• About Farm School

    "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
    James Adams, from his essay "To 'Be' or to 'Do': A Note on American Education", 1929

    We're a Canadian family of five, farming, home schooling, and building our own house. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 18/Grade 12, 16/Grade 11, and 14/Grade 10.

    Contact me at becky(dot)farmschool(at)gmail(dot)com

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Trip report, part I

“We are not giving you the advice to start smiling at everyone you meet in New York. That would be dangerous.”
Researcher James H. Fowler in yesterday’s New York Times

* * * * *

We had a marvelous, wonderful holiday visit with my parents.  The highlights were American Thanksgiving and Davy’s eighth birthday, both with all the trimmings.

The trip trimmings included a variety of entertainments (opening night at the New York City Ballet’s annual Nutcracker, at Lincoln Center; “The 39 Steps” with Sam Robards, very clever and eminently suitable for children; and Cirque de Soleil’s “Wintuk”, which had Davy at the edge of his seat all night) and sights/sites.  We made it to the New-York Historical Society (where the Grant-Lee Civil War exhibit didn’t quite make up for the dearth of Audubon bird prints), the Museum of the City of New York, the Museum of Natural History, and the Metropolitan Museum.  And South Street Seaport, Battery Park, Little Italy (where Davy discovered a leftover $20 bill in an ATM), and Chinatown. Also Santa Claus at Macy’s, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (viewed from the height and relative comfort of the Time-Warner Center at Columbus Circle), Davy’s birthday celebration of visits to FAO Schwartz and the Times Square branch of Toys R Us, as well as Brooks Brothers for big boy ties.  Rockefeller Center and the tree.  For Laura, pilgrimages to the American Girl temple and the Tiny Dollhouse shop on East 78th.  Skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park on what turned out to be the warmest, sunniest, calmest day.  The kids watched candy being made at Papabubble in Little Italy, and ate cannoli.  We came home with our bags full of Zabar’s blend coffee, a couple of Zabar’s coffee mugs ($1 each!), escargot dishes and escargot shells for our family fixation, chestnuts.  And then there were the six small duffle bags each packed with 50 pounds of publishers’ checking copies of children’s books (many library press books, but also dozens of back issues of Cobblestone, Calliope, and Kids Discover magazines, a puzzle, and some CDs) from my parents’ office, a historical picture library.

The view from our hotel room window, Fairway Market on Broadway between 74th and 75th, and its rooftop,


The view on the street, near our hotel on the Upper West Side,


We stayed at The Beacon, which isn’t cheap but definitely reasonable by NYC standards, especially since the room had a kitchenette, which we put to good use with staples and the occasional treats from Zabar’s, H & H Bagels, and Fairway right across the street.

The first morning, we walked up Broadway to my parents’ apartment, stopping along the way for provisions for our first lunch together — bagels at H&H, French ham and pepperoni from Zabar’s, pickled herring in cream sauce and proper fruit leather from Murray’s Sturgeon Shop.

We had a quick dinner of dim sum that evening with my father and family friends at Shun Lee Cafe near Lincoln Center, then hopped on the subway to see Cirque de Soleil’s “Wintuk”.  Highlights on the way home included Daniel’s first Norway rat sighting and my first dead tree Sunday New York Times in four years.

Sunday morning, we set off for the Historical Society a few blocks away. We arrived a bit early at the Historical Society, so Tom and the boys decided to investigate the VIP seating for the parade later on in the week,


Davy’s birthday began with a quick trip to Zabar’s to pick out a cake (there it is on the lower right, the Chocolate Lover’s cake, with the hand coming to put in a box),


On the way home with the cake, Davy and I watched city workers decorating the trees on the traffic island in the middle of Broadway,


The kids in front of big Christmas lights on Sixth Avenue, on the way from Times Square to Central Park,


Davy and Daniel with a lifesize Lego Batman at FAO Schwartz,


At least they didn’t make me wear a jacket that says “TOURIST”,


After the toy stores, Davy had planned for us to meet my father at Wollman Rink for ice skating in the park. But somehow, despite all my planning and printed out pages, I overlooked the fact that on Mondays and Tuesdays for some inexplicable reason the rink closes at 2:30 in the afternoon. We arrived at 2:20. Great big silent tears fell, and fortunately I remembered that the carousel was nearby, and promised that we’d go skating in a few days.

The birthday boy enjoying his dinner of spareribs at Shun Lee West,



The Chocolate Lover and his cake at the hotel room,


To be continued…


10 Responses

  1. I love all your pictures. Happy belated birthday to your little guy. :-)

  2. Becky, you guys seemed to have packed so much in a short time! Are you exhausted?

    I loved seeing the photos of NYC. And the kids look like they are having a great time!

  3. I think I agree with Fiddler. But it looks like a great holiday. And happy belated birthday to the short guy.

  4. Wow, what a fantastic trip. My husband just mentioned The Klezmer Nutcracker last night. Sounds fun. I look forward to hearing what else y’all packed in.

  5. You know, I have an unaccountable fear of NYC, but your pics make it seem entirely approachable. Looks like it was a fun-filled trip!

  6. NYC, to me, seems like a completely different world. It’s so foreign to me, yet so exciting. I love seeing it through your non-tourist eyes. (Having grown up there, I do not consider you a tourist.)

    Lovely pictures. Your children are beautiful. =)

  7. p.s. I’m drooling over that chocolate cake! I think Davy and I would get along very well IRL. ;-)

  8. Oh I missed your posts :) Glad to have you “back” and glad to see you had such a great time. Please wish Davy a happy belated birthday from us at the Bay Area, CA! :)

  9. Oh a Klezmer nutcracker!! I love Klezmer. And the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center is so fab, too. But the animals watching the action on Broadway from the hotel window is the best. Glad you had a good visit.

  10. Thanks for the welcomes back, all, and for Davy’s birthday wishes. He’s more than happy to keep stretching out the celebration.

    Fiddler, a tad exhausted but only from the jet lag. We’re fairly used to packing a lot in, and I knew that with everything the kids (and Tom and I) wanted to visit/revisit during such a short stay, it would be busy. The first time we went, four years ago, the kids were younger so I’d put in a quiet day (just a visit to the park to play, say) after two busy days. But they’re older now so we just kept going.

    Kris, much more approachable, cleaner, and safer than when I was growing up there, or even when I moved away 14 years ago.

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