Columns » Urban Archaeology

The boulevard of broken toys



The child's chair had been leaning off the curb at Duke Street and Morehead Avenue for two weeks before it finally spoke to me. It had a cracked webbed back and a seat encrusted with dirt that eclipsed creepy decals of circus animals and clowns.

I wavered between ignoring it and toting it to work, greeting my colleagues (again) with "Look what I found today!"

When I see toys like Batman and R2-D2 discarded in the street—or in the case of the police car, submerged in Third Fork Creek in Forest Hills Park—I wonder what kids played with them and how long ago. Did they age out of Batman and into Star Wars? Decide they wanted to be a video game designer instead of a cop? When did they outgrow the chair? Or did they just develop a healthy fear of clowns?

Urban Archaeology is a column that documents found objects, photos, overheard dialogue, poignant scenes—the small, everyday true moments that define life in the Triangle. Contribute to this column at

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