Here it is: the little park we made last Friday on Seventh Avenue, right outside the Whole Foods on 24th Street, which has no place for it customers to sit and eat. As you can see, they came and ate with us instead! Over 100 people hanging out in a 12 by 8 foot park that wasn’t there the day before, we estimated.
Our park was part of Park(ing) Day, an international action in which squatters-for-a-day took over parking spots, rolled out some sod, erected a bench, and showed passersby what it would be like if street space was dedicated to people instead of cars.
For me, organizing a Park(ing) Day spot was part of the positive impact part of the No Impact experiment:
reduced negative impact + increased positive impact = no impact
From Wild Green Yonder, by fellow environmental blogger Adam Brock who helped with our Seventh Avenue Park:
“Before yesterday, I’d thought Park(ing) Day as a statement more than anything else: I wanted to get people thinking about how we prioritize cars over people. But once I got there, the event felt like much more of a block party than a protest.
“As I sat on the grass, eating local apples in the company of good friends and interesting strangers, all the commotion of the city melted away – and I realized that, despite the fact that I was literally sitting in the street, this was the most relaxed I’d been all week. For me, and for everyone else who stopped by, our little patch of turf was a very real relief from the pressures of city life.
“You can’t help but wonder: if one 8-by-12 foot impromptu park can make that much difference in the street life of a neighborhood, how would it feel if the whole street was lined with green space?”
Watch the Street Films video of Park(ing) Day 2007 below, featuring an appearance by yours truly towards the end. If you have the blog delivered by email, click here for the video.