I decided to observe my neighborhood park, which looks unrecognizable from the memories of my childhood after undergoing renovations. Due to my schedule, I was only able to visit in the evening – specifically around 6:30 PM. I walked into what I had expected: a nearly empty park. There were around ten people, though none in the section meant for toddlers. A small group of kids, perhaps around ten years old, playing on the slide while two little kids on scooters circled the vicinity. I sat down on a bench, the majority of which were empty, a lone woman seated a few benches down. The occasional scream and laughs of children could be heard, but it was otherwise quiet. The cars passing on a moderately used avenue underneath the elevated train – passing less frequently since the rush hour was over – becoming background noise.
The people who current the park are immigrants, mainly Latinx and Central Asian of the area, as well as Hasidic Jews – though they were absent during my visit due to Purim. The adults there kept to themselves, either looking at their child or their phones. Though I wasn’t present when more residents are in the area, I remember from my childhood, things being similar. The children have no quarrels talking to a random child for entertainment, yet, unless they are already acquainted, guardians do not engage in conversation. However, this could stem from language barriers.
As time passed, people slowly trickled out, except for a mother and daughter that walked in. The duo gave me the impression that the mother was making the sacrifice of going to the park with her daughter after a long day’s work. Reminding me of my mother, who tells us of the countless times she treaded out to please my sister and me. A common theme among all the adults who wouldn’t be there other than for their children.
I had already set my mind in leaving once the sunset. I assumed no one would be there once daylight was gone, however, there were still a few stragglers left. Besides, parks at night tend to have a negative connotation, usually being associated with delinquency. Along with insufficient lighting casting shadows and leaving some areas dark, it made the place scary with spare life. I left feeling a bit calmer just from sitting outside listening to the noise around though I felt stupid sitting in a park alone with no child to begin with.