I had the honor of meeting the most imaginative and innovative new leaders of New York. They are forward-thinking, creative problem solvers who have awesome ideas to improve our great city. Their compassion and kindness is so vast that it includes all people, animals and plants of the world.
This group of trailblazers is presently located on the Upper West Side: third graders attending Public School 87.
I asked the class one question: “If you were the mayor, how would you make life even better?” I posed this inquiry after reading them a book I had written called “Charlotte’s New York Adventure: a Girl Takes the Lead,” wherein little Charlotte imagines herself to be mayor. The book reading was part of the school’s annual event, “Everybody Reads.”
The solutions from these well-read 8- and 9-year-olds encompass every area of life, most prominently the environment, health, animals, technology, and the homeless. Even if there is no actual problem to be solved, they deeply understand how to expand the availability of fun for everyday living.
What would happen under their administration? Here is a sample of their infinite wisdom:
“Everyone would have backyard gardens with food and flowers.”
“There could be a ‘Contest of Kindness,’ a challenge where whoever planted 1,000 trees or more in the next two months or so, they’d get $20 million. It’s also helping our planet. We need trees to breathe.”
“I would make the world a better place with a law with no pollution. That you can’t just throw stuff out.”
“I would encourage people to ride in Teslas because other cars can spread pollution. If you get an electric car, it saves energy and doesn’t create that much pollution. You could encourage them by making speeches.”
“I would stop global warming by making new inventions instead of cars.”
“I would try to make a potion that would make you live forever. So say someone rich and famous was helping the world very good, but sometimes they might die. So I would make a potion so they could keep helping the environment better and better. Only people helping the environment could buy it because, say if there were bad guys, and they took it and lived forever, that would be bad. With the people who were helping the environment, you could sell it for a lot money.”
“Ask more people to not litter.”
“Clean the subway stations every day.”
“If someone was going to be Mayor before me, I would donate a quarter million dollars to the earth, and then donate more afterwards.”
“Encourage people to try new things, like food.”
“Provide burgers that are made out of plants instead of meat, but taste like meat.”
“Stop smoking, even on the sidewalk or the parks.”
“I would try to make things that look unhealthy and make them taste like your favorite foods. If you ate cake, it would be good for you because it’s actually broccoli ... and it looks like cake too.”
“Comfortable and fun, maybe fancy or not, homes for dogs.”
“Make houses for big turtles.”
“Instead of killing bugs in your house, bring them outside. They can actually help the environment.”
“Make some invention that would pull all the trash out of rivers, so animals could live better. A high-tech device.”
“Stop killing in animals shelters.”
“Make food for animals in danger, so they could eat tons of stuff.”
“Have an election with a dog mayor, any kind of dog.”
“Anywhere you go you could charge you phone for free, on any corner.
“I know there are wireless charges that you don’t have to plug into a wall. If I was Mayor, I would have wireless chargers that don’t need a wire at all. No wires.”
“I would have houses that were nicely painted with food in them.”
“Free houses and everything they need.”
“Instead of hula hoops at school, have ginormous donuts.”
“Bungie-jumping on the bed.”
“A crazy big water park.
“An ice cream truck that has popsicles in the shape of your favorite book character.”
“I would make a robot who would fluff your pillow for you, with a remote. Or do whatever you wanted. And the same for dogs. You would have to buy one but it would only cost a penny.”
“I would like to make life great and make everything free.”
As the event drew to close, one girl had a question for me.
“Is the character of Charlotte in your book dreaming that she’s the mayor?”
“Well yeah, kind of,” I confessed. “The book is trying to say that imagination is everything. If she’s imagining it, you just know that someday it’s going to happen.”
Hopefully Mayor Eric Adams is reading this essay. I think he should begin implementing the ideas of our new leaders as soon as possible.
Thanks to The Library Committee at PS 87 who work so hard and cheerfully each year to produce the “Everybody Reads” weeklong event.