Jim Fenzel Art
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illustrated blog about life in NYC apartment with 4 kids

Roo in the City:

an illustrated blog about life with four kids in a small apartment in the BIG city

Ep. 3: Rainy Sunday


NYC on a rainy weekend

You never know what you’ll find

On dreary days, the apartment walls close in like the Death Star’s trash compactor. Roo’s mom and dad feel like Han and Leia trying to hold back the madness with an inadequate tool. Charlie, Josie, and Benny are a trio of tenacled Dianoga monsters. (Roo isn’t a Dianoga yet. She’s too sweet. But someday, someday soon.)


By ten am the couch is dismantled, its cushions flipped and tossed about the living room.  In the bedroom, Josie and Roo have turned Benny’s mattress (leaned precariously on a pile of toys) into a slide.


The nine-year-old and three-year-old are grappling, and each is trying desperately to win.

This ain’t the suburbs. There’s no basement rec room to send the kids. No place either for mom and dad to escape. When it rains for days on end, sometimes there’s forced exercise on the stairs from our 5th floor up to the 24th. This day, as tempers are about to explode—

“That’s it!” Mom yells. “We’re going outside.”

Outside the rain is steady. The playground is puddled; swings wet, slides slick. Roo will have to be contained. So, they will go for a walk and see what the city has to offer on a lazy, rainy September Sunday.

A couple blocks into the walk, Benny tries running with his umbrella, forgets to keep holding up above his head, and runs over it. He trips, bounces back up, but the ribs of the umbrella are bent and broken.

There’s a sparsely attended street fair on Third, and they enjoy the novelty of strolling up the middle of the avenue. The rain has lessened, but it’s still constant.

Roo falls asleep in the stroller. Then Benny gets in and does the same. Josie wants to go home. Charlie wants lunch from the street fair. But they push on toward Central Park.

They cross an empty Fifth Ave and find that it’s only a few minutes before the professional women runners will race down the slick street for the Fifth Avenue Mile. They stand at about the quarter mile marker to watch.

The rain weakens a bit.

Police sirens go past clearing the course.

Then, led by two motorcycles come the racers.


The kids cheer and glance in awe as they run by and are gone, fearless and fast.

Then they walk back to street fair and pick up lunch and head home. And rain starts coming down harder.


But that was amazing to witness. To stand on the curb and have those athletes go by fully immersed in what they do best, their eyes locked down the avenue. And to see them mere feet away with nothing but the air of the day in between.

New York City can be wonderful even in the rain, they think.

And then Benny announces as he bursts into the apartment: “Wow, this place is a mess.”

Jim Fenzel is a NYC based artist/ writer and work-from-home dad of 4.

nyc illustration merch (more to come): http://bit.ly/RooInNYC

The Park is my Track Towel/Tee :  LINK

The Park is my Track Towel/Tee : LINK

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