Union Square Park
The Daily Plant : Wednesday, December 20, 2000
SUB-MARINE PLAYGROUND: PROJECT IN THE WORKS
A pirate's map. A treasure chest. A willow grove. A giant squid. A yellow submarine. The seeds of a narrative are planted in the new design for Marine Park Playground. The story is set on the ocean floor with a squid, a dolphin, and a seahorse positioned as key players in the pre-show. After school, enter the actors. Borough kids will choose their own adventures that bring the set pieces to life.
In hunting for the pirate's treasure, they'll uncover a story laid out by Landscape Architect and Project Manager, Scott (Shoeless) Kearney. Like detectives, they'll construct an order of events and in doing so, create their own story. The highpoint erupts at the center of the playground where spray showers animate the mortal battle between the submarine and squid. The details of the scene are rendered down to the queen's face on the gold coins in the treasure chest. And the encrypted symbols on the ship's flag spell out the designer's daughter's name: J-U-L-I-A. But Mr. Kearney's design also leaves strategic blanks for the children's minds to fill. His design poses questions that will lead children to the Salt Marsh Nature Center in search of an answer: What is a giant squid? Do such creatures really exist? What plantlife makes up the surface of the ocean floor? Is this coral reef we're touching really the same rubber used by the aquarium?
Mr. Kearney's work and the work of Design Assistant Thomas Cirillo, Consulting Artist Oliver (Twist) Corwin, Engineer Theo Kavvadias, and Specifications Writer Susan Coker was rewarded last week when their plan for the 1.2 acre Marine Park Playground was named Project of the Week.
The reconstruction of Marine Park Playground, located south of Fillmore Avenue, between Burnett Street and Madison Place, is funded by City Council Member Herbert (Merlin) E. Berman. It is part of a 15-year, 30 million dollar effort initiated by Mr. Kearney to develop Jamaica Bay's northern rim, and reclaim Marine Park from its reputation as a last stop for used cars. Giant steps have already been taken to realize the area's potential as a community treasure chest. Recent highpoints of the redevelopment include the completion of Lenape Playground, also designed by Mr. Kearney, and the opening of the Salt Marsh Nature Center, a brand new facility where educational programs and environmental restoration intertwine.
Congratulations to everyone who helped create the stellar design for Marine Park Playground. When the playground opens, neighborhood kids will run with the story the designers have left for them. Such is the transfer of imagination from designer to user. Even the Beatles have a word to say about this. It will be a happy day for Scott Kearney, Thomas Cirillo, Oliver Corwin, Theo Kavvadias, and Susan Coker when children play in the yellow submarine in the shade of a giant killer squid.
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Wednesday, December 23, 1987)
PARKS RINGS IN WINTER AT UNION SQUARE
There was no sun in the sky above Union Square Park Monday morning. So the crowd that gathered there to celebrate the beginning of winter made do with a grapefruit.
"Let this grapefruit represent the Sun because it is big and yellow; and this lime will be our small, green Earth," said Commissioner Stern, demonstrating the celestial mechanics of the winter solstice, which arrived very early Tuesday morning.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"As we live the life of ease, everyone of us has all we need.
Sky of blue and sea of green in our yellow submarine."
John Lennon (1940-1980) and Paul McCartney (b. 1942)
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