Oh, to be a (little) kid again
June 29, 2011
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New York City’s massive skyscrapers melt away as you enter Central Park, and with them, so do the dangers of the city’s streets.
The ordered rectangular geometry of the adult world, where kids are forced to walk rather than run; look every which way before crossing; and stay within arm’s reach of relatives is replaced by planning regimes that are a bit more fun. In this section of the park near Columbus Circle, the only towering structure is a concrete fortress with water features that keep kids running, jumping, screaming, and giggling as they traverse it. Trades are made between water balloon holders rather than shareholders, and the calculations being made deal with the arc of those balloons in flight rather than the trajectory of the market. There is an interesting dichotomy that exists in the park—while it’s a chance for parents to rest, read, gab, it’s their kids’ rare opportunity to let pent up energy loose. I lost track of time watching a group of kids moving about the structure, running, rather than walking, from place to place.
I suspect that what I miss most about being a little kid is precisely that absence of the awareness of “cool” that allows you to run from point A to point B just because you want to get there faster. As I myself stood up from my perch on the big boulder beside the playground (pictured above), a dad stood up and shouted, “Brian, we’re leaving” and for the first time since I had been there, the little boy walked (slowly) to where his dad is waiting with a towel, milking his stay in paradise as long as he could.