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PARKing Day 2009 NYC

This year we took it down a notch. After covering PARK(ing) Day events for the past three years, we figured it was about time we got to relax a little and enjoy the space and - frankly - not get dehydrated from bicycling about all day. Oh, that and the fact we were trying out the new-ish FLIP cameras to evaluate whether or not you can pull off a good-looking video with them. I think the result speaks for itself.

So sit back and enjoy. This year over twenty countries participated. New York City featured about 50 spaces filled to the gills with people, sod, chairs, food, fun, games, and in one case - bubbles galore! You'll also get a look at "Hex Pack Patio" the POP.Park winning design from Samina Iqbal.

[music]
Clarence Eckerson Jr: [0:13] Hey, it's PARKing Day! [cheering]
Speaker: [0:17] You've just got to dive right in. You've got to get right in here.
Speaker: [0:21] I just came out here today to hang out in the park.
Speaker: [0:25] Where?
Speaker: [0:25] The park.
Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [0:27] Hey, it's Street Films here. It's PARKing Day! You know what that means. So last year, I went and I rode my bike about three miles and hit a couple dozen spots. I'm not going to do that this year. This year we're going to take a break and relax and sit down in some of the spots and talk to the people, see what they're doing out here. [0:44] So we've got a lot of creative people. As always, PARKing Day brings about lots of creativity. All the spots are very different and very mischievous and fun and interesting.

[music]

Julia DeMartini Day: [0:59] Today is PARKing Day and it's an international event happening in over 20 countries. There's over 50 spots in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and The Bronx today. Here is Project for Public Spaces, they're demonstrating PARKing Day extremely well. [1:16] Instead of cars using this space, people are using it; relaxing, eating their lunch, taking a breather as they walk down the street, and just trying to maximize the precious public space we have in the city.
Gary Toth: [1:27] A bench is great. All I need is a six pack and a pepperoni pizza and I'd be in heaven.
Speaker: [1:33] Oh my God. I thought I just ate Clarence.
Speaker: [1:37] Is that right?
Samina Iqbal: [1:39] This installation behind me is about $50 and it's modular so that it can be smaller and it weighs about 18 pounds and supports about 3,600 pounds. So, we're just trying to encourage people to pause, sit down, relax, read a book, hang out, talk to each other, and basically do what you would do at a backyard party patio.
Speaker: [2:01] Hey.
Speaker: [2:02] Oh, yeah!
Speaker: [2:02] Someone wrote about us on Twitter. I can't believe it.
Speaker: [2:05] Technology.
Speaker: [2:07] I don't know.
Speaker: [2:08] Come and join me.
Speaker: [2:08] It's very meditative. It's very cleansing. I don't know. It's just nice to have a space outside where I can...around this color. It's great.
Clarence Eckerson Jr: [2:14] There's a bubble pillow at Bubble Park. Very nice. Very nice.
Tim Watson: [2:22] We tried to reuse as much material as we can. So, it's all cardboard, bubble wrap, all stuff that's been previously used and given a second life. Over here we have just a couple balls, different colors, something really bright, fun, you can kick around, knock them around. There's a bunch of little samples for everybody so they can take bubbles with them wherever they go. [2:36] We have the bubble stomp pad. OK? Right here it goes over a nice piece of bubble wrap and you've just got to jump on it.
Speaker: [2:44] He's a genius. This guy is one of New York's geniuses. You will hear about him again. It's only the beginning. Heath Herring. How did Heath Herring start? Scribbling stuff on the subway. You know what I'm saying? [cheering]
Speaker: [2:56] PARKing Day rules. [music]
Speaker: [3:03] Nice. We're a shoot booth and we make these unconventional photo booths and it's a chance for us to show, pretty much, the newest thing that we're working on to a lot of people and have them enjoy it. So we make prints for people for free. Also have about a 20 foot area for people to just hang out on the grass.
Speaker: [3:23] Oh my God!
Speaker: [3:26] Were you actually scared by that?
Speaker: [3:27] Well I didn't know there was a dude in there. And then I thought she was going to jump and then he pops out. That's incredible.
Speaker: [3:34] I got the furniture from Housing Works on 23rd Street. So I went up there and loaded all of this furniture onto here with a friend and we tied it down with those bikes tubes.
Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [3:44] This chair is $10 at Housing Works. Is that right?
Speaker: [3:47] That's right.
Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [3:48] Well, after PARKing Day's over, I'm going to go buy this chair.
Speaker: [3:52] The title for this chair, on the label, was "Weird Gothic Chair" and then it said $10. [music]
Isaac LittleJohn Eddy: [4:04] I've teamed up with the Myrtle Avenue Rejuvenation Project today. So, we here to reclaim common space, have people relax, and hopefully we're going to get some people to workshop on nonfiction cartooning and citizen journalism.
Speaker: [4:16] It's a way to really engage with community. It's wonderful way to get people to rethink public spaces.
Speaker: [4:23] I originally was interested in bringing a towel out here and then my coworkers were actually like, "Well, while we're out there, why don't we just make free websites for people?"
Speaker: [4:29] We're making cool websites right now. [laughter]
Speaker: [4:35] There's animated GIFs, all sorts of rad things for the Internet.
Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [4:39] Wait, what's going on? Wait, what is going-wait, is that you? There's me! Everybody look, there's me! Oh my gosh. It's great! It's me, look right there. Right there, it's me. I was videoing a laptop which was videoing her, which then took a picture of me.
Speaker: [4:58] Oh my God. [music]

[5:02]



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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