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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.

Parking Day photo
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!
Related StreetFilms:
T.A. Parking Spot Squat (June 2006)
Rebar PARK(ing) Day 2006 (September 21, 2006)

[intro music]

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

Speaker: [05:45] 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.



Clarence Eckerson Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • Benjamin

    Excellent video! Captures what Park(ing) Day was all about much better than the video coverage by NY Times, NY1, etc. Great job Clarence and Transporation Alternatives!

  • Ed

    Great job Clarence and all the people involved
    More space to the people!

  • mike

    Great job Clarence, TPL, TA and all the other groups that put this together!

    Yes, this was much better than that truly awful New York Times video.

  • http://www.noimpactman.com Colin Beavan aka No Impact Man

    Amazing video of an amazing day, Clarence. We want cities for people not cars!

  • http://sustainableflatbush.org Anne (sustainableflatbush.org)

    see how much more footage you can get when the filmmakers are on bikes? 😉 here's to the no-impact camera crew!

  • Roxanne

    Loved this. Thanks for sharing these mini-parks with maxi-punch.

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  • T & R

    This is as good a StreetFilm ever gets! This guy needs an Academy Award created for his work, I could watch this over and over.

  • Fran & Tom

    What a terrific idea! We were part of a busload from PA visiting NYC yesterday and saw WHY the need for traffic alternatives is critical. Best wishes for continuing succes.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/trorb/ Clarence Eckerson, Jr.

    Wow, thanks for all the early comments! Keep them coming...I've had so many personal emails telling me this is their favorite StreetFilm. I'm happy about that. I believe this city could be transformed if enough people see this.

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  • Steve McMaster

    As always, Clarence makes something look simple and casual what is a ton of work. To get around all those places spread throughout the city, and then to edit this and get it out so fast.. its amazing.

    The video highlights the need to concentrate on supporting local initiatives. As Eugene Hutz would say, Support Local, F--K Global. Political solutions rarely work and even when they do are often temporary. Focusing on public education, outreach to all boroughs, direct action, street theatre of this type, all help create a groundswell of opinion. And if we can get enough people to act like this, then we just take back what is ours.

    Politicians just follow opinion: its up to the people to show them the way, not just by casting a vote every four years, but by taking daily action as demonstrated beautifully in this video.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/trorb/ Clarence Eckerson, Jr.

    Thanks Steve. I got around alot for sure, even on sprained ankle, but Nick shot all the Brooklyn locations and Dan shot the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. So props there too. And we were ALL on bike.

  • loogy

    More parks, less car (parking)!

  • http://geekguyandy.com Geekguyandy

    I hope this expands! It would be great to see this happen multiple times a year

  • http://northamptonist.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default northamptonist

    Clarence, the work of streetfilms and streetsblog does help contribute to a changing attitude and perception, and will indeed help change nyc.

    Park(ing) day happened up here in Northampton, MA, and here is some video of the event, along with all the links I could find to actions across the nation.

  • http://www.girlsclub.org TRL

    This was an awesome job! Well done to everyone who took part in Park(ing) Day. Also, I thank you on behalf of the Lower Eastside Girls Club. We think this film turned out to absolutely great.

  • http://www.bikehoustsonst.net IanD

    PARK(ing) Day was so much fun - I wish I could have visited more sites!

    Thanks to LES Girls Club for awesome smoothies, BirdBath Bakery and Time's Up for yummy lemonade and treats, TPL for the grass (shout out to the people I worked with at MoMA and Times Sq.), XDesign of NYU and Prof. Natalie for a bit of micro-scale ecology, Lindsey at TA for coordinating everything.... and of course, Clarence for putting it all on video!

    Great work, all!

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  • hmmm

    I wonder how many of those people who thought this was a wonderful idea actually owned a car. I bet a lot of them, especially the ones out in Brooklyn.

    It's a great idea, and yeah, parking spaces do need to be priced higher.

  • http://www.vision42.org Roxanne Warren

    A beautiful video of this wonderful initiative, and I very much hope a prelude to vision42 - a landscaped, auto-free light rail boulevard on 42nd Street.

  • http://www.beunreasonable.com Stefan Doering

    Now this is UnReasonable! I love it. I wonder if your fed the meter for a year if they would let you take two lanes?

    Keep greening our City.

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  • Pile

    How do you keep the POLIZEI from cracking open yer heads and hauling you off to the fine farm?!!!?? I'd feed a meter every day for a nice place to unfold a lounger and do some reading... but I don't have health insurance!!! (or bail money) I can't afford to even ride across bridges in this town...

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  • Levanah Ruthschild

    ....FAAANtastic!! moremoremore!

    PLEASE post this on YOU-TUBE so that LOTS MORE people see it: imagine what it might spawn!

    You lift my heart...and it's been dragging way too much these days. Thanks you so.

  • Gregory

    Couldn't help but to think of StreetFilms when I read this:

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  • http://www.asmithphotography.com Angela

    Great story!

  • http://www.silviaf1.blogspot.com Silvia (Spain)

    I think that's a curious idea but funny and maybe you can change something in the future.

  • http://embsdallas.org nuriska

    You have really shown a great idea buddy..

  • http://my.opera.com/suan78campbell/blog/2010/07/01/getting-rid-of-your-credit-card-debt Trenton Gertz

    You make your ideas well but I still am not sure yet.

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  • http://akerpub.com Tom

    How about the parking day 2010?

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  • http://www.couponmole.com/ Kristen Simmons

    Does NYC still do this anymore? I can't find anything on it?

  • Rxg243

     I wanted to share something I found to be fantastic. I was searching for NYC parking and found a new application called CityMaps and it is a one stop shop website. Made finding parking a breeze.

  • Eliana Salazar

    !awesome!, good example for reply in Bogotá, Colombia!!

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