The last Saturday before the kids went back to school, JNH and I were on the Sean’s Place basketball courts on 38th Street, playing tennis.
I say playing tennis, but it was more like trying to hit the ball to each other and get a rally of more than three. I was wearing a sleeveless Japanese-style print shirt in turquoise, pink and white, and sneakers with pink laces, which made me feel a bit clown-like. We’d been to the US Open at Flushing Meadows the week before, which inspired the kids to get rackets. JMH was particularly impressed by Kyrgios. Tennis on a basketball court, I thought...talk about gentrification.
CMH kicked a soccer ball nearby. And while there was this touch of tennis towards the end, it had really been a Summer of soccer. Of riding the 7 train each Saturday to the pitches in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, where kids from all over Queens played against each other, with team names like Real Astoria, Manchester NYC, Las Malvinas, and ours, 5 Star Soccer Academy.
Ice-cream, empanada and mango sellers moved among the throngs of parents on the sidelines. Always a creature of habit, each Saturday I’d look forward to my zip-lock bag of mango slices shaken with lime and salt, sucking on them under a hot Sun with bits of AstroTurf in my sandals and rooting for 5 Star with their bright blue and white shirts, as airplanes headed down into La Guardia rumbled overhead. The U7s rocked the season, the U10s less so, which made the high moments all the better.
At JFK waiting for a flight for a quick work trip to the UK. Scandinavian couple to my right at the bar, sipping very slowly on their Cosmopolitans, and looking somewhat relieved that they are headed back to the peace and quiet of their hometown.
I still love this City like I did when I arrived 12 years ago, actually more so.
Now the Scandinavians next to me have drunk about half their Cosmopolitans, and their conversation is flowing.