Toy Soldiers on the Upper East Side

20070312greys.jpg

Photo: NYTimes.com


They'll probably never end up in Iraq, or in whichever poor country we'll be bull-in-the-china-shopping by the time they grow up, but it turns out rich Upper East Side kiddies like to play with guns. Yesterday's Times unearthed the Knickerbocker Greys — a kind of atavistic, paramilitary scout group, instituted in 1881 and still chugging along under the radar, providing 6- to 14-year-olds a place to have fun wearing Army uniforms and handling (unloaded) guns. Less than two dozen strong, the co-ed kiddie regiment spends its time over soda and marching drills in the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue. Most of the children, naturally, hail from military or law-enforcement dynasties, and, as behooves the neighborhood, there doesn't appear to be a public-school kid in the bunch. We'll let you decide whether this sort of thing is adorable or repulsive or a little bit of both. Before you do, however, let little Tommy, a proud Grey, help us collectively shake the mental image of, say, a Somali preteen with an AK-47. "I’m not going to ever join the military," he told the Times. "Not unless my parents go bankrupt."

Manhattan’s Littlest Soldiers [NYT]