Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Grinnell Pocket Park

They call them pocket parks, little corners of the city that are transformed into public spaces. I wrote an essay last year about a few of them including this one...


...and I decided to come back to see what was what.
Clearly they have or have had their issues. Noise is always an issue in a small town compressed as tight as this one and not everyone thinks of that when they decide to take up "island time" for themselves, full time. In the time this park has been here they have done the usual tarting up thing with labels, now dilapidated:
This piece of public art is dedicated to a member of a family that made a brief name for themselves as art gallery owners in town during the boom years. Art for the people they offered until they could no longer, and retreated to Miami and it's wealthier market. And now there is a monument to anyone that remembers the Charest-Weinberg name in modest little Key West: Cheyenne liked the concept of pocket parks:
She was oblivious to the cemetery across Angela Street:
I sniffed a good deal less than my dog, but I did observe all the tidy little beds they have lined with bricks. I see them as an attempt to bring order where none need prevail:The monument failed to intrigue Cheyenne though she gave it a quick look. It was gray day, promising rain and a cold front that was soon to fill the Keys with cold air. It felt like decay was all around.I liked the park a lot better in it's early stages when there were some bushes ands scrappy grass and a bunch of plastic chairs put out by people who actually used the new urban space. This pocket park used to be an electrical sub station that buzzed and hummed with electricity all day and all night. I thought it was a great improvement to see it emptied of electrical transformers. But now I wonder who uses this open space with no accommodations? No one shows up even, to harvest the fruit!
We were intruders in an unused space, it felt like. Perhaps this place pullulates with people when I am tucked up at work or at home, miles away.
Perhaps they come out and water, and rake, and hoe and......fill the bird bath:Perhaps not. perhaps it just stays empty for the occasional visitor and his dog. They come, they stroll, they look unsuccessfully for somewhere to sit, and finding none they move on.