I was a young stay-at-home mom when we moved to Manhattan with our 9-month-old baby boy – a perfect confluence of time, place, and circumstance! (See Aruba Nights, Chagall’s Cows, The Alphabet Wall, Reading with Hattie, Baking with Julia)
In those early years Noah and I spent lots of time in the Carl Schurz Park playground, the Central Park Zoo and the library, and making the rounds of birthday parties and play dates and a myriad of children’s activities at the museums and elsewhere around the city.
And as every parent knows, seeing the world through a child’s eyes can make even workaday chores a big adventure. Walking through our eastside neighborhood we might see giant cranes reaching up to the sky, and noisy Con Ed workers digging down under the street, and dog walkers with canines on leashes in every size and shape!
And of course all those busy New Yorkers hurrying by, and fire engines and police cars and ambulances speeding past with sirens blaring. And then more adventures and things to see when Noah turned three and we rode the bus together to his midtown nursery school.
Our neighborhood even had a department store then, Gimbel’s on Lexington Ave and 86th Street, where you could buy almost everything you needed to furnish a home and clothe a family. And indeed a trip to Gimbel’s was always an adventure with a toy department to explore, escalators to ride, and even a kid-friendly cafe in the basement.
Then all too soon Noah started kindergarten, I went back to work, and that very special chapter in my life came to an end. In the late 1980s Gimbel’s closed all it’s stores and now on the corner of Lex and 86th there’s a Best Buy and a luxury co-op.
But I really miss that old Gimbel’s, and I miss that young stay-at-home mom and her sweet baby boy.
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!