I was a young stay-at-home mom with a 9 month-old baby boy when we moved to the city in the late 1970s – a perfect confluence of time, place and circumstance!
In those early years Noah and I spent lots of time in the Carl Schurz Park playground, the Central Park zoo and the library, and making the rounds of birthday parties and play dates and a myriad of children’s activities at the museums and elsewhere around the city.
And as every parent knows, seeing the world through a child’s eyes can make even workaday chores a big adventure. Walking through our eastside neighborhood we might see giant cranes reaching up to the sky, and noisy ConEd workers digging down under the street, and dog walkers with canines in every size and shape!
And of course all those busy New Yorkers hurrying by, and fire engines and police cars and ambulances speeding past with sirens blaring. And then more adventures and things to see when Noah turned three and we rode the city bus together to his midtown nursery school.
Our neighborhood even had a department store then, Gimbel’s on Lexington and 86th Street, where you could buy almost everything you needed to furnish a home and clothe a family. And indeed a trip to Gimbel’s was always an adventure with a toy department to explore, escalators to ride, and even a kid-friendly cafe in the basement.
Then all too soon Noah started kindergarten, I went back to work, and that very special chapter in my life came to an end. In the late 1980s Gimbel’s closed all its stores and now on the corner of Lex and 86th there’s a Best Buy and a luxury co-op.
But I sure miss that old Gimbel’s and that young stay-at-home mom with her sweet baby boy.
Dana Susan Lehrman