From playgrounds to benches to sports courts, a public library and gardens, Seward Park has much to offer in its features.
Architecturally, the park is mainly composed of kid-friendly jungle gyms, swings, and slides. Most people will immediately notice the three playgrounds in Seward Park.
These playgrounds are usually filled with kids playing throughout the day. There is a very wide open circle in the middle of the park that allows parents to see their kids from any angle. The perimeter of the circle is lined with benches where parents sit to read newspapers, books, relax, or talk with others as the children play.
The wide circle of clear ground pictured above was added in the 1999 renovation of the park as an open place where children could run. However, the oval has become the grounds for Chinese women to dance.
Similarly, benches and fences have creatively become stretching aids for the older population (more information here). The slightly twisted utilization of park features for the immigrants’ own purposes is both admirable in their virtue of resourcefulness and amusing in their misuse, but also a quality of many American immigrants.
Their way of adapting into a park seems symbolic of the countless other ways they have adopted in order to maintain their Chinese cultural roots, while simultaneously feeling assimilated enough to be comfortable living here.
The municipality has also recognized the dominance of the Chinese community around the park and adopted their own methods of helping them feel welcome. It is important to point out there there are many Chinese signs throughout the park to cater for the heavy use of Seward Park by Chinese immigrants.
Keeping the Park Clean:
In order to keep the park clean for its 50,000+ monthly visitors and users, many volunteer groups and organizations have partnered up with Seward Park and are proactive in cleaning and restoring the space.
The Friends of Seward Park and Dating for the Cause are just a few volunteer organizations passionate in preserving the beauty of Seward Park. Check out a video of Dating for the Cause’s volunteer clean-up event at Seward Park in 2010.
The conveniently placed Seward Park Branch Library allows easy access to Internet, books and other sources of information without leaving the boundaries of the park. This is a great attraction to families with children, and there are even signs of Chinese-American’s influence within the library as well.