New York City – Day 3

My feet hurt. Today Elizabeth, Noah and I walked from 14th Street to 100th Street, with a lot of east-west detours along the way. Our first stop was Fishs Eddy, the nifty housewares store, to retrieve the gloves I left there on Tuesday. Next we went to New York Baking Supplies, which has an astonishing variety of baking supplies (hence, the name…). Who knew there were so many different styles of cupcake liners? Who thought of designing a version in houndstooth? And who would buy such a product? (Not me.) (They were cute, but not that cute.)

We did, however, walk out with food markers (to decorate the cake pops that Elizabeth wants to make), food color mist (to decorate the cupcakes that Elizabeth wants to make), and red food coloring paste (to replace the stuff we ran out of, because Elizabeth really likes making red velvet anything). We also bought an eccentric-looking plastic ruler-like device with serrated edges which, after about an hour, sliced through the cheap plastic bag from the baking supply store, necessitating a quick stop into the nearest shop (a shoe store) to beg for a new bag. Fortunately the manager was feeling generous and gave us a gigantic, sturdy plastic shopping bag that says Timberland on it.

Today I felt immense empathy for single parents of multiple children. I also wondered why it is that my kids can’t have slightly more patience for each other’s interests. If one of them was happy, the other was miserable. I found that keeping them fed and hydrated staved off some of the misery, but this afternoon was particularly trying, especially when we went to the Abercrombie and Fitch store on Fifth Avenue, so Elizabeth could use the gift card Noah gave her over the holidays. Abercrombie and Fitch is one of those stores that thinks blasting music at 95 decibels is an ideal marketing tool: Make the customers deaf and they’ll spend more! Not my idea of how to generate sales, but judging by the number of people packed into the store it’s not nearly the deterrent one would think. But boy, there is something about hideously loud, pounding music that makes me feel more aggressive than, say, some nice, quiet chamber music. And Noah was even more miserable than I, because the only thing he hates more than blaring music is shopping. (He has inherited the Wishart male anti-shopping gene.) He lasted about 57 seconds before he started complaining. Poor Elizabeth. She left the store empty handed and filled with guilt at wanting to buy something. I told her we’ll try again tomorrow.

One thing that everyone seemed to enjoy: Sony World of Wonder Technology Lab, a really neat interactive museum. You can do all kinds of things — scan and digitize something (I digitized my eye. It wound up looking like a lollypop…), create animation, manipulate a robot, practice heart surgery (my patient would have died: my scalpel kept slipping. I think I punctured some arteries), and learn about everything from protein folding to nanotechnology (it was like a Dave Wishart seminar, but on Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan).

After checking out a few more upper east side stores (Nike and Diesel), we went to Central Park, where immediately upon plopping onto a park bench, we were solicited by one of those artist-in-the-park guys who wanted to know if we wanted sketches. I said no. I just wasn’t in the mood. But then another artist-in-the-park looked at Noah and asked several times if he could sketch him because he liked his big eyes. The guy did an amazing job, but then it was Elizabeth’s turn to feel put out, because nobody offered to sketch her, specifically.  Aghhhh.

At least everyone was happy eating. And why wouldn’t they be? Today’s food roundup: Lunch at Eately, an all-Italian food emporium near the Flatiron Building. The kids split a porcini-rubber-prime-rib sandwich. The meat was astoundingly tender. Like buttah. I had a pesto-mozzerella-and-sun-dried-tomato panini. Midway through the day we stopped at Grand Central Station and shared a Snickers brownie and Tiramisu. For dinner we went to Joy Burger Bar on the upper east side, with Uncle Dave and Mary Beth — it was kind of like Rodeo Burger, but a lot more crowded, and without any Workuns.

On tap for tomorrow: we leave Park Slope (boo hoo) and move on up to Uncle Dave’s at E 88th and Fifth in Manhattan. Then it’s a haircut for Elizabeth (at Ouidad, a curly-hair salon), a visit to ABC to see Townsend (our host, who works there),  lunch with some SU pals, and MOMA with my buddy Ellen. And then Noah and Uncle Dave are going to hang out, and Elizabeth and I will shop without annoying anyone. At least, I hope we won’t annoy anyone.

Stay tuned. Or not. I won’t have much internet access after this, until we head home Saturday.

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