Every night, Alex and I read Toby bedtime stories. His absolute favorite is One Sunday Morning, which tells the story of a boy named Minho, who spends the day at Central Park with his dad. Whenever we read the book, Toby’s eyes light up. We realized that he was imagining that he was the little boy in the book. Seeing how excited Toby was, Alex decided to actually make the day come true. Here are Alex‘s photos…


Alex writes: From the second we got to the subway station, Toby knew where we were going. You could barely wipe the smile off his face.

Even though it was only 11am, Toby clearly had food on his mind. No sooner did we see a guy with a hot-dog stand than Toby steered us over: “That way, that way.” He achieved a state of bliss as we sat on a park bench and he was allowed dig into both a pretzel and a hot dog. And, of course, I gave him “purple juice” just like Minho (it was actually watered down cranberry juice I had brought from home).

Then Toby was happy to wander around the rocks and watch the bicyclists, just like Minho did in the book. He also picked out a special leaf to give to me.

Next, it was time to ride the carousel. As we wandered over, the music got louder and louder, and when it came time to climb aboard, he took one look at the horses and got scared. So he and I just sat together in the carriage on the carousel. He was happier, definitely, in that seat, but still a little freaked out by the blaring circus music.

Afterward, Toby and I hung out and watched a big band at Naumberg Bandshell. Toby especially loved the wild trombone solo.

Finally, it was time for the main attraction: Sailboat Pond. It was a special moment for me, since it reminded me of that great scene in the movie Manhattan, where Woody Allen takes his son to sail boats on the pond. It was hard to believe that I was finally that New York dad. At first, Toby seemed more interested in finishing his pretzel, so I tried to figure out how to actually sail the boat. I was just starting to get the hang of it, when two-year-old Toby amused a whole family of bystanders by bossily announcing “Different Captain!” After 20 minutes or so of watching our sailboat do pathetic donuts in the middle of the pond, Toby was getting sleepy. We took off toward the subway, so I could get him home for an extra-long nap. It was a day we’ll never forget.

Thanks so much, Alex! Toby has not stopped talking about this day. Would you guys do this with your kiddos? A few more books that could be brought to life: Catch That Baby!, Green Eggs and Ham and Subway. Any others you can think of? xoxo

P.S. Alex’s 8 confessions of a new dad, and Cup of Jo’s Guide to NYC.