Why You Should Never Buy Pricey Toys for Your Children

There’s one block of Flushing Avenue, right around Bedford, that’s completely torn up. And it’s been completely torn up since I started taking the bus to work.

The street is literally ripped open, with a huge, gaping hole cordoned off by an rickety wooden fence. You can see down inside, where months of rainwater have accumulated, leaving a lime green, radioactive scummy pond. Enormous segments of concrete sewer pipe lay on the sidewalk. They once had screens on their open ends that looked kinda like cheesecloth, but those were weathered away long ago, and their remnants flap in the breeze.

None of this crap has moved in at least 6 months. I don’t know who’s to blame: the city, or whatever slumlord started repairs and never finished them. But because of it, my bus gets trapped on this block every morning, thus making my commute far longer than it need be.

So this morning, while I’m stuck at this point, I see some Hasidic kids playing on the sidewalk. They’re taking cardboard box from the kosher grocery store across the street, and they’re trying to bale a puddle of dirty rainwater with it. They range in age from 4 to 8, and they look like they’re having the time of their lives.

I see this is in my own home. My daughter will play with a 10 cent hair scrunchie, or a paper towel roll, and have as much fun as she does playing with expensive Christmas presents. If not more.

So my parental advice is, exploit this childhood window while you can. Forget the Baby Einstein nonsense and get the kid an empty pallet of tissue boxes from behind the local Duane Reade. The kid won’t care, and you won’t have to cajole them to play with that hand-crafted wooden xylophone you wasted 30 dollars on.