Sunday, September 6, 2009

Where Else But Staten Island?!

Today Hatzolah of Staten Island had its second annual Family Day. There's a local public school with a humongous play yard. They get the use, not only of the play yard but of streets surrounding the school, which are blocked off. They brought in every kind of kiddie ride and climbing construction, but they also had Uncle Moishey and three other live performances. They also had mini exhibitions--like a science teacher doing all kinds of kid friendly demonstrations about fire safety for one. And then there was the food. Barbeque and salads and fruits and drinks and deserts. One admission gives you all day access. (Yeah, and you got a Hatzolah t-shirt and fabric back pack just for paying the entrance fee.)

The place was packed all day. Why not? There was something for everyone there. Lots and lots of people from outside of Staten Island were there. A chance for the family to have fun while supporting a worthwhile tzedaka. All the food and rides--everything that was provided--were donated to Hatzolah, so the money charged for entry all went to Hatzolah.

We were sitting under one of the canopies erected to shade the eating areas when a person at our table made an interesting comment. She said that this couldn't happen in Brooklyn. We asked her to explain and she did. This was a mixed attendance program--males and females of all ages. The kids' activities were not segregated by sex. Little boys and girls waited in the same line to get on a ride. There weren't separate table areas for males and females. The food area didn't have separate sides for males and females. As people walked about they stopped to talk to others they knew, frequently introducing people who were with them; again, no separation. The funny thing, though, was that you had plenty of people there who had the Brooklyn "look." I guess if it takes place in Staten Island it's okay that it's mixed.

Strange thing though. There was someone at the other end of the table we were sitting at who had overheard the comments. She piped up that she was from Brooklyn. Her husband didn't come with her and the kids because it was kind of iffy for him because of the mixed sexes, but he had no problem with his wife taking the kids and having a good time. Especially since they could use the "teretz" that it was a tzedaka gathering. She didn't bring her 9-year-old son though. He is already old enough to "feel uncomfortable" (her words) in such a mixed environment.

Really, truly, I'm beginning to think that you should need a passport and visa when crossing over the Verrazano Bridge. Brooklyn and SI so do not occupy space in the same universe.


Tuvi said...

Wish you would have posted the info on this last week. Sounds like something we would have enjoyed doing with the kids.

proudmommy0f4 said...

Hey, Uncle Moishy's a busy guy - he was also in West Orange for the "Jewish Renaissance Fair". Which was, being on the correct side of the Hudson, I suppose, also a mixed event :-)

Anonymous said...

At least sanity still reigns in SI - perhaps because its almost 'out of town'!!!
In my view, if an event like that had been made separate, then attendance should become optional at best.

G6 said...

Who puts these ideas in the heads of NINE year old boys?!?!
Messing with their minds that way and introducing thoughts that their brains are certainly not even developed enough to have on their own, borders on child abuse.

Temmy said...

We were there in SI yesterday and it was a great day with the kids. Very organized and lots to do. My sil from Brooklyn decided not to come and join us. and yeah she mentioned that she didn't think her kids schools would approve of the mixed activities. Her loss. But then she doesn't think we should be living in Jersey either.

observer said...

I don't know what planet the person who made that comment lives on, but I've seen such events in BP. Of course, they tend to be MUCH smaller, because of space constraints, and they do tend to be geared for younger children, mostly for that reason as well. But, this happens almost every Chol Hamoed, in BP.