Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New York Spring: leading the young astray

I don't remember the colour of the parks of my childhood. There was one red merry-go-round, which made me sick. The swings, the high slide, the see-saw, the ones I loved? - don't know.

The little park enclosed on three sides by the Long Island College Hospital is typical of childrens' play-sets, toys and parks in its employment of primaries. Red red, blue blue, yellow yellow. They are hideous, and I wonder if the idea is to feed children "simple" colours in the way that they are at first fed easy food. Is red better digested than burned orange? - blah blue than charteuse? - fuchsia? - new green? - sienna? - rust? - sky blue on turquoise, on Atlantic on aquamarine? - colours that have no names???

And then to cap it all, the poor little mites are surrounded by these puce-pink redbud trees at the moment, rendered hideous by early evening's orange lamplight... I had a very soft spot for a redbud once. I wrote a story about it. A paragraph, really. But if able to choose, now, it would be the white-flowered sort, and Forest Pansy, the cultivar with deep purple leaves.

Do children leave this playround with an aesthetic hangover? Do they grow more fractious as their playtime continues? I have heard screaming from this park. I have seen toddlers flinging themselves upon its sidewalk...

Bandage their little eyes, I beseech you.


  1. I think you are partially right to assume we feed them easy-to-digest colors because they are simple. I think our adult tastes are sculpted through time and from the very mass of raw matter we are given to play with as kids. Primitive shapes, colors, sounds, foods,one has to start somewhere. However, I agree that we might at times push the simplicity a little too far. But, hey, the lamppost is pretty. ;-)

  2. Yeah, it is. :-)

  3. We welcome your input! Actually, this is very timely, as we'd like to form a "parks committee" of enthusiastic and dedicated community members. If you would like to volunteer, you are warmly invited to contact me.
    Zippi Dvash, Public Affairs, LICH
    (718) 780-1234

  4. I don't know... the other evening in the overcast, I thought those redbuds looked pretty magical. Glowing, and a respite from the late lush pink of all those floozy cherries with their flurry of 19th century skirts and underskirts. Was it the three-mushroom stroganoff I made?

  5. Thew - I don't know. I'm torn. They're a good choice for the site, which is very shady. They're sort of like a note that is juuust shy of pitch, a whisker flat, they make me wince. However the apricot tree close to the gate is a nice surprise. It makes apricots.

    Public Affairs: would someone as opinionated as I am not be the antithesis of enthusuiastic and dedicated? But I shall email you to see what it is all about.

  6. Then again, enthusuiastic is pretty...enthusiastic.

  7. An apricot tree? Damn, you're good. I'm learning more about our shared nabe.

    When I was a wastrel living among the Sixth Fleet brats north of Napoli, we threw unripened apricots at each other. Perfect sized missiles for nine-year-old boy hands.


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