- Sighting a live rat in the subway tunnels. "A real rat!" cried Nathaniel, pointing excitedly from the platform among hundreds of jaded Manhattanites intently tuned to their iPods.
- Grafitti: "Sometimes they have pictures, and sometimes they're just words."
- A boxy, yellow ferry that the children sighted as we tried to direct their gaze to the Statue of Liberty: "It's the Magic School Bus!"
- Trash deposited onto the sidewalk in front of businesses.
- Burglar bars on windows.
- Construction of some sort on every corner.
Their list might not exactly match ours (a broadway play, the shrine of St. Elizabeth Seton, the site of the World Trade Center, Hassidic and Polish neighborhoods in Brooklyn . . . ) but learning takes many forms. At least that's what we're telling ourselves.