Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kids and Bars

I have been really enjoying reading a blog I discovered recently whose author discusses issues relating to running and Zen practice. Check it out. Jack and I have been recovering from some sort of a nasty virus that was causing us to manifest illness this past week. It kept me from the starting line of the NYC ½ marathon and made life challenging for a few days. It is interesting, and somewhat frustrating sitting up with a sick child in the middle of the night when you also have a fever. Fortunately we’re both on the mend and I have decided to run the Bronx ½ marathon on February 10th.

I was reading Gothamist yesterday and stumbled across an apparently contentions debate about whether children should be allowed to accompany their parents into upscale bars in New York City. The particular bar in question was the Union Hall bar located in Park Slope Brooklyn, whose owners recently raised the ire of besotted parents everywhere when they instituted a stroller ban at the bar. This is an issue that could only arise in a place like Park Slope, where over privileged children and their yuppie parents often run head on into over privileged single yuppies with no children. The parents are put out because not everyone thinks their beautiful intelligent children are beautiful or intelligent; and the singles are put out because being surrounded by children reminds them that they are getting older and should probably be doing something other than sitting on a bar stool in Park Slope in the middle of the day drinking over-priced beer.

Presumably the parents of these children are meeting other parents to knock back a few pints while their kids frolic around amidst the mid-day drinkers and soggy beer napkins. I was pretty surprised by the venom expressed by the childless tipplers who seemed to see the presence of children in a bar as somehow representative of the decline of western civilization. I wonder if this seeming hatred for children, out of all proportion to the wee ones impact on their immediate surroundings, is a narcissistic trait particular to New Yorkers. I lived in Philadelphia for a while and most bar/restaurants in the better neighborhoods always had a stroller or two parked in front and no one seemed unduly upset by a parent reading the paper and having a pint on a Saturday afternoon. I suppose the air of entitlement that pervades neighborhoods like Park Slope is to blame. I mean, paying $1,000,000 for a one bedroom apartment would sure put me in a bad mood. Really, it’s not the kids at fault here, it’s the self-centered childless adults who apparently never learned to play well with others.


Ed said...

Thanks for the kind words, Mark; glad you enjoy it.

Toe_Jam said...

You should move Jack's party to Union Hall, invite everyone you know with a baby stroller and strike a blow against tyranny

Kbelle said...

I'd like to defend the childless here. I'm not a Park Slope yuppie and I certainly don't hate children (in fact, I love them). But, I have been annoyed by children in both bars and restaurants. If I'm paying to go out, I don't want to be annoyed by the wee ones acting up, which they do. I think the parents should pay for a babysitter.

Mark said...

In my life I have been far more annoyed by loud drunks in bars than by kids. I don't know where the mental disconnect is which allows one to sit next to a bunch of drunk guys being obnoxious for hours in a bar and find this acceptable, but find a kid running around to be so annoying as to require a ban. Logically inconsistent if you ask me. Restaurants are another story. I'll give you that one. Even I can't stand unruly kids in restaurants.

Toe_Jam said...

We should just close down all the bars, the experience has, after a long period of decline, been ruined. The decline can be traced to 1970 when New York forced
McSorley's Old Ale House to abandon a time honored Irish stag
tradition for taverns and forced the venerable drinking establishment to allow women patrons. Once again equality trumps liberty.
The final nail in the coffin came with the smoking ban enacted by the current mayoral administration.
Somewhere in rural Connemara, an Irishman is enjoying a brown drink of some variety, savoring a plug of tobacco all in relative piece sans women, baby strollers, televisions, juke boxes, pin-ball machines and fancy cheese platters. I would raise my glass and toast you Sir except I have no drink in my hand having been banished to the sidewalk until my cigarette is extinguished. Pray God,
upon re-entry in to the tavern I don't trip over a stroller and spill someone's cosmopolitan, those drinks can cost 10 bucks!
I'll close meditating on McSorley's old motto: "Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies."

Mark said...

LOL. Call me when you find a place like the Old McSorleys and I'll leave the wee one at home.