Monday, December 14, 2009

NYT, City of earthly delights, Thomas Hoving

George Prochnic op-ed in NYT puts a light on life of Thomas Hoving an unusual NY park commissioner and director of MOMA( museum of modern art)for ten years.

In a short stint as a parks commissioner (15 months)he promoted construction of 1000 mini or pocket parks in the city.He suggested that it add only 140 acres of park space to the city .I do not know how many of those parks were ever built but am sure the one's built provided a great solace to the weary neighborhood youth and retired folks.

Parks are much better investment for the elderly to take care of than any state can develop.I would suggest such projects for cities in India as well as any urban centers in America.

Many years ago my wife wanted to build playgrounds for city kids in all the neighborhoods ,we for lack of a good plan ,energies and critical mass(including financial resources) never have been able to fulfil her dream.

MR Hoving allowed rich people to build such parks and have them named after them such a water park with a fall was built with funding from CBS and named after Paley.
Design competitions can be held in all high schools for design of the parks and get the kids involved.

Small ponds and lakes could be also part of these parks .which would provide green and lively space in asphalt jungles .would reduce flooding in the streets and save the rain water for alternate use including recreation.May be these are the lofty ideas .They are not new . A tribute in NYT for one of the parks is here according to the op-ed.

With its ivy-covered walls and 20-foot-high waterfall, Paley Park proved an enormous hit from the moment it opened. The Times labeled it “a corner of quiet delights.” Early visitors waxed enthusiastic about the relief it provided from the din of the streets, and the “acoustic perfume” of the park’s waterfall.

The idea of central Park and many others around the nation including national parks make me proud of these wise forefathers who left gods gifts to man intact and at times stopped man from ruining them completely.

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