Author Archives: brooklynbrood
How Dare You Think Your Child is Special!
Vox ran an article called “This is how parents turn their kids into narcissists.” Other than getting that Montell Jordan song in my head, it ticked me off a bit. It’s been in vogue recently to bag on positive parenting, saying that constant reassurances are turning our children into arrogant monsters.
Show me a parent who thinks their child is better than every other child and I’ll show almost every parent. If you don’t think this about your child, then I feel sorry for you. But this doesn’t mean they will grow up to be a narcissist. Life has a way of beating most parents, and children out of the delusion they are better than everyone else.
Granted, like everything else, too much of anything can be a bad thing, including affirmations. But compared with known negative effects of growing up with low self-esteem, I’ll take my chances with the possibility of my child being a douche.
First they came for the Hipsters…
That is usually when someone throws out the no pejorative “hipster.” Apparently anyone doing anything you dislike is a “hipster.”
When you write about how you want to punch a hipster with his ironic facial-hair or expensive bicycle, doesn’t make you an everyman hero, it makes you an intolerant self-righteous jackass.
And guess what, no matter who you are, someone thinks you’re a hipster.
“Who does that guy think he is ordering pasta? Pasta? They’re called noodles, hipster!”
I’m not saying other humans aren’t annoying, but wishing physical violence on someone because they are annoying and different doesn’t make you Rosa parks.
The rampant bitterness over such trivial things as someone’s clothes, mode of transit or facial hair is almost enough to turn me off of the Internet, but until the library periodical section gets a better selection of pictures of cute animas of different species cuddling, I’m here to stay, with my crusade of promoting a scrap of decency toward your fellow man.
Queens Ruins: Revovate or Wrecking Ball
The NY Times just did a piece on fate of the 1964 Worlds Fair grounds. With the fair’s anniversary approaching, the city is deciding what to do with the site, particularly the Pavillion and former Tent of Tomorrow. It basically comes down three options, $14 million to demolish the site, $43 million to stabilize the Pavilion as a eyesore/oddity, or $52 to restore to some of its former glory.
Surprisingly there seems to be a majority of people who want to rehabilitate the space regardless of cost, even getting an architectural firm to work on it pro bono.
That said, be careful what you wish for. I am probably one of the few people who wouldn’t object to keeping the Pavillion as a ruin. Having visited the grounds and watch it degrade over 40 years, seeing structures that were so new and inspiring rust and decay, that is where I see the beauty and sadness in the Pavillion, that is why it has its power. Which it would lose if it were renovated and a Shake Shack moved it. Although, I’d take that over tearing it down, I do love me a good Salted Caramel Concrete shake.
But I don’t live in Flushing or even near Queens, so I don’t even claim to have much of a vote, I just wanted to write about it as an excuse to post photos I’ve take of the Pavillion.
Best Way to Go Down the Subway Stairs with Stroller
What is the best way to go down the subway stairs with a child and a stroller?
This is one of those questions that people without kids think is idiotic, “these crazy parents over-think everything.”
I am a Patient Boy, I Wait, I Wait, I Wait, I Wait.
The New York Times had a piece about New York City parents having to go on waiting lists for schools, camps, classes, and day cares. It was spot on, but I can think of a few waits they missed. (Granted, these are #parkslopeproblems, but #parkslopeproblems are my problems):
- Swings at the playground – Does that 8 year old kid really need to drape himself over the swing and dangle for 23 minutes?
- Frozen yogurt – People, figure out your toppings before you get on line…and yes, those white things are mochi.
- Brunch – I know, everyone has this problem, but I thought going to brunch at 10:30 AM was supposed to eliminate this wait, but apparently every other parent with a ticking time bomb child has the same idea. And whatever puritanical A.H. who said you cannot get bloody mary before noon on Sundays never had kids.
- Haircut – If I don’t want my kid to get a fireman’s cut, I need to make an appointment a week in advance?
- Santa – I would rather be on a wait list than go on that interminable line again. At least if we were wait listed, we could just go to our safety holiday character at Pratt.
- The street fair bouncy castle – You try telling a 5 year old juiced on cotton candy that a 30 minute wait for 3 minutes of jumping isn’t worth it.
- ANYTHING interactive at a museum
That’s When I Reached for My Revolver
After the horrible events in Newtown, CT, something occurred to me that caused a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, and that feeling emanated from a small box on the high shelf in my closet.
I am not much of a liberal prosthelytizer, but my heart bleeds, more often then I’d like. Children, the environment, equal rights, seniors, dead pigeons, you name it, I bleed for it. In an odd paradox, I am also a gun owner. I have 2 single shot nickel plated dueling pistols. They were a wedding gift for my parents 50 years ago, then they were a wedding gift to me. My parents were not gun “enthusiasts,” but they both grew up in the midwest, and had some familiarity with hunting, so owning a guns seemed very normal to them. The wedding gift was meant as a joke- dueling pistols for the newlyweds. Ha. When I was a kid on vacation in Virginia we’d shoot cans with the pistols, or more aptly, we shoot at cans. These guns were remarkable hard to shoot straight. But I admit, they were fun.
The pistols went with the other unused wedding gifts (a bread maker, a crystal caviar dish) sat in my closet for years. I never gave them a second thought, until the tragic events at Newtown. Hearing about Sandy Hook Elementary made my heart bleed again, but then it nearly stopped. In the home of my 5 year old son, and my 2 year old daughter were 2 lethal pistols. No they weren’t loaded, there was no ammunition in the house. Nonetheless it terrified me. I did not want guns in my house.
I thought about just throwing them out or selling them. But I did not want someone else to use them to harm others or themselves. I thought about tossing them in the Gowanus canal (the only body of water in the world that is 90 percent guns.) But I’m not a criminal, I shouldn’t have to “dispose” of the evidence. Someone suggested taking them to the police. Maybe that was the best idea, but it seems like an invitation for an interrogation. I looked for gun buy backs (which aren’t nearly as common as one would think) but even the thought of carrying the guns in public was unsettling. I ended up taking them apart, taking out the hammer assembly entirely, rendering them no more lethal than the crystal caviar dish.
NY Times on Babies in Bars, (co-written by Yelp)
There must be some stat sent to all publications that says if you create a conflict between parents and non-parents, readership goes up. Because there can be no other reason for the New York Times piece “A Child-Friendly Beer Garden Doesn’t Seem So Friendly to Some Adults.” The premise is this, the new Park Slope beer garden, Greenwood Park, welcomes parents to bring their children to the open-air spacious garden bar, but the childless patrons think the children are running amok, and there is a deep tension between adult drinkers and the self-involved parents.
overused interesting meme story, expect that all the “complaints” about children in the bar come from Yelp. The Times does quote a couple of parents at the bar who are glad there is a place they can relax with their children, but all the vitriol comes from quoting a website whose main purpose is to vent and spew vitriol.
This storty had two reporters, yet the Gray Lady really couldn’t find one real person to go on record? I doubt even the snarky (yet often hilarious) Brooklyn blog Fucked in Park Slope, would call this “reporting.”
I’m sure I could find Yelp reviews on a bar that has too many “frat-boys” and an equal number who love the bar, but I would hardly consider a made up feud worthy enough to get over one thousand words in the New York Times.
But if they are using Yelp as a source, the the Times should definitely send over Frank Bruni to this place.
“House that Whimsy Built” Over $60,000 in Fines Since 2010
I am fed up with the “House that Whimsy Built” at 501 2nd St, on the corner of 7th Avenue and 2nd St. They now have signs saying they have “commercial space for rent.” The hand painted garish banners are hung on the dilapidated scaffolding, at least on the parts of the structure that havent fallen off. (Two large pieces of rotting plywood fell from the scaffolding in the last few months.)
I’m not sure what I find more galling, the complete insanity that the owner Dorothy Nash think anyone will rent in a building that is in such disrepair, or that the city has let it get to such a state. There is a “Stop Work Order” on the building because:
“SHED DOES NOT MEET CODE SPECS,ONE POST LEANING TOWARDS ST. & ANOTHER SITTING ON TOP OF METAL GRATE IN DISREPAIR,NO PERMIT”
This is from January of 2010, since then the building had racked up over $60,000 in fines, yet nothing has changed.
Last week a rotting roll-up up gate fell from a store front on 5th Avenue in Park Slope, breaking a two year old’s leg in three places and giving his babysitter a sever head injury. I don’t even want to consider what injuries would happen if the house of whimsy’s rotting scaffolding collapses. It is across the street from an elementary school and hundreds fo children walk under it every day.
I love the varying nature of the city landscape, from block to block, building to building, an expensive modern glass condo next to sunbleached green aluminum sided townhouse with lawn chairs in front. It’s what makes Brooklyn Brooklyn.
But we should not call 501 2nd street whimsical. The pink brownstone on Garfield Place is whimsical, the building at the corner of 2nd St. and 7th Ave. is a disaster waiting to happen.
Chutes and Toddlers
A least a half dozen friends forwarded me the the New York Times article about injuries toddlers receive when going down the slide with their parent. It seems counterintuitive, but when a child goes down a slide with an adult, they are more at risk of being injured if their hand or foot gets caught on the slide. The additional weight of the parent can break a toddler’s arm or leg, and apparently this is a common injury in ERs.
I have always been advocate of letting my children go solo at the playground. (Although have been spotted on a few slides, it was more for my own enjoyment than helicopter parenting.) That said, it’s not always easy getting a child to take the plunge for the first time, so I certainly cannot begrudge any parent doubling as a toboggan.
And be aware, a hands off PG approach has its downside. My 4 year old son has broken his arm twice due to his adventurous spirit that his dad encouraged.
But I always tell him, broken bones heal, chicks dig scars, and Park Slope has the highest toddler-to-pediatrician ratio on the country.