Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Indoor Parks and Indoor Playgrounds

   Indoor Parks
Outdoor parks  are great, but they have limited usefulness when it rains, snows or in cold weather. We need indoor parks  too.

An indoor park can be any indoor public space where you can sit down and be protected from the elements.

As far as I can tell we have no "free"  public indoor playgrounds and a very limited number of" Indoor " Parks"  in Chelsea, the following are the only locations that I figure meet this specification

Mulenberger Library (seats and reading)
Chelsea Market (seats and window shopping)
Fulton Senior Center (seats, meals, activities for seniors)
Penn South Senior Center (seats, library, activities for seniors)

When building and or renovating public parks in Chelsea consideration should be given to add  Indoor or weather sheltered outdoor spaces to them.

 Indoor Playgrounds

Chelsea  have 6 public outdoor playgrounds, but no public indoor playground. This means that during the winter  and on  rainy days there are no  playgrounds for Chelsea kids except for the  private (pay for) play spaces that have been set up to fill this gap.

Private Indoor Playgrounds In the Chelsea Area
City Treehouse
Little Athletes Exploration Center
The existence of Private Indoor Playgrounds show that we have a unmet need for Public Indoor Playgrounds

Given funding limitations one way to create indoor playgrounds  is through private-public partnerships. The Privately owned public space program can be used as one form of this. Certain areas of Manhattan actually have an oversupply of outdoor POPS parks, by only allowing indoor POPS playground to be build in these areas we can get indoor playgrounds for those areas.

Another way to create low cost indoor playgrounds is to create affordable housing with spaces for indoor playgrounds as part of the buildings.

As is now an affordable housing project will benefit a small number of people who get the apartments. By including indoor playgrounds in these buildings the surrounding community will benefit too.

Here are some examples of indoor playgrounds

Greystone Recreation Center, Raleigh, NC

 "The only FREE indoor playground in the City that I know of. This was a great discovery to beat the heat. They are closed a couple hours during the day for camps, so you have to check before going. It is not great for kids under 2, especially crawlers because the floor is dirty, they come out black. Older kids should wear jeans. I saw one kid trip and fall and his knee was bleeding, the outdoor surface material is rough. Most kids do take off their shoes, but their feet are black when done playing. Nothing a bath won't cure. There are also classrooms there that you can rent for birthday parties. They have vending machines, bathrooms and water fountains. Also in the same plaza is Gymboree and a kids art store." link


Free Parking
An Indoor Park in the Dead of Winter

You have contingency plans in place for weather like this.

Usually they involve your apartment, a delivery man named Edgar and the finest reclusive sweat suits money can buy.

But that was yesterday. Today, you’ll add a new amendment.

One that accounts for a bright, warm, 5,000-square-foot grassy knoll of eternal spring in Nolita.

Welcome to the sunny and 73-degree world of Park Here, an indoor alternative to Central Park in January, where you’ll relax on the grass during the day, and dine with a movie on the lawn during the night, open this very moment.

After the Great Pyramids, the Roman Colosseum and the shark submarine, this artificial habitat might just stand as man’s greatest creation: shade trees, picnic benches, sprawling green fields and the soothing ambient sounds of Now That’s What I Call Bird Chirping #7, all moved indoors for your temperature-controlled satisfaction.

It’s the kind of place you’ll retreat to for a clandestine midday nap, a gentlemen’s game of bocce (that means no biting) and a lobster roll from Luke’s Lobster, who, along with Mexicue, are there to sate your bocce hunger on the weekends.

And because UrbanDaddy loves nature (defined as drinking champagne on lawns, of course), we’ll be running the park come nightfall. Expect movie/dinner nights curated by our editors, an open bar and five-course picnic baskets by the likes of Daniel Boulud, The Little Owl, The Fat Radish and Nobu. Also, fireworks.

Of the figurative sense, that is.

Read more: 

also: Open House Gallery in NYC Presents Park Here: A Temporary Indoor Park in Nolita

Once in decline, the Corvallis Indoor Park is thriving


Three-year-old Wiley Koning was running and jumping on a large foam climbing structure when his mother, Angela Koning, reminded him that it was time to go.
“Why are we going home?” Wiley asked, with a sad look.
The plea for more play time is something Koning hears a lot. “They have a lot of fun in here,” she said.
Koning is a member of the Corvallis Indoor Park, a volunteer-run nonprofit that offers a place for unstructured indoor play for infants to kindergarten-age children from October through May. She comes to the park once or twice a week.
“When it’s raining outside, it’s nice to have a safe and dry place,” she said.
The organization recently moved from the Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis on Northwest Circle Boulevard to the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Corvallis on Southwest Eighth Street.
“It’s warm and cozy, a really positive environment,” said Lissa Bennett, who is head of the indoor park’s board of directors. The large room has plenty of space for children to bike and run, a corner for dress-up and a kitchen area for parents to bring food.
But finding the space was not easy.


an indoor playground need not cost millions of dollars to create.The  Imagination Playground in a Box can be created in a space as little as 210  square feet for a cost of around $6,500 .  Here's an idea -Swapping one 400 sq foot  apartment in an affordable housing project for a indoor community playground.will help integrate the project into a part of the neighborhood.

Recommended Age Group
2 years and up
Minimum Play Area
210 sq. ft.
Overall Dimensions
Approximately 15’-0” W x 2’-6” D x 3’-0” H
wall graphic: 15’-0” W x 7’-0” H
Approximately 185 lbs.
Site Condition
For use in indoor settings.
Adult supervision required at all times.
Content Includes
  • 75 biodegradable blue foam Imagination Playground Blocks in 15 different shapes
  • 15 foam noodles
  • 1 noodle barrel
  • 4 milk crates
  • 15 play balls
  • 8 floor mats
  • Assorted fabric pieces
  • 1 wooden cart
  • 1 set of wall graphics
Training + Orientation
1 user’s manual
Online Play Associates training session
By phone: 866.986.5551
By email:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Get a Seat near your Street!

A while back the Chelsea Improvement Company designed benches for their area in south west Chelsea......

The Chelsea Improvement Company bench is inspired by the constant movement and urban rhythms of New York City. It also relates to the new New York City stainless steel-and-glass bus shelters.

The three seats on each bench have generous proportions to accommodate a wide range of people, and make sure people aren't too close together when sitting, a common complaint about public seating.

The product was approved in early 2010 by the New York City Department of Transportation and the New York Public Design Commission and is now being considered as a possible standard bench for the entire city.

The benches were approved as a standard and now

the ChelseaBench has becomes the Citybench


The CityBench program is an initiative to increase the amount of public seating on New York City’s streets. DOT is installing attractive and durable benches around the city, particularly at bus stops, retail corridors, and in areas with high concentrations of senior citizens. These benches will make streets more comfortable for transit riders and pedestrians, especially for those who are older and disabled. Anyone can request a bench. DOT encourages all New Yorkers to recommend locations for benches.
In order to support walking and transit, priority bench locations include:

  • Bus stops without shelters
  • Sidewalks near transit facilities (e.g. subway stations)
  • Senior centers
  • Hospitals and community health centers
  • Commercial zones and shopping districts
  • Municipal facilities (e.g., public libraries)
If you know of a good location that meets the requirements below, click on this link:

1000 benches are available, at least 500 of these are already applied for so if your interested in one for a location near where you'd like to sit in Chelsea, the sooner you fill out the form better.

see also: Chelsea Snags its first Citybench

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A proposal to reclaim Chelsea's streets and sidewalks for the people of Chelsea

Park Chelsea:
A proposal to reclaim Chelsea's streets and sidewalks for the people of Chelsea

 If residents in Queens can have green spaces on their
sidewalks where they can relax and schmooze
then we should also be able to do so in Chelsea

Two Chelsea seniors chew the fat at one of Park Chelsea's
 low cost, ecologically friendly Sidewalk Garden Microparks (simulation)

I took a walk throughout Chelsea to look at its parks, playgrounds, outdoor cafes, and public plazas. I found that the basic shared characteristic is that they are a place where a person can sit down and relax. Some of them have more amenities, grass, trees, food, basketball courts, but what is common to all of them, at the most basic level, is that a person can park themselves.

 The Three Amigos
Three news boxes enjoying a sunny afternoon on the streets of Chelsea

Now, if you walk through the streets of Chelsea you will find the following: on every block there is car parking, and motorcycle parking, and you'll also find on our streets parked wastebaskets, bicycles, fire hydrants, telephone booths, trees, newspaper racks, parking meters and other inanimate objects. But what you'll rarely find in Chelsea is a place for people to park. What is evident is that the design of our city outdoor spaces has evolved in favor of automobiles and other inanimate objects, not humans, who have been relegated to a few and generally far between parks, playgrounds and plazas. Our streets are currently designed to be thoroughfares for people to go from one place to another as opposed to them being destinations in and of themselves.

"... for the last 50 years, city streets have been managed less for the benefit of neighborhoods they serve and more for the traffic passing through them. . . Although most of its residents travel by foot, transit or bicycle New York City streets prioritize drivers" -- Blueprint for the Upper West Side

The same area in Chelsea,Manhattan circa 2011

Prior to the arrival of Western civilization, the area now know as Chelsea was a place where its inhabitants could sit down and relax anyplace.. We cannot turn back the clock in a way that will allow us to sit and relax on any spot in Chelsea. However what we can do is to redesign the streets and sidewalks of current day Chelsea in a way that will recapture a bit of people-friendly Chelsea of yesteryear.
Our Goal: 
Park Chelsea is meant to place a  park like environment
within a minute or two walk of everyone in Chelsea.

The following is a list of a few possible options to create Park Chelsea.