Birthday in NY

February 2, 2010

Leaving Los Angeles seventeen years ago was one of those consciously life-changing events. We left, at least in part, because I had gotten the job at the New York Times, and CBS was happy to have MIchael work out of the NY bureau. But the more important reason was that we wanted to bring Nick up in New York instead of LA.

It's a decision that I have never regretted. This is a generous city, and any child who sets out to explore it can't help learning a great deal. Nick and his friends find adventures in every borough, and it's been a joy to listen to the tales that he's brought home from Brighton Beach and Gravesend.

It did not surprise me that Nick wanted to be home this weekend to celebrate his 21st birthday.  And once again, the city delivered.  On the day before his birthday he and his friends began the day in Chinatown with lunch at Xian; they all insist that the lamb face salad is one of the best dishes they've ever tried. They went on to Di Palo's, where Gemma fell in love with the man demonstrating his aceto balsamico, and then slowly wandered uptown to Lincoln Center where they managed to find $15 tickets for the ballet.

They were hungry when it was over, so they took the subway down to Momofuku Ssam Bar and found themselves seated next to the band Yeasayer.  They had pork buns and pickles, and at the stroke of midnight, the band began singing Happy Birthday to Nick, making the entire restaurant burst into song.

It wasn't planned, but it was a great way to turn 21. The joy of this city is its sheer serendipity.

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