12 October 2010

The Old Washington Park

Late on a weekday evening I hear drunks singing, bottles breaking, an intermittent crazed scream and loud voices bragging and cursing. People have moved the park benches from the pathways of Washington Park into the grass to create living rooms of a sort amongst the brown grass and cracked clay soil of this unusually hot and dry October. In these gathering spots, and along the perimeter, there is a late night party every day. Every day, till long past midnight.

Since Bang's closed it is now at least a 2 block walk to buy junk food or liquor. Some entrepreneurial women have running an black market pony keg out of their SUV every day for the past month, selling pop and snacks, all the while smoking pot and dancing. Their patrons leave litter everywhere and the rat population is exploding.

When walking back here from a trip downtown, it is shocking at the depravity, the litter and even the plain darkness of the streets around the park. It is the last throes of the old park. The maintenance man still comes every day to sweep up and empty all the cans, but it seems like a token gesture of upkeep. No one is maintaining the grass, re-arranging the benches or locking the toilets at night. No one is really policing the place either. It feels like everyone is just gave up and is letting things go. Why try to improve a place that is scheduled to be completely under construction next month? Let the people throw one last month-long drunk party in the park, ...then close it up.

Thankfully it has not been violent. The atmosphere is mostly jovial.

I hear that the Drop Inn Center has become more restrictive on who they admit, and in a month or so it will be cold and rainy, and heavy machinery will take over much of the park. Then what? Some people drive here for the party, so I assume there is an apartment of some kind at the other parking space. But others here are at the bottom, with absolutely nothing to their name. When the weather gets colder, yes I will selfishly appreciate the quiet. But will my peace come at the painful cost of some of these poor souls? Come December the only warm these guys may have will be in their memories. Memories of this unusually hot October, when they sang and drank until late into the night.

6 comments:

prolix21 said...

a great post that had me thinking on my walk to work today. i cross the roebling on my walk and i began to wonder what will happen to the homeless that camp by the base of the bridge once the new riverfront park work begins. with both washington park and the riverfront being inaccessible it's gonna make a tough situation even tougher.

VisuaLingual said...

Great post. I respect the SUV pony keg, though, for seizing the opportunity after all the local corner stores have closed.

Tyler said...

I have also had selfish thoughts about the quiet that the colder season brings. We live at Garfield Place and would like Piatt Park to be a more peaceful place to be. Certainly isn't quite as bad as Washington...

james said...

I attended Washington Park elementary as a child, to just learn of it being demolished saddens me. But lets face it. Cincinnati's Over The Rhine is a jungle. The homeless you speak of deserve to freeze. They chose the life they have. If you Tree huggers are so worried about the Meth head under the bridge then give them money out ur pockets. Stop blaming society. You take them into your homes. They deserve what they get. No sympathy for them here. Cincinnati is a wasteland. Always have been always will be.

Anonymous said...

interesting, thanks

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info