Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Unlike the past two years, the skies remained pretty clear throughout the Fourth of July. Also different this year was the location of the Big Macy's Show: Usually things blow up over the East River and the heads of questionable celebrities, but this year the barges parked in the Hudson just a little north of our building.

Though Q and The Boy are older now, the 9:20 launch time was still on the late side, and they had little steam when the dark actually arrived. From our roofdeck, the snag of small boats seemed dense enough to make hopping to New Jersey almost possible.

waiting for fireworks

Q was (and is) still convinced that she's scared of fireworks, which meant that as soon as the explosions started up (just faint pops in the distance), she asserted, "They do not look like flowers, and I want to go inside." Though she sounded more tired than spooked, my lovely wife took her down to our couch to watch the festivities on NBC.

The Boy and I stayed up with the crowd (largely made up of people who don't live in our building) until the end, around 10 p.m. Sure, the display was spectacular and seemed to go on forever and all, but I found myself missing the humbler show that Jersey City puts on annually out by the Statue of Liberty. It was still on this year, too, but it's hard not to look at the other end of the river where 40,000+ fireworks were being flaunted (and set to questionable music) by a middling department store. We left right after only smoke was left and the boats started sounding off as thanks for the show. The Boy was so tired, he fell into bed face first like drunks do in movies.

That wasn't the best part of the long weekend, though. On Sunday, facing an open day and an unending Wimbledon final, we decided to take the ferry out to Governor's Island. Don't let the 90's-era website fool you; the little swatch of land just five minutes off the tip of Manhattan is a marvel. The city allows no cars on the grounds, and the place just feels still. Lush lawns framed by ancient trees and up-kept old buildings are everywhere, and we never felt obliged to stay on the paths. We spent time under the great branches feeling small and cooled.

Green Island

We only wandered along one side of the small island but found plenty to busy us. We discovered sculptures inserted here and there, including a giant wind chime with a cord for making yourself into the wind. And there were retired cannons here and there that The Boy could pretend to shoot and could think out loud about.

But the most fun thirty minutes of the weekend weren't spent looking at a lit-up sky, but rather rolling in a hammock. Q and The Boy had never seen one before, and they couldn't get enough of using themselves to send it tipping in all sorts of ways.


My wife and I sat smiling nearby on the grass. No crowds, nothing loud except explosions of laughter. No need for a show; we made our own. And it was better.


Nadine said...

Where have I seen that hammock before... hmmm ;)

I love that you wrote about the time you spend there. It's these unplanned. spontaneous moments together I treasure most. It's like you can plan a day at a zoo or Disney and it's great and fun and all.. but you find a hammock and it makes true happiness.

teahouse said...

That sounds like a beautiful day! We have friends who have been trying to get a group together to go out there since last year. I am signing up now!!