I only even tuned into this “act” because I live in the building above where they sometimes set up for the day, so I could hear the mother workin’ the sound system for hours on end.
When I had a friend over and they saw the kids out performing she was taken aback.
“Oh no, that’s exploitation, borderline child abuse,” she said.
But the kids are having fun I countered.
I asked around and people thought it was borderline at best. Time and time again locals I interviewed relayed the sentiment: “The Boardwalk is no place for little children.”
A teacher pointed out, “If a kid has talent they can be in ETC or showchoir, or something more appropriate for the little, developing beings that they are.”
I went out to take the photo, tip in hand, wanting to give. The mother reminded the small crowd gathering, “If you take a photo make sure you give a tip.”
So when the guy came around with the plastic tip jar I simply asked, “I’m just curious, so, do the tips go to the kids?”
Before I could finish he interrupted me saying, with a Joe Jackson-like look in his eye: “What do you think I do, buy drugs with the money?!”
He started cursing me out and stormed away, so I wasn’t able to give the tip anyway. I guess I hit a nerve with him.
I yelled back, “You are a great manager!”
I walked away wiping the spit from his verbal assault off of my face. I thought to myself, “hmmm, well actually now that you mentioned it, I really wonder how people feel about this little three-year-old and his brother out here dancing on the boardwalk all day long on?”
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