Thursday, December 28, 2006

Icy squared

The Covent Garden Market in downtown London has been a fixture since 1845. They rebuilt it in 1999, and it has served as the anchor of the city's often-sputtering plans for the rejuvenation of the core district.

The square out front hosts a farmer's market when the weather is warm, and a smallish skating rink when it gets cold. On this day, it was too warm to skate, but I thought the ice would still be able to tell a story.

Up top, I went close in to capture the traces of long-gone skaters in the corner. Down below, I looked long for a somewhat more reflective view of a place that, no matter the weather, always offers a comfortable place for city dwellers to stop and hang out for a bit.

Your turn: Why do public squares matter as much as they do?


Carli N. Wendell said...

I can't put this eloquently because I am watching football and Oklahoma at the same time, and I'm a little emotional about both, but I believe that public, open spaces do what they were meant to do: offer a respite from the busy city around them, a gift from the powers that be to citizens who all too often get screwed.
I think of my own city, and my favorite place there: Central Park. Here, in the middle of this huge, filthy city, is this fabulous green space filled with different pathways, and a reservoir to run around, and a freaking zoo with PENGUINS in the middle of the city. And that's just plain awesome.

Jessica said...

beautiful pics... Michele sent me... I can't comment on public squares because there's not one where I live. Happy New Year!

kenju said...

I'm not sure, but they provide a place for people to gather, whether they use it to communicate or not. I noticed a lot of places likethat in NYC the last 2 times I was there. People sit, or just congregate, and seldom speak to each other, but somehow they feel connected in a public square or par.k

Anonymous said...

Because unfortunately neighborhoods aren't like they used to be...people spend time doing things separate from their community these days. I think that public squares offer a reminder that we are not living our lives alone. A lot of the villages here are like that. You do not have to go far to get what you need. Shopkeepers and neighbors knwoing eachother and watching out for eachother.

We have Covent Garden here in London (UK) and it is the most vibrant place in this city. There are people from all walks of life....socializing and doing business together. In the hustle and bustle of larger cities, it is a chance to sit and take in that you are a part of a larger community.

Catherine said...

I especially like the second one. Reflections are always intriguing. Michele didn't send me, so I came on over anyway.

Linda said...

In "olden days" the town square was where everything happened! It was THE meeting place, the best place to get news, gossip, etc.

Nowadays, there are SO few town squares. I love visiting them. Germany had a lot of them, and it was interesting.

Anonymous said...

I'm a sucker for the reflective photo. It is like getting two photos in one...layered on top of each other...merging two stories into one.

Public squares are just one of those places where people gather. It can also be a library, a sporting event (local, not pro), the town fair, or some other event that brings local people to a shared space to engage in shared activities. I'm not even sure everyone would think that was important. But I'm old-fashioned enough to believe it is.

Anonymous said...

I never really grew up around an important town square, but I do know they have a lot of importance still in many towns. I live in a town where you had to get in a car to get anywhere and the most famous square I know is Times Square...or Spongebob, depending on how you look at it.:)