Friday, September 08, 2006
Take a seat
Some people have fences, some people have “keep off the grass” signs, and others keep dogs to make sure the property in front of their house is not violated by pedestrians.
Gail McCarthy and Marvin Lunenfeld had a bench. It was installed in the late eighties, just inside their property line, so close to the sidewalk that it had every appearance of public seating. This was a natural extension of the relationship the two had established with passers-by, who would comment on the bright perennial garden that surrounded their house; at that time, few of their neighbors had anything other than grass.
When McCarthy and Lunenfeld left their house in 2003, the entire neighborhood for blocks around had caught the gardening bug, and there were many front gardens just like theirs—largely thanks to their example. (The two also founded Garden Walk Buffalo, which had around twenty gardens when they started it and now has over 200.)
Over time, the wooden bench deteriorated and had to be removed by the new owners. They installed a bench exactly like it, right down to the small “welcome/bienvenudo” sign that is affixed to the back. So there it is, just in case anyone walking by needs to sit for a minute, change their baby, or just feels like enjoying the vista of urban gardens that Gail and Marvin helped to inspire.
(I interviewed them recently for the GW book.)