Longtime New York Press columnist Jim Knipfel has a new rant about Park Slope stroller culture that sets the bar high for future diatribes on the subject. This is how it begins:
This morning as I was leaving the bank, a woman recklessly pushing her armor-plated double stroller down the sidewalk veered sharply and unexpectedly into an elderly man walking with a cane. He, in turn, fell into me. I was able to catch him and hold him upright and he seemed to be okay. Just a little flustered. The woman, of course, had said nothing, apparently considering an apology or even a simple excuse me unnecessary under the circumstances. She was a mother after all, and therefore privileged, so she simply continued careening on her way.
Knipfel says that the number of strollers in the Slope, as well as the neighborhood’s dog breed preferences (it’s really mostly the strollers, though) mean he can only leave his apartment for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time, because he finds the situation out on the streets too harrowing and exhausting. The writer says that for the past year he’s been counting the number of strollers he sees in the Slope (“I’m averaging 1.45 strollers per block. Think about itâ€”there has been at least one stroller, and usually more, for every block I’ve walked. It’s insanity.“) Knipfel takes issue with the air of entitlement that he sees a lot of the neighborhood’s parents displaying and notes that he sees a good number of kids being pushed around who look too old for strollers. Also, he says, it’s not a subject that can be broached in polite, public Slope discourse: “The child-free adults in the neighborhood mutter and complain about the problem, but only behind closed doors, and usually in whispers. They don’t dare say a negative word when they’re outside, for the simple reason that they’re terrified, most of them. Indulgent, affluent parents are too powerful a lobby (and what’s more, those strollers can really hurt when you get rammed).”
The Statistics of Contempt [Slackjaw]
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