Stuck in Queens

December 9, 2007 at 7:03 am 2 comments

the_sunflower_280x320.jpg*I completely blanked on this being a gridlock-alert weekend for Manhattan (congestion pricing would have been nice in this instance). After forty-five minutes of avoiding traffic snarls, it was obvious that there was no good way to get from Forest Hills to New Jersey, where we were expected for a Chanukah party. Unless we were to take public transportation (2 hours min.) or willing to squander lots of time and gas just to get over/through one of the river crossings, we were stuck in Queens and, this being the western-most part of Long Island, effectively cut off from mainland America. Not the worst thing in the world, come to think of it.

We cut our losses in Long Island City, but it was only 2 p.m.—what to do? My partner, always one to spot lemonade, suggested we go for lunch at Tournesol, a French boite that attracts a mix of beautiful, put-together types and less-coiffed everyone else. Twenty minutes later we were downing scrambled eggs, frites, and mesculin salad, plus steaming cafe au lait pour moi.


Photo by Meg Cotner/

How could hanging out in an LIC bistro compete with the lost promise of presents, seeing Grandma, and roughing it up with cousins? Well, something as simple as Twenty Questions (for my 7-year-old) and I Spy (for my 2.5-year-old) did the trick. Quel bore, non? Au contraire, it was really fun (even for me) and a teachable moment, as my son honed his skills at starting general and then narrowing down, something that will serve him well in other realms of life, and grappled with delayed gratification.

The ultimate gelt for him, however, was my setting up a blog** in his name once we got home. He’s been avidly watching Splitting Hairs, particularly the stats graph, which shows the number of hits (views) to the blog. So he’s now a part of the blogosphere, posting life-altering facts about Pokemon, chess, Mozart, and Harry Potter.

If you’re wondering why a second-grader would need a blog, among the benefits I foresee are: encouraging writing/spelling; becoming more familiar with computers; participating in a communication mode that is increasingly becoming de rigueur; and learning the importance of protecting your privacy on the Web. That last one is not entirely achievable, but given that we’re a culture in which revealing yourself—emotionally, bodily, shamelessly—is also de rigueur, I want to instill this lesson from the get-go.

*Le Tournesol, Edward Steichen, from National Gallery of Art Web site. See site for a larger and more glorious view of it.

**Not accessible by search engines.


Entry filed under: education, food, Forest Hills, parenting, Queens.

Congestion $ing—Scales Tipping Spotted

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Shelby Meyerhoff  |  December 10, 2007 at 10:41 am

    What a gorgeous painting!

  • 2. benichessnut  |  December 12, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Dear Mommy,
    I think that is very intresting. I remember when we got stuck in
    traffic and the restaurant. I had a lot of fun playing 20 questions!

    From, Beni


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