As I promised I would share it with my loyal readers, below is the review of the Allman Brothers Band’s March 17th show at the Beacon, I wrote for my arts journalism class:
Review of Renovations at the Historic Washington Square Park Chess Site
This evening I decided to stroll over to the new chess area at Washington Square Park (located at the corner of West 4th and McDougal). Over the last few years the city has been giving the park a new look. To accommodate the high level of traffic at this park they undertook this project in sections and last summer (or two summers ago) they started on the south west corner of the park, where the chess area is located. The first thing to be removed from the chess area was the tables. If you are someone who is somewhat sentimental over artifacts you will be happy to know that a few of the tables were taken by the Chess Shop on Thompson Street and preserved. Thus if you feel for some reason that you just cannot win on the shiny new tables at Washington Square Park you can always go over to the Chess Shop and sit down for a comfortable game on the old style stone tables and try your luck.
Overall I would give the new park makeover only 6 out of 10 due to the fact that the upgrade of the tables and the new flower area were the only real changes made. The park does not get a perfect score because it is obvious that drugs still plague this area of the park and in general it is still a difficult place to get a game if you are not interested in playing for a wager. Lastly, and most importantly, I think for the park makeover to have gotten a higher score they would have had to put something more unique in the area. There are so many things that they could have done to highlight, celebrate, or recognize chess and the fact that this park is a tourist attraction. In my opinion it did not seem to me that too much time was spent on thinking about what new things could be done. For example, given the historic nature of the park and the recent passing of the number one US chess player Bobby Fischer, it might have been nice to see a tribute to him in the park. Another creative idea would have been to have something inscribed with a little history on this area of the park and maybe naming some of the great players who have played here. Yet another idea would have been to bring technology to the chess area. For example we could have a computer in one of the tables where people can play chess, watch videos, solve puzzles, etc…. You can even make it interactive and put one in all of the parks with security and allow people to play each other from different parks and tourist areas (e.g., Time Square, Bryant Park, Columbus Park, and Washington Square Park). We are in the age of technology so I am sure there is some way that the area could have reflected this. I have already seen technological updates in other parks (e.g., outdoor TVs at Columbus Park). Basically nothing really creative was done, so in this regard the city missed a premium opportunity to present us with something cutting edge and new for one of America’s biggest known chess areas.
Ratings: 1 (worst) – 10 (best)
I’d like to publicly thank Adia for writing the review! I’ll definitely check out the park when I am in New York for Spring Break and will share my own input.
I am the process of writing a review of the Allman Brothers concert I saw this past weekend for my Arts Journalism class and will put it up when its done.
For now, I shall lead all my readers to an awesome blog post I came across, in which Niccola Summers, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, shares her parents’ musical influences regarding Bruce Springsteen and the Allman Brothers:
As my parent’s have similar interests and I am also a fan of both artists, I am in very similar shoes to Niccola!
Also’s here’s a sample from Wednesday night’s show when the Allman Brothers had the help of ex-Yankee player Bernie Williams. Despite the Youtube user calling the song “One Way Out”, “No Way Out”, it is a relatively high quality recording:
It’s that time of year again when the Allman Brothers kick it in New York for their annual Beacon run! I’m thinking of going to New York next weekend to catch 1-2 of the shows. Look for a review on a loyal blog near you soon! Here’s their “My Favorite Things—> Blue Sky opener from opening night, March 9th:
For some more details of the opener, including its setlist, see http://www.glidemagazine.com/hiddentrack/allman-brothers-beacon-opener-peach-music-festival-in-works/.