Thursday, June 15, 2006

Rittenhouse Square readies for its ball, to which you're not invited

So the canopy is up in Rittenhouse Square (it went up on Monday), and that means that the annual ball of the Friends of Rittenhouse Square is coming. Oh joy, it's today, Thursday.

Now, granted, we have our gripes with closing down a public square for a private function (doesn’t seem to be that in line with the original, civic purpose of a public park), but we’d cast them all aside and look the other way if it were just for one night.

After all, the Friends of Rittenhouse Square do spend a sizable chunk of change on park maintenance, and do a pretty good job of keeping the grass, which is rather heavily used, alive. All of which is much appreciated.

The problem, however, is that this "gala" shuts down a very sizable portion of the square to the public for much more than one night.

Ever since the tent went up on Monday, the entire interior portion of the square has been roped off. The public probably won’t regain access until clean up is finished sometime on Friday. That’s an entire week.

I.e. too long.

Especially if you take into account that it’s during June in Philadelphia, when the weather is typically gorgeous [look outside] and people, understandably, seek out the park to take advantage of said weather.

That's entirely too long to keep that much of the park closed to the public for a private event, an event which actually only occupies a few hours on a single night.

A tent like that could be put up in a single day — there’s no reason for it to go up earlier than Thursday morning. However, if the Friends (or the city or the unions) insist that it needs to be done over the course of the week, the cost should be a lot higher to the Friends for accommodating them.

Covering the cost of free WiFi
(meaning no nominal daily fees) for visitors to the Square year-round sounds like a good idea to us.

Seriously. Rittenhouse Square should have had WiFi installed in it, like, three years ago. And we’re willing to guess that the Friends have been stalling — if not downright opposing — said installation for fear that it would attract too many people to "their" square.

Well, guess what? The Square doesn’t belong to the Friends. It belongs to ALL the residents of Philadelphia and exists for each and everyone’s benefit — not just those who happen to donate a few thousand dollars a year for tax purposes.

The more, the merrier.

Let’s all jump in the fountain — which was drained for our party — and take a fabulous group photo [FORS]

1 comment:

Chris said...