Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Staycation Crafternoons, Courtesy of NYPL Mulberry Street

While last summer had our girl in fantastic computer and animation workshops, and had us traveling to California and enjoying a kayaking adventure and underwater sites, this year has brought more of a staycation sort of summer. BlogHer2012 was here in New York City so there was no need to head out to San Diego for that. And my academic professional association was in a city I have little interest in visiting. And I had multiple writing deadlines. But at the heart of it, I just wasn't feeling the pull of the Pacific as I typically do this time of year.

Automat interactive installation,
NYPL Lunch Hour NYC
What to do with our girl has been a series of adventures and staycation activities. Along with watching an awful lot of Olympics, we've gone on a number of outings: a visit to the Lunch Hour NYC exhibition at the New York Public Library (a must-see as it's perfect for all ages - especially love the lunch box collection!), a couple of turns up and around the ferris wheel at Toys"R"Us Times Square (better for younger kids, but our girl still loves this activity), an adventure at the Terracotta Warriors at the Discovery Center Times Square (if you're traveling with the sensory-sensitive, best if you arrive first thing in the morning on a week day so you'll have it mostly to yourself), but the most deeply joyous of our outings has been hyper-local: our girl has been attending the Mulberry Street New York Public Library Tuesday afternoon Crafternoon workshops for teens.

Terracotta Warrior Photographer
I've had a life-long love affair with public libraries ever since I discovered the local branch of my hometown's library and learned that there was more to read in the world than the biographies of Catholic saints (that's all they had on the shelves of my parochial in-every-sense-of-that-word school library). I think I was semi-permanently damaged by all those narratives of virgin martyrs and immaculate conceptions. The public library saved my life, and certainly my psyche.  And it seems it's doing something like that for our girl this summer, where, even as I write this, she's socializing.

Yes, socializing. In fact, they're having an ice cream social today.

Last week they made bead bracelets. Next week they'll decorate their own tote bags. And the week after that they'll make hair accessories.

Peeking in the Crafternoon celebration at NYPL
Mulberry Street Branch -- a teen-only zone.
It's hard to describe how important things like this are for all kids, but especially for a kid like our girl, who is slowly figuring out what seem to be the strange steps of the social world.

She needs this more than she needs just about anything in the world: a place to hang out that's safe and where there are social hurdles, but they're low enough that she can clear them like an Olympian in training.

Thanks to the NYPL, for this uber-staycation moment.


Monica said...

I love that neighborhood library! What a terrific summer gift they've provided for your wonderful artist girl.

audball said...

That sounds terrific! When I hear about these activities, it makes me wish we lived in a larger metropolis, but I know I'm just not taking advantage of all that even our (smaller) city has to offer. We need to be braver! So happy to hear that your girl is enjoying her summer so far :)!