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Aaron Naparstek

Streetfilms: The Glory Days of Car-Free Park Rallies

4:13 PM EDT on June 13, 2008

If you've ever wondered how Aaron Naparstek and Clarence Eckerson whiled away the hours before the advent of Streetsblog and Streetfilms, here's your answer. They donned cheeseheads and Hummer suits while role-playing in support of a car-free Prospect Park. Clarence has been hanging on to this proto-Streetfilm for some time (it was shot in 2002), waiting for the right moment to spring it on us. With the push for a car-free Central Park and Prospect Park gaining steam as summer approaches, not to mention the launch of the Livable Streets Network two days ago, that time is now.

It may look silly, but this little demonstration -- together with a 10,000 signature petition drive and a 500-person town hall meeting -- helped win a significant expansion of car-free hours in Prospect Park. Before the campaign, cars had been allowed through the park 24 hours a day during the work week, from the end of October to the beginning of April. Afterward, cars were only allowed into the park during the morning and evening rush.

So, who says the glory days of car-free park rallies are over? A few more events like this could provide just the push advocates need to get a car-free trial for both parks this summer.

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