City Parks – how they’ve changed
Remembering my childhood, the phrase “let’s go to the park” usually meant having fun in a carefree way. Whether it was just laying on the grass, climbing some trees, riding your bikes, or tossing a ball or Frisbee around, it was how kids used to fill their free time (as opposed to being tethered to some internet gadget).
Activities that involved more complex props included flying kites, and some of the more fortunate kids even had sophisticated remote control cars, planes and helicopters (not GPS-enabled drones with 4k cameras).
Heck, we even used to bring real bows & arrows and BB guns too. Rebellious kids might have dabbled with cigarettes, cans of Bud or even a joint or two.
Nothing bad ever happened, no warning signs telling us what we could or couldn’t do, and no property taxpayer-funded cameras spying on anyone. Everyone got along, found their space and carried on.
You better behave in today’s city parks!
Today’s parks don’t really have the same fun feeling about them. Instead of just minding your own business and relaxing, parks today are draconian spaces filled with nosy, over-sensitive people who feel the need to meddle where they shouldn’t.
In addition to the “rules” regarding dogs – upon entering Hoboken city parks, you’re instantly greeted by some signs that tell you that you also can’t feed and birds – and that you cannot smoke (legal) cigarettes on your lunch break.
Peaceful serenity (while they watch you)
Not sure it’s possible to sit on a park bench and be at ease, when there’s a good chance that someone somewhere is watching you.
That is basically spying. Not a very romantic setting to smooch with your girlfriend or boyfriend, is it…
Caged urban jungle
Sure, you might argue that putting a giant fence around a park has some merit.
You can say that it keeps kids safe, and that it prevents “thugs” from vandalizing the park at night.
I might even agree with those reasons. But I don’t like them – because they only mask the underlying issues.
For one, I think good parenting would prevent the need for external measures to keep your kids under control. Having that safety blanket in place only makes parents lazy.
And if we’re locking things up from derelicts, maybe we can start working on addressing those problems instead of band-aiding the issue?
Turn the tide?
In conclusion, it’s evident that things aren’t like they used to be.
My question is – will they ever?
Is this drive for more and more control, regulation and “safety” on a on a one-way track?
At what point will the people say “enough is enough?”
That’s why we like going hiking far away. Despite there being (some) signs of control – once you get deep enough into the woods, you begin to feel free again.