25 | PARK(ing) Day 2015: Fort Point, Boston / by keihly moore

Put a parklet on it!

Ngan sits on Bike Not Bomb's smoothie blending bicycle on Congress Street in Fort Point.

Thanks to some generous folks, we pulled off a successfully borrowed and hand-made PARK(ing) Day! The Boston Gardener let us borrow 30+ plants for the day, a new bike-commuter friend lent his van for transporting plants, the Bike Not Bomb's smoothie bicycle (Biciblender) and coworkers at Stantec let us borrow their chairs, umbrellas, rugs, and time! Thanks to Stantec for paying for the moving permit that helped us secure the spot. Thanks to Sketchup, Autocad, and a laser cutter, we made a sturdy cardboard canopy (with recycled-drawing leaves flapping in the wind), as well as a bike-chain-esque mini barrier to define the street edge. 

Thank goodness for the shade of the umbrellas and the donated fruit to power the biciblender bike for 5 HOURS and 160 smoothie servings!

This is my fourth year doing PARK(ing) Day and I learn something every time. 1. You need sidewalk chalk to write messages to steer people into the seats. People don't understand they can really sit there. 2. You need a central activity/something out of the ordinary to pique people's interest and wiliness to stop and investigate. (Free smoothies are perfect for this.) 3. You need plants. No matter what. Their presence transforms space. Just like that. 4. Cardboard is a very versatile material. It's a challenge to work with in some ways, but plentiful in an architecture office, and its useful life should be prolonged for as long as possible. 5. There will always be nay-sayers when it comes to PARK(ing) Day. One neighborhood guy said: You cannot put a park there (as we were cleaning up at 5pm). I said: I just did. (And we had a permit.) Perhaps I should have invited him to take a seat in our shade earlier to convince him. Just brush those guys off. The day positively affected so many people. 6. Watermelon offerings can make amends. 7. People are generous.  8. It's fun giving away things for free and making people happy. 9. Productive work meetings are more pleasant in a parklet. 10. Build it and they will come (again and again, 3 times in one day for some locals down the block).