Marine Park parents freeze for kids

Marine Park parents freeze for kids

Marine Park parents will do anything for their kids — even spend more than 15 hours in the bitter cold.

At 4 p.m. on February 4, dozens of parents started lining up outside of the Rainbow Day Care Center at 3846 Flatlands Avenue.

Armed with lawn chairs and steaming cups of coffee, the parka-clad parents were prepared to sit on the sidewalk until 7:30 a.m. the following morning when the Rainbow center opened registration for its popular universal pre-K program. Throughout the city, the free programs incorporate the arts, social studies, literacy, science, social-emotional education, physical education and mathematics.

“There’s 20 seats for morning pre-K and 20 seats for afternoon pre-K,” East 31st Street resident Dave Moskowitz said at 7:30 p.m. when 23 parents had already gathered. “Rainbow Room has great teachers and it’s a really great program.”

“It’s like Montessori,” said Mill Basin resident Hernan Pavon. “They follow a curriculum of basic learning but they’re very free spirited and do a lot of artwork that allows for creativity.”

As the first parent to arrive, Herb Demedina was responsible for creating — and protecting — a list of names of the people on line.

“One guy was gone for two hours so we took him off the list. If he comes back, we’ll put him back on — at the bottom,” he said.

A few hours in, all of the parents were in good spirits and prepared for a long, cold night.

“I have a heater. I have handwarmers,” Moskowitz said.

Pavon was ready for the chill thanks to his seven-year-old daughter.

“She gave me her Hello Kitty blanket so I wouldn’t be cold,” he said, while huddled under the baby blue comforter.

Waiting outside all night was a no-brainer for Pavon.

“It’s part of being a parent. You do what you have to do,” he said.

Candist White lives in an apartment above the Rainbow center. Needless to say, she didn’t know what to make of the crowd outside her door.

“I came home and was just in shock. All these people! I think I should sell coffee and tea,” she laughed. “They’re going to be my new neighbors for the night.”

And that is how you make friends in Marine Park.