Wednesday, December 26, 2012

If we own it, we loan it -Transforming Chelsea's public spaces into Micro Bryant Parks

"If we own it, we loan it."
 " Our motto is, "If we own it, we loan it." Rutgers Recreation has all the racquets, balls, eyeguards, and outdoor gear you need either free of charge, or for a very low fee. Come join us today and let us help you get into shape and live a healthy lifestyle.-Rutgers University"

Bryant Park is one of  my favorite park in the Chelsea area. The reason is because it has a lot of different activities and  you can loan active, passive and social recreation equipment. Most Chelsea active recreation  parks have between 1 and 3  activities and you can't loan any equipment. Our passive recreation parks mostly offer ZERO  activities outside of sitting, talking,  reading and eating.How can we create the big budget  feel of Bryant Park  in Chelsea's parks without the big budget Bryant park has?

Creating Our own Low Cost Bryant Parks!

Bryant Park has a budget of over $2.6 million  a year. Most community parks don't even have a fraction of this budget. That doesn't mean you can't create a space almost as good at a fraction of the cost. Here's how through the creation of Play-Fi Hotspots.

 What's a Play-Fi Hotspot?

Chelsea has recently attained the status of being the nations first WiFi enabled neighborhood. From Gansevoort Street and West 19th Street from Eighth Avenue to the West Side Highway it's now all a Hotspot.

In a similar vein Park Chelsea  would like to see Play-Fi Recreation hotspots placed throughout  the Chelsea area.

A Play-Fi hot spot will  offer a variety of active and social recreation activities. Here how  to create a Play-Fi hotspot:

 -A Recreation Cabinet is  a cabinet containing  active, passive and social recreation equipment that will be available  to use at a Play-Fi enabled location.

Recreation cabinet -Community Organized storage cabinet for recreation items

Here's what we're looking for :
 -standard cabinets, high grade plastic  to last for years
 - a permanent installation at site
--ability to be locked for installations not in a gated environment
 -waterproof doors for inclement weather
-  self service, useable  without supervision on site.


Around $200 buys a  plastic OUTDOORS storage cabinet link

Stocking The Recreation cabinet

A pre school  needs  differ from  a senior center's, so every one will stock different items. here's some ideas...

Possibilities (and costs)
Hula Hoop: 11.00
Jump Rope:$3.66
Power Bands:14.99
Squeeze ball:$12.00
Foam Hand Exercise Grip Fitness And Strength Builder $3.98
Travel Scrabble:$22.00
Chess set:$25.00
Soap Bubbles big:6.00
Video Games
Graphic Novels
 Recreation Books (,New Games, Sidewalk Games,Nancersize )
Lego Blocks:

Gardening implements

The cabinet will not only be stocked by the facility management, but more importantly Community members will be able to add items to it. 

 This attractive bench..

.Step2 Outdoor Storage Bench

doubles as recreation equipment storage!

 Toy Storage - Outdoor Storage Bench

Add some attractive seating to your yard while reducing clutter with this handy outdoor storage bench. The Step2 bench provides comfortable seating with back support for 2 adults. Then just open the lid to access the roomy 5 cu. ft. storage area inside. It's the perfect place to store lawn furniture, cushions, game equipment, toys, pool and garden equipment and more

Eden Garden Bench seats 2, lockable

These stackable containers can be filled with books or playthings, and placed on the ground, tables or benches


To move them around they can easily be stacked on this low cost device


Mobile Toy BoxA moveable toy bin

This would hold playthings on the bottom and books on top, creating a combines Read-Fi, Play-Fi hotspot that can be moved from indoors to outdoors. 
movable library cart for kid's playroom! by Miriam Zeilmannlink

Discouraging Equipment Theft

In Germany Ping Pong table paddles and balls are left outdoors on the table and are not stolen. Will leaving the locker open here work? I don't know but perhaps someone is will to try this here. Here are more secure ideas...

-Some spaces such as Bob's Park, Alices Garden, Astros Dog Run,Bird Park,  Clinton Community Garden are locked spaces.  The Lotus Garden on the Upper West Side  is a locked space that has had people steal flowers, so having a space locked is not a perfect solution, but hopefully this minimizes equipment loss

-Spaces like Herald Square park and Greeley Square Park have staff handing out tourist information. Why not have these same folks hand out recreation equipment?

-The High Line, Westside Community Garden  and Hudson River Park are all open spaces that  have members. Why not give Recreation Cabinet  keys to members as one of the perks of membership?

-Two of Hell's Kitchen City Parks (De Witt Clinton and Hell's Kitchen)  have recreation rangers in July/Aug  who loan  equipment. They can be Recreation cabinet  keepers for these months. 

Yes, some losses will occur.
- Budget several hundred dollars every year   for replacing items .
- Hold a "Stock theRecreation Cabinet " Community Get Together  Event  every year. Cost of admission-an item to stock the cabinet   with. 

Encouraging Equipment Theft

In the building complex  where I live there are cabinets in our laundry rooms  that are  used for book and magazine exchange . You can leave items there and take items from there. And you can take a magazine from it to read while you do your laundry.

This idea is to create a neighborhood item exchange  cabinet in public spaces where people from different buildings in the neighborhood can leave items like magazines and book,   and electronic equipment that they're no longer using so that other neighbors can then give these items a Second Life.

Given that this cabinet will constantly be restocked with new items it will encourage people to use the park on a regular basis to both bring items and take them.

Honor System

Thousands of Little Free Libraries work on the Honor system

About the Little Library

A project of the East Lake Schools Coalition, the East Lake Little Library is a path of mini libraries located throughout the Community of East Lake. The library is free for all to use. We operate on the honor system and only ask that if you borrow a book please return the book. Or feel free to add a book to the library. We want to make sure that everyone who wants to is able to enjoy the free library.The library has no operating funds. Maintenance and upkeep of each Little Library is taken care of by volunteer library stewards. We rely on borrowers to return their books and on book donations.

The East Lake Little Library is a part of a global movement. To learn more or to find other little libraries in Atlanta or around the world, visit the
Little Free Library web site.

Swaps Library

Most of these libraries remain unlocked. Anyone can come and take away a book to read or a DVD to watch but they must be replaced by another item thereby keeping the stock ever replenished. The books, magazines, DVDs, and cassettes itself are donated by the villagers.
“The most fantastic thing about the Adopt A Kiosk scheme has been how communities across the country have become involved. Red phone boxes have become a focal point for all sorts of activities of real value to the local community. It's so gratifying to see our old rarely used boxes given a new lease of life”, says BT.


Add a Seeking Activities Partners Bulletin Board to the Site

Bryant Park supplies a recreation person in the board games area who will play if you come on your own. Most parks/community gardens  can't supply this. The activities partners bulletin board serves as  a low cost substitute  for finding a activities partner.  Be it chess, poker ,  scrabble or ???, you'll be able to connect with  neighbors who you would never have otherwise known shared your interests  through the use of this activities Partners bulletin board.

Quartet® Bulletin Boards Aluminum Frame Cork Board; 48x36" $39.99 link 

  -Moveable seats

Tables with Moveable seats  make card games/Chess games / board game playing possible and make conversations so much easier . .  link
More Ideas to create Play-Fi Hotspots

Sidewalk games link      and labyrinth

Park Bench Excercise: Nancercize

 Community gardening link

Fitness Zone

Fitness trails

 Outdoor Foosball A little over $1,000 get this piece of equipment 

For around $4,000 (including delivery) you can buy an outdoor  table tennis  table, just like the one Bryant Park has. For more protected spaces one can be had for under $1,000.