Thursday, February 21, 2008

A nursery in the City

Here is Evangeline's nursery.

Or, more accurately, Evangeline's nook.

Space is a scarce resource in New York City. Although the City boasts the largest population of any US city, its 8-plus million residents are crammed into 322 square miles. No wonder New Yorkers rarely make eye contact or smile at other people on the street; it's the only way to maintain a semblance of privacy. And there really isn't much privacy. Moments shielded by fences, yards, and cars in the suburbs spill out into the streets here. Some of the stranger things I've seen include a woman riding a bike with two dozen red balloons tethered to the back, several people lugging a fully-made bed, a dwarf impersonating Michael Jackson, an occupied body bag, a violent domestic dispute, and full frontal male nudity. The last sighting confirmed in my mind why so many people flee to the suburbs to raise their children.

A consequence of the scant space is that real estate is ridiculously expensive. Most people live in tiny apartments like our burrow. These apartments demand creative use of the space. For example, I'm storing our summer clothes in suitcases in the bedroom closet alongside my crock pot, and windowsills sub for bookshelves.

Preparing for Evangeline's arrival has further challenged our limited space. Initially, I obtained a crib from CraigsList. But after we measured the crib and the small rectangle of space in our bedroom, we realized that if the crib went in, we would basically have to crawl over the crib to get to our bed. So we gave away the crib and purchased a favorite of urban parents--the mini co-sleeper. We use our bed as a changing table and store her clothes next to ours in the chest of drawers. Fortunately, Evangeline doesn't know the difference. And before she has a chance to realize that her "country cousins" have their own rooms, we'll be back in the suburbs ourselves.

All this talk reminds me of the lyrical refrain of another New York resident:

Santa Fe
Are you there?

Do you swear you won't forget me?

If I found you would you let me come and stay?

I ain't gettin' any younger

And before my dyin' day

I want space

Not just air

Let 'em laugh in my face

I don't care

Save a place

I'll be there

-Jack Kelly, Newsies


Lynne said...


Evangeline's 'nursery' reminds me of Anna's 'nursery' when we first moved to Phoenix when she was 8 months old. Her crib just fit into the walk-in closet of our tiny studio apartment. Since she was bigger and more capable of mischief, we made certain that our clothes were hung out of her reach. She never knew what a deprived child she was for the six months we lived there!

Andrea said...

aaww, well when they are babies, everything small is cute.

and as always, any quote from Newsies makes me smile. :) let's watch it together sometime shall we? maybe some random night when keith is studying late...

Heather said...

country cousins!!! This made me laugh.

The perfect thing about her age is that she truly has no idea! I can't wait for you guys to make the trek back to the West!!!

Anonymous said...

Bethany, this cracked me up, being that we are living as you have described. Ronan has yet to sleep in a "normal" crib. Maybe in Phoenix? Yeah, probably not. =) We have to do crazy things to make everything fit, don't we?

Rebekah Kurth