Brooklyn Preschoolers Now Have Their Own Fight Club

It may not be as alarming as it seems

McGolrick Park
Greenpoint, Brooklyn's own McGolrick Park.
Jim Henderson

There are times when running down a list of things to do in Brooklyn can sound like some combination of a Stefon monologue and a list of AI-generated activities. The last few years have brought the borough a speakeasy that holds three people and a dystopian musical inspired by Oscar Wilde. (I saw the latter. It was quite good.) And while the last year and a half have seen a slight reduction in the “wait, that can’t be real…can it?” factor, 2021 seems to be bringing it back in full force with news of a fight club for kids in Greenpoint’s McGolrick Park.

At Curbed, Joshua David Stein has a rundown of the Greenpoint Fight Club, described as “a group of 5- to 7-year-olds who gather after school on most days in parent-sanctioned combat.”

According to Stein’s article, the fight club had been kept relatively quiet, until one parent posted a question about it on a local Facebook group. The initial poster observed that “watching this full-on fight fest was very jarring and something I wouldn’t want my kids to witness.” This seems like a pretty reasonable reaction, all told. She also raised some concerns over the fact that this was happening on blacktop rather than grass, which also seems like an understandable concern.

One of the parents of a child involved with the fight club clarified that it was more about “play-fighting.” “As parents we don’t want anyone to get hurt but we want our kids to play the way they like, so we set some rules (no kicks, no punching) and let them do their thing,” she explained.

Stein’s firsthand account of watching the fight club makes it sound like, well, a bunch of kids playing. No Project Mayhem for kindergartners, no preschoolers punching Jared Leto in the face. McGolrick Park has a long and fascinating history; this latest installment in it might be one of its most surreal.

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