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A New York (preschool) state of mind

Here's a test for 3-year-olds elbowing to get into the best nursery school.

A test is now in place to determine if 3-year-olds in Manhattan meet the rigid criteria to get into nursery school. Not just any school but the "right" school that puts them on the no-detour road to Harvard.

The test can be administered verbally for 3-year-olds who might, shockingly, have difficulty reading. But if the child is able to take the test in French, they will move closer to the top of the admission list.

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1. 450 Fifth Avenue is a better address than...(a) 1200 Park Avenue, (b) 24 E. 81st Street, (c) 5 Central Park West, (d) Staten Island.

2. A big blue bus is...(a) a cartoon show, (b) a video game, (c) a new toy, (d) transportation to a summer home when helicopters are fogged in.

3. A leveraged buyout is...(a) a new character on "SpongeBob SquarePants," (b) a new character on "The Simpsons," (c) a new character on "South Park," (d) what daddy did before he was indicted.

4. A subway is...(a) a sandwich with no crusts cut off, (b) another name for the servants quarters, (c) a restaurant that doesn't serve pheasant, (d) a type of transportation for losers in divorce proceedings.

5. When answering the phone, one should say...(a) bonjour, (b) guten tag, (c) ciao, (d) I'll get the housekeeper.

6. The proper utensil to use for pomegranates is...(a) a silver spoon, (b) a silver spoon with a serrated edge, (c) a silver spoon with a serrated edge and a crest, (d) a butler.

7. One emerald ring + one ruby ring =(a) three rings, (b) four rings, (c) two rings, (d) a good start.

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8. I travel to the West Side...(a) to see "The Nutcracker" at Lincoln Center, (b) to visit my great-grandmother's jewels at the Museum of Natural History, (c) to attend a Broadway show, (d) on my way to France.

9. Finish this expression, "A child should be seen and not..."(a) served caviar, (b) given a key to the safe deposit box, (c) allowed below 57th Street, (d) left out of the will.

10. Gwen Stefani is...(a) a singer, (b) a dancer, (c) an actress, (d) the opening act at my last birthday party.

11. When I think of McDonald's, I think of...(a) chicken nuggets, (b) milk shakes, (c) french fries, (d) stock options.

12. If Tiffany has four windows and two are closed, the number of windows left open is...(a) four, (b) two, (c) one, (d) three (everyone knows Tiffany has five not four windows).

• Chuck Cohen, an advertising writer, lives in Mill Valley, Calif.


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