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The Abhorrence of Open Space redux

No one likes to admit being wrong, but in the case of the renovation of playground #7,  I may have no choice since it’s becoming increasingly apparent that it is, in fact, being used, despite my contrary prediction. Besides the young healthy men and women working out—no surprise there—the playground, now known as a “Fitness Playground,” has become a safe place for the elderly as well as for people recovering from injuries. Of course, it remains to be seen how much the colder weather will affect usage.

I continue to lament the loss of the two mature trees, especially at a time when we’ve lost so many trees along 14th Street to the L train Ave A construction,  but if the current utilization of  the playground—especially that of senior citizens engaged in disciplined physical activity— remains consistent, then, well, I’ll admit, albeit begrudgingly, I was wrong!

On another hot-button topic, I see the contentious issue of squirrels has come up again in the Town and Village paper. More on that to come. . .

Time and Memory

The Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band has been remastered and issued to celebrate its original release a half century ago. Fifty years is a considerable amount of time during which a lot can happen, and indeed it has. While I understand the abstract nature of music engenders a more direct connection with emotion, making for a most effective trigger of memory, I was, quite frankly, unprepared for the memories the album triggered in me.

The triggering of memory has always made me somewhat uncomfortable, I think, because I feared becoming someone who lived more in the past than the present. I cringed at the idea of  standing around talking about the “good old days,” or being lodged with nostalgia in a rocking chair  “till in the end, close of a long day” (as Samuel Becket put it).

But I’m beginning to realize that just because you have a rich memory doesn’t mean you’re forfeiting living in the present. No, it simply means you’ve lived a life, and that being able to remember much of  that life, is a gift with a bit of wisdom that might be helpful in getting us through today and tomorrow.

Stuyvesant Town is now seventy years old. So many of its remaining original tenants have rich memories which contain compelling stories and insights. What impresses me most about talking with original tenants is their appreciation for the complex despite the withering away of many of the things (e.g., a real sense of community) that made it so special. If you have the good fortune of encountering a long term tenant, ask him or her to share some of those memories.