As a child, Constance Taber Colby knew Stillmeadow Farm but she has spent her adult life on Manhattan's Upper West Side, and this reminiscent tribute to her neighborhood is also a soft-spoken affirmation of the city's suitability for family living. Tribal customs differ from suburban or country practice--sandbox caucuses, food co-ops, and dicey private school entrance exams beginning at age three--but the rewards are incalculable. Husband Curtis, a freelance filmstrip writer, works at home and shares the household chores; both daughters, now teenagers, have been able to pursue intense interests like Tudor history and ballet--they've danced at Lincoln Center; and Colby herself has enjoyed New York's one-of-a-kind offerings, a network of all-ethnic neighbors, and part-time teaching at Barnard a few minutes walk from home. As for the grime and crime: it may look worse after two weeks in Cape Cod, and they all regret the local banditti, but they're streetwise and reasonably cautious: ""Living in the city's a struggle, sure, but don't you think it's worth it?"" Those who do will assuredly appreciate these savory recollections of street fairs, snow emergencies, and holiday delights, but even those down on the farm can admire The View.