Today was another bittersweet bike ride as I rode to my good friend S.’s house to help him move. I don’t want him leaving New Orleans, and will miss him terribly. There’s a lot of leaving done in life. I’m not a huge fan. On my ride home from his place to mine I passed the Samuel Square Playspot on Napolean, just off Freret. I ride by this park–excuse me, Playspot–all the time, but I rarely notice it. Partly this is because there isn’t a lot of play happening here. You could probably guess this just from the sign. It is rusted and coming apart at its metal seams. It is old–Marc Morial certainly hasn’t replaced Nagin in the past few days. The park itself is overgrown, with spray painted numbers on its oak tree and an old swing set, slide, and a torn apart trash can. I’m not at all sure what kind of play is expected at this incredibly unwelcoming spot. I always feel a bit sad and dejected at the sight of these broken down parks. There’s another overgrown one with netless soccer goals just a few blocks down at Magazine. These spaces don’t have to look like this, don’t have to be like this. They could be made into real parks, with nets in the goals, swings on the swing sets, park benches and tables, offering folks things to do, a place to picnic or just chill in the folding canvas chairs so ubiquitous in this place where chilling often seems like a sport. Like so much here, these parks just fall short, and its the neighborhood people who lose out. And people want their parks. The Fly is packed on the weekends and busy during the week, too. Audubon Park is full of bikers, joggers, walkers, stroller-pushers, dog walkers, duck feeders, bench sitters, smokers, and anybody else you can think of. Parks are one of our last remaining truly public and shared entities, and I’m sad to see them left so uselessly shabby. It’s a terrible daily reminder of limit and loss.
great post. and also timely. did you see in the Pic last week that there’s been some citizen movement on this exact issue just recently? and apparently the city council is actually planning on doing something relatively soon? i’m not holding my breath, of course, but i am hopeful.
hope you saw a lot of dog walkers today. You should be thankful for dog walkers.
Dog walkers and dogs are the most reliable and inexpensive security resource in society. With their daily presence in our parks and on our nature trails, they are the eyes and ears of the community, frequently the first to discover crime and consistently a deterrent to it. We should be encouraging the presence of dog walkers and their dogs rather than implementing public policies that restrict and prohibit them.
Your best post yet and one that also evokes the emptiness you feel at the loss of your friend. Life is way too full of these goodbyes and they do not get easier, sadly enough. Love at a distance.
It looks like sad story. I’m kind of thinking that it should have been full of kids and laugh around the park where has swing set. And I think it is good idea that replace rust things with new swing sets and other playground equipments, and put new BBQ and benches. It could be the wonderful place for families.
What do you guys reckon?