How to Raise a City Kid by
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Prompted By City vs Suburbs

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How to Raise a City Kid

Years ago when our son was a toddler many of our friends began fleeing to the suburbs.  They couldn’t imagine raising a child in Manhattan with all the dirt and crime.

But think of  the culture!”,  I would say.

At the Met Museum five-year-old Noah,  wide-eyed at Arms & Armor,  or perched spellbound on the grand staircase watching a stonecutter etch a donor’s name on the marble wall.

And making Purim masks at the Jewish Museum,  and model dinosaurs at the Natural History,  and reading the night skies at a kids’ astronomy class at the Planetarium,  and delighting when Red Grooms took over the Whitney.

And at a Chagall exhibit at the Guggenheim when he was three or four,  Noah pointing up from his stroller to ask incredulously,  “Another cow who’s FLYING?”

And theater and concerts –  children’s shows at the Beacon,  and Dino Anagnost’s wonderful Little Orchestra,  and The Paper Bag Players and Mummenschanz at the 92nd St Y.

But we can bring our kids into the city for all that!”,  our smug suburban friends would say.

Ah yes,”  I would say,  “but if you needed a taxi in the rain,  and the wind was blowing your umbrella inside-out while you were trying to fold the stroller,  would your four-year-old raise his arm and yell Checker?”

Carl Schurz Park,  NYC ,  1978

– Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Cities, New York City
Characterizations: funny, moving


  1. Absolutely delightful! My wife raised two children in the city in her previous marriage, and she has these same rhapsodic memories. Thanks for showing me she’s not the only one.

  2. Khati Hendry says:

    I’d say Noah is one lucky kid to have all those experiences. I certainly don’t regret having had a wide range of experiences growing up. Even if you CAN go into the city when you want, I think most people find they DON’T (too much hassle) and miss out on a lot. It was hard to take advantage of the city when I was older and working all the time. It is easier now that I have more time, either staying local and/or traveling to places and splurging on museums.

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