Yesterday we started our Sophie/Grammy day with a long subway ride to Lafayette Street and the Children’s Museum of Art, a great space with activity stations where children can do everything from drawing a self-portrait, making a boat, playing with flubber, bouncing on big multi-colored rubber balls, etc. On our way back uptown, we stopped at New York University to visit our friend Sue Kirch, who is a science educator at New York University (Sophie’s Daddy’s alma mater). Sue took us to her classroom to see butterflies and plants with eggs and caterpillars. In the picture Sue and Sophie are looking through a magnifying glass to scrutinize a piece of leaf that broke off from one of the plants in the foreground that has caterpillar eggs and newborn caterpillars. Behind Sophie, is a stand covered with netting with trays of plants and butterflies. On our way back to the subway, Sophie spotted a baby robin under a bush!
Sue’s classroom is in the building at the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street, the site of the memorial to the 146 victims, mostly young women, who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire, March 25, 1911. For many years, ceremonies commemorating that horrific event have been held around that date. In the picture, Sophie and I are reading the banner marking this year–the 97th year since the tragedy. Each stem of the white carnations has a label with a person’s name. I learned about the Triangle fire during my research for my biography of Frances Perkins who witnessed the fire. The scene, she later explained “struck at the pit of my stomach. I felt I must sear it not only on my mind but on my heart as a never-to-be-forgotten reminder of why I had to spend my life fighting conditions that could permit such a tragedy.” As secretary of labor, throughout the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Perkins did just that as the architect of far-reaching reforms and social legislation–safer working conditions, reasonable working hours, unemployment insurance, and, the establishment of Social Security.
We ended our day in Englewood coloring Easter eggs, playing a game, and eating pasta. Then it was back across the George Washington Bridge–home for Sophie & a trip to Teachers College for Linda to pick-up and drop off work. It was a fun, fascinating on-the-go day!