ava's blog

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brooklyn bridge park: pier6 playground

brooklyn's manhattan-facing waterfront is rather reminiscent of berkeley's san-francisco-facing waterfront. step #1. start with beautiful waterfront that faces a famous city with a great skyline. step #2. closest to that waterfront make sure you place.... a freeway. (and, in berkeley's case.... a garbage dump.)

in berkeely's case, add a garbage dump. and some extremely random real-estate including a) a chinese restaurant, b) one apartment complex and c) a gigantic siebel office tower. in brooklyn's case, make it a multi-level, tiered freeway, and add some ugly industrial piers. perfect, don't you think?

unsurprisingly, i'm not the only person to think this wasn't a great plan. according to my limited research on the topic, brooklyn's been trying to fix this problem for the last 25 years - gradually replacing the six manhattan-facing piers with the brooklyn bridge park. two piers down, four to go.

one of the two completed piers is pier 6, the new home of a pretty darn cool playground. swings with a breeze and a view anyone?

more pics

ava's window

ava's new room has a fabulous window. it's a floor to ceiling window that goes almost the full width of one wall. it faces southwest, and gets gorgeous afternoon sunlight. ava's bed is placed width-wise along the window, but the window has about a 10 inch ledge along the bottom, so she can just squeeze herself on to that between her bed and the windows.

grandma recently sent ava some easter gel gems, which ava happily used to decorate her new window.

p.s. if you would like to see the rest of ava's room, please send me a fish-eye lens suitable for a canon 40D digital SLR.

impressed

every once in awhile i can overcome my deep parental bias, and be quite genuinely impressed by something that ava accomplishes. today, it was this owl.

not so much because of the quality of the art, but because she a) came up with the idea herself, b) assembled all the supplies herself, and c) did the entire thing by herself without asking for help! (she asked me to add the funny little messages on the string the next day. one of them says "no birds poo on our balcony".)

apparently ava was impressed with herself, too, as she specifically asked me to take a picture of her with her owl.

fire island

this weekend, we all headed out on an excursion to fire island, a weird little strip of land that sites just off the south coast of long island.

obviously, we have no idea these days what we might be getting in to... so we were very pleasantly surprised to find a pristine white sand beach full of beautiful rocks and shells. ava had a great time trying to fit the entire beach in her bucket and sliding, running, jumping and crawling in the dunes.

i realized in retrospect that the thing i should have taken a picture of was the parking lot. the parking lot for this beautiful 7 mile long park was about 1/2 a mile long by 1/3 mile long. think oakland colloseum - or the entire long term parking area for SFO. on this particular day, this gigantic lot contained about 15 cars, but the locals assure us that in the summer season, it actually fills up. wow!

more fire island pics

children's museum of the arts

today, ava and i visited the children's museum of art in manhattan. there were many surprises on this trip.

first, i forgot my iphone. that's actually not so surprising - the surprising part is that we navigated both the subways and streets of manhattan without getting lost.

second, this place was both really fun, and really not crowded. it was composed of a half dozen or so art stations, each of which could handle a half dozen kids, but had an actual average population of about two. the art activities were both unusually creative (painting on top of pastel drawings, making a magazine with carbon paper), and equipped with impressive supplies. the "build a treasure chest" station had velvet ribbons, and leather strips, and oodles of old costume jewelry that the kids could use to decorate or fill their chests.

the last surprise was the most fun though. the last station that we stopped at had the kids make large faces out of plasticene and various bits and bobs for accessories. when the faces were done, they had a claymation studio set up, and an expert to assist, so that you could have your face star in its very own movie. ava was pretty much happy just building her face, and the animation part was a bit over her head, but i enjoyed it enough for both of us.

the final surprise occurred on the way home, when we realized we'd accidentally abandoned ava's stuffed duck ("lemon") at the studio. oh well... we'll quite happily go back and retrieve her next week!

a few more pics

prospect park

ava and i have been enjoying exploring the many new things to do in nyc. unfortunately, the weather hasn't been super co-operative this week. but, on our best day of sun, we headed off for a ramble through our new park.

prospect park is about half the size of golden gate park, but has at least as much useable space (a lot of golden gate park is taken up by sort of random stuff like the buffalo paddock and the fly fishing pools. all good stuff, but not places you visit every day.). prospect park is mostly huge rolling meadows bordered by towering oak (?) trees. there are a few forested areas, some streams and small ponds, and one large lake. and six playgrounds.

we didn't do the best job of taking pictures on our first sunny day. we'll be back later with more, i'm sure. in the meantime, here are a few previews to give you the idea

a visit from "gossland"

ava returned from thunder bay on march 30th, and the very next day we welcomed our first ever visitor from "gossland" ("scotland" in ava-speak) - john's cousin tony. the timing was excellent, as we all got to go through culture shock and play tourist, together.

we visited the american museum of natural history, went for a boat tour of the harbor, sampled our neighborhood pubs and cuisine, made tony ride a bike for the first time in twenty years, and spent one sunny morning in prospect park.

we inspired tony to go home and buy a bike, and he inspired us to finally get organized to go to scotland next summer.

more pics of family visit fun.

the time has come

at dinner, on our first night in nyc...

daddy: so ava, you're a real new york girl, now.

ava: yes, the time has come.

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