Mazzy is a NYC kid. She lives in a downtown apartment, plays in sidewalk garbage and thinks cockroaches are adorable. (I made that up. She’s never even seen a cockroach. Although she does have a pet rat named Mayor Bloomberg.)
Mazzy has been riding on the subway and waving at homeless people since she was only a few months old. She’s also made drug-like deals at the Central Park Zoo and randomly bumped into Elmo on the street— he does live here after all.
And every night before bed, we say goodnight to the skyscrapers outside our window (good night Empire State Building, good night Chrysler Building, good night horrible Verizon building that ruins my otherwise awesome view).
In order to raise a kid in New York City, a person must really love it immensely. Otherwise, there’s no reason to deal with the lack of space or the insanity over getting your kid into preschool. Mike and I have talked about moving to the suburbs but ultimately, we don’t want to deal with the commute and love the easy access to friends, family and amazing restaurants (yes, food figures that highly).
New York City is also one of the easiest places on earth to give a kid a little culture.
For instance, Mazzy’s already been to the Museum of Modern Art where she fell in love with a complex piece called “The Escalators”. And we had an eventful trip to the New Museum (a day I call “Innocence Lost”) where Mazzy was confronted with a 10ft tall statue of a naked warrior woman with a pistol sticking out of her crotch. (It greeted us as we got off the elevator with a great big— SURPRISE! I’LL BE IN YOUR CHILD’S NIGHTMARES FOREVER!)
And there are so many quintessentially NYC things we have still to do.
She hasn’t been to Coney Island or seen Times Square at night. She’s yet to experience the parade of elephants down 34th Street or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (the hugest Elmo of them all). She’s never seen a Broadway show or ice skated at Rockefeller Center or seen the T Rex at the Museum of Natural History. We also need to take a trip to the top of the Empire State Building, a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, and a ferry ride to Ellis Island.
In short, having a kid in New York City means turning into one big tourist.
But when I think about Mazzy’s face seeing the Jumbotron for the first time or the Christmas windows at Saks Fifth Avenue, I’d strap on a fanny pack and eat at the Olive Garden any day of the week.
Mazzy isn’t the first kid to grow up in the Big Apple. Below is a round-up of my ten favorite children’s book characters based in New York City.
1) Larry Gets Lost in New York City – a dog gets a tour of all five bouroughs in NYC taxi cab
2) The House on East 88th Street – a crocodile named Lyle lives in the bathtub of a brownstone on the Upper East Side
3) Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale – Trixie’s dad leaves her stuffed bunny in a laundromat in Park Slope, Brooklyn
4) Corduroy – the department store where Corduroy lives is rumored to be Macy’s in Herald Square
5) How Little Lori Visited Times Square – a boy and his difficult quest to get to Times Square
6) You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum – a girl and her grandmother chase a runaway balloon past NYC landmarks
7) Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City – the true story of a red-tailed hawk who built a nest on the top of one of Fifth Avenue’s swankiest apartment buildings
8) Who Needs Donuts? – Sam leaves his house in the suburbs in search of donuts in the big city
9) Eloise – the famously precocious girl who lives in the New York Plaza Hotel
10) Olivia – the strong-willed little pig regularly visits Jackson Pollack’s Autumn Rythym on display at the Met
UPDATE: Inspired by Sara from Periwinkle Papillon, I’m adding one more book to the list— And Tango Makes Three. It’s the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who fall in love and want to start a family together. I think it’s the perfect way for a Manhattan based mommy blogger to honor my state’s long-awaited decision to legalize gay marriage in New York.