Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Manneken Pis Effect: Park Slope's Little Peeing Princes

The other day, we watched a family unit trudge out of Prospect Park to their parked car on Prospect Park West. Before packing them all in, mommy said, "Does anybody have to go?"

Clearly, someone did, as dad took one of the children to a nearby tree, where in full view of everyone, the Little One took the requisite bladder emptying whizz on a tree. After they left, we observed the gigantic wet spot on the tree. Little guy had a big bladder.

Other than making us wonder if it might not have more appropriate to have the him go in the privacy of the park rather than on Prospect Park West, it got us to thinking. Public peeing by kids is not an isolated thing in the Brooklyn Kingdom of Kids, Park Slope. Nor is this the first time the issue has come up (though, in fairness, given that the Little Tree Pee Child and siblings were placed into a vehicle and driven into the Park Slope dusk, they were probably not Park Slopians.) We suppose where you come down on this issue depends on whether you have children of tree peeing age. If you do, you're probably pro-tree peeing. If not, you might be less enthusiastic about the practice. In any case, it's not just us that wonders about letting one's child treat a sidewalk tree in the same manner that a German Shepard would. We offer the following narrative from Dope on the Slope of another Park Slope Tree Peeing Incident:
Yesterday was the third time in less than a month that I witnessed a parent jerk down their toddler's trousers in the middle of a busy sidewalk so that he could avail himself of the opportunity presented by a nearby tree, and heed the call of nature.

What is totally unfathomable to me is that this delightful tableau unfolded a mere two blocks from Barnes & Noble. I understand the impulse to buy your books from a local, but why not stick it to the man and sneak a leak in their bathroom?

Is this some odd Park Slope tradition that I'm unaware of, imported from Europe, perhaps?

I was in Amsterdam on Koninginnedag a few years ago, and was impressed by the high-tech public urinals located at convenient intervals on the street. They came in handy after all the celebratory Heineken, but they still allowed the user to maintain some pretense of modesty (although not much).

Somehow, I doubt that New York City is ready for this solution, especially since it only serves half of the population. Still, can't we give the trees a break?
Ah, spring is here.

Related Post:
Public Peeing and the Park Slope Mom

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. You people need to mellow out. What kind of twisted society are you advocating, exactly, where toddlers cant pee against a tree? Werent you ever a boyscout back in Nebraska? Welcome to Brooklyn.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. I'm anti-tree-peeing in theory but also anti my kids peeing in their pants, on the sidewalk or the floors of a store. With a few public bathrooms as there are -- and, the childless forget, little kids can't hold it in as long -- sometime yoou gotta do what you gotta do.

2. If the parents lived in Park Slope I doubt they'd have driven to PPW, so I wouldn't blame this on eon the entitled PS yuppie parents.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in Flatbush recently and some kid was waiting on the sidewalk for his parents to get something out of the car. I guess he decided he couldn't wait so he dropped trou between two cars. It is disgusting. I understand you may need to pee badly, but teach your kids some restraint or go behind a bush, a dumpster, or something. I don't want to see a kid do it just like I don't want to see an adult do it!!! Urine is urine. There is a time and a place and in plain view is disrespectful.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Miss Heather said...

I'll never forget the time I saw a father direct his kid to piss on the closest tree he could find. This happened to be 31st Street, Astoria. ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON. What was really creepy was the man held the kid's dick while he went. FOR FUCK'S SAKE--- if the kid can STAND, I think he is more than capable of HOLDING HIS OWN WANG! What is it with these people?!?

4:09 PM  
Blogger City Dater said...

Homeless drunks have trouble holding it as well and fewer options for places to pee, but I don't notice anyone approving of them when they whip it out on the subway platform. There is a time and a place for everything, and no one wants to walk in your child's urine any more than they want to deal with the homeless guy's. I recently watched a neighbor allow her child to pee off the curb less than a block away from our building. Somehow I think he could have held it another minute. Yech.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice potty mouth, Miss Heather, way to go. Talk about upbringing! And you are offended by the sight of a toddler peeing? Get a life.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Miss Heather said...

What is it with public urination today? I just moderated the following comment on NYShitty...

Just thought I'd restore your faith in good old Greenpoint with this little gem: I was walking back to my building on Huron Street today at around 5:30 p.m. when I watched a woman hitch up her dress, pop a squat in the street in front of my place and pee in broad daylight in full view of several passersby. She was dressed like she was on her way to church. Marking her territory, perhaps? My phone had died or I would have sent photographic evidence...

For the record, I too have seen an old Polish broad piss in public.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, what happened to all you liberal muliticulturalists!

You wanted all of the turd world to come here so they could cheaply reno your great apt deals, now you got it.

SEE YA (I'm leaving). Enjoy the jungle you've turned NYC into.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll go with 2:42 on this one (as a parent). I'd also note that this is NYC - everything 3 feet and lower has been peed on.

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll defend the rights of both toddlers and homeless drunks to pee on trees. Subway platforms is another matter.

As a parent i try to get my little one to a bathroom ASAP when it becomes apparent that nature is calling. But that ain't always possible, so sometime we avail ourselves of less optimal solutions. As for the dick holding, kids can pee ON their pants as well as in them. Parenting is full of all sorts of unexpected indignities. What you see on the street is just the tip of the iceberg, but I promise you that your parents had to do similar things with you back in the day.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pee-er would not be from Park Slope - the uptight people that don't think the park is big enough for a little kid to pee are. Do you know how many animals (even rats) pee around here? What about the dogs? I for one am a lover of an au naturale relieving- even as an adult! I'm guessing I'm not alone.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Miss Heather said...

I am constantly amazed by the relationship between anonymous posters and the volleying of baseless personal insults.

I have no doubt that anonymity is what makes "5:58" feel brave enough to berate my upbringing and "6:36" feel the need to accord me the god-like power to affect real estate prices. In regards to the latter, thanks. I never knew I had this ability. Good for me.

Instead of insulting me, both of you should look at your own behavior. It's pathetic. Unlike you, I have enough integrity to attach my name to what I say--- potty mouth or no. Cowards.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps this is just a phase?

I've lived in NYC for 9 years and I only witnessed my first act of toddler street peeing about 2 weeks ago, in Park Slope.

Has this always been a phenomenon in the city? Like, since the existence of sidewalks and cars?

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks, that's nothing. I was riding on the F train, sandwiched in rather close when a mother decided her child couldn't wait. The child said, "Maybe we should get off the train." But the mother wouldn't hear of it. She wrapped his weiner in a plastic baggie and told him to have at it, there on the moving subway, perhaps a foot and a half away from me. After that, I'm all for toddlers peeing on trees.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks, I think you need to get some European and Asian perspective on this pee-pee thingie. The English-speaking world (in particular) has become absurdly Puritanical about casual outdoor male peeing -- which is still a perfectly commonplace event in Japan, China, India, Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and certain European countries.

Even here in the United States, when I was growing up in the 1950s, boys were allowed by their "supervising adults" to pee casually outdoors, as long as they used sensible judgment about it.

In schools built at the turn of the 20th Century -- many of which were still in use when I was growing up -- the boys' room urinal was just one big wall or trough, where all the boys peed together, side by side, as a unified community. Needless to say, "boyhood mischief" abounded!

And at Little League practice, our coaches would simply let the boys go and pee behind the equipment shed on an "as needed" basis. It truly wasn't an issue in those days. Boys peeing in (or on) the bushes at parks and playgrounds was also quite commonly accepted by adults.

Of course, those were also the days when nude swimming for males of ALL ages was MANDATORY at most YMCA pools in the United States! The practice lasted until well into the 1960s, and was also the norm at most college and university pools.

Everything in the United States appears to have gone to hell in a handbasket shortly after the mid-1970s, when a virulent neo-Puritanism got the English-speaking world in its evil grip, for some rather complicated cultural reasons. I'll elaborate (and give link-references) if invited to do so.

Also BTW, and for the record, pee is normally STERILE! In military medic training, you learn that it can be used to cleanse wounds in an emergency situation. There's an Ayurvedic medical practice known as "urine therapy" - but I'll spare you the details on that one...lol!

Great thread -- but I thought some historical perspective would be useful here. A tourist trip to China or Japan would be even more useful therapy -- for those who are "shocked" by the sight of normal boys peeing quite normally outdoors.

--Tadzio

6:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

now for the boys that do it its one thing if its not somewere out in public behind a tree or such out side is ok with me but around here i see more little girls having there pants riped down and holding them by a tree then i do boys that disturbs me more then anything

3:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, we make too much of that in America. My husband and I spent some time overseas, in Western and Eastern Europe and where initially shocked to see men peeing everywhere in plain sight and where surprised women thought nothing of it, eventually we understood that moms encouraged their sons to pee along the curb, ect. After seeing hundreds of sightings my husband conquered his timidness or (dispensed with his manners) and relieved himself in public on several occations where other men where doing so. We make such an effort to find a place with a restroom, buy food or drink we don't want just to use their restroom, I recal spending a half hour or more doing so on several occations myself. My husband would say, "I gotta take a leak" and I'd think, where could we find a mens room close, cause, we're gonna miss the bus or train. I'd look about frantically and look back at him to see him peeing off the curb or train platform and sigh a relief, how nice to be in a place where people don't let the need to pee disrupt their day. It took me a year or more to come around, but these days I'd expect my husband to just go in public in Europe.

1:04 AM  
Anonymous Harry H. Snyder 3rd said...

Man-o-man you folks are sure uptight! When I was a boy (back in the late 50's early 60's) we used to go skinny-dipping in the Hudson in plain view of those ritzy Riverside Drive apartments (Up where Butler Transportation used to maintain a pier) No one said thing one... we were CHILDREN!!!

In Paris France men and boys piss on the street regularly, the city actually provides a flat slate for them to use, and here (where I now live) in Maine there is a law which specifically ALLOWS peeing out-of-doors. This includes within the City Limits of Portland, Lewiston, and Bangor.

One might wonder why adults are paying so much attention to children (not their own) while they are so engaged.

10:36 AM  

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