Singalong Fanatic Shows the Toddler Set How It’s Done
Long time Ari follower knows all the hits in Sunday park performance
When Kina first met Ari the Singalong Guy, she could not yet walk. All the other kids were moshing (like Kina’s mother) in the middle of the literal Williamsburg bar that Ari played at on Thursdays, but Kina bounced contentedly (like her father) in the back of the room. When her friend Sloane turned one, Ari played the birthday party to a crowd of largely unaware infants, but Sloane’s older brother, Julian, who was the same age then as Kina is today, hyped up the crowd and sang all the hits as Ari strummed along.
Eventually, of course, a pandemic happened, which meant that Kina had no meaningful Ari interactions. He valiantly moved to Instagram, but it wasn’t the same. Kina, like all of us, put singalongs on the back burner while the chaos moved through town. Then, all of a sudden, Ari reappeared in McCarren Park. His arrival was unexpected and thrilling—this musical icon in his yellow headband walking through the playground as if he was a dream made manifest, as if nothing had ever changed. Kina watched him, rapt, and promised to return whenever she could.
The weird thing is, everything has in fact changed. Kina still knows all the songs, still loses it to “Everybody Jump”, still navigates Ari’s trademark tripartite Twinkle Twinkle / Baa Baa Black Sheep / ABC medley—but now Kina is the big kid among the toddlers, teaching them to bounce and jump at all the right moments, pointing out that little cats say “meow” and not “woof”, and chiding Ari for being too sweaty and not drinking enough water. Seeing the crowd of little waddling children was a reminder of just how much Kina has grown, and how close she is to outgrowing all the rituals that have gotten her through her babyhood.
We’re glad to see her pass the torch to the little ones, and not a moment too soon. She’s the tallest kid at the singalong, really, but she’s loyal to the end. The kid who won’t stop bouncing will likely find something else to bounce to, but she made her bones at the singalong.