Rather sedate, but friendly, childhood reminiscences of Vassar College's long time President which recall New York City in his 11th and 12th years. The day of the horse car, children's gangs, marbles, tops and kites; the threat of cholera, the omnipresence of the immigrant, the excitement of elections -- all as seen by a small boy. It is the story too of his father, then Chancellor of what was to become New York University, who was trying to raise money to build the University uptown in spite of opposition from Columbia, a man who believed in ""the principle of the thing"", of his mother who made friends everywhere, and of his brothers and sister. There are kitchen contretemps as courtships wax and wane; there is Mr. Lyon and his School and the incentives to learning; Mr. Bergh and the S.P.C.A. (when cat-chasing got too vicious); the theatre, and all the games with boys and girls. But always it is the city, explored on roller skates, in a carriage, on nickel excursions, on a bike which is a background for all events and excitements. A vividly remembered picture of early '90's in New York, colored by a rather precocious boy's feel for those years.