Gather ’round fellow world citizens, because today’s installment of this ol’ park is choc full of history and adventure. OK, maybe just history and some photos, but still, it was a mini adventure in itself out there today. Kirsten Dunst’s twin aka Ms. Thingk, was looking as lovely as always and ready to accompany me on another park adventure on a sunny Amsterdam autumn afternoon. A far cry from the vastness and emptiness of last week’s Westerpark, this week we went to the small and bustling – Sarphatipark.
Yes, you might almost miss it if you ride too quickly through the wondrous Pijp neighborhood, but if you were to miss it, you’d be missing a crazy world of dogs, bridges, ducks, children and working folk on their lunch break. It’s hard to believe that during the last years of the Nazi occupation, this place was a garbage dump.
But let’s step back for a moment, who is this Sarphati guy and whats he got to do with anything?
Samuel Sarphati, or Sammy as I like to call him, was a master of urban planning and a new Amsterdam hero of mine. He was a doctor to the poor and visionary who thought up the crystal palace of Amsterdam. Sure it burned in one night – but what a great night it was, if not for a brief moment.
But Sammy was a revolutionary, he was tired of people dying of disease in the ‘dam, tired of shit in the streets and shitting in the street. He developed plans to make the manure, garbage and ash into kickass fertiziler, which explains the abundance of nice plants in this land. And man did the rich hate him. But who had the last laugh.. he got a street, nursing home, and a park named after him – not too shabby for a lifetime of being coughed on and drawing funny designs. If that weren’t enough, he and I share a common bond… Sammy was Portuguese, oh yes! First generation Portuguese-Jewish in Amsterdam, see, I knew I was following in great footsteps. I’m just gonna watch where I step, since he didn’t manage to rid the city of poop.
Like the man himself, Sarphatipark is a people’s park. Complete with lots of benches, kiddy park space, and a plant hospital. On any given day, from tourist-photographers to exchange students from Holland, MICHIGAN, there’s no telling what simple beauty you might find in this park. Bicyclemark gives it, two urban planning thumbs up.
Something else I must pay tribute to is Bitch PhD’s recent post on abortion and motherhood. This is one of those posts that, for me, embodies why blogging is such a powerful and important means of communication and expression. I may have never lived it, but reading professor B, I feel that much closer to understanding what goes through a mothers mind. I have nothing to add to such a clear and powerful text.
Final note today: The blog vacation has been cancelled, no Brussel Sprouts for me. However the Torontonienne will be guestblogging on the communqué this weekend, looking forward to that.
Today’s Sounds: Iron & Wine – EP