It’s official. The Princes of Park Avenue, grandsons Miles and Henry, are now The Jersey Boys. The family moved two weeks ago from New York City. Lucky Granny Nanny is here for the week to witness a new life for my 9 and 11-year-old grands.
Gone are their days of jumping on the swings at Three Bears in Central Park and catching the cross-town bus with their mom to visit “the animal museum,” AKA the Museum of Natural History. No longer will they dart through Grand Central Station with daddy in a game of hide-and-seek, or play legos at a friend’s 12th floor, four-room apartment. The Big Apple was yesterday, Ridgewood is today, and a grassy yard shaded with towering elms is tomorrow’s happy hub.
Taxis and subways are now bikes and scooters. J.G. Mellon hamburgers and “plain pasta with butter and cheese, please” from Tiramisu have been replaced with cheese pizza from Sicilian Sun and chocolate cones topped with whipped cream and sprinkles from Van Dyk’s Ice Cream.
Manny, their apartment doorman, always said “Mornin’, guys!” when they strode off the elevator and left for PS-6. Today, Bill the Mailman (“He’s a savage,” Henry proudly informed me) hollers, “Hey Miles and Henry, WHO WANTS MAIL?” when he spots them doing laps through the front yard.
Athletic and absolutely lathered for any activity involving a ball (tennis, golf, hoops, gridiron, sandlot), the Jersey Boys are inventive when it comes to sports. Late yesterday afternoon, they asked me to come outside and “watch us play our new game.” They dragged a chair from the dining room and placed it on the sidewalk, giving me a behind-home-plate view of all the action.
This latest (and as yet un-SharkTanked) creation is called, “Throw the pink and green neon football up on the roof, watch it fall down into the boxwood and rhododendrons, then race to grab the bouncing plastic pigskin while YELLING AT FORTISSIMO, meanwhile pushing the other brother down and trying to reach an imaginary goalpost.”
When not adding big divots to the back yard or breaking rhodie branches by the front door, they beeline to the school playground three blocks away, with me in tow. Fortunately there’s a bench where I can sit and observe as they climb on a 20-foot-high metal geo dome called “the spider.”
This is not relaxing for Granny Nanny. One boy hangs upside down trying to drop his Nike Kyrie 5 basketball sneakers so they land upright. The other hurls himself bar-to-bar a la Tarzan, from one end of the big spider to the other, all the time YELLING AT FORTISSIMO. Fortunately, the familiar tinkling musical sound of the ice cream truck garners their attention.
It’s all good. Yes, parents and this grandmother worry a bit about the many changes in their young lives — new house, new neighborhood, new friends. Watching them walk off to a new school every morning, with backpacks the size of mini-refrigerators strapped to their backs, I have no doubt their happiness will only grow. Hopefully at FORTISSIMO!