Thursday, May 30, 2024

School’s (Almost) Out

The playground for the “Hellenic Classical School” is a half-block of 18th street between Fifth and Fourth Avenues that they’ve cordoned off with matte steel crowd-control fences, and since we seem to have arrived at recess, we have to get off our scooters and walk them on the sidewalk beside where the kids are playing.

The street is riotous with kids being kids: a game of baseball has spilled onto the sidewalk and we almost get beaned as we pass; several simultaneous games of what might be tag, but could also just be girls chasing boys to try to get the boys to chase them, roil across the blacktop; two long-haired girls huddle in the shade, their knees folded up to their chests, their faces pale and grave as they discuss whatever solemnities grade-school girls discuss. 

Another scrum of children tumble onto the sidewalk, and a lone woman, sturdy and blonde and harried looking, yells at them to stay in the street. “You’re doing a good job,” Katie says to her, and the woman smiles a defeated, slightly feral smile before putting her attention back on the chaos in front of her.

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