Anette Sorensen a Danish actress mother who was arrested leaving her baby outside an East Village restaurant in 1997 says she would do it again in ‘novel-book’ follow up.
Anette Sorensen a Danish actress who was arrested in 1997 in NYC’s East Village after leaving her baby outside in a stroller while she and the child’s father ate in a restaurant inside has told if circumstances presented them again, 20 years later, she ‘would do it again.’
The comments follow the former actress’ 2012 novel in which she documented the ‘traumatizing’ experience, ‘A Worm in the Apple’ in her native Denmark, with Sorensen having now launched a Kickstarter fund to have the book translated into English.
‘It’s a way of getting back what I never got,’ reveals Sørensen, who feels she was treated unfairly by the city and the press and didn’t get to tell her side of the story. ‘I would like [it] if I could just say what I think.’
According to the nypost, the then-30-year-old aspiring actress had gotten pregnant while studying theater in New York City the previous year, and had flown to NYC from Copenhagen to introduce her 14-month-old daughter, Liv, to the baby’s Brooklyn-based father, playwright, Exavier Wardlaw.
From there the pair went to have a drink at a Dallas BBQ in the East Village, with Sorensen insisting she did what she would have done back home when she left the young girl outside sleeping in her stroller while checking on from the inside.
‘I had lived in New York [during school], so, of course, I knew that I didn’t see prams all over the city,’ explained Sørensen. ‘But . . . I had been living in Copenhagen, I had given birth to my daughter in Copenhagen, I was raised myself in Denmark . . . That’s just how you do it in Denmark.’
Sørensen regards her brand of parenting a superior parenting style, highlighting what Danish people call ’tillid’: a deep trust that is an essential part of the culture.
‘People live in fear [in the US]. Children are not allowed to play in the playground alone,’ said Sørensen, who now lives in Hamburg with her husband, Mike, and their two teenage children. (Liv, the baby at the center of the scandal, is now 21 years old and studying design in Copenhagen.)
‘That’s why it’s important for me now to get [my book] into English, to show it’s possible to live another way.’
All well done and said perhaps in Scandinavia, but NYC, the capital of anonymity, immoral turpitude, randomness, exacerbated violence, transient people and the notion that anything can happen at a moment’s notice, good or bad?
Anette Sorensen Danish actress-mother; What may work in Nordic countries doesn’t mean it will all work out in other Western States.
Sørensen claimed that she was sitting by the window at Dallas BBQ and keeping watch over Liv before disconcerted diners and servers at the restaurant called police, later saying that the child had been crying, and that the couple had ignored a server’s request to bring the baby inside, while continued to drink instead. Sørensen for her part insisted that wasn’t the case and that Liv had been sleeping calmly until police showed up.
Which is to wonder what would have the mother said and done while in the space of a thirty seconds a truck jumped a curb, or a stranger suddenly made off with her child or if the child itself had a sudden fit or medical issue that needed immediate attention while she sipped on her double frozen margarita?
Initially, the mother explained via the nypost, the first two officers on the scene were going to leave Sorensen with the baby. That all changed when a third policeman arrived.
‘I said, ‘I’m leaving now,’ and he said, ‘No, you’re not: You’re arrested,’’ explained the aspiring novelist. ‘It was unreal . . . I did not break any kind of law. I never, ever thought this could happen.’
Several witnesses at the scene at the time reported that Sørensen and Wardlaw yelling at the police, but she said they remained fairly calm.
Both parents were initially charged with child endangerment and Wardlaw with disorderly conduct.
Sørensen spent 36 hours in prison. Liv was put in foster care by the city’s Administration for Children’s Services.
‘I didn’t know where my child was,’ recalled Sørensen. ‘I don’t think there’s any greater punishment than to have your child taken away from you.’
Defining parenting and cultural prisms from one geography text to another:
Mother and daughter were reunited four days later, with Sørensen obliged to remain in New York another few weeks to go to civil court and criminal court. The mother was castigated by NYC press for being negligent, selfish mother — particularly after she decided to sue the city, in 1999 and again in 2003 — while Danish news outlets rose to her defense.
‘For every Dane it was a nightmare because we are used to living like that,’ said Sørensen.
Eventually charges against Sorensen were dropped on condition she leave the United States.
‘[My] case that happened 20 years ago is even more relevant today,’ Sørensen said.
Despite all she’s been through, Sørensen said she wouldn’t change her parenting approach.
‘Of course, you should be allowed to put your child outside when you’re sitting behind the window and you can see it,‘ she said. In fact, when she moved to Hamburg 16 years ago with her husband, Mike, she continued that tradition with their children, Xara and Max.
‘It’s not as normal to [leave your children outside] in Hamburg [as it is in Scandinavia],’ she said. ‘But, yes, I did.’
Which is to wonder, does good parenting come from observing how things take place from one’s place of origin or how things move, sift and operate in front of one’s very eyes in a foreign culture devoid of the moral niceties that small bound ‘village’ type communities breed, insecurity, inertia, sudden danger and anonymity that any big city can breed….?