IMG_2294Gail’s in recovery.  Part of that recovery has been walking.  This is the place we have walked the past few days.

Go west a quarter of a mile on Checker Road off Arlington Heights Road.  The entrance to parking for Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve will be on your left.

Those of us who live in urban areas enjoy urban life.  Dense population means there’s a lot of stuff.  Culture, sports, food.  Diversity.  The buzz of the newest.  Urban people usually have greatest access to the latest fashion, trend, news.   Scads of people, too.

Yet …

City dwellers need, even those in the urban twilight zone of suburbia, space.

This week’s New York Times featured Can A Tree Grow in the Bronx? from Daniel Squadron.  Mr. Squadron is a state senator representing parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan.  He says

Like good schools and safe streets, decent parks must not be reserved for those who can most afford them

Wow.  That’s almost not capitalist.

Senator Squadron makes a case for better funding of parks in New York City, not just Central Park.  Neighborhood parks in places like the South Bronx.  Open spaces “so that more families, in more communities, can make a life in the city.”

Life in the city needs public space for moments, evenings, holidays to withdraw.

Chicago's trying out this 'parklet' in Andersonville.  I also like some of the benches just off of Clark

Chicago’s trying out this ‘parklet’ in Andersonville. I also like some of the benches just off of Clark

If early this Memorial Day I was taking my morning run along the lake as I did for several years, past Waveland tennis courts, bending past the soccer fields off of Irving Park, I would find people of the city staking out their picnic/grilling/holiday spots between Lawrence and Foster.  Just like on July 4th.  Labor Day.  Weekends.  They’re there.

Some people can go away to cottages or resorts.  People of the city need their space along one of the largest lakes in the world.  You can get there in a car that might not make it to Michigan.  You can get there by CTA bus or the Red Line.  Sure, it means a walk from the station, the bus stop, pushing your cart full of beach equipment and cooler, dragging the kids along.  But if you get there, that spot along the lake is yours.  You have a space.IMG_2255

I enjoy the public library (exception:  the bad-taste-in-my-mouth experience at the main Chicago Public Library).  For the past four years the Arlington Heights Memorial Library has been my library.  I have used it a lot.  And it’s great.

Part of its greatness is the way it has been able to offer a place for quiet focused work such as research requires.  But in my estimation its real greatness is seen in the way it is able to offer a place for the homeless to come in, sit down, use its resources, find respite for an hour or so.  Somehow, we all have been able to use the library.  Different purposes.  Civil behavior, for the most part.

Parks.  Libraries.  The street.

Public space is not wasted space.  IMG_2231