17 June 2009

NYC Children's Day In Retrospect

Aside from the music, Children's Day NYC was a disappointing affair. The promised craft tents were small, way smaller than necessary as the Seaport offers plenty of space. The crafts themselves were lacking as well. Kids could spend $5 (donation) to color, with markers, a 6" square of quilt that would later be given to a children's hospital. Or, they could color paper plates and brown bags shoulder to shoulder with other kids. It was tight and uncomfortable and neither the Mrs. nor the kids wanted to linger in that one area too long. Y Water and the Seaport Express Train were also nowhere to be found. Let's say your kid wanted his or her face painted, a normal request at such a festival. There was 1 face painter for hundreds of kids, so lines were insane everytime we tried. Ugh.

It's a good thing the music portion of the event was enjoyable. Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck, The Jimmies and Robbert Bobbert rocked the Seaport stage.

The Jimmies are a delight live. Ashley's antics, props and humorous lyrics are a treat to witness and hear for both young kids and their young at heart parents. The highlight of the set was a romp through the 80's with a flashback melody of Billy Idol, Madonna, A-Ha and others. The band was tight. You wouldn't even have noticed they were playing with two newbies on guitar and bass.

Robbert Bobbert got handed the rawest of deals from the weather gods. He took the stage in the middle of quite a lil' storm. The chilly, driving rain chased just about everyone under the cover of the Pier 17 shops and restaurants on the sidelines of the Seaport boardwalk. As a result, Bobbert & his bubble machine played to maybe a dozen folks, the smart ones who carry umbrellas and were able to remain close to the stage. Fortunately for him and us, the rain subsided half way through his goofy set and more families ventured down to learn about his "inventions" and listen to some high-energy pop-rock. He played through much of his debut self-titled disc, closing with the kiddie anthem "We R Superheroes". We enjoyed the set, as we dig the record, but RB talked WAY too much and played too little music. I reckon that in a more intimate space his interactive, give and take with the kids would've been better received. As it was, his hilarious fabricated tall tales about being the inventor of cups, the guitar and jumping seemed to be lost on the soggy New York crowd.

The Seaport set up for this musical event was not conducive to the warm and friendly vibe of most kiddie rock shows. The bands were elevated 5 feet above the 3 foot high children and set back a good 25 feet from the front row of audience. 'Twas kind of absurd. Is there that much of a security threat to the artists at Children's Day? You can get closer to Bono at a U2 show than you can to Ashley Albert when the Jimmies performed on the Seaport...craziness.

We attended 4 hours of the 5 hour event and didn't see a single character. Winnie the Pooh, Curious George, Madeline and Berenstain Bears Brother & Sister were promised. We saw none of 'em wandering about the Seaport. The kids we're bummed out about that fact. Their parents were bummed out in general.

My feelings on the day can be described best by the sound The Jimmies whoopie cushion makes under the Bear's tushy.

Only a stellar musical lineup
will bring us back to another NYC Children's Day.


BBCPDX said...

Wow - it sounds like you needed some Portland style rain gear, Jeff. too bad!

Jeff - OWTK said...

for sure. we were totally unprepared for the dampness of the day.

Tito said...

Unfortunately a lot of "Children's Festival/Days/Stages" are set up by promoters used to having "blooze" bands performing for crowds over 5 feet tall. Oh, the stories I could tell...