Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

bad behavior in Central Park

We're having HOT weather here..hot for April anyway. The first flush of spring brings the hordes into Central Park, most of them happily enjoying the flowers, the rental bikes, the luscious spring air.

Then there were the two kids (one boy, one girl), maybe 6 years old, who thought it might be nice to kick a tree. A noble plane tree that never hurt them in any way. Hard kicking followed by poking with pointy sticks, picking and prying at the bark, lifting off pieces and throwing them away. Why?

But more importantly, why were these two 6 years olds allowed to behave so badly when their two mothers were a mere 5 feet away? They must have been having a VERY important conversation, since they didn't seem to notice the arbor abuse going on right under their noses.

(Pardon the blur, I was zooming. And yes, I realize they don't look like bad people. But arbor abuse speaks for itself.)

I stopped, incredulous. I thought. I weighed my options. I yelled across the park drive, "Hey!" No response. (And my voice carries, ask anyone.) I thought again. I walked across the drive. I addressed the children, "You have GOT to stop doing that." They stopped immediately. Then I addressed the mothers, "PLEASE do NOT let your kids DO that to the TREES!"

They looked at me and murmured, "Ok." Were they mortified by the bad behavior of their offspring? More likely they were afraid the crazy tree lady was going to do them bodily harm. Which I wasn't. But ladies, if tending one child is more than you can handle, hire a babysitter. Or leave the kids at home. They're putting a cramp in my spring style.


Ellen Spector Platt said...

Husband Ben and I happened on a very similiar incident last year in Central Park near the Met Museum. Ben, a kindly grandfather, spoke to the children, then to the mothers and was cursed roundly by the women for his interference.

cindy said...

You GO Ellen!!! It starts with arbor abuse, then it's waging war on other humans... the next thing you know, they're sheering the tops off of mountains, and considering it acceptable behavior!

Georgia said...

I saw two children throwing stones at pigeons while their mother was talking on her cell phone. She did not reprimand them.

Shady Gardener said...

Thank you! You seem to be speaking for ALL of us! :-) Children aren't at fault unless they're doing something they're TOLD NOT to do first. Hopefully you caused those busy moms to give some thought to what you intercepted! (Way to go!)

Ellen Zachos said...

Thanks for all your support! It's true, the kids are not at fault unless they've already been told NOT to abuse the trees...in this case I expect the blame lies with the mothers.

Ellen Spector Platt said...

I wouldn't assume that the blame lies with the mothers (or fathers). My guess is that most people on the streets of NYC don't know that a tree in the park can ultimately die from an assault on its bark. Those big old things look so sturdy and substantial.

Ellen Zachos said...

I still blame them. Even if someone doesn't know this could hurt a tree, it's obviously destructive behavior and I don't see how any thinking person (THAT'S the problem!) could think that was appropriate. I remain rigid and inflexible on this issue. Just like the noble plane tree.

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