Photo by Baktaash Sorkhabi.
We had long ago rejoiced about the pseudo-parklet over at At Last Cafe in Alamitos Beach. And before that, the parklets along Retro Row. But now, the residents of Downtown Long Beach can smile at the fact that they will not only be getting one but four new parklets in their neighborhood: one at Hamburger Mary’s along Pine, one at Ahisma on 4th, and two directly across from each other at District Wine and The Green House in the East Village.
All four parklets are designed by City Fabrick, with Hamburger Mary’s slated to open first among the four according to the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA).
“We’re excited to collaborate with some local businesses to develop a collection of parklets in DTLB,” City Fabrick Executive Director Brian Ulaszewski told the DLBA. “Our hope is to share our knowledge with other businesses, community partners and designers to further expand these enhancements to the pedestrian environment.”
Parklets arose out a particular need: the desire of pedestrians and urbanites to take back the public space that had largely been handed over to the vehicle. Originally, they were temporary (think Park(ing) Day), coming to be assembled and then disassembled; however, as the need for more ped-friendly space continued to grow, the thought of more permanent parklets arose.
Here’s the thing with the Mary’s parklet and why it is so essential. Firstly, it is mostly due to Mary’s that we can thank for having any pedestrian activity north of 3rd on Pine. Even then, however, it hasn’t been extraordinary activity on the sidewalk because Mary’s is insular in its structure. Brick-walled on all four sides, pedestrians can’t see in and patrons can’t see out. With the parklet, it will not only provide regulars the chance to eat in the sun but provide passersby the knowledge that Mary’s isn’t just a club.
“We have long supported parklets,” said Sean Warner, Placemaking Manager at the DLBA. “If we can help facilitate the work between city officials and restaurants to garner more parklets as well as sidewalk seating, then we are working toward our goal of making sidewalks safer, more interactive, more social.”