Superman and a Boy Alone in New York City

From today’s New York Times’ obit about Al Plastino, who drew scores of Superman comic books from the 1940s through the 1960s, as well as the Superman and Batman newspaper comic strips:

Alfred John Plastino was born on Dec. 15, 1921, in Manhattan and grew up in the Bronx. His mother died when he was 6. His father, who made hats and sold them from a store on Fifth Avenue, often dropped his son off at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where young Al would sketch Monets and Michaelangelos.

In other words, Al’s dad left him alone, as a child, in a big museum in a big city. Didn’t he realize, “Anything could happen!”?

And it did. His son grew up to be an artist.

Some day when you drop your own kids off at a park or a palace or a place they happen to love, remember: This is not negligence. This is allowing a child some precious Free-Range time while you “lean in” to something other than them for a little while. Yes, “Anything could happen.”

Let’s hope! – L.

Holy Free-Range Kids, Superman! The guy who drew us spent time ALONE as a BOY at the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

Holy Free-Range Kids, Clark! The guy who drew us spent time ALONE as a BOY at the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

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10 Responses to Superman and a Boy Alone in New York City

  1. J.T. Wenting December 1, 2013 at 12:58 am #

    today, Superman and Batman would need a massive legal team to fight off all the lawsuits against them started by the very people they rescued…
    Both would be in jail and on the sex offenders’ registry the very first time they rescued a child. After all, a man picking up a strange child must be trying to abduct and abuse that child…

  2. anonymous this time December 1, 2013 at 1:49 am #

    In cultivating our species, we fail to realize that a certain amount of protection (roof, clothing) prevents death and optimizes growth. Too much shelter and protection, and we actually snuff ourselves out.

  3. highwayman December 1, 2013 at 4:13 am #

    As a Free-Range Kid partisan AND as a comicbook fan, this story warms my heart all fuzzy & sentimental.

    Thank — You!

  4. Let Her Eat Dirt December 1, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    Great story. I think some of us parents are so afraid to let go and lose control of our kids that we use “safety” as a catch-all excuse to prevent them from exploring the world on their own. But it’s also because we love spending time with them. I’m sure Al’s dad wished he did not have to drop his boy off at the art museum and then work all day long; he probably wanted to be there looking at the art with Al. Many parents today (myself included) have the time to go to the museum with our kids, and we take advantage of it. But there’s a balance — if we spend too much time with them, we can stifle their own creative understanding of the world.

    Let Her Eat Dirt
    A dad’s take on raising tough, adventurous girls

  5. Papilio December 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    So, is it time for a Superlenore comic yet?
    I can see you flying (at the maximum speed and stopping for every stop sign and never jayfly) over to whereever a cop tries to arrest a mom who let her kids play outside and chase him away with a Superrant… 😛

  6. SKL December 1, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    Why don’t we hear stories like this on TV? I mean, when it’s a slow news day and nobody’s been recently kidnapped…

  7. pentamom December 2, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    J.T. Wenting, that’s the premise of the movie “The Incredibles.” All the superheroes in America had to assume their alternate identities full time, stop rescuing people, and attempt to assimilate into normal society (in something akin to witness protection), because of a court ruling that came after a lawsuit in which one of the heroes saved a jumper who didn’t want to be saved and who wound up with whiplash. Some of the heroes have a harder time assimilating than others, and adventures ensue.

  8. Mygirlmontana December 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    I’m honestly not afraid at all for my kids to let my them be “free range.” I am terrified about what the authorities will do to me if I do.

  9. SAT December 2, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    We were visiting the grandparents this weekend and one of my kids’ most favorite things to do is bring recyclables down to the trash room in the condo building. This weekend, they asked if they could do it themselves (they are six), which would involve navigating the elevator down a floor. We said “sure”. The first time went off without a hitch. The second time, they reported that they ended up going up a few floors, instead of down. They also reported that they asked for help. Someone sent them back in the right direction and they completed their chore without further problems. And had a grand time doing so.

  10. Joe Power December 4, 2013 at 2:01 am #

    I was reminded of this picture: