I recently visited the house of a cousin on the wife's side, in New Jersey. As typical of the suburban Jersey homes, the house has a big backyard. Even better, Cousin left the yard unfenced so that the kids in the adjacent houses were free to roam about the combined yards. It was nice and left me again thinking of someday moving out of crowded Brooklyn. However, lately something I saw on Fridays at Columbus Park in Chinatown made me feel better about living in the big city.
My son still has music class on Fridays. With the extra daylight hours and no Boyscout meeting to rush home for, after music class I normally take him to Columbus Park to let him roam about. Lately, the Department of Parks has some program whereby they provide board games and other equipments for the kids to play with. There was Connect Four and a bunch of other board games to suit every kid's taste. For the artistic ones, there were paper and markers and such. It was nice to see my son mingle with other kids to explore the various playthings provided. On different Fridays, my son would play with different kids at the park. Only in the big city, with many people squeezed into apartments, would you find such programs to bring people together. I should also note that Cousin had to give up taking her kids into Manhattan for music class because it was too much of a hassle to drive into the city on weekends, but there was no qualified music teacher in Jersey.