Yesterday the kids and I ventured out a to new park, one we'd driven by, but never visited. It's in a part of town with which I'm not very familiar, but change is good, yes? We were all very excited (okay, maybe some more than others) as we piled out of the car and headed toward the playground. After playing for a while, Will discovered a sculpture on the hill that he wanted to check out so Brody and I followed after him. While we were up there I noticed a couple of cops on bikes stopped on the corner, but couldn't really see what they were doing. A few minutes later, one of them started up the hill in our direction. Wouldn't you know that he came to say hi to my kids? How sweet, I thought. As it turns out, though, he had an ulterior motive: to tell me to run, not walk, away from said park.
I should probably back up and tell you that I was little apprehensive about some of the people hanging around the park when we got there, but the park is plenty big and I can certainly take care of myself, so I shrugged off my misgivings. Bad idea. He and his partner? They were attempting to rouse a drunk sleeping on the lawn in the corner of the park. And those sketchy people riding their bikes around the park? Druggies and drug dealers. In fact, I'm almost certain that at one point I saw a drug deal going down. Sweet. Now I grew up in the Bay Area and have spent plenty of time in Golden Gate Park; there's not much I haven't seen in terms of nefarious park activities. However, I've never been with my kids and seen that kind of stuff...it was back in my high school and college days. So the kids and I hauled tail back to the car and headed for another park across town.
The funny thing is, we've got a park right here in our neighborhood that we can walk to in about ten minutes. That park, though, has some of the strangest play equipment I've ever seen and doesn't really work for kids under the age of 6. Usually we head that way to ride scooters or look for frogs in the marshes, but there's not much my kids can do there when it comes to the equipment.
Oh and that first park we went to? When I spoke with a few friends later in the day they were more than happy to share with me all of the sordid tales of sex and drugs that take place there. There's even a website dedicated to exposing all of the stuff that goes on there. Google the Monroe St. Park Whore Watch if you're interested. Good times.