In which she tells you how to cheer up even the crankiest New Yorker

Okay, that subject line? Catchy, but totally misleading. In fact, I’ll even apologize; titling this post that way was a little manipulative on my part because I know how much people love to talk about cranky New Yorkers. Full disclosure? I don’t believe New Yorkers are an overall cranky bunch. Actually, in my experiences as a native New Yorker, I find that stereotype totally unwarranted. I’ve traveled a lot, and I can tell you: New Yorkers do not deserve their unfriendly reputation at all. Heck, think about it: we live packed in like sardines. It’d be a tough row to hoe if you hated other people.

All that being said, I have found two guaranteed ways to spread good cheer around the neighborhood, wherever you live.

1. Walk around wearing an infant or young toddler on your back, and hold a helium-filled balloon. This is especially effective on a slightly windy day. Seriously, you will feel like Santa Claus if you try this, for all the giggles and sparkling eyes you provoke as you walk past people.

(You will also gain a lot of upper body strength from the effort it takes to keep yourself stable while the bouncing infant tries to get the balloon for the duration of the walk. It’s two-for-one: an effective workout and a good deed. What more could you ask for?)

2. Walk around pushing a sleeping child that looks like this in a stroller:

Alder, after a fun romp with face paint

But if you do attempt this one, be sure you have a good amount of time on your hands, because of all the smiles you provoke, every fourth one will be attached to someone who wants to talk to you about how cute said child is, and/or how it looks like said child has had a busy or fun day. Which, as it turns out, is indeed true, and, hey, thank you for noticing.

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