Summer Series: How an NYC Kid Spends Her Summers

by Maddie Schultz

I grew up in Manhattan, where summers are sticky and the entire city smells like the piles of old trash that seem to accumulate high on every curb until garbage day. I went to indoor, air-conditioned day camps and enjoyed mom-supervised daily trips to Central Park and the ice cream truck. They were hot, parent-filled summers. But for one glorious month every August, my family would escape to New Hampshire. Finally, a place where a kid could be a kid! I was allowed to explore the neighborhood without a “grown-up”, walk outside whenever I wanted to, and find other kid-friends to roam the peaceful tree-canopied roads with. Most people assume that children who grow up in New York mature “too fast.” But for me- it felt like the opposite! I wasn’t allowed to do ANYTHING by myself until I was deemed old enough. I was so jealous of suburban kids in television shows and movies that were allowed to bike away from their houses whenever they wanted to with a big group of friends and go play outside. Those summer trips to New Hampshire were the first real tastes of freedom that I had as a city kid.

One of my favorite memories of New Hampshire was when I was 8, and I decided that I wanted to ride a bike to a nearby meadow. I wanted some company, but my brother and twin sister were busy swimming in the lake! So, I decided to bring along one of my cherished stuffed animals. Yet I couldn’t figure out a good way to transport my bear while still being able to maneuver my bike! I ended up using hairbands to tie the bear’s hands to the handlebars and rode with her to the meadow, where we had a tea party. It was so special to decide that I wanted to go somewhere, and then just go there- by myself!
Nowadays, it is hard to find time when I am actually by myself. And when I am, I am usually reading a book on my iPad or catching up on a reality TV show that I can’t get anyone to watch with me. This summer, my intention is to go back to those glorious days of being alone- without screens! But maybe I’ll find something else to bring along with me instead of my old stuffed animal…

As apart of our Summer Series, our Surprise Ride team members will be sharing a favorite memory of their summertimes, both past, and present.