25 December 2017

What is a holiday worth? I’m measuring this one in smiles, particularly Griffin’s smiles. We were blessed with an extra broad smile from Griffin on the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building. The view of New York from up there is astounding. We had waited for Christmas Day for this landmark to avoid the crowds. The streets were quiet with only taxis milling around, a couple stalking us in hope of a fare. The air was ice that smashed our faces when we were surprised by frequent wind tunnels. So you can imagine what it was like on the 86th level, on the outside observatory deck of the Empire State Building, where ice could be seen on the ground. Apparently there was snow in the air last night but by the time it reached ground it was more like rain or sleet. And somehow last night I lost my beautiful leather gloves so pockets had to suffice.

Emma and I had slept poorly during the night but easily won the vote to retreat to our hotel for sleep before our Christmas/Birthday lunch. We then braved the cold again.

This time Griffin didn’t smile so much. The food was a little fancy for him but oh so wonderfully rich and lush for the rest of us. The setting was also rich and lush by thick red curtains on one side and framed pressed garden cuttings adorning black walls elsewhere. The ceiling was incredibly high and we sat in deep plush chairs I’d be happy to have as armchairs. Carpet, rugs and other soft furnishings served to soften the darkness. The staff were attentive and skilled with humorous banter. And it was warm. Oh so warm. I peeled off my layers with glee. 

After two hours passed rather too quickly we left via the bathroom but there was nothing ‘via’ about it. We had to descend some narrow stairs and take a turn or two in the maze before they were found. It’s the first time I’ve seen Listerine freely available in a bathroom, complete with disposable cups. I declined, choosing to keep the gorgeous tastes of our lunch and wine still lingering in my mouth.

Outside, the world seemed slightly warmer. We stopped by the National Museum of Mathematics. This is an extraordinary place of interactive games and puzzles. Young children were everywhere trying to quickly work out what they needed to do to have fun. Most appeared to not have the patience or inclination to actually understand what was going on but if they jiggled this and pressed that and it made something happen they were momentarily satisfied and then they’d move onto the next thing. I don’t think many people there were learning maths. Many of the visitors were Jewish so I’m guessing they were distracting the kids from that pagan festival their non Jewish friends were participating in. 

I could imagine teaching 6-10 students at a time at the museum, asking probing questions to make them think. If there were more students I would let them have more free play, with some direction, and then analyse what they were about back in the classroom. Not that I’m a Maths teacher so this is never going to happen. 

A bit more nap time and a lovely delivery from John’s parents provided just the nourishment needed for John, Emma and Griffin to head to Modern Pinball NYC again. I soaked in a bath while listening to the Boxing Day Test back home. My feet have been suffering from tramping around this city. I’m hoping to avoid the ongoing agony of having full-on plantar fasciitis again.

Tomorrow we head to the even colder, much colder, Boston. I’m crossing fingers and toes my gloves will be found before we leave so I can smile in the cold again.


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