We are on the Staten Island Ferry on our way to Manhattan. We are carrying a picnic of fried chicken and tater salad, expecting to go to Central Park for a picnic. It takes about two hours for us to get there on the Ferry and Metro subway trains.
This time, we walked from the apartment to the Ferry. That takes an extra 45 minutes but the day is so pretty with spring flowers blossoming from jonquils to lilacs that it probably took even longer while I was stopping to take pictures on the way.
There are no good conversations walking and on the Ferry it is even worse. Miss K is lost in a Tetris game on her Kindle and Baby A is running around to see everything from the Ferry’s windows and to touch every seat from here outwards around us.
There is the Statue of Liberty we are passing and one single sailing sloop making use of the day out in the harbor. The buildings of New Jersey are glistening a bit in the sun which really would be prettier if we weren’t sitting on the lowest deck of this Ferry with the dirtiest, grittiest windows I’ve ever seen.
Nonetheless, the sun is sparkling like little diamonds on the water behind us that I can see through a half opened window. Children are mostly sitting quietly, though a time or two some run through the main walkway playing and squealing. People are mostly sitting quietly or engaged in small casual conversations and as Miss K just said – we are almost there.
This ferry has bright orange and harvest gold seats that are mold formed like the ones in old bowling alleys – there are few people today using them since it is Sunday. And, now Miss K is getting us ready to get off the boat and they are going to go watch us dock while I put this away. It is interesting writing here, though. There is barely enough time – but very useful. I’d like to do it again.
Now we’re taking the one train to Central Park. Miss K and Baby A watched some performers dancing in a routine with a crowd at the ferry promenade while I sat on a bench away from the crowd and took pictures. It felt like I was at perfect peace for just about the first time in my life for many, many years. The last time I felt that way, I was sitting by a forest stream watching the full moon reflecting on the water from a little bridge during a trip to the mountains when I was about eleven years old.
Baby A has decided to dance around the subway car with her backpack lead floating around after her. He is a little frog that seems to be following her with his head looking right over her shoulder. There are a few tourists on the train today and one lady has already asked us where to get off for Times’ Square. There should be maps for tourists available in the trains on a little end acrylic pocket thing. It would be really handy.
It is nice to be able to eat or drink something on the train as we go. We had some blue juice and they had some chips for a few minutes. I’ve just noticed there is someone who has flashed a couple pictures of me as I’m using my computer writing on the train as we go. It is a very interesting process – harder to spell and a bit wiggly – but not bad. The light is good and the ride is fairly smooth enough. I have my mouse sitting on my lap with the pen table beside me because apparently the thumb pad isn’t working anymore at all. Miss K thinks it is because the driver needs to be re-installed for it. I will have to check it later.
We are at Canal Street and there is a lady who just came in the door, passed by us (we are in the last two seats before the door that goes between the cars) – and she went through the door into the next car just before we left the station. Why do people do that? She was an older lady, not quite the person I would expect to do that. Apparently Canal Street is where the Chinatown area is – we are going to go there at some point and buy one of those roasted ducks they have hanging in some of the windows. They look so good and when we were there a couple years ago at Christmas – the smell could be enjoyed all the way up the block from where they were being offered. I just have to have one of those at some point. It is probably a fifty dollar thing, though – but we haven’t checked.
The train is rocking a bit more now as we go between the last station at Christopher Street and the next at 14th Street. Doing this, I have to remember to put the computer away at least one stop before the stop where I need to get off. It is a little trickier writing on the train and on the ferry than I thought it would be and in a lot of ways easier as well. There are so many nice people – the lady who is here from Boston is talking to us a bit.
We really need to have a Walkabout NYC themed campaign – my note. (“There wasn’t anything there open to tell you what you could do,” said the lady from Boston about her Staten Island Ferry trip – tourist comment – so she turned around and came back) – We also need some NYC Walkabout T-shirts and bags – it would be great – maybe there needs to be an online place to put the photos that people take on Walkabout and celebrate them – where they are from, what photos they like the best that they took, a few comments and things they noted that are either needed in NYC or great and absolutely great about it.
People are starting to wear beautiful clothes with absolutely phenomenal colors – the colors of springtime, beautiful golden yellows and peachy salmon in vibrant hues and kids seem to have the best of their colorful play clothes on – only nicer. It is such a wonderful respite from the dreary colors of winter that everyone has been wearing, mostly blacks, a few in grey and many in the various shades of dark that seem to be prevalent now. There are more smiles, too, and knowing glances with people catching one another’s eyes generally. That is great and wonderfully friendly.
We came into Central Park to the playground and it surprised me how many children found the circles of grass to be so much fun. Some have brought balls or scooters to use. There are adults running around on roller blades and bicycles, people walking, talking and climbing on the rock formations that are everywhere. It is an amazing sense of community. People smile at one another, children are having fun and strangely, there are not sounds of children squealing, but rather the business of play is completely enthralling them. Parents, strangers, and children that don’t know one another are all happily playing together, striking up conversations, stopping to take a picture here and there and thoroughly having a good time. It is absolutely amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it.
The sky is so blue, it looks like September, but it is March and Springtime. There are no flowers here, but the trees still have barren grey branches reaching for the sky. The little bird sitting on the fence next to me just took flight a ways – looks like a starling, brown and white – it had sat here next to me on the fence by my shoulder for a while. The willow trees I can see in the distance have the first yellow-green buds of spring draped across them to the ground and right now the sun is gleaming off the vast array of buildings styled in every fashion under the sun.
In front of me is the neatest little playground space made of soft rubber spongy beneath your feet stuff and architectural elements made of stone cut rocks and concrete in a network of circle defenses and walkways with a huge natural rock formation immediately beyond it – maybe no more than twenty feet from me rising into the sky. The rocks are covered with children climbing, people sitting, walking around it – and amazingly many, many little girls finding ways to climb nearly every surface of it like it is a new found wonder.
There are some jonquils blooming to my left under a big oak tree with their delicate golden yellow blossoms seeking the sun and the camera in my pocket might need to go take a quick look to get some pictures.
I see Baby A and Miss K now climbing through the playground’s spaces, Miss K with her sunglasses and Baby A who has shed her little windbreaker jacket to run around in her summer clothes (with no socks) – People are dressed in just about every kind of outfit there is – from the spring colors to winter’s darks and in every style imaginable. There are many, many people with cameras and strollers are everywhere – with Mom’s pushing two strollers with one hand while trying to carry all the other bags and purses and coats and everything else that has to follow with the crew. I see a little boy with an odd form fitting pair of sunglasses – he must be about two or three years old and the voices of people carry nearly every language drifting across me in various conversations.
All the kids are so cute and seem to be keeping up with where their own people are – parents they brought with them, their stuff and what is around them. That is amazing too – children walking without a hand on a parent, following along – running a ways then back close again in and amongst all the rest of the people activities happening. And people seem to be kind of keeping up with not only their own children but all the children generally too – rather tracing them with their looks and kind of watching out for them. I’ve seen that happen before, but not so much so as here with this many people in one area acting more like a community despite the very ad hoc nature of it. Amazing.
(Note – it is almost impossible to see the computer screen typing this outside with the sunshine. I’ll have to remember that when choosing places to sit and somewhere, it will need charging at some point . . .)
and, you know I took more pictures than that . . .
and yes, there’s more – but that’s enough for this post – well, maybe just add the squirrel . . .