While this blog typically focuses on one small part of Seattle's urban fabric, it's worthwhile to step back from time to time and consider the political and economic context in which this half-acre of "prime real estate" has been left vacant.
As you might know, my interest in the lot arose not out of nostalgia for the bars and restaurants that once occupied the space -- I didn't spend much time there -- but, rather, the fact that such a popular and vibrant strip was being changed for, in my opinion, the worst (meaning a condo project that would cater to an entirely different demographic). Now the economic situation has paused the previous development trajectory and we here at PPL are trying to make the best of the situation (and perhaps find a way to influence what happens here in the future?).
Meanwhile, there's a mayoral election coming up, and one of the candidates' platform addresses many of PPL's concerns, namely a vibrant, livable, and sustainable urban environment. Of course I'm talking about Mike McGinn and am honored to be one of the hosts for his Sustainability and Built Environment fundraiser that's coming up on October 12th.
First off, thanks to everyone that came by the Park(ing) Day Central Park on Friday, whether you built a park or just stopped in. In addition to the expected guest, Sally Bagshaw and Kery Murakami both stopped by, as did KOMO News. There was Twister, Connect Four, and Ping Pong, that were all surprises and hits, not to mention a bit of "turtle tag" on the grass dropped of by SAM and TPL, spearheaded by the five year-old daughter of a Madison Market employee named Adam.
Also a big congratulations to the winners of the awards!
Tastiest prize: Zen Cakes and Zines (Central Park, Bluebird gift certificate)
Most Multi-Modal: Bike Works (Columbia City, Zip Car gift certificate
Most Playful: 4-PLAY (Central Park, games from Gamma Ray and Bucephalus)
Greenest Park: Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Wallingford, Eco books from Spine and Crown)
Best Execution: Park N Play by Perkins + Will (Downtown, Victrola coffee and shirt)
Most Original (Grand Prize): air.stream by Signal to Noise (Central Park, $200 and custom trophy)
Scott at cojourn.net talked to Signal to Noise as they put their park together here (he has some photos too).
Another big thanks to our judges, Justin, Katy, Rich, and Jen!
And speaking of photos, I took a few which I have yet to upload, but you can find more on cojourn, as well as CHS and Flickr.
Just a quick reminder that our Park(ing) Day Central Park was largely made possible by the generosity of the smART Ventures program of the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs. The major expense behind this event was the purchase of insurance, which the grant more than covered, and for that we are very grateful.
Turn to page 68 of the Fall Arts Issue of Seattle Weekly and you'll notice the ad below, which was printed gratis. Our budget was very tight for this event -- most of it was spent on insurance -- so we really appreciate the donation!
Len Davis, the gentleman behind Pangeality Park, will be bringing a grill to the festivities tomorrow. So please, bring something along that cooks well in an outdoor setting, and bring enough to share. (I'm thinking veggie kabobs).
A few hours ago the application form for Hollow Earth Radio's Urban Confessions park graced my inbox. A decorated tent will be set up and visitors may enter the hollow earth and record an anonymous confession that will be broadcast on a future radio show. Their plans evoke PostSecret and the veil of anonymity is a great way to encourage participation, which is what this website and event are all about. I'm very pleased to have them in attendance.
9:00 AM: All parks open 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM: Negative Space Charette 12:00 PM: Mike O'Brien stops by 2:00 - 4:00 PM: Capitol Hill Housing reviews Broadway Station Charette (informal; may be updated) 4:00 - 5:00 PM: Toy Box Trio performs 5:00 - 6:00 PM: Work in Progress...Ice cream social maybe? 6:00 - 7:00 PM: Awards "ceremony" 8:00 PM: Disappear
Half an hour from the eve of Park(ing) Day, it looks like our Day Central Park is going to consist of 14 mini-parks, plus quite a few other activities (music, presentations, awards, seltzer, charettes, a grunge rocker, candidates, ballot measures, etc). This post is just a list with links back to the original description of the park.
The Art Park on Friday is part of a larger project we're working on to encourage more play and art in public spaces: the idea that you don't need to be an Artist with a capitol "A" to create visually interesting and creative vignettes in our urban environment.
The Art Park mini park provides a space for create, and for artists (big "A" and little "a") to donate sketches or artwork, or stickers, or other works. Items donated (or created and left behind) on Friday at the Art Park will become part of a one-night only guerrilla street art installation we'll hang on the hill for the October Capitol Hill Arts Walk (10/8/09).
At the Art Park mini park we'll have tables, art supplies, craft supplies and space to hang out. Folks can create and take, or create and leave behind, or stop by and donate works, or just hang out and visit. Works left behind will become part of the installation.
Please come by the Art Park and hang out and visit, or work or create, or donate some artwork.
Sounds great. Come by and demonstrate your artistry and leave something for the October Blitz Capitol Hill Arts Walk.
A guest post below by Web Crowell, one of the organizers of the Park(ing) Day Central Park and the soon-to-be singular Seltzerman of Capitol Hill:
Before people had the bright idea to make Everything disposable, you drank soda at a shop, or you had a Seltzerman - Like a milkman, exchanging empty bottles for full ones every week. 4 major US Cities still have seltzer services, Seattle once had 130, now it's getting one back.
I first had Seltzer while traveling, it seemed like a great project for a Luddite with a green stripe and a fondness for a good bar. It took 2 years to assemble the parts of a tiny operation - bottles from retired Seltzermen all over the world and an elusive century old filling machine. Delivery begins soon to destinations on Capitol Hill via the worlds first Seltzerbike!
Friday I'm bringing a few flavors and maybe some Bluebird ice cream to mix soda for anyone who stops by with a container.
So we've been advertising a prize for the best park but haven't really explained the contest in detail. This post is an attempt to remedy that.
There will be four judges on Park(ing) Day that will visit all the parks in Central Park, three of which will cruising around town in the car donated by Zipcar between 10:00 AM and noon, to include other parks in the design competition. We will be holding our awards ceremony at 6:00 PM and participants from all parks are invited to attend, as is everyone else who reads this post. Some downtown parks will be bringing up their used sod so there should be some nice grassy places to sit!
A few folks have expressed interest in Park(ing) Day but, unlike me, have a paying job that requires them to work during the day. I'd like to take this opportunity to remind people in this situation that your friendly neighborhood co-working space, Office Nomads, will in fact be providing wi-fi access in their co-working park. Thanks to Scott Sands, the manager of the adjacent apartment building, for providing electricity and also for the coverage he's giving the event on his news website, Cojourn.net.
Here is a map showing all the participants of Park(ing) Day for Friday. If you can't make it up to the Central Park, make sure to visit one of these. For some reason it is not displaying properly on blogger so you'll need to download it to see it in its fully glory.
One of the most interesting activities planned for the day:
In conjunction with PARK(ING) DAY September 18th, 2009 - CENTRAL PARK/ CAPITOL HILL
NEGATIVE SPACE: a biographical field sketch 1-hour interpretive walk along the Pike / Pine corridor (West of Broadway). We will explore, examine and share our collective memories that identify this place. As we walk, we will discover new ways of viewing familiar places. Participants will receive a field journal to help guide and record their unique experience.
11:30 – 12:30PM INTRO & COGNITIVE MAPPING (Hub Pavilion – central park @ pike & summit)
1:15 – 1:45PM REVIEW & DISCUSS (Hub Pavilion – central park @ pike & summit)
*please feel free to join in any three of the above activities individually or as a whole
EVENT MAP link to Central Park map - HUB PAVILION http://www.worldchanging.com/local/seattle/archives/010399.html
LOCATION CENTRAL PARK is located on SW end of Capitol Hill (Pike/ Pine) On Pine Street between Summit & Boylston Ave. (West of Broadway)
BRITE’s mission: is to create an open forum for designers & non-designers. Which includes a series of spontaneous and fun design events to stimulate, inspire, and unite the Seattle design community. Brite on Facebook
A big thanks is owed to Zipcar for donating both a membership and a car for our Park(ing) Day Central Park judges panel to drive to parks outside of Capitol Hill, so as to include them in our park competition. We were going to make them walk, but given the spread of parks from Ballard to Columbia City, and the fact that they are donating their time, we figured carpooling would be an acceptable activity, even on Park(ing) Day.
Please let me know if you see this falling down or if all the small flyers are gone and I'll fix it up.
Update: got a text this morning saying the sign was kicked down. I went down there hoping to find it so I could put it back up, but it seems to have disappeared completely. Was it a homeless person in need of a bed? Was it the wind? Or was it just a jackass? Regardless, it lasted at least fifteen hours and looked might fine if I do say so.
Inclement weather and drunken vandalism withstanding, this will (hopefully) be posted on the corner of Pine and Belmont throughout the week. I'll attach a few smaller flyers to the bottom so interested folks can take one to go.
Signal to Noise, a new design group consisting of Sarah Durkee (a landscape architect from LMN), and the designers Tosh Drake, Jonathan Zegers, Animish Kudalkar, and Jeffrey Goupil will be building our twelfth park, entitled air.stream. I've heard a little about their installation but the only way to do it justice is to come by and see it in person. Their website is under construction but I will post a link when it is completed.
At high noon next Friday, September 18th, city council candidate Mike O'Brien will be making an appearance at the Park(ing) Day central park. His platform includes issues that are relevant to Capitol Hill as well the entire city of Seattle: increasing density, opposing the deep-bore tunnel (along with mayoral candidate Mike McGinn -- we're politicking, trying to get him to come by, like he did for the garage sale), investing in sustainability and education, and providing affordable housing and efficient mass transportation. Read more about his platform and the Sierra Club's endorsement, and come with questions!
He also be visiting Park(ing) Day participants in Greenwood earlier that day. Visit his website for more information on his schedule.
I'm a few days late with posting this one, but it's a gem nonetheless. Leonard Davis of Pangeality Productions read about our central park in the Worldchanging article that was posted last week. His park registration form is one of the most interesting we have seen so far and I'm excited to see what he puts together. (Hint: bang trim, anyone?)
So, here it is, the flyer for Park(ing) Day Central Park. Print 'em big and post them or print 'em small and hand them out, leave at the coffee shop, etc.
We could also use a little help with copies since we've essentially exhausted our small budget. Have access to a copying machine at work and morals flexible enough to run some copies? That would be fantastic!
Park #9 will be hosted by Park(ing) Day veterans Unpaving Paradise and will be entitled Paradise Unpaved. Jen and Hong split their time as the driving force behind this group, as well as the President and Vice-President of the Capitol Hill Community Council, not to mention that they have been instrumental in planning this event.
Park #10 will be hosted by yours truly. The working title right now is People's Park, after the Berkeley park that inspired this blog. Will I bring a pickax and remove some pavement? You'll have to come by and see.
We have verbal confirmation from the nascent organization Howell Collective, as well as from the design journal ARCADE. I'm harassing Dan from Hugeasscity, Pb Elemental, some folks from LMN and Atelier Jones, but have yet to receive confirmation (if you're reading this and know people at these firms, feel free to harass them for me!).
We also have two special interactive charrettes that will be hosted by Capitol Hill Housing and Worldchanging.com + Brite Collective. More details and a schedule will be posted next week so that, if interested, you can plan to come by for these activities (they both sound great so far).
Thanks to Worldchanging.com for publishing this article on Thursday. One of the highlights of Park(ing) Day will likely be an interactive presentation about activating vacant space that one of their editors is currently organizing. More details as they develop...
An unexpected completed registration form arrived a few minutes ago from Brad Wilke, the Executive Director of Flash Volunteer, a great independent filmmaker, and a gentleman with whom I used to volunteer at 826 Seattle. Viva Volunteerism is the name of their park and I'm certain it will mesh nicely with the other parks on the lot. I can't wait to see what they put together.
Park #7, Zen-Cakes and Zines, sent in their registration form last night. The hosts are Morgan Greenseth and Sarah Kuck, of Worldchanging.com, as well as two of the organizers behind the central park. Come by and see what these lovely ladies have planned for their park.
The first confirmed musical act for Park(ing) Day is Toy Box Trio. Self-described as "new classical music with a carnival flair," the trio will perform from 5:00 to 6:00 4:00 to 5:00 at the Park(ing) Day Central Park.
[photo by Neusüss Studio]
We still have room for a few acts. If you can perform without electricity, or can bring your own, we'd like to have you.
Words Matter, a temporary park by Seattle Arts and Lectures is the sixth park that will be installed on the People's Parking Lot two weeks from Friday. I've heard rumors about the activities will be taking place in their space, but you'll have to come by and see for yourself (rest assured, they will be literary and refined). It's great to see another group outside of the design industry taking part in Park(ing) Day!
No events are currently planned but let me know if you have an idea for something. With the weather changing and the academic year in full swing, I'll mainly be posting information about news and events that I think will interest readers of this site. Please get in touch if you would like to share something.
As an Associated Program with Shunpike, People's Parking Lot is now able to accept donations from the good people of the internet. Our events are all planned and executed by volunteers so every dollar counts. So if you're feeling generous and would like to put a few dollars toward next year's Park(ing) Day (for insurance, sod, supplies, etc.), it would be greatly appreciated!