Neal Cassady (left) and Jack Kerouac
City Park already features important literary elements with the Shakespeare Elm and a statue of Scottish poet Robert Burns. The City Park Neighborhood Advisory Committee (CPNAC) would like to enhance the literary elements in the park by adding a tribute to Denver’s own Neal Cassady.
Cassady attended East High School where he met Hal Chase who introduced him to Jack Kerouac and other writers associated with the Beat Movement. Cassady became a muse for Kerouac, who attributed his writing style made famous in his Novel, On The Road, to a letter received from Cassady. Kerouac called this letter, now known as the Joan Anderson Letter, “the greatest piece of writing [he] ever saw, better’n anybody in America…” Cassady’s writing inspired Kerouac’s style, and his outsized personality inspired some of Kerouac’s characters, like the thinly disguised Dean Moriarty from On the Road.
The City Park Neighborhood Advisory Committee received a grant from the City of Denver as part of the P.S. You Are Here grant program, to celebrate Neal Cassady through a temporary art project in City Park. The City Park Alliance has agreed to support this effort as a non-profit fiduciary agent from which the grant funds can be managed. The Neal Cassady tribute is designed to bring people to the park to celebrate his influence and further enhance the literary elements in the park with a vision of eventually bringing a long-term tribute to Cassady into City Park and/or the East High School Esplanade.
The project will use Rainworks paint, a paint which is visible only when it is wet, to showcase excerpts of Neal Cassady’s work onto the sidewalks of City Park. Clues will be provided on social media as to the location and content of these paintings, and people will be encouraged to bring water bottles or use existing water sources to uncover Cassady’s musings. CPNAC recognizes that City Park often functions too much as an event space; a place where people drive to an event, then leave shortly thereafter. In addition to enhancing the existing literary elements in the park and celebrating the influence of East High School graduate, Neal Cassady, this project will improve “placemaking” in the park by providing a unique experience that encourages people to linger and explore City Park.
City Park Alliance will donate $7,140 to support the City Park Master Plan and City Park Design Guidelines.
$3,570 was donated during the open solicitation period as a fundraising effort to provide the community match required as part of a grant to update the City Park Master Plan and create design guidelines for City Park. $1,550 was donated by the City Park Friends and Neighbors (CPFAN) and $2,020 was donated directly to the City Park Alliance. City Park Alliance will match the $3,570 donated in order to provide $7,140 to Historic Denver to support these efforts.
Cormorant in Duckweed at Duck Lake
A habitat for Canada geese, cormorants, black-crowned night-herons and snowy egrets, more so than ducks these days, the growth of duckweed gives new meaning to the name, “Duck Lake.” As of late summer this year, duckweed has taken over the entire surface of the lake in City Park.
Is this a problem? What’s your view?
Read the Denver Post piece on the duckweed phenomenon.
Graylag in Duckweed at Duck Lake
The Denver Zoological Foundation will seek partners to complete the development and deployment of the innovative technology behind its planned Waste To Energy technology off site and has cancelled its plans to operate the system at Denver Zoo. More information related to this change in direction is provided in a press release from the Denver Zoo.
City Park Alliance submitted a letter to the Colorado Historical Fund on September 18, 2015, to support the City of Denver’s grant application for the restoration of the Sullivan Gateway. The Sullivan Gateway, which spans the width of the City Park Esplanade adjacent to East High School, is in desperate need of repair to discourage further vandalism and degradation. Repair and replacement of terra cotta tiles during this proposed restoration will help protect the structures for future generations.
Friday, May 29th – 6:00-9:00pm – City Park Pavilion and Bandshell
Come join City Council District 8 and the City Park Alliance in celebrating the historical gem that is Denver’s City Park. The 2015 City Park Ice Cream Social, sponsored in part by The Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Boulder Ice Cream, features free ice cream, face painting, entertainers, and a concert with the Denver Municipal Band. Come help us carry on a century’s old tradition of municipal band concerts at Ferril Lake at this family-friendly event.
* Dress in historical costume and you may be awarded a random prize.
For more information, visit cityparkalliance.org/icecreamsocial
The Tattered Cover Book Store and City Park Alliance are teaming up with Colorado Fresh Markets and The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for four Sundays this summer for a Story Time reading in the park. This year’s dates are June 14 & 28 and July 12 & 26. Books are read to the young readers, signed by the authors, and then given to a lucky kiddo. Bring your own blanket and enjoy this great event at one of Denver’s best Farmers’ Markets. For more information, visit the Story Time in the Park web page.