Chelsea Morning

The coffee is on...just knowing it's on sometimes is as or even more rewarding than actually drinking it. Same with the ceremony of opening a bottle of wine...the anticipation...

The sun is pouring in. 

A new Saturday. 

Can I write for a few minutes? Block out the sound of the new Garfield in one room and Paw Patrol in the other? Resist checking email. Resist checking on the presidential race. I have debated about letting the kids watch separate shows—it seems profligate, but on the other hand, the only viable option is to make Wally watch really simple shows, which he does often enough, but it doesn't seem fair to limit him entirely to those. 

 "You accidentally made the brown sugar melt too much," he says, handing his bowl of oatemal to me at the computer. Petra on the other hand prefers oatmeal totally plain, rivaling my dad in boot camp tendencies. 

Alex is heading to play soccer uptown with Brazilians. Today, they'll be happy. It's supposed to be near 60. He has tried to get others friends of ours interested. People say they are, but only one person ever joined him once.  

In an hour I'll take the kids to a park on the Brooklyn waterfront to meet a friend of mine from college, her husband and little girl (Petra's age). When your kids are far apart you often have one kid dangling a bit loose—it's easier if Wally is dangling loose, of course, but I feel more sorry for him. I remember my sister talking about her kids being the oldest kids in the playground. That was a while ago now. They were probably just around Wally's age, maybe even younger. I just looked back at the post. They were only 6 and 8! I guess it depends on what time of day you go, what playgrounds. In Park Slope where they live, the playgrounds don't seem as popular for older kids as they do here. Maybe people in that neighborhood in Brooklyn have more space, their own backyards, a short walk to Prospect Park...No but that indicates that the kids are likely playing or even--hopefully--outside, just somewhere else. Maybe they're fully booked up with activities. I get the sense that a lot of Park Slope kids are even busier than Manhattan kids, they're such a distilled bunch of hurried children, more homogenous in terms of socio-economic status. This Chelsea neighborhood is a real mix, which Park Slope used to be. Has anyone seen this new documentary about it? CLASS DIVIDE, it's called. 

That was as far as I got yesterday, on that new Saturday. Not as far as this forthcoming artist/writer whose blog I adore.  

Our friends in the end couldn't meet. I spent most of the morning picking up crap around the apartment and feeding various neighbors cats. Petra broke a petal bead flower at one neighbor's house, while I was cleaning up after the cat who can only walk with her front legs. I told the owner, by text, and tried to fix the petal-bead flower, which meant running out to get parchment paper (which Petra thought was a box of cookies because of the picture on it) and firing up my grandmother's iron, which I've never used and works surprisingly well, and trying to keep these teeny, tiny beads in place without a mold while keeping Petra screaming for cookies away from the hot iron. I wasn't able to fix it very well. But I think I might start ironing.

I did go jogging for the first time in months, pushing Petra in the stroller, she napped and I stopped and sat in the sun and worked on another intro for another book proposal on a pier near the Intrepid. What a beautiful, beautiful day. 

I thought about parents who are too strict and parents who are too indulgent and Wally's face when I saw he couldn't do the ipad first thing in the morning and how I almost immediately gave in to it! What a deprived child, who can only watch TV--his own show, practically whatever he wants--can't play on the ipad first thing. [I've noticed the ipad is so rewarding he'll wake up earlier to play it. He noticed it too, and told me as much.] 

Out by the river on the way back, half "jogging"/half walking, moderating an internal debate about which part of my body hurt the most, I saw a boy who lost his red balloon. Well, first I saw the red balloon go floating up into the sky and then I saw the mother yell at him, "You're almost 9 years old, get over it" and then I saw the child's stunned and defeated face. 

In the afternoon the kids played on the overflowing playground. 


  1. I love your writing. I always feel like I'm right there in your apartment. And I can relate so well to everything - except the parts about being a superhuman city mom who, after feeding all the neighbors' cats and running out to get parchment paper to repair a petal flower, is jogging by the Intrepid with small child in stroller, and when child naps, "sitting in the sun" means writing a book proposal. Holy heck, girl! My head spins and I just think, WOW, #goals! Also, you always make me laugh. It's so damn hard to be funny on paper - for me anyway - and you manage to do it every time.

    I hadn't heard of CLASS DIVIDE, but I'd love to see it. I've been thinking a lot about socio-economic advantage/disadvantage, how it's become a bigger divide than race. One of the things I find most interesting is that the subject is largely avoided, not written much about - at least not in much literature or even essays I come across. People do not like to discuss privilege or acknowledge disadvantage it seems. I just found a HuffPo article about the doc, "It's not racism, it's classicism. They don't care about race, it's about what you have in NYC." It goes on to say 40% of low income housing is gone since 10 years ago. I think what surprises me most is that there's an actual divide in that neighborhood, that it's not already completely gentrified. The upside, there's still some diversity left. The article also mentions foreign money being "parked" there. When I was living in NYC, I remember a long conversation I had with a cab driver, who talked about the rich taking over the city, that one day it would just be an island of wealth. What I always loved most about New York was being surrounded by all walks of life, the endless diversity... Can they still make a go at rent controlled apartments with all the foreign money taking over? Curious to know more of your thoughts on all this.

    I have two good friends who play soccer in the city! I wonder if your husband knows them? Winston McKoy and Alex Skaliotis. You'll have to ask him. :)

    Thank you so much for the mention here! I love reading your blog and being in conversation with you. And I'm so glad you had a beautiful, beautiful Sunday!

  2. Great that you're jogging...I remember that from way back when

  3. Thank you Sarah. Wow - your response gives me a completely different perspective on what I saw as a rather scattered, unproductive day. Thank you so very much for that. And for laughing! Which is probably, hugely unproductively, what I spend way too much of my time doing.

    You're right that the socio-economic divide isn't talked about as much in some ways. Disadvantaged groups are just being silently, invisibly pushed out. That is so depressing re: the 40% figure. I didn't realize it was that high! I wondered about all the empty luxury buildings...doesn't make sense how they keep going up and up...until I found out about the phenomenon you mention - foreign money being "parked" there. That explains it...very disturbing stuff. I have to ask Alex about those 2 guys! Funny we both mentioned each others' blogs at roughly the same time, separately.

  4. Bearette - can't say I'm really back jogging again yet -- but did go that one time!


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