nyc-etc: it’s about the journey…

May 27th, 2013

Chelsea’s spring break was coming to an end, and I was in the mood for an adventure – something along the lines of a how-much-can-I-cram-into-one-day excursion. There would be some fun food (of course), a little culture, and something brand new.

One of my fondest childhood memories was a day spent in the city with my dad and brother. We took the then newly-opened tram to Roosevelt Island. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, and was equally enthralled with the idea of people living – completely self-contained – on this little strip of land right across from Manhattan.

I’ve done the Run for Congo Women every year on the island, and every time I do it I think, we should totally come here one day – Noah would love it! So when I drew up my life list I made sure to put a tram ride with the boy right on it (#62).

I knew the timing was right when I read about the opening of the FDR Four Freedoms Park, late last year. So that took care of the “brand new”. Now, to fill in the rest…..

We started our day here.

dunwell doughnuts, brooklyn

Because………..well, seriously?

dunwell doughnuts, brooklyn

And since we were already in the hood I grabbed the chance to take in the El Anatsui show at the Brooklyn Museum. I was dying to see this exhibit and I thought that it would be something Noah might enjoy too (though I never know with that boy – ESPECIALLY at this museum – he has run hot AND cold there, as you may recall).

Turned out to be a hit (yes!). The large scale of the artwork, combined with the use of familiar materials (metal lids, bottle caps and paper wrappers) were all so fascinating to Noah – who, like a typical 4-year old, is very literal. So the idea that you could MAKE A SNAKE from metal lids was fascinating to him.

el anatsui, brooklyn museum

After a snack-lunch (and quick nap for Noah) in the car, we wound our way to Manhattan, where we parked and walked over to the tram station. We actually saw a tram arriving as we approached, which got Noah all revved up for our “trip”.

roosevelt island tram, new york city

He LOVED it. And it proved to me – once again – that it is so often about the journey, not the destination. He stood motionless, as close to the window as his little face could get, watching the city drop out from under his feet. And because we were essentially in a flying car, the sense of floating in the air was palpable.

roosevelt island tram, new york city

 photo credit: Chelsea Behrens

roosevelt island tram, new york city

 photo credit: Chelsea Behrens

roosevelt island tram, new york city

The island itself was – as a typical March day would be – blustery and a bit cool. But we strolled (and walked. and ran.) to the park, at the southern end. And we took in the amazing views, climbed on the stairs and walls, and had some face time with FDR.

four freedoms park, roosevelt island

four freedoms park, roosevelt island

four freedoms park, roosevelt island

four freedoms park, roosevelt island

four freedoms park, roosevelt island

The park was designed by Louis Kahn – one of my architectural idols (have you seen “My Architect”? You must see this movie) – almost 40 years ago, but construction didn’t actually begin until 2010. It is a stunning example of contemporary memorial design; I loved the use of plantings and perspective. We will definitely be back this summer. Roosevelt Island, for a relatively small parcel of land, has several architecturally noteworthy buildings (some for their history, others for the actual architecture), and I want to spend some more time exploring.

roosevelt island

 photo credit: Chelsea Behrens

An equally fun tram ride back, and we capped off our day at probably one of the last authentic luncheonettes in the city. I have long mourned the ability to get a “real” coffee malted, and I knew that this place would deliver. Chelsea had some hand-cut fries and Noah, a dish of strawberry ice cream.

lexington candy shop

In a proper metal dish.

All in all, a very long – and very perfect – day.

2 Responses to “nyc-etc: it’s about the journey…”

  • Sheri, you manage to do way more in the city, living out of the city, than many of us locals do. Your trips are totally inspiring!

    • sherisilver says:

      Thanks so much Deirdre – having kids who are a) better out of the house than in, and b) game for pretty much anything, makes it a lot easier! 🙂

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