Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter in New York City

Egg hunts have always been a big part of Easter for our family. Even before we had kids, we would get friends together for a no-holds-barred event in Santa Cruz. The loot was well camouflaged, and the competition was fierce. (We had to tone it down in recent years, since some adults feel bad about shoving a toddler to the ground while grabbing the last Cadbury out of the planter.)

The last couple of years we held the event in the backyard of our house in Berkeley (below) — the perfect landscape for a kiddie-sized hunt.

This was our first Easter in New York, and it's become harder to keep these kinds of traditions alive. Apartment dwellers typically have to rely on large, community-sponsored egg hunts — like the one they held here on Roosevelt Island.

The island's egg hunt required preregistration, and families that didn't reserve a spot ahead of time were turned away. As we were waiting in line to get in, a woman said that every egg hunt in Manhattan was sold out. So it seems like Easter is generally a tough ticket in New York City.

When the hunt started, there wasn't much hunting — just a bunch of crazed children picking eggs off the lawn. It was over in 30 seconds, as you can see from this video (courtesy of the Roosevelt Islander blog).

Kids that were fast or had sharp elbows came away with lots of eggs. Other children, such as Alice, got none. But the event's organizers were very sweet and came around with prizes for the egg-challenged. (This is the kind of wealth redistribution that we all can support.)

Now, none of the eggs were real eggs, of course. They were plastic. And none of them contained candy — just stickers, small plastic toys and other items. I gather this is par for the course at most of the city's egg hunts. In this era of allergies, litigation and nutritional awareness, loading up kids with jelly beans and chocolate bunnies is not kosher. (Not that Easter candy was ever kosher.)

I'm not complaining. It was nice of the event's organizers to put it on, and you couldn't beat the location — right in front of our building. The Easter Bunny himself even showed up. Oddly enough, the kids weren't terrified.

Still, it made me long for the days of fighting over a well-concealed Cadbury egg.