Matt Yglesias posts in defense of letting a 9 year-old ride the New York City subway on his own. As somebody who spent my childhood in a small town before moving to NYC for high school, I have a few reactions.
Yglesias says that the city is now "safe" but it "was a substantially more dangerous place back in 1990 when I was nine, so I think I was older by the time I was allowed to roam the streets."
Gee, I wonder what happened in those intervening years to make the city safer.
He also writes:
Still, this is one of the major advantages of raising children in a city -- your kids can get places on their own! A teenager driving a car is way more likely to get hurt than a nine-year old riding the subway.
Uh, well, before I moved into the city, I was perfectly able to get to places on my own at the age of nine. I used a wild H.G. Wells-type transportation contraption with two wheels that was known around town as a "bike." It wasn't fancy, but it could get me over to my friends' houses, the little league field, or to the local baseball card store. Unfortunately, things such as crowded sidewalks and wild cab drivers inhibit their use among young kids who grow up in a city.