The masthead of this blog says that I am a perpetually ambivalent New Yorker. Which is to say that, while I have very strong opinions on most things, I am ambivalent, always, about New York.

Riding a crowded 14D bus crosstown on a rainy day, 6 year old in tow? Hate it. Never having enough closets? Ugh. Ridiculous prices on rent, food, and entertainment? Sucks. Endless noise, eternal crowds, slow-moving tourists? Feh. I could go on, but this post is meant to be about hearting NYC, not hating NYC.

Do all New Yorkers have their own individual hate-it lists? And does that mean that all long-term New Yorkers exist in a state of urban ambivalence? I wonder.

But today? Today I loved New York.

An early morning with Caleb at Patisserie Claude–a little bit of buttery Paris goodness in the West Village–and then scootering back through Washington Square Park:

And then up to Lincoln Center, where Caleb and I spent an hour or so learning about The Magic Flute: we heard excerpts from the opera, listened to the story, and then had craft time (glue! scissors! sparkly things!). Caleb made a portrait of himself as Papageno (remember that Tamino falls in love with Pamina’s portrait–remember too, that no one goes to the opera for the plot):

After our encounter with culture? A mildly terrifying game of hide-and-seek in a very crowded playground. (Terrifying because in those crowds, losing Caleb seemed like an all-too-real possibility. See above on hating NYC because it’s always so damn crowded. And who on earth thought this tiny chain would keep people from climbing the rock?)

But once you’re up on the rock, you might as well…indulge your inner moutaineer, right?

And then? What could possibly finish off our wonderful New Yorky day?

A bird on the make, that’s what. As we walked towards the train for home, we saw Big Bird wandering the park and giving people hugs.  Caleb isn’t so far removed from the days of Sesame Street that he could be blase about the bird, so he got himself a hug:

Lovely, right? Then Big Bird asked if we’d like to make a donation. “To what,” I asked.

The woman with Big Bird shrugged and smiled, pointed at the Bird.  “To him,” she said.

Ah New York. Everyone’s got an angle.