It was his birthday, and all he wanted to do was embrace his special day with a day out on his new gift. He had only become independent of his training wheels at the end of last summer, when he was just outgrowing his old bike's frame. He was ready to ride freely on a new set of wheels, and today he had them.
It was a short distance from his home, an apartment in a complex off York Street, down Washington Street, where the south tower of the Manhattan bridge seemed a foreboding gateway that framed the Empire State Building in its lower arch. From there, it was straight into the park.
Just a short ride, he begged his mother, to see the carousel, to loop around the pathways of the park that looked onto lower Manhattan, past the Brooklyn Bridge, and then back home. Thirty minutes; one hour, tops.
The late-afternoon sky showed some promise of respite. The rain didn't give any indication that it would stop altogether, but it was slowing to a light spittle, the darkness of the clouds easing to a light, drab grey. The wind, seeming to have already given its worst, stopped howling at their windows. Now was their best chance.
Yes, his mother said, her loving eyes soaking in the glee from her young one.