Sunday, January 25, 2004

On the FDR

On Thursday, I got a call from our three named real estate agent in New Jersey, Barbara Beil Pews (named changed to protect the innocent). Barbara said, "I'm sorry, Laura, but we have to cancel our appointment for this weekend. I previewed the only house available in your price range, and it was the worst house I've even seen. But still it had seven bids by contractors."

Great. The only thing we can afford is a tear down. Contractors are tearing down the post war boxes to make room for McMansions -houses that we neither want nor can afford.

I should be more disappointed. In the suburbs, my kids will have a first class, hassle-free education. They can run down the block to little league with their blond hair stuffed under a new baseball cap. They won't have me constantly screeching at them to watch the doggie poop and broken glass. Or be woken up to car alarms and fighting girls in the street. I should be more disappointed.

On Saturday, we packed up the kids in our environmental friendly Toyota and visited the transit museum in Brooklyn. This museum, an homage to trains and buses, is located in the decommissioned Court Street station in downtown Brooklyn. Down the subway steps are old trains sitting on the live tracks. Slick chrome trains from the fifties. And wooden models from the turn of the century with wicker seats and individual windows. It's not hard to imagine men in fedoras hanging from the leather straps with folded newspapers under their arms.

Probably the best part of the trip for me was the drive there along the FDR drive and over the Brooklyn Bridge. On this frigid weekend, we sailed along the eastern side of Manhattan without traffic. The air was so clear that each building was in sharp focus. You could see individual blocks of ice floating down the Hudson to the sea. And it was quiet. Too cold for construction or people's voices or even beeping horns. The city was empty. It was like that seen from one of the Mad Max movies when Mel Gibson flew around post-apocalyptic New York. And then we drove by Ground Zero.

As we crossed the heroic Brooklyn Bridge, Steve told Jonah that this was the oldest suspension bridge in the country. Jonah wasn't impressed with that bit of information, but he did say that he would like to ride on it with his bike. That would be nice. I would like to get dressed up like Sophie and Nathan in Sophie's Choice. Then jump up, grab a cable, and make an eloquent toast.

In the evening, we watched Down with Love. The film was dumb, but beautiful -- not unlike Renee herself. Watch it for the great clothes in a stylized city. In the end of the movie, Renee whines to Ian, "I don't want to get married, have kids and move to the suburbs." Me neither.

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