turned out, walking the High Line was perfectly safe, but strolling through Chelsea Market afterward, we had a bit of a tussle.

Try as we might, Sacha does not always heel well. He is the child who will squirm angrily as he attempts to escape my grasp in a parking lot, the child who, when you tighten your grip a bit to indicate that YOU'RE SERIOUS, has no compunction about yelling STOP, STOP, YOUR HURTING ME, with enough conviction to make me worry that someone is going to call the police.

Consequently, I am the mother trying as best I can to casually saunter to school pickup with a sack of dynamite tucked under my arm, using all my yogic skills to maintain calm as other parents observe me with a mixture of pity, awe and disapproval.

I will not be at all surprised if in three years time, we are paying another visit to the expensive doctor to receive another ADHD diagnosis.

And so, as we walked through the market, we were experimenting with letting Sacha walk off-leash, and he was sauntering rather nicely, until the moment when he broke formation and walked right into a man's shins, knocking him to the ground. We apologized, and attempted to help the man up, but he was so angry, all he could do was shoot scowling daggers of disapproval at Sacha, and the unruly breeders who clearly flunked out of obedience school.

I couldn't entirely blame him for being so mad, but refusing to accept an apology? That I blame him for.

But the blessing of New York is you can be mortally embarrassed one moment, and in seconds, the crowd sweeps you up again in the tide of anonymity. So we quickly picked up the scraps of our dignity, and continued on our way.

The rest of the day continued uneventfully, with an unexpected and welcome bonus. We got three hours of this:

It started on the ride home, and survived the transfer indoors, as well as a diaper change. And he still went to bed by 10, which for a third child on a late summer evening, is downright civilized.

So if you need to run your dog child hard, I wholeheartedly recommend the High Line.

No comments:

Post a Comment