We are park people: we love parks, especially city parks. We value them not only for their peacefulness and their beauty but also for the open space they introduce into the normally crowded urban landscape. Our appreciation for parks began with one particular park: City Park in New Orleans. This park, our park, is a beautiful and special place, not only to us but to the residents of and visitors to our city as well. We are fortunate enough to live quite close so we visit often. Because it is within walking distance, we often find ourselves meandering there on lazy afternoons and beautiful weekends.
We actually love City Park so much that we got married there in 2011. We knew that we wanted to get married in our part of the city, and we quickly settled on the park because of its beauty, location, and relative affordability. (For those familiar with the park: we actually married upstairs in the Casino Building, just on top of where Morning Call is now). Before our wedding, we already had a fondness for the park, but having it be the site of our commitment to each other made it all the more special to us. Our commitment to the park has continued beyond our wedding: we support the park financially through our membership in Friends of City park, the nonprofit that runs the facility.
Though our love of parks originated in New Orleans, we’ve taken this affinity with us all over the world. Each time we visit a new country/city, one of the first things we look for are parks and/or public spaces. In Istanbul, we enjoyed walking through Gulhane Park next to Topkapi Palace. When we visited Cape Town, we strolled through The Company’s Garden adjacent to their old parliament building. During our stay in Paris, we spent time at Vedettes Pont de Neuf, located on the tip of the Île de la Cité (Jeremy’s favorite place in all of Paris). When in Madrid, our host Gabrielle took us for a long walk in Retiro Park (Parque de El Retiro – pictured below) to see the statues and experience its natural grandeur. Even in New York City, we never visit without stopping at least at Bryant Park. We could go on and on, but you get the point. We love parks!
To us, a good park is a place where one can experience nature and also be comfortable while doing so. We love bigger parks where we can stroll and look for birds and other wildlife, but we also appreciate smaller urban parks that do little more than offer respite via green space and benches. We believe that parks are an essential part of any urban landscape. Parks contribute not only plant life, but space to their cities: space for people to gather, to relax, to get out of the built environment and enjoy the natural world instead. The greenery adds life to these concrete jungles and reminds us that nature, the world of our origin, is never really too far away. One must simply stop for a moment and look.