Haves and have-nots.

There is a city playground in a gentrifying area a few blocks from my parents’ building. We head out to the playground just before midday, and the heat and the humidity are forces to be reckoned with. The child’s face turns red.

There isn’t a shade cover or even a shady place to sit, and there is no climbing equipment for older kids. A step is broken on the play structure.

There are a couple of other people at the playground with their kids. A black woman and her little boy. A Latina woman pushing a buggy with a baby in it, with another kid in tow.

We play at this playground for fifteen or twenty minutes, decide it’s too hot, and go back to my parents’ building.

Then, yesterday, we went to a playground on the island. This playground has a shade cover over a massive climbing frame. There are shaded tables. When we finally leave to go to lunch, it isn’t because the heat has beaten us. It’s just because we’re hungry.

There are many other parents and grandparents at this playground with their kids. Most of them are from the East Coast. They appear to be from the suburbs. One grandfather is smoking a cigarette, which seems odd nowadays. The kids are named things like “Avery.” They are all white, except one little black girl whose hair is in cornrows, who is probably adopted.

I am saddened by the difference between these two playgrounds. Life is not fair.

Ample shade cover

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