Happy PARK(ing) Day, Dallas!

NoodleLounging.jpg
Photo by Danny Hurley
Noodling around: One of many photos from PARK(ing) Day Dallas, with a slide show right here.
We briefed you earlier about PARK(ing) Day Dallas, which organizer Noah Jeppson told us was supposed to help Dallasites and visitors "rethink the function of our public spaces ... and have fun doing it." I just got back from checking out the teensy-tiny parks that have taken over 30 or so parking spaces in downtown, Deep Ellum and the Arts District. It's adorable out there, folks. It's like the town's temporarily been transformed into some public-access kids show about sharing and cooperation.

In the short block between Pearl and Olive on Flora, there's a patch of grass and some tables set up, and a few food trucks idling nearby peddling shaved ice and bahn mi. A dozen or so people were having lunch when I came by. Meanwhile, downtown on Main between Field and Ervay, there are a couple full-fledged living rooms set up -- around noon, a couple guys were sharing their white sofas with a black Lab and a glass jug of lemonade, with extra cups for visitors. Outside Plush, there's a beanbag toss set up on a stretch of AstroTurf. Next door, Architecture for Humanity has constructed some lovely, hilly-looking wooden structures to lean against, alongside some planter beds filled with mini-cactus.

Further down Main, a space termed "Nano Park" features strips of fake grass and yellow and pink flowers blooming from pots set into the gutters. Office workers on their lunch breaks were taking time to stroll down the parklet, snapping cell phone pictures. Next door, a sweet-faced kid with black hair, green Converse and an electric guitar pounded out what sounded like the opening riffs to the Dead Kennedys' "Police Truck." He was watched by a bearded guy and two pretty girls who were blowing bubbles and clapping enthusiastically. A dry-erase board nearby informed us that he was Ross Mackey, performing music and comedy.

"If anyone wants to give me drugs," Mackey said conversationally, leaning into the microphone in front him, "now's the time. I'm leaving soon." He waved cheerily at a police officer, who waved back.

"Do you have drugs?" Mackey asked the cop. "He can't tell me officially if he does," he told the growing crowd confidentially. "He's probably on drugs right now."

NanoPark.jpg
Courtesy PARK(ing) Day Dallas
Park & Recreation Department's NanoTrail for which you will not need hiking boots
In Deep Ellum, a guy in white shorts with an acoustic guitar crooned outside of Zen Baking Company, while his audience shared a plot of fake grass with a tiny scarecrow and a couple early-season pumpkins. A rack of dresses and Hawaiian shirts flapped under a white tent nearby.

"How's it goin'?"  a group of guys called out to two gentlemen sitting in front of Texas Hydroponics.

"Gettin' older and uglier by the minute," replied one of them, a burly guy in his early 30s with a beanie low on his forehead and a Jesus tattoo on his forearm who swore up and down that his name was Country DeWang. Country was struggling to set up a portable record player on the ground in his parklet, which was covered with lush plants and a bottle of tequila or two on a table. He finally succeeded, and soon Willie Nelson was crooning "Amazing Grace" out of the tinny speakers.

"This is something different," said Country, of PARK(ing) Day. "Something out of the norm. You know, if we always did the normal, we'd never get to the abnormal. And that's where all the fun is at."

I turned down a shot of tequila in celebration of the abnormal, and turned to walk up the street. With very little warning, Country embraced me. "Hold me like you love me, Miss Observer," he intoned. "Observe the true success of unity and companionship." He threw an exuberant arm skywards before me letting me go.

Right. What we're trying to say here is that PARK(ing) Day is awfully nice, and it's going on until around 7 this evening. Get out there and toss some beanbags or something. The natives are real friendly.

Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
43 comments
Eileen Birnbaum
Eileen Birnbaum

I and my office-mate took a field trip downtown specifically to see Park(ing) Day in Dallas.  We had a great time.  Can't figure out what all the hate below is about.  I wish there were more such events in Dallas.  We spent time in contemplative gardens, watch soccer on a little field, had some lemonade, walked through the Nano Garden and enjoyed the heck out of the weather.  What a wonderful event.  We want to participate next year.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Went with the wife and kids. The kids loved exploring the different installations, and my wife and I had a great time speaking with the designers and others there to enjoy their work.

Downtown Dallas is the best kept secret in Texas right now. A great place to live and play.

Lrognlie
Lrognlie

This is great for downtown.  Creating a culture.  The organizers and participants should be commended.

publicnewssense
publicnewssense

This is the most exciting thing to hit Dallas since The Turn.

Nick R.
Nick R.

"With very little warning, Country embraced me." -- a very important sentence in the history of Unfair Park

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

More evidence of downtown's potential as a great urban neighborhood. Congrats to Mr. Jeppson for a successful event. Looking forward to the next Park(ing) Day.

bobbyv
bobbyv

Bring your wife and kids back tomorrow when the "park" is gone and see what a good time you have.  That's the problem I have with these pop ups...they're so incredibly temporary and change nothing. There was never a pop up over Woodall Rogers nor was there one where Main Street Garden is now.  I don't recall a pop up giving Bishop Arts a push either, yet these areas have become parks and urban neighborhoods anyway  . The places that have yet to change are the areas where these folks constantly have their silly pop ups.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Actually, the people who set up and maintained the installation outside of City Tavern are architects with other firms but who do projects like this for a side hobby.

What did you do today? Did you do it in the core of the city... or in some soulless dime a dozen strip mall/office park?

Stacy
Stacy

its called volunteer work and a passion for community involvement....maybe u should try it instead of criticizing..

Anna Merlan
Anna Merlan

It was an important occurrence in my life, dude. 

Noah Jeppson
Noah Jeppson

What started off as a small idea grew to a large community effort (with limited city involvement) to re-envision the public spaces in downtown Dallas. If cities as far away as India, China and Iran can host PARK(ing) Day, why can't we? Lots of groups came out to join in the fun and be "abnormal" for a few hours.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

I had a meeting on Ross, walked over. It was interesting. Lots of people out walking enjoying the splendid day. Stopped by the Dmagazine spot. I loved their theme, of a book swap. Left a book for them. Also, liked the Architex spot featuring their historic renovations. The area with the bottle trees was cool, and nice to have live music. They were competing with the outdoor stage at Iron Cactus which was a bit unfortunate, but hey, great to have live music. I also really like Pegasus, that's a very cool park. Literally, and I love that it's got a natural spring there. 

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

BIshop Arts isn't an urban neighborhood in any stretch of the imagination. Something that is a non-strip center is not "urban". What Bishop arts is (is) a survivor because people who thought exactly like you and Oldgreyluper (Rhyner is dead) bulldozed every single neighborhood that looked anything like Bishop Arts. And so, Dallas is playing catch up to every major city it competes with in terms of walk-able, close in neighborhoods, and a thriving city center. 

sizzler
sizzler

woodall is not an urban neighborhood its a freeway. the effect of the park is yet to be seen. even if the impermanenceof parking day distresses you it was a worthwhile event because it was fun, brought people together and promoted the potential of downtown. no single event will be a panacea but this was a very positive event

Rangers100
Rangers100

Well seeing as how we live downtown I guess we'll do just that.

The point of the day is to show what can be done if people want it. To show that slower streets in downtown are no threat to anything. To draw more people into thoughtful consideration of the public spaces around them. Stuff that leads to changed mindsets and thus, over time, to better, permanent changes.

Oldgreyluper
Oldgreyluper

What did you do today? And what kick ass, "cool kid" job do you have? Let's just say for the sake of argument I do work in a strip mall or office park? So what? "Sorry, I'm going to have to turn down this job; the locale and structure of the building doesn't suit my aesthetic. Yes, yes, even in this job market, I still must say 'no'." Again, let's just say. I will say this: I wish I had a job where I could have the leisure time on a workday to engage in my hobby. But that's only one make believe park. The others? Eh, whatever floats your boat. I think the whole thing is asinine. Aren't they, ahem, I mean we, as in our tax dollars, building a hover park as I type this? Didn't we just turn a section of downtown into the Jason Roberts Bazaar And Artsfest Park For Those Hate Cars? Wanna do something meaningful, scoot your tush up to The Bridge and volunteer for some KP duty.

Oldgreyluper
Oldgreyluper

Who says I don't, asshat. Maybe "u" and your zeal for what passes as community involvement should find a meaningful cause. Playing cutesy for passing strangers in a make believe "park" isn't doing anyone any favors. Suck it.

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

Please read White Metropolis, by Phillipshttp://www.whitemetropolis.com...

Please read The Dallas Myth, by Graffhttp://www.upress.umn.edu/book...

Watch "subdivided" by Terryhttp://www.subdivided.net/

Read Shuetze's book if you can find it.

That's just the Dallas history I have read/watched not including the stuff on Sun Belt Migration, New South cities, etc. Seriously - I'm kind of a history Geek. So you pointing to the Lakewood shopping center as an example of a surviving retail district? Do you have any idea how many of those there were?  Do you understand what Ross, Live Oak and Gaston looked like heading out of Downtown at one time?

This makes me laugh, because people in Dallas are so insular and provincial. You really have no idea what WAS here, and what is left. You really have no idea of what cities that protected the 1900 to postwar neighborhoods look like!  Just go drive West of downtown Minneapolis and see what that looks like.  Why do you think Wilonsky posts all the pictures of the old neighborhoods (now torn down), cool and busy downtown (now torn down) well used trolley and interurban railroad system (now torn up)?

Crusher
Crusher

I know. I live 3 minutes from Lakewood, closer to the lake. I go there all the time......the Lakewood Theatre, The Balcony Club, Curiosities, Scalinins. Back in the early 90's I worked at The Dixie House for several years and still go there to eat.  No need to educate me on Lakewood.But it's still not a good comparison to Bishop Arts .which was my point to oldgreyluper. Nothing more.  Yes I'm sure we could find some similarities, but they are distinctly different places, and me pointing that out doesn't mean I don't like or don't patronize Lakewood.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Hear, hear. Well put, Jason. Lot of good Lakewooders who are in the game and caring about this city. Not my first choice, but a place worth caring about and preserving as well (which cannot be said about most of N. Dallas).

Jason
Jason

Also, meant to mention that there are some pretty good comparisons between Bishop and Lakewood. For one, a good majority of the neighborhood activists, business owners, and even residents of the north oak cliff area once called Lakewood home. I'm telling you, that entrepreneurial spirit is alive! Also, we are both neighborhoods that are simply doing stuff for the neighborhoods themselves. If something comes out of it and it becomes a cultural hotspot then so be it. But, it is surely not the goal from the start.

Also, don't get me wrong. This oldgreyluper dude is a jackass. I just wanted to educate you on Lakewood. If you get to know us, we are a great place to live. Lots of history. A pretty good mix of residents, a nice mix of retail, and centrally located. Oh, yeah. We've got the money people and the Dallas elite here but they are great people and good neighborhood stewards. And, I can't forgetbthat Lake Highlands is just down the road, too. They have some pretty decent people there, as well. I mean, besides the bossy neighborhood association that succeeded in running out the people not of their ilk that lived in the apartments off of Skillman by the old whole foods.

Jason
Jason

Slow down there, Crusher. You had a nice first paragraph and really proved your point. Then you started painting with broad strokes. the thing about Lakewood is that it's just a centrally located neighborhood. It doesn't try and really be something. It's relatively diverse because of concentrations of multi-family dwellings. We don't have crazy neighborhood associations that try and regulate that diversity. We have a fourth of July parade, a zombie parade, Woodrow school parades, lots of community events put on by the library and the neighborhood home tour associations. The lake is down the road. Deep ellum is down the road (in fact, a lot of the 80s/90s deep ellum bands and business owners live or lived here), downtown is just down the road. The neighborhood hasn't really ever tried to be a cultural hotspot. Just a plain ole neighborhood. It's pretty much why I've lived her for fifteen years. in fact, culturally, Lakewood has contributed more to culture that has gone outside of Dallas more than any other part of dallas. The only exception would be where money was a part of that cultural effect. Lakewood is where a lot of entrepreneurs live. It's quiet and, again, is centrally located. Everything that exists in Lakewood is organic. Or, at least it has that feel. I've never felt like something was being pushed on us. I think this is why a lot of people try and start businesses here that don't succeed. We are not a destination for people outside of the area and unfortunately the businesses can't survive solely on neighborhood traffic. A couple of side notes: I can give you examples of anything I've mentioned. Too lazy to cite references. This location of Matt's, which is the first one in dallas and which was originally around the corner and tiny, is actually called Matt's Rancho Martinez. They are leaving because of disputes with their landlord. And I don't think Mi Cocina should be looked upon in a bad light either. They are a great success story (and the same success story that I'm hoping Noah finds with Parking Day!) . I still remener going into their tiny location at Preston n royal years ago. Now look at em! I'll miss Matt's but will welcome mi Cocina. Balcony club just got into an unfortunate situation. Again, the great thing about Lakewood is that the storefronts don't stay empty too long. We are an entrepreneurial neighborhood.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Ha. Nice.

Ah, North "Dallas." It do what it do. Carping at the "hipsters" and others actually trying to make a city out of this endless strip mall... before heading out to Chili's and another night of TV in the burbs. Fun.

Crusher
Crusher

 So this where you get to decide that a total stranger is a "hipster/yuppie" (two contradictory cultural types, but I guess your trying to cover all the bases) and is "confused."..much in the same way you were complaining that other posters here psychically knew where you lived/worked. Guess it helps to build up the straw man with all available ammo, eh?

And are your seriously comparing the Lakewood Theatre area to Bishop Arts?Whats the cultural hotspot there? The Dixie House? Matts Ranchero? ....oh wait, they're moving out and Mi Cocina (Dallas loves it chain restaurants) is moving in. Oh and the Balcony Club is also going bye bye. Yep, Lakewood is booming.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Just curious... what neighborhood do you live in?  You sound very interested in the core of Dallas, so I'm guessing it's somewhere near the core.  Right?

Oldgreyluper
Oldgreyluper

So "people like me" bulldozed every single neighborhood that looked anything like Bishop Artls"? Are you sure, JD? When is the last time you checked out, oh, say, the area around the Lakewood Theater? Actually, when is the last time you actually read up on the history of Dallas? I think there's a reason Wilonsky rarely weighs in on these asinine threads: because he knows you well-meaning (and I DO mean that, by the way) hipster/yuppies (and I DO mean that, too) are confused both with respect to the city's history (vis-a-vis neighborhoods, etc.) and your overarching aims.

Rangers100
Rangers100

You are completely missing the point of the project.   Do you live in Oak Cliff? Or near downtown?  Or are you just carping from your N. Dallas bunker?

I ask because I met quite a few people at the event yesterday that live downtown or in Oak Cliff.  All of them were having a great time.  Jason Roberts and other Better Blockers were there, fully supportive of the event.

So, I'm curious... are you an Oak Cliff/Downtowner?  If so, I'd be interested in your take since you are in the game and would have a take very different than what I've heard from others engaged in the city core.  

bobbyv
bobbyv

The point I was making is that there is a park being built over Woodall Rogers and there are people, bikes, restaurants and shops in Bishop Arts.  And although the effects of the park over WR are yet to be seen, there will be a major permanent change there. I've yet to see any change anywhere these pop ups have occurred.  They're cute events for sure, but I've seen zero evidence the promote any change.

Rangers100
Rangers100

I will.  Main Street Garden Park, Pegasus Plaza (with fountains that the kids love), Belo Park coming soon, the Arts District (a great, spacious museum the large halls of with the kids love running around in; which has a kids wing as well), Woodall Park coming soon, a growing number of restaurants, a train right outside our door to take us to Fair Park, the Zoo, etc.

Um, have you ever been to Downtown Dallas?

bobbyv
bobbyv

Good, take your family down there this morning and see what's down there.  Take your family down there every morning for the next five years and see what's down there. 

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

I can tell by how agitated you are. Great artists are agitators and subversives. And the fact that you can't see that business OWNERS or people who control locations in larger enterprises are voting with their wallets, then you are pretty ignorant. I gave you specifics to back up my point. And I understand why this all pisses you off. Because people are looking at YOU and the assumptions and choices you have made for you life, and judging them harshly. I know that doesn't feel good. In my world, we say that is "calling their baby ugly". So these folks are calling you, your lifestyle, your housing, your neighborhoods, and the cultural choices it represents "ugly". I would further say "toxic". That's can't be fun. I know why you are so pissed, but it does not change the facts

Rangers100
Rangers100

It was awesome, Noah. Thanks a bunch.

Noah Jeppson
Noah Jeppson

Being the first large celebration of PARK(ing) Day, we decided to keep with the internationally-recognized date. This year was more an experiment to see if there was interest in bringing the idea to Dallas (with only about 8 weeks of planning). Next year's event would have more time to plan and improve, so perhaps there will be an opportunity to extend it to part of the weekend.

Most PARK(ing) Day events only pop up for a few hours, but we decided to stretch it out a little so that both downtown workers and residents could come out and join in.

Crusher
Crusher

"Does that mean my opinion is somehow less meaningful than yours?  Asshat."What makes your opinion meaningless is your inability to express yourself without using childish name calling. You may have some valid points but they are obscured by the shrill, hysterical tone of your posts.It's art. It's fun. Nothing to get your panties in a wad over.

Rangers100
Rangers100

That was hardly the original point, though I guess I see how one could weed that point out of the initial rant.

The event ran till 7pm on Main Street and 8pm in the Arts District.  I got off work at 4:30 and went with the family for the final 2 hours.  There was plenty of time for people who work to experience the project.

scottindallas
scottindallas

I think you miss a fair point. I would have liked to see this but the timing precludes that. They picked work hours to host recess. If they expanded the activities through the weekend, they could have really changed peoples conception of downtown. They could have gotten others down to check it out. But, alas it will remain but.a rumor to those who don't work downtown.

By the way, you assholes defend this project too jealously. It wasn't ordained by God, the schedule not bound by the stars.

Oldgreyluper
Oldgreyluper

So the "market" speaks, huh? "If I had a choice." Well, now that throws a monkey wrench into the thing, doesn't it? Don't know about you, but most people these days haven't even one new job to choose from, much less a multiplicity of them. I guess you're one bad ass mofo. Good for you, Jon Daniel. "The fact that this threatens [me] means that these people did their job."  Jeez, JD, you seem to believe that you possess psychic powers like your comrade Rangers100.  Please explain to me, an obvious dolt, what "New Urbanism" means and how it relates to art. I know you're just itching to set me straight.

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

The fact that this threatens you and irritates you means these people did their job. It's really art as much as it is "New Urbanism". Let's just say for the sake of argument I do work in a strip mall or office park? So what? "Sorry, I'm going to have to turn down this job; the locale and structure of the building doesn't suit my aesthetic. Yes, yes, even in this job market, I still must say 'no'."  But if I had a choice, I would certainly choose a locale and structure of the building that does suit my aesthetic. Are you denying that the market sees "value" in  "locale and structure of the building". Because the market has already said what you believe is total bullshit. http://www.bizjournals.com/dal...

Oldgreyluper
Oldgreyluper

Holy Moly!  You're a psychic!  No. Actually, you're a rather fallacious reasoner with little substance (which is the norm per fallacious reasoners go); one who backs his or her positions up with nothing more than supernatural claims of clairvoyance. If you know where I work, say it.  Come on, soothsayer, say it!  Somehow, I think you can't.  Again, let's play a game: say I do live in the "burbs."  So what? And let's say I live in a suburb that pays taxes to Dallas. Does that mean my opinion is somehow less meaningful than yours?  Asshat.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Hilarious.

Stay out in the burbs, dude. Enjoy your strip mall life.

Crusher
Crusher

Hmm, I'll take people " Playing cutesy for passing strangers" over your bitterness and angry name calling any day. Or is telling total strangers to "suck it" part of your "meaningful cause?"And "community involvement" dosent need to have a cause. It can be just for fun, something that you might need to have some of. Maybe you'd enjoy it if they had a criticism park where you could belittle other human beings.

Rangers100
Rangers100

I see why this kind of stuff threatens you. Much easier to drop in on the Bridge or similar spot to do your token charity work before rushing back to the safety and comfort your lilly white N. Dallas GOPburb. Never have to actually engage people and places foreign to you as an equal. Only do so in a quick hit and run spot where your superiority to the people engaged is well preserved and fully understood by both parties.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...