Urban Granny

A Seasoned View of Urban Life

Archive for the ‘Children’ Category


Grandparents in Charge

Recently my daughter and her husband were on a week’s trip to The Netherlands and my husband and I were left in charge of their three children ages 5, 4, and 15 months.

During the week their regular routine kicked in so our dilemma was the weekend and what would be fun activities for all of us.

The plan for Saturday was to walk the High Line, exit at 20th street, lunch at Cookshop, proceed to the Hudson River walkway on West Street and then go to the children’s park at Jane Street and the Hudson River. The park has a wonderful sprinkler and water play area.A High Line View


Saturday proved to be a mixed bag of results. High Line was a wonderful experience but the children were too young to appreciate it. They were looking for more activity than they found. They thought it was cool to be above the ground and that they could see the old tracks but still no “kid things to do”. The High Line activity listing scheduled a children’s art project of making constructions out of recycled material but it was crowded and disorganized. A bit of a disappointment but it had sounded great when I planned it.

Coming off the High Line at 20th and having Cookshop directly in our sight was perfect. The food was great and totally child friendly.

The walk to Jane Street Park was long but doable. It is a great park with a wonderful walk along the Hudson. The park was not crowded and there were restroom facilities and a snack cart with ice cream nearby.   Perfect!

Sunday was a trip to Governor’s Island. This was a blind plan since we had no idea what to expect. I had read about the available children activities but was not sure about the facilities. We decided not to take bikes since the kids rode at very different levels and we had to deal with Max, the 15 month old.

The first ferry to Governors Island was at 10 o’clock and we made it!!  We were worried about the prediction for rain and we were trying to avoid the crowds. This proved to be the correct move. The children loved the ferry ride. The ride is short and easy with designated areas for bikers and families with strollers.

Governor’s Island is a work in progress. There are porta john facilities and snack trucks but I definitely suggest picnicking. There are tables all over the Island. Water Taxi Beach has food but for now it is french fries, hot dogs and hamburgers.

The Island can be a little daunting at first so use the website and the Island map when planning your trip.


Maxwell Marking

Maxwell Marking

We immediately headed to the Summer Art Colony run by the Children’s Museum of the Arts.  This was simply wonderful. The instructors were enthusiastic, helpful and patient. They had art projects set up for all age groups, even for little Max. There were art kits “to go” for those who wanted to explore other areas of the Island and sketch or color.

Max had colored balls in a dry pool to play with, easels with chalk, markers and some kind of plastic material to mold. Ben and Madeleine were busy making fans, drawing and painting. They also did a project using colored tissue pasted on wooden frames. The kids had a ball and were so proud of their art projects that they decided to give them as gifts to their parents when they returned.

Madeleine Creating

Madeleine Creating

Later, we explored more of the island and played a round of miniature golf. The children asked for a playground but unfortunately it is not finished.  We then walked to Water Taxi Beach for lunch. I really wished I had packed a picnic.

We headed back to the landing and saw big crowds coming off the ferry. Probably the numbers swelled because of a planned Judy Collins concert.

Our timing was great and though Governor’s Island is still a work in progress it is well worth a trip.

The weekend ended up to be a wonderful time for the grandchildren and their grandparents alike.

Benjamin Chalking

Benjamin Chalking

Sides note regarding the Children’s Museum of Arts, CMA is a fabulous organization that runs several types of Art Colonies, art classes for all ages, some of which are affordable drop off classes, a summer camp and art exhibits. Go to their web site for a full list of activities.

Posted under Children, Recreation

It takes a village to raise a grandchild…or does it take a Grandparent…

Max, 15 Months Old

Max, 15 Months Old

So I get a call yesterday from my working daughter.  The youngest of her three children needs to see an urologist immediately because of a possible hernia. Of course, as any grandmother would do, I flew into action finding the “right” doctor and securing an appointment at 6:30 that evening.

I texted my daughter the information about the appointment.  This is the usual way of communicating these days. The text back was, could I take him to the appointment?  She would meet me there from work. Of course! I am a grandmother.

We live downtown and the doctor is at 98th street.   It was rush hour, wouldn’t have it any other way.

So off I went to pick him up, making sure that he had a bag packed with cheerios, water and a diaper.  I rehearsed opening up the stroller and closing it. I was not sure my daughter knew how to do it?

I did splurge and took a cab costing me $25.   I just couldn’t see myself negotiating Max, the stroller and two bags on the number 4 train, changing at 96th to the number 6 and walking to 98th and Fifth.  It was well worth the money, the FDR cooperated and traffic was not too horrendous.

Met my daughter on time and Max was wonderful during the wait and appointment. And yes he would need the surgery.

My journey began at 5:15 and we were finally back at their apartment by 8pm. Kissed them both and headed back home.

I got back to my apartment and finished preparing dinner. My husband is terrific at putting everything out and setting the table. Eating home is a luxury we thoroughly enjoy so no matter how late it was  I was determined to eat in.

I couldn’t help but think that it takes a grandparent to raise a child.

Last night listening to the news I heard that in the US 40% of all grandparents participate in their grandchildren/s childcare. Hmm, I can believe it. It takes a Grandparent to raise a grandchild these days.

Posted under Children, Observations

Mr. Mayor your J train is disgusting

 A few days ago I had the occasion to take my four-year-old grandson, Benjamin Henry, on the J train. I know that New York City is not responsible for the woes of the MTA.  However, one has to ask, doesn’t the Mayor have some kind of civic pride when it comes to the subway system and the stations that are part of this great city, a city he governs?  Especially when it is the City Hall station.

Benjamin and I descended down into the J station under City Hall.  The condition of this station was unspeakable. Ben asked me very quietly, as I felt his grip on my hand grow tighter, who is in charge of the trains? MTA is a concept too difficult for a four year old to grasp so I said the Mayor. He knows his name is Bloomberg, and he began to ask all sorts of questions; what is his first name, is he married, does he have a mother and does he have children? I answered him and he sat quietly as we waited for the train.  Then he said to me that he wanted to write the mayor. I told him we would write a letter together when we got back home later that evening.

I knew he was upset about the station and perhaps the letter would help?

Here is the letter he dictated to me that evening.

Dear Mayor Michael Bloomberg,

I was going with my grandma to the lower eastside to have lunch at Katz’s as a treat and to meet my uncle. I live near City Hall and we walked to the train. It was the J.  There was garbage everywhere and it smelled gross.  I was afraid to walk because there was even throw up on the floor. It was very gross and disgusting.  How can you let the station so close to your work be so terrible? What can we do to stop the people from throwing garbage? It is bad for the environment and the dirt is not healthy for us kids.

The train did not come for a very long time and we hated being down there so grandma took me back up the stairs and we had to find a taxi. We got to lunch late but it was fun to be there.

I am almost four and I have an older sister and a baby brother.

Can you write me back?  Soon. I am Benjamin ——– and I live at —–.




Ben's Letter to Mayor Bloomberg

Ben's Letter to Mayor Bloomberg



As they say, out of the mouths of babes. All Ben wanted to know after that if the mayor was sad without a wife, I told him I didn’t think so.






Posted under Children, Observations