The Abhorrence of Open Space, or, A Marketing Idiot’s Delight part 2

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.

The Abhorrence of Open Space, or, A Marketing Idiot’s Delight part 1

“What’s the first thing they see?” I imagine  marketing folks asking themselves at a meeting shortly after Blackstone took over Sty Town/Peter Cooper in late 2015. The  “they” refers to the prospective tenants led out the back of the rental office at 252 First Ave to be shown a bit of the complex and a model apartment. For more than half a century you would have seen elegant tree-lined pathways surrounding a paved unadorned open space, the perimeter of which was marked by a thin cast iron fence and park benches. The area bore a Zen-like simplicity in its from and function.  But, alas, just as nature abhors a vacuum, developers abhor an open space (and marketers can’t see the allure of “empty” space). Thus, the meeting concludes with: “We’ve got to put something there that will grab ‘em right away.”