Washington Park in Troy is historic. There's a sign now and everything.

troy washington park historical markerTroy's fenced-off Washington Park is one of the state's only two privately owned and maintained residential parks (Gramercy Park in Manhattan is the other). And it was founded in 1840. So, it's all very historic. And now there's one of those markers pointing that out.

The Washington Park Association will be unveiling the sign Wednesday afternoon at 1:30 pm -- and, here's the good part, it will also be opening up the park to the public during the reception that afternoon. So if you're nearby, you can check it out (you know, from inside the cast iron fence).

Bonus bit: Most of those official yellow and blue New York State historical markers all over the place are pretty old -- in fact, the program's more or less ended during the middle of the last century ("concerns for the risk of trying to read small roadside markers in the emerging age of high speed automobile travel caused the State to focus only on large signs"). New signs are actually commissioned and financed by private entities. There's a foundry in the Catskills that makes them.

Earlier on AOA: A lamp post near Washington Park was recently graced with a somewhat different marker -- a yarnbomb.

photo: Neil Grabowsky

Find It

Washington Park
Washington Place
Troy, NY 12180


Speaking of historic markers


Cookies and lemonade at 1:30 on Weds. Come on over and celebrate with us.

This new sign is very nice, but I think I preferred the one that was placed on the railing six years ago in the summer of 2005 when we moved to Troy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sashametro/5982017850/sizes/l/in/photostream/

It's a little hard to read the text, except at the largest resolution; I have transcribed it here for your edification. It was quite clever - only somebody who actually read all the way through the academic jargon would notice that it was not official.

[Discover Troy] Washington Park
We read space and anticipate lifestyle.

One of only two privately owned ornamental parks in the nation, Washington Park is an artifact of wealth, elitism, and class struggle. Laid out in 1840, Washington park was the preferred place for the wealthy to live and as such was the home of Gilded Age magnates. Troy was a dichotomy of classes; successful capitalists built rambling estates just minutes away from overcrowded, humble structures that served as home to countless factory workers. The manifest existence of this pathology has called into question all the assumptions on which the new urban transformation was based; assumptions that separation was good for community, that hierarchisation of space was good for relations between groups, and that space could only be important to society by virtue of being identified with a particular, preferably small group, who would prefer to keep their domain free of strangers. Today, Washington Park remains a monument to these assumptions. Ultimately, the manner in which a space is used and manipulated reflects what a community celebrates and reveals ways in which it embraces the dominant narrative and collective forgetting.

Troy is one of seven communities in partnership as RiverSpark, a regional Urban Cultural Park within a larger statewide system. This sign was placed by b.l.o.c. in recognition that the dominant narrative is not the only one. b.l.o.c. is a collective of artists, architects, engineers and computer programmers creating work ranging from robotics to direct action interventions.

The sign unveiling and reception in the park was very well attended today. Three tv stations and two newspapers showed up as well.

@Alex Dupuy

I remember that other sign. It was one of the most verbose and sophomoric signs I've ever seen. But it gave me a good chuckle every time I passed by and I was sure to point it out to anyone walking with me. Wonder where it is now.

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