The Struggle Continues

Yesterday, after many years—2007 perhaps—I did some work in La Plaza, a park that I, with many others, began to save in 1987 when the city, state and federal governments wanted to put up a housing project on the site. It was a fight, and I have come to realize that I was best suited for the beginning because I can be bellicose when I think the fight is right, and my PA Dutch stubbornness might have been needed at the time because I was the one in December of 1989 who did not drop the ball when we had lost in the state supreme court and the bulldozers were about to come: I, when all gave up, carried on, and conjured up the money to pay a lawyer to take our case to federal court.

I want to write a book about the early struggle to save La Plaza when it did not seem winnable, and yet we finally won, and got under the umbrella of the Parks Department, but In 2007, I dropped out because I was tired, and tired of some of the park members too, who I pretty much wanted to kill, but La Plaza was in good hands then, and still is now.

I want to get involved again. And yesterday seemed a good time to begin. La Plaza has a new fence which gives it a much needed unified look, but it took the city most of the spring and summer to put up so the park was closed, and the weeds grew and the city and other folks have left a lot of junk. Now, there is a wonderful fence everyone can look through to see a park that needs a lot of work. The problem in 1987 is still a problem now, and a universal problem I am sure: most people want to use, but few want to do.

It’s important not to get demoralized, and actually what helps is not to moan or mourn, but work. So I have started to help clean up. And since I have not been involved for a very long time, it is important too that what I mostly do is work, and keep my mouth shut. Yesterday, a city work force of college youth with a summer job came to help, and two of us adults, Rita and I, both retired though obviously still at work, supervised. I felt optimistic about the future working with these young folks. I felt optimistic too because I was working. When you work there is hope if not for you then for the time to come. And I realized that as far as garden members go, no matter if I find some bothersome, what is important is to get along to get the work done; and this is not just a compromise on the parts of others, but most importantly on mine.

There will always be developers. When I fly over New York and look down, La Plaza is big enough to see from the sky just like the Empire State and the Chrysler Buildings: La Plaza is there, and big enough to fill any developer with future desire. The struggle continues. Let the struggle continue. ¡Viva La Plaza!

photo by Don Trammel

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