So earlier today on my way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I stopped over at Union Square for a bite. I picked up a falafel sandwich from the Maoz Vegetarian outlet nearby and walked over to the Union Square Park to eat it, while sitting on a parkbench and eyeing little girls with bad intent…
So while the park is not large, I really liked the way it’s laid out. Wide pedestrian pathways cutting across it in all directions. One side of the park playing host to artists selling artworks, a farmer’s market (this is on Saturdays I think) and the likes. The north side had a little children’s play area, which had swings and slides and similar stuff. And then in the middle there was a “dog run” area, where people brought their dogs and let them out to play ball. It was wonderful to watch.
The best thing about the park was that it was literally open to the street, and had no gates. While there was a notice there that the park was closed from midnight to 6am (I don’t know how that gets enforced) it was literally open to public, for people to come over and sit down for a bit, look at the kids (maybe with bad intent), the dogs, purchase something on the sidewalk, and all that.
Of course this being winter there were no leaves on the trees around, and little grass (the irony being a “keep off the lawns, they are freshly laid” signboard, while the said lawns were covered deep in snow), so one could look around far and wide.
Anyways I think there is a distinct lack of public places like this in India. The Union Square Park is not large, but it is well laid out and accessible which makes it so popular. The problem with parks in India (specifically in Bangalore) is that they have one objective – to provide good space for morning walkers. That way the effectiveness of the park is vastly reduced.
I hope city authorities develop spaces like this in Bangalore, and elsewhere in India; though not at the cost of playgrounds, of course.