PARK(ing) Day NYC 2007
Update: Park(ing) Day 2008 is fast approaching and here in NYC you can apply for a mini-grant to get your parking spot up and running. This year’s Park(ing) Day is doubling in size – with 50 spots coming to the streets of the 5 boroughs. Make sure your neighborhood isn’t left out of the fun! For more info, you can check out www.parkingdaynyc.org.
National PARK(ing) Day was a huge hit here in NYC where Transportation Alternatives & The Trust for Public Land organized a of group of motley advocates in liberating parking spaces to open green areas for city residents to enjoy. Last year, NYC had just one spot, but this year nearly two dozen were sponsored across the city - ranging from a mini-gym on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn to a tribal village (complete with tee pee!) on Manhattan's West Side.
Most amazing was the overwhelmingly positive response the event received. Residents, tourists, commuters, and drivers (yes drivers!) were seen voicing approval. Peds relished the chance to take a seat or diddle their feet in fresh sod. Some ate pizza. Yum!
T.A. Parking Spot Squat (June 2006)
Rebar PARK(ing) Day 2006 (September 21, 2006)
Speaker: [00:01] Here we finally have some grass in Manhattan. It’s pretty nice, I like it.
Speaker: [00:07] And I seen this and like, let’s crash here.
Speaker: [00:08] The grass is a little cold, but it’s good.
Speaker: [00:12] Where’s the SUV that I saw here yesterday?
Speaker: [00:19] I love tanning and this would be a fabulous place to tan.
Speaker: [00:21] This is an ideal crossword puzzle location.
Speaker: [00:24] We’re going to take over parking spot and do what we want in it.
Speaker: [00:27] It’s non intrusive, it’s welcoming, you know.
All: [00:31] Parking Day.
Paul Steely-White: [00:32] What we’re doing here is very subversive. We are really changing the equation on New York City streets. Many New Yorkers know that it’s not uncommon for cars to park on the sidewalk, to bully pedestrians at intersections. Today is the day when we mete out a little street justice, when we take back what actually was originally ours.
Lindsay Lusher: [00:54] We have 20 spots in all five Boroughs. Today is all about showing New Yorkers that if their public space was allocated for purposes such as parks, people are going to have a lot of fun, get to know their neighbours, and have more space for their community.
Rosie Mendez: [01:16] I’m here with the Lower East Side Girls Club who’s been always raising the consciousness of people in our community to important issues. They’re trying to get people to be conscious about what vehicles are doing to our air and our environment and our society.
Speaker: [01:31] Set up a space, put our bicycle blender machine and just hang out, have the girls come by and just hang out, sit down and look at the city go by.
Speaker: [01:40] We feel very strong about the environment, the fact that there’s so many cars around, so we feel like everyone should at least once in a while just stop and smell the roses, even if they are fake.
Speaker: [01:48] We’re sitting on 90 square feet of real sod, grass, in the middle of Time Square.
Speaker: [01:56] The idea is to show in one day how much a small park, like even this size, would actually get used.
Speaker: [02:01] I think it’s neat. I know when we went to London, you know, you get a lot less room for parking and there is something to it. You know you could be less stressed, less pollution.
Speaker: [02:11] The site at the Museum of Modern Art which is on 53rd Street, there was actually a line to sit down on the park bench, so people would sit down, they would eat an ice-cream cone or their lunch or their latte and they’d wait about ten minutes and they’d kind of get kicked out by the next person.
Speaker: [02:24] It’s kind of weird here in the middle of Manhattan but we really liked it and…
Speaker: [02:28] We took the opportunity to relax for a few seconds after a hectic day.
Speaker: [02:32] I passed by and I saw this and I said “wow, I must check this out.” And I asked the girls if I could come in and sit down because I have never been able to sit on 7th Avenue and 32nd Street and watch all the action that’s going on from a very secure place.
Speaker: [02:53] Having a place like this in a congested area of the city, it just brings warm feelings and makes you feel like you’re right in the park, it really does.
Speaker: [03:09] I have a gymnasium right around the corner here and thought I would extend out into the community with some of my equipment and touch some children that are just walking by coming home from school.
Speaker: [03:27] It just seems like a great way to make people aware how we actually use our streets, and how we could get more public space if we were to share the streets with the cars instead of just having cars.
Speaker: [03:55] Today we’re reclaiming a little piece of 7th Avenue for the people. We got chairs, we got music, we have a mechanic here for people passing by on their bikes, they can get a quick tune up. And Birdbath Bakery here is a green bakery, they have generously donated this awesome plate of cookies. We got free lemonade.
Nick Grossman: [04:16] Having the park here today is just proof positive that we can do better things with our public spaces than provide parking for cars. With tiny investment, a few chairs, a little fake green grass, we put out a couple of pizzas, we have a big board where people are drawing pictures. We’ve turned, you know, a 200 square feet of New York City public space into a public park that has attracted hundreds of people already this morning.
Speaker: [04:42] Not only are people talking to each other but they’re eating together, they’re sitting in the sun. It’s really nice.
Speaker: [04:53] Transformation of the gritty Cortelyou Street by the library into a beautiful park with grass and shrubs, it’s a fabulous thing.
Speaker: [05:03] Well if you live in an apartment like a lot of us do, there’s no park to take your kid to, so today there is.
Speaker: [05:10] I think it’s great, it’s kind of cool. I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out at first.
Speaker: [05:16] Do you think it’s a better use of parking space than parked cars?
Speaker: [05:19] On a beautiful day like this, yes.
Colin Beaven: [05:20] What’s healthy for the planet is what’s healthy for the people and this is just a demonstration of that. Like how cool would it be if we had spaces like this along 7th Avenue that were dedicated to the people, not to the cars? So I’m looking for this to extend all the way up and down 7th Avenue, on both sides.
Speaker: [05:37] It really feels like the ball’s rolling and it feels like a lot of people are getting excited about this and it’s great to see an idea really germinate
We hope that over the years this could become just an opportunity for
spontaneous action, that any community that wants to really rearrange
their space for a day could set up some green and take back the street.