I'm watching this discussion on my neighborhood's listserv unfold these days regarding the parks in the neighborhood.
We have four parks in the Sunnyside-Woodside area that are most frequented by moms: Windmuller, Lou Lodati, Noonan, and the only private park in the Gardens.
It all happened when one naive mom admitted to having walked in the private park because there aren't always people checking membership at the gate. A flaming, ugly debate ensued with members calling the mom out for abusing the park policies. Members started singing praises and listing reasons why public parks are so horrible for the development of their children.
One phrase however, caught my attention and the debate became a thorn in my side haunting me even when I'm not reading the emails. The members' "sense of entitlement."
It's "their" park.
For me, the automatic second thought unsaid for the phrase is "it's not YOUR park." For the love of Goodness, is greenry and playground equipment customized for your DNA and therefore the paid park is better than the public park?
The other thing that started bugging me when people mentioned that Noonan Park is not enclosed and children can run out on the street. The reason being that I distinctly remember members of the park petitioning (even getting me to sign it, even though I don't even live nearby) to set up a traffic signal in front of the private park's entrance so that parents and children can cross safely.
So, it's worthwhile to spend time and energy to petition for something that benefits the few hundred members of the private park, yet not one mom ever considered petitioning to enclose the Noonan Park. Why? Because it's not YOUR park? Even my response email inquiring about petitioning for it went completely ignored.
There are just so many things that irritate my now with the private park that even though I would have joined had I lived closer before this discussion started, that I feel repulsed that members feel this "sense of entitlement" only because they're paying a fee of $395 a year. How come they don't feel a sense of entitlement to parks build from their tax dollars?
I am not planning on teaching my kids to treasure a sense of entitlement. Toddlers already have a skewed concept of ownership.