nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic

From punk to toddler


Well, that’s not quite the title of the fairly new exhibition at the Met, but that is what I renamed it for this afternoon. Taking advantage of a 7 year old-free afternoon, I took J to the Met to see the Punk: from chaos to couture exhibit. I thought it would be reasonably quiet given it’s Friday afternoon and near closing time on a nice, sunny day. And it was. Sort of. I planned it meticulously so that J was in his buggy with snacks, trapped and safely away from the dozens of mannequins sporting bizarre wigs that I’d spied on the exhibit website. Err, well, that would have worked if I hadn’t been banned from taking the buggy in: ‘we don’t allow strollers into exhibits, ma’am’. Arse. I’m here. I’m prepared. I’ll risk it.

And J was the only child there.

I know a bit about fashion and it was great to see so much Vivienne Westwood – although I note she is actually the same age as my mum! We enjoyed the urinals and their graffiti strewn walls, safely hidden behind a perspex screen. J enjoyed the plinths hosting the mannequins of Amazonian proportions but unfortunately they were all alarmed, so every time J went near, the alarm went off and we were scowled at. He loved the enormous screens showing distorted images of Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten with a punk soundtrack. The staging of this exhibition is fabulous. One room has fake vaulted brick walls to look as if you are in a cellar, painted black as a fantastic backdrop to the fashion. It’s a fine line between stimulation and sheer terror for J, who often sought refuge by grabbing my legs. And my favourite bit? The final mannequin wearing nothing but a few lines of black tape with her middle finger held aloft.

And then you go next door and you enter a room of Monet paintings and think happy thoughts as you wander further and stumble across a few Van Goghs or a Gauguin or two. In just a 15 minute walk from our apartment, we can be here amongst the most amazing art in the world: this truly is the privilege of living in NYC.

3 thoughts on “From punk to toddler

  1. Hi
    What have you done about schooling for your kids? We are an Australian family with 2 kids aged 10 & 8 and are moving to NY for 6 months next year. I am having trouble finding any practical information of the possibility of enrolling them for a short stay

    • Hi, try http://schools.nyc.gov/default.htm to find schools in the area you want to live in. Elementary schools are all zoned, so you have to live within a relatively small number of streets to get in to the school. Contact the parent co-ordinator to get info on what spaces are available (every school has one and their contact details will be on the school website, they are are your main contact with the school and may arrange a visit, if you come in advance). Remember that the school will want proof you live there, so you have to take the risk and find your apartment first and hope the school will accept you. It’s a bit nerve racking. One thing to note is that the summer holidays are very long here. Elementary schools finished on 21 June and don’t go back til 9 September or so. So if you’re only coming for 6 months, it’s worth factoring this in. I noticed too that many kids left the school at the latter end of the school year, so there were vacancies then but in September at the start of the school year it’s harder to get in. You may find your 10 year old is a middle school, depending on birth date, so that could be a long way from the elementary school and they have different entry criteria, but I’m not familiar with them. You could try a private school, if you have $38k to spare! That’s one year for each child. They insist on the ERB, a test that has to be done here in NYC before some other school based vetting, mostly about you and your wallet, I think. Some schools are more overseas friendly than others. Try the Parents League if you’re interested in this route. If you join their organisation they have a wealth of knowledge about schools and admissions. Hope that helps and good luck. nyc-newbie

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