Tale of Two Brothers in Neufled Playground, Riverside Park, NY
Another hot, sunny, pseudo-summer day in NYC. I looked outside my window and saw the street vibrant with people in shorts and summer dresses, entering and exciting shops, eating ice cream, and enjoying the sun’s heat. My boys, on the other hand, were busy undoing whatever organizing I had done, getting on each other’s nerves, and a little bit on mine as well.
I decided I had enough and dressed the kids in shorts (amazing that I found any that fit, the warm weather had caught me by surprise and before I had done any shopping for them), and we set out to the park. Initially I thought to head to Central Park. I envisioned us having a picnic on the Great Lawn and playing ball in what I suspected would be an uncrowded field.
However, as I made my way down Riverside Drive (not sure why I decided to drive instead of taking the bus which is faster), I noticed the trees along the drive hovering over the lanes, covering the sky with their greenery. It seemed like an image out of a fairy tale and I didn’t want to leave it.
Bikers and runners made their way along the Greenway, and boaters docked their sails at the Boat Basin on 79th Street, and this is where I thought it would be best to let the boys run off some steam. The air was heavy, as the humidity started setting in, and the sun was relentless, but the boys couldn’t run into the park any faster, immediately playing ball and chasing each other around.
We walked past the lawn off of 77th St where New Yorkers sunbathed and read, relaxing away from the busy-ness of the city. I had hoped to sit for a snack with my boys in this very spot, but they instead found their way to the playground and all the other kids there.
The Neufeld Playground was filled with kids on school trips and younger ones with the moms or caregivers. The sprinklers aren’t on yet, and won’t be till after Memorial Day, and only after it gets super hot. The water from all the water balloon battles taking place covered the slides and swings, cooling them off for the little ones to play on. It’s a small playground, perfect for little kids, well contained, with easy access to bathrooms. It has a basketball court well separated to the play area for older kids.
The boys followed each other around, playing with each other, making friends quickly. The 3.5 would worry if he didn’t see his younger brother around, and the 2.5 year would call out to him when he wanted him to join him at a certain play section.
It was, in essence, just another day at the playground. But I had begun to notice that the boys are playing better with each other, taking better care of one another, worry for the other and make sure to include each other in everything they do. This behavior was on full display and my heart melted at the sight of it.
It will be a year next month since we moved back to NYC. All three boys have grown so much and matured in so many ways. As I sat there watching my boys play, surrounded by the beauty of the park, I couldn’t help but feel how fortunate I was to have the opportunity to spend this time with them, in the city I love, showing them everything I can.
We had a great time, but eventually headed out in search of ice cream. (turns out the water and ice cream vendors frequently found on every corner of the park are not there during weekdays). The boys walked out playfully, running after their ball…even taking a moment to hug each other long enough for me to snap a shot. A picture I will cherish forever.