During the years that I lived in New York City, I never went to the park. The reason for this was actually quite simple - I was just out of college, and I lived for the night- for dancing and clubs, swishy Upper Eastside parties and limo rides down West End Avenue, for smoky underground jazz clubs and rollicking Irish pubs. This was not so uncommon in Manhattan. That, and in the summer, if you can't afford an apartment with a/c, it's actually much less painful to live by vampire hours.
So it was an absolute revelation to me to discover, many years after moving away, the wonders and delights of Central Park. What an amazing place! What a national treasure! What foresight, what planning, what brilliant design!
Of course, it's really much better to have waited. I had my wild, misspent youth. And now I have a beloved family and a starry-eyed two-year-old with whom to experience all this wealth and luxury of beauty.
This, I am absolutely convinced, was the cutest couple in Manhattan. Are they not adorable? This was not a fleeting embrace. They were standing there in this posture, rapt with the beauty of the day and the world around them, for as long as I stood watching the lake. Is that not the sweetest thing?

But here's the other thing: wait 'til you see the cutest couple in the Hudson Valley!! Oh, ho-ho, do I have a treat for you. I also snapped a picture or two of them, and let me tell you....But I get ahead of myself. The cutest couple in the Hudson Valley is for another post!

To go off on a tangent, I've noticed that once one has experienced love - the real, generous, ever-expanding, painless variety that brings nothing but happiness and contentment, one is suddenly able to look at happy couples with the sort of appreciation that only comes with personal experience. The sight of happy couples brings me so much unfettered joy at this stage of my life. It just sends little tremors of sunshine through my veins.
As does the sight of duckweed on a lake.
Q admiring the candy bracelet that Daddy got her at FAO Schwarz.
She's not much of a sweets-eater, but when the occasion calls for it...
At FAO Schwarz, Q was told that she could pick one thing for herself.

She took this mission very seriously. Q is not the sort to grab everything in sight and see what she can get away with. She considers. She mulls. She weighs her options. This bunny was the first thing she considered, but after receiving a furry kiss, she set it back on the shelf and moved on.
I myself, as a child, would have gone wild in the Steiff section. I never could resist them. But Q has very definite tastes, and stuffed animals are generally not her priority.
The Winnie the Pooh shelf nearly did her in, since she recently became enthralled with a Pooh counting book. Here, she is making choices. Notice how she debates a second Tigger, and then, realizing that she has gone too far, gravely sets it back on the shelf.
When I look at these photos, the deep concentration on her face as she weighs her choices, I love her so much it makes my heart ache.

Ultimately, she decided against the Pooh toys as well, and set them back in their places before moving on to retro Mickey Mouse dolls.
Three floors later, having considered monster dolls, a larger-than-life Peter Rabbit, racing cars, plush dogs, a NASA backpack, Q finally found her prize.
It was sitting alone on a shelf of wildlife figurines.
A single, clear vinyl bag of snakes.
You heard me, snakes. Rubber snakes.
I couldn't tell you why this particular item spoke to her - was it the sturdy zipper bag? The lifelike serpents? Was she looking forward to counting them? Did it seem like the best possible value in a single item? Whatever her motivation, she was very sure. I could see her face set in conclusive lines the moment she set eyes on it. There was no further equivocation. She looped it over her arm, and she was done. Even as we made our way back through the aisles to find a checkout, past myriad temptations of every variety, she never wavered. Her eyes never strayed. She wanted nothing more than her bag of snakes.

That night, back in the hotel, she took out her collection of serpents one by one and lined them up on her pillow in neat order. Then she replaced them one at a time in the vinyl bag and zipped it closed with a contented sigh.
The famous piano.

A particularly appealing burger restaurant.

The Guggenheim.

The Met is closed on Mondays...
...but we made our way up the steps by way of a token visit, past what I will from now on always think of as the "gossip girls" on their traditional perch.

In Eloise's footsteps...


We didn't spend much in New York. A Yankees cap for Q. A placemat from the Natural History museum that features the periodic table of elements. A bag of snakes...but that's another story for another post ;)

I bought virtually nothing for myself this time around. I wish I could attribute this to virtue, but really it has more to do with the fact that we had only a day and a half in town and every minute was action-packed! We squeezed every ounce of adventure out of every minute we had in the Big Apple, it being the Q's first time in The City.

Not a single item of clothing did I consume...and this is rare indeed! I'm actually rather proud.
The one and only thing I did purchase for myself is this little camel. I simply could not resist. And I treasure it.

I'm in love right now with Brooklyn's Loup Charmant.
Oh, the exquisite simplicity!
And, as you may have noticed...
all photos:

...I love white.