bmtv68 Green Spaces of Our Childhoods

During my recent visit to NEw JErsey, land where I was born and raised, I spent some time walking through the forest that my friends and I grew up playing in and around. It is a unique place and in this vlog entry I try to explain why.

Click To Play


  1. December 28, 2007

    I had a neighborhood park down the road from my childhood house. I lived at that house for 7 years, and by the time I moved, it had been demo’d and was beginning to be turned into another development.

    In fact, almost all my childhood wilderness spots have been turned into these pretty developments… makes me sad.

    • bicyclemark
      December 30, 2007

      Hey Nick… I do notice whenever I see you photos that, at least your fam, seem to live in new development(s). things look very recent and new. crazy that they actually destroyed parks in your old neighborhood.. you figure a park is something that is garunteed to be there for… the forseeable future.

  2. December 28, 2007

    I’m lucky enough to still go back and visit my woods and river (both unchanged) whenever I can get myself to Gardiner, NY. Your video made me remember exactly how much of my childhood was spent outside, usually with my pink huffy bicycle, and being able to not see another person or hear a car for hours. Now I can realize … that’s pretty special.

    • bicyclemark
      December 30, 2007

      Hey Tami…. oh I wonder if in that part of NY, like my “woods” in NJ.. you didnt also run into examples of pollution and encroaching urban development; shopping carts, the occasional oil barrell, plastic bags, and questionable river water?

      • December 30, 2007

        I definitely see all that stuff now, as more people start to think that a 2-hour commute to work (in NYC) is perfectly acceptable and move upstate to build houses. the Beacon train station for Metro North used to have enough spaces for a couple hundred cars at most, and it didn’t cost money to park. Now it’s more like thousands of cars and monthly parking passes. that still blows my mind, but I didn’t really see much in the way of change until the late ’90’s.

        when I was growing up, you could still eat the fish that swam in the lakes and rivers. there wasn’t a shopping cart anywhere in my town and there wasn’t much litter – just the occasional beer bottles or candy wrappers. There just weren’t that many people in Gardiner, really.

        Things are changing bigtime for the whole Hudson Valley area, but fortunately there’s still enough space that my woods haven’t gone anywhere… for now.

  3. Anno Nimize
    December 29, 2007

    Hi Mark,first of all I hope that you arrived safely in Berlin and that you will enjoy your stay. I think in one of your last posts, you got a typo, cause there was something like you getting me a drink :)? Did I miss something? You are the guy doing all the hard work, like the research, talks, managing the blog and travelling the whole world on your own. We, the readers and listeners, should be the one buying you the drink. Ever heart about the “Beerware License”? You should run your blog on this license and never worry about beeing soberly again 🙂 Don’t worry about me tapping you on the shoulder at all, I don’t want you scare away 🙂 To tell the truth I’m far from the 24C3 right now, but I would love talking to you in person in the future. Btw. the streaming team at the 24C3 is doing a good job so far and recordings are released on an average of one day afer the event, so your talk will be available soon on a few sites.The good old days A few years ago – actually, if I’m honest to myself quite many years ago – I had the chance of growing up in a place a lot like yours, but far more (about 3 miles) away from the next major city and highways, in a village with about 20 houses. We, the kids, could play, screem and run around for days in the woods without seeing a place again, disturbing anyone or ever have to fear coming across traffic in any kind. Coming across nature was nothing we have to plan, like most families in cities have to do, we were living in nature and enjoyed it, when building small wood barraks or barrages on our own. If I remember correctly most of them cracked down moments after we finished them, so in a matter of speaking its a good thing, that I’m not an architect today,… ok nevermind the last part. I still remember some farming lands we frequently visit to get some pears and apples for *free* so to speak and I remember running like all hell broke loose, if someone saws us. Sledging in the winter was not an option, it was mandatory even for our parents. Seeing deers, foxes or even a hedgehog was only a matter of timing and silence not a matter of our local zoo having these animals. After a long day at school and out there in our backyard – or the so called nature – back at home, we didn’t want to watch TV, we didn’t scream or argue with our parents about anything, we just wanted a hot shower and after that go straight to be bed. A few months ago I revisited the place again and over the years a few things have changed: The rivers were straightened, they broadened the roads, a few more houses and a few more fences and there is only one big farmer left, but everthing concluded, its pretty much the same and there is nothing that would prevent having kids the same time that we had back in the days, at least not at this place.Why the heck I’m telling these things, I had a good past and so on, why not leave it at this? Just give me a minute, I try to explain. After I grew up leaving my home town and visiting other families living in big cities, I come across the big city childhood. Often families live there in a 3-4 room apartment with up to 4 persons, without having enough room and only a few possibilites left to avoid each other for a couple of hours. Without question this situation must be exhausting to an absolute limit and produces a lot of tention, particularly if you have a low income to spend for other activities.A few weeks ago I read an article about some new methods of making public places in big cities more peacefull, sounds good doesn’t it? But how they are going to accomplish this? More video taping, more security, banning more cars from the streets or constrict the air traffic? Far from this! They are going to treat specific public places like schoolyard after school with a “supersonic weapon device” called “Mosquito” not audible for grown-ups, but somehow painfull for teenagers. In a place where our descendant are unwanted so badly and cannot enjoy life the way they should, will they rise up and care less then we allready do, because noone cared about them? Sorry for getting kind of philosophically and of course this is not “the” rather than “a” problem, but I couldn’t help it to post my 5 cents :)Best wishes for the talk.

  4. Anno Nimize
    December 29, 2007

    Pardon me. I just messed up my own post. A good example why you are right and there shouldn’t be so many links in the comments, because they are difficult to handle without a preview. Here is the relevent link I wanted you to have in this context:


    Please feel free to edit my previous comment and fix the linking problem and delete this one.

    • bicyclemark
      December 30, 2007

      no problemo anno.. fixed it. Whenever I manage to see a new city in Central Europe, especially in Germany, I do pay attention to how many parks they have… how big are the parks… and where are they… because just like you said.. I would hope that city kids would have some contact with nature.. even if mine growing up was not huge and often fairly polluted. anyway.. thanks for sharing.. time to head over the the conference center and do final prep.

  5. January 3, 2008

    I’m very lucky to live in a part of London that has good green spaces. More and more, the rich here get the green, and the poorer go without.

    I grew up outside London and had a pretty idyllic country childhood. But I always longed for woods. Then at 7, I got sent to a boarding school that was surrounded by a wood, and we used to play in it.

    But we were too busy being Indiana Jones and building camps to worry about the environment or wildlife.

    And my next boarding school from 13-18 was on top of a line of hills overlooking the sea, but again not much focus on the environment, which seemed cold and hostile.

    Now I’m moving to Canada, to a town that calls itself “The Village in the Forest” and I can’t WAIT.

    The wilderness there is something I’ve never experienced, and it’s thrilling. I love the idea of my little girl having that in her childhood. Lots of “The Nature”, as I believe the Germans say 🙂

    That said, the forests are owned by private logging companies, and while there’s been a moratorium on other logging near local communities, this beautiful rural location is exempt. So the villagers have been frantically trying to raise millions of dollars to buy sections of the forest around the town to prevent it becoming “The Village in the Clear-cut”.

    It’s an expanding community, with lots of newly oil-rich Albertans coming to buy property there. So the logging companies stand to make a lot of money from sales to development companies.

    Coming from England, with our green belt protection of land that’s already been tamed and pasteurised over thousands of years, all this seems incredible to me.

    It all has an importance to me that wasn’t there before.

    So thank you for this lovely video, with its brilliant mix of personal and global – it was well-timed 🙂

    Hope to see a lot more of your films now, especially if you’re taking part in Semanal…

Comments are closed.