This time of year, as the weather turns nice, the playgrounds and parks of Long Island City suddenly repopulate with the noise of children big and small. Fortunately, unlike many other neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, these kids also have a bounty of nearby outdoor spaces from which to choose. In addition, the topography of LIC lends itself to a unique environment not seen in many other areas of this city, its suburbs, or frankly anywhere in the country. We’ve called it a giant cul-de-sac, and I’ve heard others refer to it somewhat disparagingly as cloistered.
These two characteristics, the abundant outdoor choices and the tight-knit community, in tandem with the density provided by vertical living, make LIC the perfect laboratory for re-introducing a species not seen in this country for several decades: free-range kids!
Yes folks, there’s a movement afoot, “committed to rolling back the excesses of the helicopter-parent era” by allowing children to leave the confines of their own homes without an adult. And guess what, the epicenter of this campaign is in Jackson Heights. Of course it is, because as anyone who reads this site knows, Queens is the hotbed of all that is au courant …as are you.
Lenore Skenazy, the woman in Jackson Heights who spearheaded this movement, started it back in 2008 in response to the backlash she received to an article she wrote about her then 9-year old son’s parent-approved solo trip on the NYC subway1. Recently it’s picked up steam by her being profiled in the New Yorker and a New York Times editorial2
Instead of my expounding on the specifics further, mainly by cutting and pasting from her website and the article, I hope you’ll trust my curatorial skills by clicking below to read more. There she provides humorous anecdotes, rationale’s, and where needed statistics, to buttress her case. As for Long Island City, it’d be a shame not to fully utilize the assets and good fortune bestowed upon us by choosing to live here.
Mother May I? – “The hope is to get a critical mass of kids playing outside, so it becomes normalized again.”
Free-Range Kids – “our kids do not need a security detail every time they leave the house. Our kids are safer than we think, and more competent, too. They deserve a chance to stretch and grow and do what we did — stay out till the street lights come on.”
The Case for Free-Range Parenting – NYT editorial by a parent from Berlin recently transferred to NYC
NYPD Captures Coyote in Chelsea – at this point we might as well let’em run free
In Memory of Jack Friedman – former head of the Queens Chamber of Commerce: “Long Island City was really his baby,” Mr. Abrams said. “He really saw the potential in the area,…”