Friday, September 30, 2011

Blog Post No. 2011-15: Reflecting on Bryant Park's lofty status and making the case...

...for Adams Park here in our own Roslindale Square

Greetings RTUF Heroes! For our second-half-of-the-month post, we here in the RTUF command center will begin by reminiscing about the bad old days in Bryant Park. It seems that our friends over at Planetizen are holding an on-line poll for the 100 Top Public Spaces in the U.S. The winners will be announced on October 20. At least as of this posting, you'll see that Bryant Park appears to running in first. That this is so is a stunning reversal of its fortunes of 20+ years ago. Well do I remember working as a young lad at the the big city's Regional Plan Association, which was then at 40th and 6th, and enjoying my lunch in the park on sunny days just a block away despite the drug pushers and assorted undesirable characters. Though far less populated and used than it is now in the flower of its resurgence, even in the late 1980s, you could tell that the park, like much of New York at the time, had great bones and probably had more foot traffic and activity than 95% of the public spaces in the US even in its fallen state. It was somewhat difficult back then to imagine the transformation that the park would undergo, yet it has. And the city is clearly the better for it. In a sense, the more incredible thing is that such a centrally located and well-positioned park -- directly behind the gorgeous McKim Mead & White-designed New York Public Library main branch -- could ever have been allowed to descend to such a lowly level.

And so, dear readers, for what it's worth, I will be nominating Adams Park here in Roslindale as one of the 100 great places in the U.S. I do this not because it is perfect -- it isn't. It could be more pedestrian friendly on its periphery, it suffers from a complicated traffic pattern on the surrounding streets, and it doesn't get all that much spontaneous activity. Instead, what succeeds generally has to be programmed. But there is no question that this place has been the ideal setting for the vastly improved Roslindale Farmers Market for the last several years. The park gets my nod for that alone, but also for the straightforward landscape design, high level of maintenance that the City has kept up over the years, the multiple understated war memorials, and also, you know, as a way of showing a little plain old hometown pride. Herewith, some photos of Adams Park clipped from other places on the web (with credits as indicated):

Credit: West Roxbury Patch.

Credit: Kennedy School of Government website.

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