Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why I (still) love the city

Dear Alex is explaining the Giant Hello Kitty to me - She's a little bit excited.

Dear Alex was very comfortable with Hello Kitty's puppy friend.

Dear Alex sneaking up behind "watering bunny"

Despite the obvious and ceaseless density of urban life and it's challenges, there's a lot to be said for bringing up Dear Alex in such a high-energy and wonderfully engaging place. Last week we had a day together that sums it up nicely, with a trip to the Lever House - a building with public art on Park Avenue - the installation by the artist Tom Sachs of giant painted bronze sculptures of Hello Kitty and a few of her crew. Dear Alex was amazed - when we got to the plaza I turned her loose and she ran screaming "IT'S HELLO KITTY! HELLO KITTY!" I didn't know that she was such a big fan. All she wanted to do was run in circles yelling "HELLO KITTY!" until she decided that it would be fun to simply park her little butt on the steps at the base of the sculpture. The other part of the installation had a puppy, (which was a little smaller in scale and didn't blow her mind - as much) a superb sculpture/fountain of Hello Kitty's bunny friend Miffy - with water streaming from her eyes that terrified Dear Alex to the point that she couldn't look at it directly, but had to sneak up on it from behind. After a little while Dear Alex decided that "the bunny isn't crying, she's watering." So, Miffy has become "watering bunny," and the other sculpture/fountain of Hello Kitty shooting streams of water from her eyes is "watering kitty." Funny kid.

We had a great time - and we've been back a few more times since then, because it's an easy walk and Dear Alex wants to see it again, and again and again - and that special part of the walk where you can stand on a certain street corner and look down the Avenue and see her favorite building in the city - the Chrysler building. I didn't tell her to like the Chrysler building - she decided that on her own, and if you ask her, she'll tell you. I want to give her as much of the world as I can, and share the joy of discovery and experience. It's a plus for me that she's a great little kid who will react positively to almost anything. It also gives us something to talk about later at bedtime when Dear Alex wants to "talk about the day..." yet again.

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