Tim Street Porter
Tongva Park, which sits snug in the Santa Monica Civic Center district, is set to make its big debut on Saturday, Oct. 19 alongside the new Ken Genser Square.
New York City's High Line could not be more celebrated if you stuck a party hat atop it and threw confetti in its elevated direction.
The public park, which is "built on a historic freight line" on Manhattan's West Side, has only been around for a few years and yet its funky beauty, vigorous community support, and unparalleled photographability have been the envy of park-loving people across the land.
But now a bit of that High-Linean, forward-thinking inventiveness is set to make its Santa Monica debut on Saturday, Oct. 19 with the opening of Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square. James Corner Field Operations, the group behind the High Line's design, oversaw the construction of the Santa Monica park and square.
If you've been to the Civic Center area in recent months, you've seen the construction, but behind the fences and cones? Nearly seven acres of gorgeous green spaces and paths, not to mention "two viewing platforms offering majestic views of the Pacific Ocean."
As much as we admire the High Line, and we admire the heck out of it, it does not overlook the Pacific.
While the park is set to be open to all every day of the year, the Oct. 19 celebration party will be just that: a party. Plan on tunes, food trucks, and park tours, which will help people get acquainted with flora, history, water elements, performance lawn, and everything that goes into creating a grand public space.
The park's name "honors the area's original inhabitants"; there is also an arroyo theme throughout. Talks on the park's grasses, trees, and art are also part of the day.
And if you're wondering what once sat there, if memory doesn't serve, then check this out: "a flat parking lot" is now a "dynamic topography of rolling hills, meadows, and gardens..."
Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell bemoaned the paving of paradise and putting up of parking lots in "Big Yellow Taxi," but call this a distinct reverse of that common scenario.
The opening of Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square is on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.