Last Sunday was a busy day for yours truly.
In addition to Cal Anderson Park, Big Mario’s, and the 12th Avenue Festival, I also spent two hours at the “Freeway Park Noon Tune Concert for Kids”. This was a concert for Seattle city kids, and it featured two bands — Brian Vogan and His Good Buddies and Recess Monkey.
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Brian Vogan’s band sounded a lot like Soundgarden, only heavier, and Recess Monkey featured mostly hardcore rap, including a rousing cover of NWA’s “Fuck Tha Police” that had the kids throwing up gang signs until the concert was stopped when a gun battle broke out near stage-left.
At least that’s how I remember it.
According to my kids, this rare Downtown-ish kid’s event was actually a great deal of fun.
While West Seattle, Ballard, and Magnolia are very family-friendly, there can be a dearth of such friendliness here in the core. I’m not sure why this is.
Back before suburban sprawl became the status-quo, and before supposedly-tolerant, diversity-loving white people fled the city, most kids were raised in urban environments. Now, especially if they are white, they are raised on the other side of some great urban dividing line.
As I surveyed the demographics of Noon Tune, I noticed that the number of young parents raising children in the city are almost nil. Apparently, all of the hip, social, twenty-somethings flee to the comfort of the shopping mall when a determined seed breaks through the latex, and those raising kids here in the city tend to be older, more established city-dwellers who are comfortable in these environs for all stages of life, come what may.
I found this interesting.
If you ask the average suburban white kid what he thinks of the suburb he lives in, he’s likely to deride it as a “suburban hellhole” or a similar pejorative. If you go out to the suburbs and look at the fashion and culture of the residents, you’ll see that the majority of it is a direct rip-off of traditionally urban fashion. There’s a reason that most rap music is purchased by suburban honky kids, and this is because they fetishize the urban.
This being the case, why not raise these kids where they really want to be?
It would also be nice to grow a few more long-time, authentic urbanites here in the core. We don’t have many now.
Case in point:
The Capitol Hill Blog happens to be a favorite read of mine, but I always make it a point to steer clear of the comments unless I’m up for some high comedy. Every time I do read said comments, I’m reminded that damn near everyone on The Hill is originally from either the Midwest or Bothell.
Once, not long ago, someone complained about nightclub noise on that blog, and the author was quickly admonished to “move back to the suburbs”. The readers of the Capitol Hill Blog are always telling people to “move to the suburbs”. It’s their most frequent refrain.
Here’s the thing, though … if there is one thing that gives suburbanites away more than anything, it is the fact that they think “the city” is only for people like them.
According to many on The Hill and environs, kids don’t belong here. Only people who like to party and make loud noises at night do. People who have kids and sleep at night belong in Bellevue.
Why do they think this?
Because when they watched TV or went to the movies as kids, cities were always portrayed as loud and exciting. No one ever made a movie about an urban bookworm or working-class family leading a quiet, mundane life, but this represents the vast majority of city-dwellers nationwide. When I grew up, the city was for everyone and kids were everywhere. It had not yet been reserved by former suburbanites.
Fortunately, the dorm-transplanted hipsters that populate The Hill now are just passing through. Unlike myself or some of the people at Noon Tune, they won’t be here when they’re 70. They’ll eventually get knocked up (or vice-versa) and panic.
“Oh no, we’re having a 7 lb infant, and we only have 1 bedroom! Where will the baby go?! What if he goes to school with minorities? I mean, I love minorities … after all, I have two gay friends and a black friend, but I have no idea how to raise a child amongst them. Let’s get a minivan and buy a 5-bedroom house in Kirkland, quick! At least it’s familiar.”
Once kids are involved, people tend to return to their comfort zone. For most current Hill residents, this comfort zone is not The Hill.
When the blog commenters get back to Kirkland, and the neighbors throw a late-night party, they’ll stand on the front lawn, shake their fist, and yell “move to the city if you want to make all that racket!”.
When their 7 lb offspring grows up, he’ll go to college, move to Capitol Hill, and yell at the life-long city dwellers to “move to the suburbs!”.
It’s the Circle of Hipster. Just like they sang about in the Lion King.
Anyway, kudos to Seattle Parks & Recreation for bringing a family event to Freeway Park, and kudos to my brothers and sisters for keeping the kids where they belong. Out of the goddamn suburbs. The last thing inner-Seattle needs is another generation of suburban ex-patriots running around telling us to leave where we’ve always lived.
A good time was had by all.
Except for the gun battle, of course.