View Full Version : Park(ing) Day

September 20th, 2009, 12:01 AM
From the comments :D:

Bring back the horse-drawn carts. Use mules and donkeys. Rebuild the streetcar tracks. GM declared bankruptcy. The prosperous and green-ignorant era of the automobile being dominant is over.

Green vs. Machine: Environmental advocates occupy parking spaces around Manhattan

BY Mirela Iverac and Corky Siemaszko

On the Lower East Side, environmentalists recline on the grass as others enjoy a leisurely afternoon in what is normally a parking space.

Student Brandon Zelman, 17, performs 'Snoopy' from the show, 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown' in his parking space.

A group fighting to take back the streets from cars won a skirmish Friday in the struggle of man vs. machine.

Armed with city permits and lots of quarters, activists enlisted by Transportation Alternatives occupied 51 parking places around the city - and held on to them all day.

They turned those islands of asphalt into art galleries, performance spaces, and gathering spots for supporters who want to make the city "cleaner and greener."

"In some cases, people were running their offices out of those spots while they fed the meter," said Paul Steely White, the group's head honcho.

Two spots on Columbus Ave., between 60th and 61st Sts., were taken over by a troupe of actors from Fordham University who performed what they called "Shakespeare in the Parking Space" for cheering pedestrians.

"New York does not need to be dominated by cars," said Jennifer DiBella, an 18-year-old freshman. "We brought green space to these parking spots."

Bobbac Kashani, 17, sang a song as a motorist circling the block in search of a parking space gave him the evil eye.

"I can understand why that upset him, but if he took a step back he could see there is something else except following routine," said Kashani. "This day is about sacrificing efficiency for the environment."

Driver Basham Ram, who finally found a spot on 60th St., turned thumbs down on the actors - and on their stunt.

"It's stupid because we need parking spaces," said Ram, 29, of East New York, Brooklyn, after he parked his Mazda and fed four quarters into the meter. "It's hard enough to find a space without them."

Up on W. 103rd St., between Broadway and West End Ave., a group of senior citizens put down some artificial grass and set up chairs for a Mozart concert in two parking spots.

"I wish they had this more often," said Michael Walter, 61, as he sat back and enjoyed a street-side symphony courtesy of three flute players from Juilliard.

Similar "take back the parking spots" drives were held in other cities across the country. But nowhere is the struggle for space more fierce than in New York, said Steely.

"There's never enough parking spaces to go around," he said. "We're trying to get New Yorkers to wake up to the fact that our streets don't have to be all cars all of the time. Our message is it makes sense to convert some car spaces into public spaces."

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/09/19/2009-09-19_green_vs_machine_environmental_advocates_occupy _car_parking_spots.html

September 20th, 2009, 12:08 AM
A Day in the Park(ing Space)

By Andrew C. Revkin

A Toilet in a Parking Lot (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYlGlOs5nuA&)

The most familiar examples of outdoor urban public spaces are parks and plazas.

But on Friday, design students and environmental campaigners took to the streets in New York City to remind people that pavement is public, too, with streets and sidewalks constituting 80 percent of the city’s public acreage.

They did so by turning more than 50 parking spaces (with permits) into temporary vest-pocket parks complete with activities, seating, greenery and even water sports: in the case of the installation at 116th Street and Broadway, it was a water balloon toss.

The installations in New York were part of an international annual event called Park(ing) Day in which people in 100 cities in 20 countries turn parking spots into “human-friendly places” for a day. The goal, organizers say, is to inspire discussions about alternate visions of urban living and how cities divvy up common assets.

The events grew out of a 2005 demonstration by Transportation Alternatives, a private group in New York City focused on public alternatives to automobiles. The demonstrators took over a parking space in Brooklyn, saying they wanted people to think “about whether $.50 an hour was a fair price for such a useful piece of public space, and whether that space should be occupied by cars at all.” [UPDATE: A San Francisco effort started around the same time.]

The “park” set up on Broadway on Friday was created by a group of architecture students, Green Builders at Columbia, to provide a bit of relief from vistas normally dominated by asphalt and vehicles, said Eleonora Encheve, who was there with several colleagues to chat with passersby about open space, traffic and also water conservation.

Park visitors were offered the chance to toss water balloons into an old toilet bowl that, with each successful toss, let loose a flow of reclaimed water –- the kind flowing from sinks or washing machines — to nourish potted plants.


September 20th, 2009, 11:20 AM
Yesterday afternoon I heard lots of hoopla on street below my window -- I looked out and saw a a couple of hundred people in red dresses, men & women, jogging up Broadway against the traffic. Very festive and definitely an attention getter.

Not sure whether this was part of Park(ing) Day or if it was connected to the NYC version of AIDS/LifeCycle (http://laist.com/2009/07/01/aidslifecycle_2009_545-miles_of_dra.php).