Kiner Man and Maya Girl Part Three: The Cultural Expedition Continues

I brought Kiner to see Marvel Universe at Barclay’s Center on Friday night and the kid just about lost it. He lost it in the best sense of that phrase. Though not a parent myself, it gave me a glimpse into the kind of gratitude and love one can feel by making a child happy.  He tried cotton candy for the first time and wore his Captain America mask throughout the entire show.

Then, on Monday we visited the Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA. I handed the camera over to him and asked him to take pictures of whatever moment, object or feeling he wanted to capture (thanks Victoria! This was a great idea!) Here we are taking the train into the city and ending up at the MoMA.

On Tuesday, we went back into Manhattan to visit the American Museum of Natural History. The plan was to walk across Central Park, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the MET, and then The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park but Kiner called an audible while we were inside of Central Park and asked if I could bring him to the zoo. “The Zoo?” I didn’t even know Central Park had a zoo! He read it in one of the articles I gave him that week. Kids are always a step a head and don’t let them fool you otherwise! So, we hung out at the park for a little while, chilled out by the lake and watched the rowboats go by and then we moseyed on over to the Central Park Zoo!

Kiner and I had an incredible three weeks together. We visited four branches of the Brooklyn Public Library (Central, Bay Ridge, Sunset Park and Park Slope). He read a total of ten books and wrote multiple short stories on each (not to mention all the discussions we had about the characters and the advice we would give them should we ever find ourselves in their place!). We went to the The New York Aquarium, Coney Island, The Morbid Anatomy Museum, The Guggenheim, The MoMA, The Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Marvel Universe at Barclay’s Center, The American Museum of Natural History, The Central Park Zoo, FAO Schwartz and Times Square (twice!) Exposing a growing child to arts and culture can be a magnificent and rewarding experience for both the child and adult. Kiner isn’t the only one doing the learning and having a good time in these pictures, I too learned a great deal about the world around us and in some cases the universe (like at the Hayden Planetarium).

Kiner is sad that the summer is winding down but I promised him that I would continue this cultural exploration of the world with him well into the school year too. When learning becomes fun, natural and organic children will yearn to learn all year round.

And that, friends, is the end of the Adventures of Kiner Man and Maya Girl (for now!) 🙂

‘If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.’

– Rachel Louise Carson

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The Adventures of Kiner Man: Week Two

This gallery contains 11 photos.

Kiner, my nephew whom you met last week, and I continue our adventures in the great City of Gotham. He loves superheroes so his Uncle Gui dubbed him Kiner Man. Since every super hero needs a side kick I am … Continue reading

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Culture Week With Kiner: Free, Kid-Friendly Activities in NYC

Sometimes it takes a kid to bring out the kid in you. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my 10 year old nephew Kiner and learning to look at the world through the curious eyes of a child. We laugh maniacally, like an evil villain would, yet we are polite and courteous to our neighbors (the good guy always wins!) We ask questions about the world we observe around us (like budding scientists) and we make race car noises while we drive (because fast cars are very cool). We genuinely have a good time exploring the city together – hand-in-hand – learning, laughing and acculturating to the ventures of our day.

I’ve dubbed this week “Culture week with Kiner” as we track down novel, cultural and exciting things to do and the best part is that it’s all FREE 🙂

Monday – We started our week by visiting the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. Kiner opened up his own account and received his very own library card. The librarian was friendly and explained that he can take 99 books out at a time! Ninety-nine books! We were astonished and eager to delve right in. After the library we sprawled outside the Atlantic Barclays Center and walked all through Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, popping in and out of independent toy and book stores.

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Kiner’s First Library Card

 

Tuesday – The Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers free admission all day on Tuesdays. We started our morning at the library again (because reading is fundamental to exercising our brain) and then walked over to the Garden to enjoy an afternoon of botany and bliss. Kiner referred to the Garden as a “museum for plants” which was cute.

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WednesdayThe Bronx Zoo offers a pay-as-you-wish admission on Wednesdays. Suggested donations are $15 per person, however you can contribute whatever you are able to. This makes it fun and affordable for all kinds of families to visit. It’s $34 per adult and $24 per child on any other day of the week. (We are doing this activity next week. Pictures to follow!)

Kiner and I visited the Greenspace @ President Street, a local community garden in Park Slope. There, he learned that people care for public spaces in order to beautify a neighborhood and create a green space where people can come together to read a book, have a conversation, enjoy a meal outdoors and generally be surrounded by peaceful plants. We also learned that they have free movie nights for kids — we will definitely be back for that.

Thursday – Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a beautiful experience. I try to do this every chance I get. I never take for granted that I live in the greatest city in the world and I love to take it all in from these breathtaking views.

bridge

 

Friday – We explored the Brooklyn Public Library Bay Ridge Branch. They offer story time for kids, free activities and computer stations. The second floor is dedicated to children under the age of 12. The librarians were friendly, knowledgeable and helped us pick out our books for next week. Kiner is currently reading 4 books per week and we have a lengthy discussion about what he is learning with every tale. It’s a great way to exercise a child’s imagination, get their creative juices flowing and allow them to experience a different world — all from the comforts of an air-conditioned, local and well lit library 🙂

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Saturday – The Brooklyn Museum is free the first Saturday of every month, after 5:00pm. Target sponsors art, entertainment and music at the museum called Target First Saturdays. We missed the party (that happened last week) but it won’t stop us from visiting anyhow.

Culture week was fun and filled with adventures and stories. We also visited parks, playgrounds, community gardens, new restaurants sampling cuisines from around the world and did a whole lot of walking through different neighborhoods.

When I asked Kiner if he enjoyed himself this week, he went on and on about everything new he experienced, lived and learned. He then smiled and gave me two thumbs up. My lesson learned? Sometimes, it’s the simplest activities that provide the most lasting forms of joy 🙂

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Darker Side of Sunset

beauty found in grit

sun setting through the grates

 

The darker side of my shadow
walks with me in the night. 
The overcast of my shadow
does not vanish in daylight. 
The darker side does not subside
when nightfall turns toward dawn. 
It’s there with me invariably 
A test to will and strength. 
That which I must overcome,
lest it vanquish me
bequeathing my final remnants. 
It does so with such ease. 
A stronger space it yields. 
(The power that it wields) 
Those times when I succumb. 
A cipher and a secret terror. 
 
My darkest side, lay by my side within my darkest hour. 
The only companion that shares my space like logs fed to a lone fire. 
The scented embers center
concentrated batch,
fiery red-hot, yellow, blue 
borne from a simple match.  
 
Loss of control when I reach my darkest hour. 
Taking me as though I am sustenance —
it’s me that get’s devoured. 
I am the rose; deflowered. 
The darkness in my hour. 
It binges on my skin and it purges my whole existence. 
My feat, my battle, my war —
my ultimate resistance. 
 
Like the dirty grates I studied
oily, black, defiled.  
In the meanwhile
there lain in the distance, 
pure and clear as day
the clouds were giving way
to energy and light.
Hope takes flight. 
Again, it will be night, 
The darker side ignites. 
 
 
 
 
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Delusional Dreamer

Your perception is your reality. 
No exception to finality.
Within each individuality, 
there lies a circumspect duality. 
 
A canopy of fireflies light making way through dark 
whose music rests on eager ears like melodies from harps
Like the bird who flies through dawn, a member of the lark 
A resting place with nests of twigs, a beauty in the art. 
 
A process dies while it’s alive 
Abandoning the ship 
The mast sails 
The wind wails 
Tightropes crack like whips 
 
The body knows 
the mind grows 
from memory and through time 
for that rose is still a rose 
it’s beauty still sublime. 
 
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Animalistic

It’s my day off today and I am home being super lazy studying animal behavior. If I had to assign my cats a psychological diagnosis they are paranoid schizophrenics. They experience auditory hallucinations, delusions and vacillate between long periods of inactivity and small bursts of energetic zeal, zest and gusto. I caught Mimi falling asleep and in the same moment, widening her eyes with shock, horror and awe at absolutely nothing.
Mimi’s disability is co-morbid as she cannot help but overdose on catnip whenever it’s around. Una is able to exercise self control in it’s presence – one small hit and Una is good for the night. Mimi, well, she needs to tear through the bag until it’s in tatters and she has no cognizance of who she is anymore. Mimi likes to get lost in it and forget the world sometimes. I’m sure we can relate to that once in a while, no? 
Una is graceful and elegant, like a ballerina – she appreciates when I play Chopin and I swear she smiles when I put on Beethoven. Mimi is a bit rougher around the edges, preferring indie bands (she’s such a hipster but she denies it) silent films and always looks pissed (if she’s happy, it’s by accident). She will sometimes lay around and be really cute, exposing her belly and drawing you in with those big eyes and as soon as you walk over to give her some affection, she runs away — pissed at you for even daring to approach her! She gets a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified. God I love them though! Crazy and unstable as they are, I wouldn’t have it any other way. They occupy the quiet spaces of my home and breathe into it, life.

 

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