Revisiting the Pocket Park at 14th and Oak St, NW/What the Helen of Troy is This?

When we looked at the park early last week the fences were still up. I finally got a chance to see it without the fences and I now see what everyone was talking about. This does feel like an awful lot of concrete. But if the city/neighborhood can set up a mini crafts fair and/or music I still think it can be a useful space.

But I do have a question – what the helen of troy are these?

37 Comment

  • seats that bums can’t sleep on

  • They’re seats or stools designed to half-sit and half-lean on, which are designed so you can’t lay or sleep on them as you might do on a bench. Basically, it’s an anti-loitering design feature. Not sure how effective it will be.

  • I think they are markers. Take a look at how the sit on the line in concrete.

    Too odd a configuration to be seats and there does not appear to be a bus stop there.

    Maybe these will be points of historic interest in our neighborhood?

    • There was a bus stop at this park prior to the construction. I don’t know if it’s getting restored or not, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were.

  • In addition to the points made above, the seats are designed to prevent the discreet passing of drugs.

    In the old days (as recently as a year ago) people used to sit shoulder to shoulder on the bench and sell drugs, The Wire-style.

  • solar panel butt warmers.

  • Don’t stare. They’re very sensitive.

  • It’s in the rendering. They are called “single seating pods”. What a joke this anti loitering shit is. By making it unattractive for bums to hang out in they are also making it unattractive for ANYONE to hang out in. Who the EFF is gonna sit there on one of those stupid things? This could be a cool place to sit and enjoy some take-out or read a book. I’d rather share a comfortable park with bums than have one so uncomfortable that nobody will stop and linger.

    • Have you had a nasty bum ask you for money or your food when you mind your own damn business. Or even sit next to you and they smell like dog crap deep fried in hog fat that sat in the sun for 3 weeks then dipped in cow crap…. you get the point. I’ll sit this person right next to you on beautfil humid DC summer day and you will be begging for loopsided stools.

    • I totally agree, but I’ve been surprised by what “thee public” can be comfortable with. Case in point: the park of astroturf that Silver Spring used to have until recently (by that wretched shopping-mall/theater complex) … It seemed so desperately creepy to me. Artificial grass on some kind of concrete substrate. And yet the people would gather and sit there, have their little picnics, etc…..

      It was like the experiments on infant monkeys, clinging to a “surrogate mother” made of carpet-wrapped chicken-wire. … So if a large number of people can be comfortable with that park as a gathering place, I figure these bizarre cubist “seating pods” will be welcomed with open arms and buttocks. Humans are the strangest people.

      • IntangibleArts, just out of curiosity, with whom are you “totally agreeing” here, John or YuppieHell? Thanks.

        • That’s a reply to John 12:01, hence the one-space indent. Agreeing with the ??!?-ness of people being comfortable with these seating-pod things. If it works for people, that’s great. Just hard to imagine, is all…

      • Some carpet-wrapped chicken-wire monkey sculptures would certainly improve the place!

  • The best way to keep it from going to seed (i.e., attract drugs, trash, and loiterers) is for the good citizens of CH to claim the space as their own, hang out there to and fro wherever they’re headed, take a break on one of those weird metal tuffets, etc.

  • chle70

    Hopefully the thugs won’t scare away people who live in the area from using this park.

    I probably won’t be there after dark.

    • If enough non-thugs use the space for what is was intended, thugs are less likely to gather.

      • That’s why they bussed in all the homeless people, to discourage thugs from hanging out there, but now everyone complains about that problem. Some people will never be happy.

  • Nothing that is 90% paved should be allowed to be called a “park”, unless it’s a skatepark.

    • I had the same thought but then over the weekend, I saw some young kids on their tricycles and big wheels enjoying this spot with their mothers watching. It made me think that this is a good use of space. Where else can kids go to ride in this neighborhood that isn’t in the street, after all.

  • “But if the city/neighborhood can set up a mini crafts fair and/or music I still think it can be a useful space.”

    I think that park already has a mini crafts fair, with the main crafts being weed and crack. Some police presence would be helpful in running off the thugs who loiter and sell drugs in and around this park.

  • I’ve already seen a couple people leaning on them with their leashed dog sitting nearby. Doubt they were there for much longer though. The issue in this neighborhood isn’t homeless people, I live here and have actually never seen anyone asleep in the street. This issue is more of off hour drunks passing out benches and newly redone parks. There’s constant food traffic here so hopefully we can get a couple vendors on that triangle.

  • I have to commend 2b3s for using the word “tuffet”!

  • Good gravy, that looks uncomfortable.

  • This “park” used to be ground zero for all of the neighborhood goons and lowlifes. Hopefully these aerodynamic seats can keep them at bay.

  • I agree that calling something with this high of a concrete to plants ratio a “park” seems disingenuous.

    I walk by this concrete triangle everyday, and while I get that they were attempting to keep people from passing out there by having no benches…aren’t you still supposed to encourage people to loiter in a park? I get what people are saying about the previous “bad element” that was going on there, but what good is a park that puts form over function (beyond the passing out on the bench &/or dealing drugs there)…?

    If no one is comfortable to hang out there, then what was the point of spending all that money in modernizing it with metal tuffets? They should’ve just left up the fence that surrounded it for the last 6 months, and they would’ve accomplished the same goal and cost less.

    Since it’s reopened, has anyone seen anyone hanging out there? I haven’t.

    Also…what’s up with the one singular seat away from all the others?

  • I pass it every day and come up with different ideas as to what it could be….still clueless. You can’t call that a park. It has to be a decoy (future construction) so the hood cats can relocate. Those seats are literally a joke. A park is a sanctuary of sorts. It’s supposed to be pleasant and inviting…urban planning integrated with nature. This is an eyesore. Don’t tarnish a progressive neighborhood with bad design. Just tacky.

  • It needs to be renamed “Bring-your-own-chair-park”

  • It IS ridiculuous, but I’d rather have a concrete slab with tilted, useless stools than the drug park that was there before. Hopefully, it is works as intended, NO one will hang out there which means no one to throw their garbage on the ground. Yippie!

  • Is is Capital One’s pushpins and they are mapping they new locations across the DC parks.

  • I love this design. It says, “Hey drug dealers, keep on moving.”

  • I’ve lived near the park for 4 years. Drug dealers haven’t loitered there since the MPD put a camera on top of the lamp post across the street (the drug traffic moved to a nearby alley, except fro the the time a dealer was working on my front stoop on Oak Street when I got home early one day).

    I think the flowers that were planted along the edges of the park are nice.

  • so disappointing.

  • I think there was a presentation by DPR on the plan — but did they get no feedback or just go ahead since they know
    “better” ? They’ll be frying pods in the summer. It would have been better to use the space for one of those fancy french toilets and leave it at that.

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