Zen-like simplicity is currently being replaced by a ludicrous marketing scheme. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not opposed to marketing per se (I work in marketing), but as with anything, there is good and there is bad. This is a clear case of the latter. Playground #7, as it is known, is being transformed into a marketing idiot’s delight — a cluttered accretion of objects, textures, and colors to create the impression of an outdoor gym and track.
Did no one ask the one essential question that should be asked of any project: “Is this really necessary?” Even from a marketing standpoint, once you get past the initial feeling of being taken aback (they call it the “Wow” factor) and you begin to look closely at what is before your eyes, you see it’s essentially a facade, a virtual gym or track. Might they replace the “#7” moniker with “Land of Oz” Playground? Any decent runner is not going to be running around its arrested small track. Even novice runners, if they’d wanted to, could have run around the old unadorned space. As for the gym machines, who needs them when there is already a “Fitness Center” on 20th street, not to mention the Y on 14th street, and countless other gyms in the area. Moreover, what was once a highly adaptable space which could be used for numerous activities (running, soft ball, roller blading—both solo and team competition, teaching kids how to ride a bike, play catch, dog meets, martial arts, etc) is now diminished.
I don’t know how much money this is costing but I’m sure it’s not insignificant. (Will this show up as an MCI?) But worse, the “transformation” has already resulted in the sacrifice of two mature trees.