Not In My Backyard! (or Playground)


No weed in the playground. In the bong, well that's a different story.


Yesterday I got a call from wifey, while she was at the playground in the park with the kids.

Nishuane Park, which is just down the block, is a wonderful little neighborhood amenity.

There are two baseball diamonds, six tennis courts, two basketball courts, a pool, walking path, picnic area and kiddie playground, complete with infant swings, swings for bigger kids, two jungle gyms and monkey bars.

A sign at the entrance announces that the playground is for children under 11, and that all children must be accompanied by an adult.

So you can imagine my surprise when my wife told me that she was looking a several dime bags WITH WEED IN THEM underneath the swings in the playground.


WTF! Discarded dime bags at Nishuane Park?


The ‘head’ in me wondered ‘is it the stickiest of the icky,’ but the parent in me was like ‘goddamn punks!’

I don’t delude myself to think that I live in some sort of insular Eden-like enclave.

I’m regularly picking up trash and debris that guest to the playground have simply tossed to the ground (despite the fact that there are two trash bins in the playground).

I’ve even had to discard a condom or two. Who bones in a kiddie playground anyway?

But weed bags?

When we discussed the options, there were only three viable ones:

1. Call the cops. Clearly the presence of weed out in the playground meant that the perpetrator(s) felt comfortable enough to possess (and likely) smoke weed publicly without fear of discovery, and without regard to the fact that children may come across their paraphernalia. Calling the cops would at least put the Montclair PD on notice that there was a potential problem with drug use/trafficking in the area.

2.  Do nothing. There were at least five or six other mothers in the park with the wife. One of them had recently played with her child on the very swing underneath which the weed was discovered. It was unlikely that she did not notice the bags and shake sprinkled on the rubber mat. But, since no one else seemed bothered by its presence, why should we? BECAUSE THIS IS NOT FORT APACHE THE BRONX YOU APATHETIC TWITS!

3.  Pick it up and toss it. Treat the weed like any other piece of trash that litters the playground, and discard it. While this was admittedly my first instinct, I was concerned that by not calling attention to the problem, it would embolden the hooligans. And who knows what we’d find next – crack vials? hypodermic needles? I exaggerate, but who knows? Marijuana is a gateway drug!

So we ended up calling the cops, who came out and were thoroughly underwhelmed by the fact that a crime was committed on the playground.

His attitude was so very ‘it’s no big deal lady.’

It was clear from the manner in which he responded, that it was a non-emergent call. He didn’t seem surprised, and I was left (from my wife’s recollection of the event) with the distinct impression that this incident would be stashed away in the file cabinet of some dark, dimly lit store room of the Montclair Police Department, never to see the light of day (or an investigation).

If the same incident had occurred at Anderson, Brookdale or Edgemont Parks, I’m sure the would response have been markedly different.

Forensic teams would have been called to the scene to try to lift fingerprints from the bags.

K-9 units and drug sniffing dogs would be dispatched to determine whether the drugs could be traced.

Caution tape would be erected and the area cordoned off to prevent the contamination of evidence.

Witnesses would be questioned about who saw what and when.

At this point, you can file this under ‘rant’ because I’m generally expressing my annoyance with the fact that I pay a college tuition in taxes, and (at times) don’t really feel like I’m getting my money’s worth in Montclair.

This incident is just another example of the disparities that exist in this town, that many fail to acknowledge, but exists nonetheless.

I’m also writing to let my neighbors know about the BS taking place right under our noses, and asking everyone to be more vigilant.

I didn’t grow up with garbage and condom wrappers and weed bags in my parks and playgrounds, and I’m sure as hell not going to let my kids grow up with that b*llsh*t either!


We're watching you shadowy dude!


Do we step up the Neighborhood Watch? Petition for additional roving patrols? Erect video cameras?

I’m definitely going to tell the ‘Mayor of Montclair’ (Alma Schneider) about this! I’m sure she’ll have some answers!

Hopefully will pick this up, and my fellow Montclairions will have some advice for me on how to handle this problem.

If you’ve got some straight BS going on in your neighborhood, and you just want to vent, please feel free to comment on this post.

Note: As NJ is on the verge of passing a medicinal marijuana law, I wish to clarify that I am not generally opposed to the medicinal (or recreational) use of marijuana by adults. But if you’re going to smoke, do so in the privacy of your home, NOT IN MY BACKYARD!


Filed under Parenting, rant

9 responses to “Not In My Backyard! (or Playground)

  1. RE: If the same incident had occurred at Anderson, Brookdale or Edgemont Parks, I’m sure the would response have been markedly different.

    I was wondering about that this weekend. We saw a tennis coach who teaches at the courts in Nishuane Park DRIVE HER CAR INTO THE PARK. Usually this is just to drop off some equipment and then she moves the car, but this time she just left her car there. In the park. Having driven past the sign posted at the Cedar Ave entrance that that states: “No cars”.

    We called the police and they said they would send someone. Thirty minutes later we called again and the police said we hadn’t called before. Fifteen minutes later we called again and they said an officer was en route. Thirty minutes later my wife drove to the station to complain. Fifteen minutes later an officer arrived and had the woman move her car.

    “Would anyone tolerate this at Anderson?” I wondered. We could do a test, but it may not be ethical. I have some other ideas to improve the park.


    • Ridiculous! Its totally unacceptable that we have to go to such great lengths to get the most basic responses or services. I doubt that coach would even have the chutzpah to drive her car (much less leave it parked there) at other parks. I’m sure she acted with impunity because it was Nishuane.


  2. 4VTerror

    See I would call the major new channels, the prosecutors office and then bombard the police chief with calls. Thats offensive for one, but clearly the kids and adults in town are doing puff pufff pass. Thats not cool on a playground.

    Alternative, setup a remote video camera and tape the park for 48 hours. See who’s there and when, turn it over to the police and they will have to respond. If not then go to the media…


  3. Well dang–what’s REALLY hood in Montclair? Good grief. This is a LOOOONG way from the days when folks used to give me the side-eye for going to the park with my chocolate children… that’s some bull right there. Kudos to you for speaking up about it and trying to affect change. I’da called the police, too. And when someone gets hurt—someone’s child, perhaps—you’ll know where it all started: Police ignoring a small problem that will only grow into a much BIGGER problem if it’s not nipped in the bud.


    • D, you know I’m hot to death right now! I mean really? The other day, I could have sworn I saw some young kids puffing as they walked down the street, KIDS IN TOW! like they were strolling through the hood. I can’t abide by what I see going on, and I paid waaaaaaayyyyyyyy too much for my home to let hood rats bring down my neighborhood. Believe that!


  4. Oh, I do miss Montclair!


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