Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Joseph!

Sorry for the blurry shot. I had to run to tend to a waking baby in the middle of dessert and handed over the camera to a different photographer.

We had a lovely birthday celebration for Joseph though we had to improvise at the last minute. None of us were too enthused about Joseph's bizarre birthday dinner request and we didn't really know what to give Joseph for a birthday present. We decided to kill two birds with one stone and offer to Joseph a trip to the top of the Empire State Building. Joseph has wanted to go to the top of the ESB ever since he learned that there was a top and he was very excited for this to be his birthday present. Afterward, we told him, we could get supper at a diner where we would be sure to find banana splits.

We woke up Tuesday morning to pouring rain and the forecast predicted 36 straight hours of rain (which is pretty much what we got). We promised Joseph we'd go another day and hunkered down for a birthday at home. He was thrilled to get some new books at breakfast time and a puzzle matching game from Great Grandma. That game kept the kids busy for five hours on Tuesday while I tried to make a dinner plan. Every once in awhile Joseph and I would have a conversation like this,

"Joseph, what do you want for dinner?"
"Well, I know the market has lupini beans."
"Right. And what should we have with the beans?"
"No meat! But maybe some corn, if you could find it."
"Right. Anything else?"
"Well, I'd really like some broccoli."

That kid doesn't forget things easily. So I asked Eric to stop at the grocery store on his way home and--ignoring the pile of perfectly good vegetables we'd had delivered that day--we made Joseph his requested birthday feast.

We roasted the broccoli with garlic and roasted some frozen corn cobs and they weren't bad. The lupini beans were enjoyed by both kids and we got some bread from our baker around the corner. The Sumol is the official soda of our neighborhood.

Ironically, even though we had to ask Eric to make a special trip for corn and broccoli, I did have all the necessary ingredients for banana splits in my kitchen--including maraschino cherries which is something I have never had in my refrigerator prior to last Saturday and which were bought for reasons unrelated to Joseph's birthday. I had to make the whipped cream and fudge sauce myself but the banana splits with coconut ice cream were delicious.

Joseph made himself a birthday present: a pet crane with a harness so that he can ride it.

Yesterday the weather finally cleared enough to make our trip to the Empire State Building. Getting into Manhattan from our house is very easy and inexpensive. The train station is a short walk from our house and there are regular commuter trains into several stops in Manhattan. I can actually get to Manhattan more quickly and more cheaply than my friend who lives in Brooklyn. We've been into the city many times since moving here but we've always taken the train into the World Trade Center stop and explored Downtown. There is a also a wheelchair-friendly stop just a block from the ESB.

Going to the observation deck on the 86th floor of the ESB is not inexpensive but it was okay for a birthday present for our little five-year old. And the lines are legendary. Ticket-sellers outside were quoting us a two-hour wait time. I suppose it's not really fair to brag about getting special treatment for being handicapped but Joseph got us to the head of every single line in the place (and there are many!). We almost never stopped moving from the moment we entered the door until we go to the top.

We timed our visit perfectly, getting there just early enough to see some daylight view and then watch the lights come on all over the city against the setting sun.

Joseph had a good view until the fanatical security guards yelled at us. There is no possible way a child could fall off the building but you can barely pick up your kid without getting yelled at. Fortunately there were some spots with a lower wall.

Even on a less-than-perfectly clear day the view was pretty spectacular. If it had been just me and Eric, I would gladly have spent a long time up there but the kids got antsy--especially William--and we left after taking some nice time taking in the view from each direction.

The red setting sun is also a picture of Newark. Joseph really wanted to see our house but the haze and the light obscured the city pretty completely. But we do enjoy a nice sunset out our kitchen window many evenings and it was neat to see it from so high.

It was a wonderful evening and wonderful way to celebrate a very wonderful boy who is now calling to me to come check out the "pirate stuff" he built.


Robyn said...

So, a couple of months ago Isaac deleted all of my blogs from my blog reader and some how I missed adding your blog back to the program! Stink! And you've been busy over here!

Happy Birthday, Joseph! I'm glad the trip to the city is so easy for you! You'll know Manhattan better than I do pretty soon!

Susan said...

I wondered why you weren't commenting anymore :)