Friday, April 8, 2011

Children in the City

Urban Toddler, Recovering Mardi Gras Addict, Dancing on the Square, Knoxville
What makes a city feel like a city? Most people would agree that downtown Knoxville didn't really feel like a city twenty-five years ago. What about fifteen? Ten? Does downtown Knoxville currently feel like a city?
Skateboarding on the Square, Good thing or Bad thing? Knoxville

Fascinating wheelbarrow technique
When my friend Kevin saw bicycles darting in and out of traffic last Friday night he said that was one of the things that made a city a city. I replied that seeing children playing, skateboarding, riding bicycles and Big Wheels made the city feel vibrant to me. The sounds of laughter, of parents calling to children and, inevitably, the tears before mama kisses it and makes it better.

Square Dancing, Break Dancing, Cool Ricky watches from Swagger

"I really like your accessories."
The pictures posted here are from the weekend and they make me feel good about the future of downtown. I read a skeptical post on Knoxnews recently in which the writer suggested he would believe living downtown was a decent option when parents could say to their children, "Go out and play." Well, guess what? Here they are. No, most parents don't send young children out on the street to play by themselves - they tend to be seen with them - and isn't that better?

Retrieve the hat and throw it up in the tree again, retrieve the hat . . .
From Coolato Gelato to Rita's Ice, Pizza at Dazzos, the fountains in Krutch Park, Market Square and the World's Fair Park and the frequent children's events like the upcoming chalk walk on Market Square and face painting at the Farmer's Market, downtown is a very child-friendly place. It's the city, so of course you watch your children for their safety, but wouldn't you do so wherever they play?

"Purple rocks!" Bike riding on the Square, Knoxville
I'm not sure how many of the children pictured here are in town to play and how many live here, but there are always large numbers of children out when the weather is good and they seem to enjoy each other's company. As far as I can tell they all get along just fine. The grown-ups, on the other hand, have had a little trouble playing nicely lately. That will be the subject of an upcoming post.
Urban Toddler and downtowner Elek hangin' on the square. Knoxville

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At April 8, 2011 at 2:28 PM , Blogger Andrea said...

I agree. I think that cities can foster more of a sense of togetherness in a family. Parents actually have to pay attention to their kids and socialize with them. They can't just send them outside and ignore them for a few hours.

At April 8, 2011 at 4:42 PM , Anonymous Greg said...

This post reminded me of a video. Have you seen this?

A city guy like you will probably love all the StreetFilms. Inspirational stuff.

At April 8, 2011 at 7:51 PM , Blogger Melissa said...

I love being downtown and seeing all the kids! I was just sitting in Market Square this afternoon, crocheting and watching tons of kids playing in the Interactive Fountain. There were also kids riding scooters and just running around. In fact, I see way more kids playing outside downtown than I do in our West Knox neighborhood. I think as long as parents are diligent about giving kids 'outside time', living downtown is a great option for families!

At April 8, 2011 at 11:31 PM , Anonymous KnoxvilleUrbanGuy said...

It is ironic, Andrea - as is so much of life in a city - but I do see more families together in the city. And Melissa, now that the weather is better, you are right, children are everywhere and it seems to work beautifully. Greg, I bet you are right. I'll have to check out the videos and maybe use some of them, here. Thanks for all the comments, guys.

At April 9, 2011 at 1:02 PM , Anonymous Allie Hammond said...

Some of my favorite times in Market Square are on Saturday afternoons when the dogs and children are out playing. Great place to just relax.

Love your blog!!

Allie H
Oak Ridge, TN

At April 9, 2011 at 3:05 PM , Blogger Amelia said...

I agree with all the above posts. My family and I love living downtown! My son is much more active now than when we lived in the suburbs.
Thanks Knox Urban Guy for spelling Elek's name correctly :)


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