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Remember: Allentown Park Log 14: Fountain Park

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Allentown Park Log 14: Fountain Park

It had been awhile since I visited a new park, so yesterday afternoon I ventured down to Fountain Park.

Built at the height of WPA park expansion, Fountain Park is most noticeably remembered by the concrete flood walls inside the park. Fountain Park has a very urban location and offers baseball diamonds, soccer fields, and a playground for purpose of recreation. On weekends, FP is usually full of people engaging in activity and is a highly used city park.

Starting my journey, in a lapse of sensibility, I decided it would be a good idea to walk down the wall.

I was greeted quickly by this:

Perhaps at one time a planter? I am not sure. There were more of them along the top of the wall and navigating around them is difficult when walking up there. Halfway down the wall, I began to realize the height that had developed as I walked. I stand a bit short of six feet and the wall stands at what seems like nine or ten; so my head was about sixteen feet from the ground.

With my palms a little sweatier I reached the corner of the wall and took a look at the creek and down the other side of the wall to where it ends at the playground.

I turned around and very quickly realized the mistake I had made.

It was a long walk back and my now burgeoning fear of heights was causing me some vertigo and nausea. I pushed forward, slow step by slow step thinking about how much of a sissy I was. My dizziness increasing, I decided it would be best if I sat down at least to drain my palms.

This was my second mistake. Once sitting, it would become next to impossible for me to stand up without losing my balance considering my vertigo. Now, I was dragging my rear end sideways down the wall and doing it in slow increments so as to not look odd to the drivers passing on Martin Luther King. As chafing began to develop, I knew that I had to take my chances standing up. I was successful. Now, with a large lump of potential upset in my throat I gingerly side stepped the rest of the way before hopping off as soon as the ground was high enough to assure safe landing. Do not do this ever. It is a poor decision and I could have been hurt. (Maybe, I’m just a sissy) (Probably)

As the nausea waned I began to make my way alongside the wall; this time with my feet smartly on the ground.

I was heading for a fountain that I wasn’t sure existed. I’ve never seen a fountain down here but I am sure there is one, after all, this is Fountain Park. Looking up at the wall, it didn’t seem as high from down here but I knew the truth.

And then I found the fountain.

It was full of trash and obviously not turned on. I wonder when the last time it was turned on. I don’t ever remember seeing it. As I walked back to my car looking forward to walking past the pool and under the bridge, my camera battery died. This was becoming a not good day. There is much more to talk about down here at Fountain Park. Look for it in Part 2.



Blogger michael molovinsky said...

andrew, walk up the wpa iconic steps from martin luther to union, turn left and you will see the incredible wall, the largest wpa project in allentown. walk left (west), cross the road and you will come to the tunnel leading to the second set of stairs which go to spring garden street. climb them and you will have done what a thousand mack workers did everyday during and after the war.(second world). caution; it is exhausting. the second set had been overgrown with saplings and weeds for three years until my blog. likewise, i expect your good report here to result in that "fountain" being cleaned out. it wouldn't surprise me after all your explorations, knowing some park workers have been laid off (and more to follow) that you might even conclude, as i have, the park department should concentrate on preserving the treasures we have, and not build more things. again thank you, i have learned much from your postings.

July 21, 2009 at 7:31 AM  
Blogger LVCI said...

Well I certainly understand the allure of that wall.

Young 13 year old fool I was, I rode by bike out on it about 10 or 20 yards. That went swell till I had to turn around. Somehow I managed to dismount and just lower my bike by dropping it onto the grass below and walking the wall back to retrieve my bicycle.

That went better then my shimmying down the telephone pole alongside the Union St. wall. In those days telephone linemen used spurs not buckets to scale the poles. I never knew how painful splinters could be up till then!

July 21, 2009 at 9:42 AM  
Anonymous monkey momma said...

what a funny post! I am laughing my butt off over here in momma land. Too funny, both Andrew and LCVI!

July 21, 2009 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

MM, I will have a report on those stairs up tomorrow. LVCI, I have no idea what it must be like to ride a bike on that wall. I got scared just looking at it today while I completed my Fountain Park journey.

July 21, 2009 at 3:54 PM  

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