Greenpoint Family Values
I cannot help but be perplexed by the rash of juvenile delinquency plaguing my fellow Brooklynites to the south. First it was wet towel popping. Then it was a menacing 12 year old girl brandishing a knife. Now even a Prospect Park pigeon has become a victim of the apparent anarchy overtaking south Brooklyn. Opinions about all the previous abound, mine are as follows:
- The previous incidents are a symptom of a larger social problem— and no amount of police intervention is going to fix it. If you want teens to (for example) quit running amok in public parks, give them a different means of spending their time. Unlike the infant that was menaced by the wet towel poppers, these children probably do not have the luxury of having a stay-at-home parent. Why not start an arts program that will enable these children to expend their excess energy and provide an outlet for their teenage angst? It has been proven time and time again that the arts work wonders for youth, but to date we (the taxpayers) seem to be more concerned about our wallets than their welfare. This needs to change.
- I blame the parents. All of them.
What these people need a sense of community. This is something they decidedly lack. A perfect example of effective group-parenting is the “Mommy Mafia” that resides in the building across the street from mine. The residents in this building are mostly Dominican and Puerto Rican, and consequently, their children are serious baseball enthusiasts. They frequently play a game or two on the street. All the time under the watchful of eye of a parent gazing outside his or her apartment window.
One day (about a year ago) a child beaned one of his peers in the head with a baseball. Immediately after this transpired I saw a woman’s head abruptly jerk back inside the window. Ten seconds (if that) elapsed from the moment this offending act came to pass to that child’s mother marching out of the building, reading him the riot act and taking him inside. It was one of the damnedest things I have ever seen. Don’t fuck with the Green Street Mommy Mafia.
Unlike the children wreaking havoc in Carroll Park or the pampered pigeon killer of Prospect Park, the parents of these kids have strictly enforced code of conduct for their children. One parent might be absent, but he (or she) can rely upon her neighbors to make sure said son or daughter walks the line. These kids don’t get away with shit.
Of course, parents also have the option of taking their children with them when they have errands to run. My boss Larry had a piece of work-related business arise recently, and not having the option of hiring a babysitter, he took his 3 month old son Zane with him. To a dominatrix’s lair located in Chelsea. Little did he know this otherwise mundane business trip would become a family affair. And this is what exactly happened when his mother showed up:
My mother pushed her way into the room,”Get that boy out of that shit. He’s not in Coney Island. You look terrible Larry, that woman does not take care of you.”
We Greenpointers may have unorthodox parenting skills, but you don’t you see our kids waving around knives, assaulting people or killing animals either. I for one blame public breast-feeding regarding the latter most.
P.S.: Be sure to read the second installment of Larry’s tale of family togetherness, it’s hilarious.