In New York City, pace of life increases exponentially and life on the street has shifted towards the indoor vertical terrain and parks as destinations. Pre-industrial age New Yorkers however, enjoyed a city that Nathaniel Rich described as an “edenic age,”1 using sidewalks for great social spaces, especially that of play. But a walking city nonetheless, one that requires constant interrogations—streetscapes becoming dreamscapes, festival-scapes, annual this-that-scapes to seemingly enquire the momentum of people going places. The subversion of the city’s pace in order to socialize, imagine, even to rest are imperative conditions to design for. A person ameliorates his congested community by slipping into the allure of a picnic in Central Park, but what of the humble objects that have the potential to be activated by the community? An obstacle, a sign, an accumulation of negative spaces that can be for a NY pace-er what a suspended bar is to a child?

My interest in Teardrop Park stems from a middle-ground of the participatory, discoverable, and collaborative aesthetic experience that I am interested in. The development is considered part-lush, part-canopied with a giant slide that mostly services families living in the surrounding residential towers of Battery Park City. However, I’ve always found it as an uncanny controlled studio environment that creates a widely interpreted intimate effect. The design edges towards the periphery of attention but reveals its surprises very quickly: displaced boulders, unnatural rocky mountains, and an unnatural ‘natural’ spring that is incongruous to its neighboring public spaces.

All of the elements impacted on the space makes Teardrop Park ultra, 14K rhizomatic. It has the concept of the social dynamics of an old system where play, allusions and allegories are consumed, but so intentionally functional and hungry for connections and interactions that it bids a family’s excitement during the day and something else at night. I find my fascination best aligned with Deleuze’s aparallel evolution, of a scene that is “neither imitation nor resemblance, only an explo[sion] of two heterogenous series… no longer attributed to or subjugated by anything signifying” (10). Yet I am interested by the intention of other players (beyond the park’s target audience of families and children) being one that is in search of mimicry, of finding an old humble object that is the slide to find play. In this time, I am reminded of Jane Bennett’s section on “Thing-Power and Adorno’s Nonidentity.” I wonder if I can set up my own pedagogy and engage this unique space within a revitalizing district, and research whether the slide that splices the communal park is hinting towards a divide elsewhere.

– Natalie Tung


~ by nataliekmtung on September 21, 2015.

3 Responses to “TEAR \ DROP”

  1. 2. Styled

    I was impacted by this post positively, and upon further inspection, I think the style and divisions in the way the post was written was really part of the reason it flowed well in style for me.

    I especially like the very first paragraph, where there is a good balance of evidence and commentary blended with a unique writer’s voice that is evident in the description of a walking city and of a park like Teardrop Park.

    The language used is also beautiful and flower-filled, which compels me to label and identify the styling. The description of the intimate, and the collaborative, and the controlled is all very beautiful writing in my reading. Very well articulated, very well styled post.

  2. I think this was the overall strongest post, definitely because the language has fluidity, ease, and variance [ex. i liked “streetscapes becoming dreamscapes, festival-scapes, annual this-that-scapes”].
    I think parks are a very common thing to jump to when speaking of ecologies, but your specificity transforms it. It’s also a much smaller space than the rest of our ecologies, which allows you an interesting point of focus and a wide variety of meanings you can infuse into the simplicity itself [i think the word choice of humble was very apt].

  3. 3. Best

    The idea itself sparks my interest. I appreciate how you approach the complexity of the architecture of the space: a seemingly natural environment that has undeniably been designed to look a certain way to evoke a feeling of “nature” in a city of concrete. I also enjoy how you describe the apparent freedom that kids and adults alike feel when they enter the space but the inherent orchestration of the kind of behavior that is and is not allowed in an environment that is subtly moderated or as you say, an “uncanny controlled studio environment”. The picture serves your description by denoting a feeling of nonchalance as the the kids and parents lounge about juxtaposed to an intricately manicured, faux green space.

    -Stephanie L

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