In New York City, some of the most active participants in Park(ing) Day, the celebration of on-street public space, are students. The largest street reclamation I saw today was put on by Fordham undergraduates, who converted what looked like three parking spaces into a stage and auditorium for a day of Shakespeare In The Parking Spot.
Set up as a collaboration between architecture and theater students, elaborate cardboard structures provided seating as actors staged scenes and soliloquies above the din of Columbus Avenue traffic. Signs like “To Park or Not To Park?” added a bit of extra wit to the event, though I was disappointed not to see any play on Lady Macbeth’s “Out Damned Spot” monologue.
Further uptown, Columbia’s urban planning students compared the area of a parking space to the area of a fire escape, arguing that both were underutilized urban spaces. They created their own fire escape on the side of Broadway, complete with clothesline and urban agriculture.
Barnard’s Eco-Reps drew their Park(ing) Day inspiration from the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. After the storm passed, they gathered the branches and stumps left where trees had been damaged and imagined their campus as a camp site. Sitting on those logs this morning, they made s’mores on the side of the road while handing out environmental information to passersby.