Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The "Other" Brooklyn Bridge Park

I'd long considered it the "other" Brooklyn Bridge Park, since it was on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge, where we rarely went. I'd seen it from the subway, crossing the East River on the Manhattan Bridge, but I'd never been there. Since I wanted to visit Jane's Carousel, however, a visit to the "other" park was imperative.

It's worth a trip back, mostly because we didn't have time to visit a playground that looked terrific and that I'm sure Edith would have loved. Besides the carousel, there was a small park practically underneath the Brooklyn Bridge and, of course, beautiful views of the Manhattan Bridge and the city across the river.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Day at the Ohio State Fair

One of my good friends and her sister visited Columbus from out-of-town for a couple of days last week, and one of the things at the top of her to-do list was a visit to the Ohio State Fair. I was happy to oblige.

In school I would sometimes make multiple trips to the state fair every year for various 4-H competitions. (I obviously had very supportive parents -- who else would OK so many 300-mile-round-trip drives?) I got to know the Ohio State Fair quite well, but after graduating from high school I visited only once or twice. If I had to guess, the last time I was there was about a decade ago.

A few things had changed. Like FRIED BUCKEYES. As in, they now have them. These peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate are Ohio mainstays, but I'd never had them fried. Really, it just tasted like a warm, melty Buckeye (what did I expect?). Good, but I prefer the hot donutty consistency of fried Oreos. I had them later.

We walked the midway and through a flea market and the chicken and rabbit barn. We went to a petting zoo.

Of course we made the obligatory stop to see the Butter Cow -- yes, a cow sculpted from real butter. Had to get a strawberry milkshake there, too. That really brought me back.

Merchants building, youth building -- ah, how well I knew them! Of course, it all was interspersed with more photos, more food and whatever struck our eye. All in all, we spent about five hours there. It was Edith's first fair, and a great reintroduction for me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Visit to the High Line, 2014

Paul and I generally visited the High Line -- a long park set on and around a pair of railroad tracks on Manhattan's west side -- once a year. This year was no different, even if we don't live there anymore.

But since our days to visit were limited to our one week of vacation in New York, we didn't have the luxury of choosing a cool, pleasant day. It was bright and hot. We prepped by first enjoying the air conditioning in the nearby Chelsea Market. Then it was off to the park to see the views.

The question we probably asked when we first moved to NY.

At Chelsea Market, before the park.

Monday, July 21, 2014

1 Year Back in Ohio

Exactly one year ago today we loaded up the last of our belongs in the Jetta and left New York to become Ohio residents once again.

What do I remember about that day? It was hot -- a horrible, awful heat after a week of horrible, awful heat. Paul unloading our boxes in the car so we could fit everything inside. Gingerly opening and shutting the car doors so nothing would fall out. Walking through each and every room and closet one last time -- equal parts saying goodbye and making sure nothing was left behind. Grabbing some bagels and cream cheese at Bagel Boy on our way out of town. Crying when we crossed the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge into Staten Island.

I still miss Brooklyn every single day, and I would move back in a heartbeat if Paul would agree to it. But I'm certainly not unhappy in Ohio, and I'm grateful for the house we live in, the old friends we've kept, the new friends we've made and the family nearby. Although New York is known as the city of opportunity, less visible are the opportunities we've had by moving back to Ohio. Space, time accessibility -- you can't sneeze at things like that.

This was the time of year in 2007 that we first realized that moving to New York could really, truly happen. If I remember right, Paul's interview and job offer came about in August of that year, but it was in July that things started moving fast. And then our time in New York flew by, and so too has the last year. Funny how I clung to my Ohio identity in New York, and now I don't want to let go of New York now that we're back in Ohio.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jane's Carousel: A Ride with a Manhattan View

If there was one thing I wanted to do on our recent trip to New York City, it was this: take Edith on her first carousel ride.

Jane's Carousel is nestled in Brooklyn Bridge Park, right along the East River and practically under the bridge. The carousel -- originally installed in Youngstown, Ohio, some 90 years ago, according to its history -- was restored and opened in Brooklyn only in 2011.

Tickets are $2, and kids three and younger are free if accompanied by an adult. So Paul and I doubled Edith's fun by riding separately with her.

The carousel is covered and in a transparent enclosure. The doors were wide open during our rides, providing lovely views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan. But I was equally paying attention to Edith's reaction.

She wasn't scared, nor was she thrilled. Just another day in the life of a toddler in which every day unveils surprises.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Another Year, Another Birthday

Tomorrow is my birthday, the day I turn 33. I haven't particularly looked forward to a birthday for three years, when I threw myself a 30th birthday bash in Madison Square Park -- and that was just to forget the fact that I was leaving my 20s.

But just because I'm not particularly looking forward to it doesn't mean that I dread it. And I expect this birthday to be better than my last -- it was Paul's first day at his new job in Columbus, while Edith and I remained in New York for the very last week. Talk about depressing.

When I was a kid, birthdays meant a big family get-together, with volleyball or baseball or a swim in the pond with my cousins. It meant presents in big boxes waiting to be unwrapped. (Back then, I just didn't get it when my parents said a restaurant gift card was all they wanted for Christmas. Now I understand.)

Of course, turning 33 isn't the same as turning 3 or 13 or even 23. I prefer to think that this evolution means I'm not as self-centered as I once was. But maybe I'm just getting boring.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Our First Visit to a Sprinkler Park

Edith wore her first swimsuit for the first time in Brooklyn when we met up with a couple of my old friends and their toddlers at one of Bay Ridge's sprinkler parks. At first Edith didn't know what to think -- I believe shock was the first reaction. But she loved filling up a red bucket that one of our friends had brought, and she happily spent a couple of hours at the park. Perhaps we'll check out the Columbus sprinkler parks one day!

Monday, July 7, 2014

The View from the Top of the Met

One of the things on our must-do list on our recent trip to New York was a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's rooftop. I had been there once before, but Paul had missed out. And this time strollers were allowed, so even Edith got a peek -- or she would have if she hadn't been asleep.

The views, and the exhibit:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Our First Block Party

A house may be the largest purchase you ever make in your entire life. And yet you usually move into it rather blind. Sure, an inspector can point out cracked windows or a roof that needs replaced, but those things can be fixed. What your happiness often depends on is your neighbors.

But you don't know them until you sign on the dotted line. It's a crapshoot. We were lucky.

Our block is home to several kids around Edith's age, a convenient email group to keep us up-to-date on the latest news and several special events. One of those is our block party. Last Saturday was our first one.

We had met several of our neighbors before (and I regularly see those with toddlers), but this was a great chance to get to know them better. It started with a potluck breakfast, followed by a large break in the middle of the day and then a potluck supper. Our part of the street was blocked off and a couple of neighbors brought out large gas grills -- it was bring-your-own-meat as well as BYOB. And there were sides and desserts for everyone.

In years past, I was told, the block had bicycle parades for the kids, tie-dying, even a band. I hope I can help revive some of this as Edith grows up. What great memories for her and for me.


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