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Filmmaker captures toddlers dominating Atlanta Beltline, streets of NYC

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“Young Explorers Club” imagines world where children can freely roam American cities

A screen-capture from Jacob Krupnick’s film project set in Atlanta, beneath the Freedom Parkway Bridge.
A screen-capture from Jacob Krupnick’s film project set in Atlanta, beneath the Freedom Parkway Bridge.
Young Explorers Club

Back in December, it came as a surprise that free-roaming children—including those on bikes, scooters, and skateboards—scored so low on our tongue-in-cheek poll, “What’s the most annoying type of Beltline patron?”

It’s become a Beltline pastime, more or less, to scoff at slow-moving kids enjoying the public amenity, yet the youngsters took just 4 percent of more than 3,000 votes. Could Atlantans have a soft spot for the Beltline’s smallest explorers?

If they didn’t before, they probably will now.

The latest installment of “Young Explorers Club,” a project by Brooklyn-based filmmaker Jacob Krupnick, travels beyond greater New York City to Atlanta. The short films (roughly two minutes) wonder how the world would be different if kids who’d just learned to walk were allowed to discover it in organic (and often hilarious) ways.

Set to the head-bobbing beats of “Return of the Mack,” the Atlanta film finds an intrepid tyke named Banks exploring the Beltline and Historic Fourth Ward Park like a pint-sized boss. A few unexpected face-plants hardly diminish his zeal.

Young Explorers Club

The project asks, “What happens when kids explore the world on their own terms?” and gives the impression that Banks was set loose upon Atlanta’s urban-reclamation wonderland; it’s a safe bet, though, that supervising adults weren’t far away, off camera, similar to New York City shoots, as Krupnick explained to Curbed National.

In a deeper, less obvious sense, the video illustrates how fascinating and accommodating these formerly blighted spaces can be for children of Atlanta. (Tip: Watch Banks until the end).

“Kids do not want to be contained—they are built for adventure,” Krupnick asserts on the project’s website. “As a culture, we are wildly protective of our little ones, often to the point of protecting them from happy accidents and mistakes they might learn from.”

Even for non-parents, all four of these short films are a riot.