My blogging buddy, Jim Adams, in addition to his own blog, hosts the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Music Challenge on alternate weeks. For this week’s Music Challenge, Jim focuses on the Cat Stevens song from 1970, “Where Do the Children Play.”
This song has a special meaning for me. When I was in graduate school at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., I was taking an urban planning course. Our term paper assignment was to explore an urban neighborhood in the city and write our paper about the challenges that neighborhood was facing from an urban planning perspective.
I chose the Adams Morgan section. It’s a diverse, multicultural neighborhood in the heart of the city. Back then, when I wrote my paper — I think it was 1974 or 1975 — it was a neighborhood in transition. A lot of new restaurants, many of them ethnic, were opening and the there was a “gentrification” process underway. That led to rent and property value increases, as well as new development.
Looking back, I don’t remember much of what I wrote in my paper, although I do remember getting an A on it. But the one thing I do clearly remember was coming across a large, vacant lot that was once a playground behind a school. The school was set for demolition and there was a huge sign just outside of the fenced in lot that read, “Coming Soon: Luxury High-Rise Condominiums to be Built on this Site.”
Someone had painted graffiti on a blank, brick wall facing into the vacant lot. It said, “Tell me where will the children play?”