by Kevin Allman
Josh Ente wants to turn a blighted house in the Marigny into a giant ball pit. He's got a Kickstarter, and he's raised more than $2,000 of his $2,500 goal with 12 days to go:
How will it work? For NO admission fee, the ball pit will be open to the public (or at least those members of the public willing to assume risk for the fun they'll have); supervised kids, adults - anyone, everyone - will be welcome to take advantage of this new community resource for outdoor play, neighborly engagement, and communal socializing. Open during the day and in the evening, there will be special events including live music, projected film screenings, and more, but most often the ball pit will be just an arena for glorious, glorious play. Netting will keep the balls in the pit, and foam padding on every exposed beam will make it safe and comfortable for everyone.
When and where? The ball pit will be ready to go by early May, with an official grand opening tentatively scheduled for Saturday, May 12, and will be open for about a month or six weeks - until it gets too hot, basically.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, it's an interesting project and a creative idea. On the other hand, it just feels ... well ... what? Creative-class faux-naif? Brooklyn goes to Burgundy? I lived right there before the storm, and I bet there are a lot of neighbors who would just shake their heads at the thought of adults playing Chuck E. Cheese in blighted housing. Generally speaking, I'd rather people get in touch with their inner adult than their inner child. Yet — no one else is doing anything with the space. Is the proposal that different from the Bywater Music Box? Isn't a ball pit better than a falling-down house?