Fleet week didn't storm through as it normally has this time around; a new New York City regulation forbids nuclear-powered ships from entering the harbor. We didn't, then, get to marvel at an aircraft carrier — big as a city neighborhood and nearly as populous — glide up the Hudson with the smoothness of trout. Instead, we managed a glimpse of two smallish Canadian warships heading out to games or wars. We also weren't treated to the loud calisthenics of soldiers and sailors on leave in the park. And no balletic flyovers by the Blue Angels as before. Pretty quiet military-wise, all in all.
But the weekend itself did seem to aim for perfection and almost made it. We lazed through Saturday and Sunday outside with multiple picnics and stick races in the Penny Park fountain. The Parks Authority officially flips the switch on the fountains in the park on Memorial Day, so we spent much of Monday cycling through swimsuits and snacks and getting warmed by the sun.
Pretty much all day Monday, Battery Park City was so full that little of the lawn remained unenjoyed (perhaps due in part to $4-a-gallon gas). The playground out front was nearly a fire hazard, what with all the kids jockeying for the first fountains of the season. Lots of families visiting for the day must have stumbled upon the water option given how many kids simply soaked their shirts and shorts or filled found buckets in their underwear or diapers.
Throughout the holiday weekend, the sky above the river was a highway of helicopters (as it often is). On Saturday afternoon, we heard a lower and deeper rhythm begin up the river, and as it grew I noticed that nearly everyone paused to wonder about the sound. I drew the boy over and out of his imagination for just a moment to point out the pair of Chinooks with their Cobra escort heading out toward Staten Island and a helicopter raid demonstration. They're quick and powerful and unlike the machines he's used to seeing. I tried to explain to him what they're good for without saying too much about what they're used for — particularly at this moment when there are events far away ripping holes in peoples' lives.
With earthquakes, cyclones, and wars, each day appears to reveal the seams of the world. But the azure bell of sky above these past few days showed no cracks or flaws, not even the scratch of a jet's contrail. And as Q watched a pair of sailors dressed even whiter than she drift to the river's edge for a picture of the Statue of Liberty, I found that I have enough to believe in.