Where we work and play

I don't think I ever really noticed the Met Life Tower before a month ago when I started working in this neighborhood. But it certainly caught my eye on one of the very first days as I looked up at it walking through Madison Square Park to the office, and from inside my building on the sixteenth floor as I gazed out onto it's East-facing clock. It's a real beauty.

 

We did not come to Madison Square Park with the intention of hitting the playground, but we went in on a whim, and despite the crowd, it was the perfect Sunday morning stop.

 

 

 

 

 

Who needs monkey bars when you can balance on the railing? 

 

Or chase squirrels.   

 

Then $20 pancakes for brunch at Sarabeth's. 

Back through the park, from every angle, the Flatiron Building really is a jewel.

 

 

The kids had just as much fun playing under this monument (The Eternal Light Flagstaff) as they did at the playground! They couldn't stop running circles around it, playing hide and seek and tag with each other and a few other kids that just happened to be there.

Hello there, new friend. Try to catch me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice liked climbing up to trace all the letters with her finger. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we were leaving the park, waiting for the light to change and cross the street, we were stopped on 23rd between 5th Ave and Broadway, right at the apex of the Flatiron Building, everyone stared up to admire it at it's best angle. An older lady, unquestionably a tourist, turned to me with a smirk and said admiringly "well that's not something you see every day." Normally I would have just smiled and nodded but for some reason I said warmly "well, my office is just one block east and I walk past here every day on my way to work. So... I actually do see it every day." And quickly added "It is beautiful." I felt a little guilty for taking the wind out of her sails especially since she just wanted to share her admiration. But there's something that bothers me, every-so-slightly, about watching even the most earnest tourists gawk and rubberneck. I truly love that people appreciate this city and notice the details. and want to take pictures and record their time and what they see here, but sometimes it seems that the appreciation is superficial. The landmarks are not just photo ops, they're offices and homes, places where people are hired and fired, get engaged and break up – where people (quite literally) live and die. The city is not just an attraction, it's the place we call home. 

What might seem like a charming anomaly or novelty to a visitor is our every day. Maybe that's why I loved seeing the kids play in Madison Square so much – it's the representation of my 9-5/Monday-Friday, the landmark of my commute, where I grab lunch and make personal calls, have coffee with coworkers and pause to contemplate the day when I know I'm not going to make it home in time to kiss them goodnight. A few of the buildings might look like a postcard eccentricity or an obscure oddity to outsiders, but they are the hallmark of my daily routine and my livelihood and make up the playground where my children play. So yeah, it is something I see every day. And despite that, I appreciate it all the more.

 

Both kids totally tuckered out from the morning adventure! Look at those droopy eyes and sleepy expression.