After the recent removal of cherry trees and ivy, Westport’s attention has been focused on the former YMCA’s former Bedford building.
Across the street, meanwhile, a sterile little plaza just sits there.
It was not always thus. Back in the day — when the Library occupied the space now filled with Freshii and Starbucks — the corner of the Post Road and Main Street was an actual park. Westporters enjoyed benches, flowers, and a fountain donated by the Sheffer family.
In the 1960s it became known as Needle Park. That’s where Westport’s alleged heroin users — both of them — allegedly shot up. In reality, it was just a great hangout for high school kids smoking a little weed.
Now — after several renovations (not “improvements”) — the place is a monument to concrete. It’s even less inviting than the “plazas” New York developers built in exchange for adding 30 more stories to their glass monuments.
Those developers did everything they could to make their public spaces unusable.
The latest incarnation of the old Needle Park does the same.
As alert “06880” reader Remy Chevalier points out, one of the benches is not level with the ground. That, he says, is “a nasty little trick developers use when they don’t actually want anybody sitting on them and loitering.”
Remy publishes a great blog, called Greenburbs. It shows what towns like Westport can look like if people in power really care about how human beings interact with their environment.
And make no mistake: Whoever is responsible for that grim “park” across the street from the old Y/new Bedford Square clearly abused his power.