Friday, July 18, 2008

Cuddy Family Midtown Park - Almost Ready

To get to the Peter's Sushi fire site the other day, I ran through the new Cuddy Family Midtown Park (CFMP). I say 'new' because although it's been there a few years, with a path and an amphitheater, now the speed skating rink is in, there's a couple of small lakes (ponds?), and it looks like lawn has been seeded. There's also an asphalt path that wanders around the edges of the park.
The northwest end - which you can get to from the Loussac Library parking lot was full of poppies this week.

There's a small amphitheater near the west entrance. It's been there a while and is already starting to look uncared for. There's a lot of potential for outdoor concerts and even some theater. But this is no Greek amphitheater.

Here's the west entrance at the end of 40th. Never heard of 40th? This is just south of 36th and C. Or just north of Tudor and C. The previous post puts this into a larger context.

This map shows you where the pictures were take from and the direction I was shooting. Google Earth is a little behind the times as you can see from the pictures. But you can also see the scrubby trees that were cleared to make this park. If I understand the function of bogs right, we've traded a natural water filter for lawns that will probably be fertilized and maybe pesticided. Or maybe the parks people have gone organic.

Here's a veiw looking toward Loussac Library not far from the east entrance off of Denali. This is off that new out of the way road into the Loussac parking lot. You can see the road barely in the upper right of the picture.

And here's a view of the tiny lakes, looking west from near the east entrance.

Finally, a panorama from the south side of the park near the back of Lowe's (on Tudor). This is three different pictures spliced together, so the right side is basically looking north and the left side more to the west.

This isn't one of those typical Anchorage parks where they chopped down a bunch of trees to add some playground equipment or sport fields. As I recall, uncertainly, this had some stunted bog spruce. There's still some of that green on the Google Earth map It looks like its going to be rolling lumps of lawn. Maybe they'll even put some trees back in. It's in a residential-free island surrounded by Tudor, C St., Denali, and 36th. So it's not a neighborhood park.

The speed skating rink will probably attract a certain crowd. There really aren't too many places to sit and watch the skaters - a few small benches. Sitting on the grass knolls might be good, but they'll be under snow and ice when there are skaters.

And there isn't a lot of parking. Well, there's Loussac's parking lot, but it's pretty full most of the winter. There's room for some cars down on the park end if there aren't too many people using the park.

Well, it's just in the beginning stages, so let's see what other amenities come in - picnic benches, covered table areas, seating near the rink, etc. And some trees maybe. It does look more like a Lower 48 Park than any other one I can think of. The water is artificial lakes, the lawn areas were sculpted, and the natural vegetation was nearly completely cleared out (except for the edges of the Loussac parking lot) and replaced by...well we'll have to see.


  1. Correct me if I'm wrong please, but I vaguely remember that when this land was first donated for a park, it was supposed to be left as a wild wetland for birds...What happened????

  2. It is not an amphitheater unless there will be gladiator fights. Amphitheater is a building which function is to host animal or gladiator fights. If on the orchestra acting is going on, it is just a theater. I also have to add that it is not a really good copy (and not because the size). In a Greek theater there should be a building behind the orchestra. Here is the link which shows it.

  3. Jean, I don't remember that, it would be something to check up on.

    Ropi, I defer to you on all issues of ancient Roman and Greek history, that's your expertise.
    But I think this is an issue of English language, not history. In English we seem to have broadened the meaning of amphitheater to be more about the space than the purpose. Here's from the online Merriam-Webster dictionary.


    1: an oval or circular building with rising tiers of seats ranged about an open space and used in ancient Rome especially for contests and spectacles2 a: a very large auditorium b: a room with a gallery from which doctors and students may observe surgical operations c: a rising gallery in a modern theater d: a flat or gently sloping area surrounded by abrupt slopes3: a place of public entertainment (as for games or concerts)

  4. Yes but as the explanation said it had been used in Ancient Rome so it should mean what it had meant in the Antiquity.

    The second problem is that the phrase "Greek amphitheater" isn't really correct because it is a Roman invention and the structure on your photo wasn't called amphitheater in the antiquity. And my personal opinion is that if a language dares to take away a word from an other language they they should keep its original meaning.

    My last point which can't be attacked by neither language explanation is that its structure is fake and not a bit.

    I am not convinced by your explanation, sorry.

  5. First, there is the difference between how things are and how someone would like them to be.

    In English, we use the word amphitheater to describe many things that may be only barely related to the original Roman meaning.

    Second, why do you think this is a Roman invention, not Greek? From the online etymology dictionary:

    1546, from L. amphitheatrum, from Gk. amphitheatron, neut. of amphitheatros "with spectators all around," from amphi- "on both sides" + theatron "theater," from theasthai "watch, look at." Classical theaters were semi-circles, thus two together made an amphitheater."

    By this Greek definition, the theater would have to go all around.

    Third, language is constantly changing. There are people who want everything to stay the same. I think it reflects a need for control. People who insist on rules of grammar and get mad when people violate the rules come from this group of people. But people use words the way they like, and if enough people use words that way, they become 'right'. I suspect you can give me words in Hungarian that have meanings they didn't have 100 years ago. I can give you lots of examples in English.

    As life changes we need to find words to express those changes. Sometimes we make up new words, sometimes we give new meanings to old words. Sometimes we keep using old words even though they don't make sense any more. We still talk about 'dialing' a phone number in English, but almost no one has a dial telephone anymore. They are all push button. And 'cell' means a telephone now in addition to all the other meanings it has in English.

    I think it is more important if people understand each other than if they keep the same meaning for 2000 years. Though I do think that knowing history helps us understand today. So if we had words that taught us history - like amphitheater - that would be cool.

    I don't think we are arguing different things. I remember going to the famous theater in Epidaurus Greece when I was a little older than you. Here's an article about it that may prove both our points.

    Mystery of Greek Amphitheater's Amazing Sound Finally Solved

    By Tom ChaoTom Chao, LiveScience Staff Writer

    The Theater at Epidaurus on the Peloponnese in Greece

    Cut the chatter! The ancient mystery surrounding the great acoustics of the theater at Epidaurus in Greece has been solved.

    The theater, dating to the 4th century B.C. and arranged in 55 semi-circular rows, remains the great masterwork of Polykleitos the Younger. Audiences of up to an estimated 14,000 have long been able to hear actors and musicians--unamplified--from even the back row of the architectural masterpiece.

    Headlines are generally not written by the author. The headline says amphitheater, but the author never calls it amphitheater.

    But if you Google Epidaurus amphitheater you get lots of hits.

    Again, historically it may be inaccurate, but that is how the word is used in English today.

    What word do you use in Hungarian? How is it applied?

  6. We use it correctly. They may be originated from the Greek word but I remind you that if you were at least Middle class in Rome then you must know Greek because Ancient Greek was the language of administration.

    And let's say I am wrong about the linguistic part (but I don't think) it still wouldn't look like that.


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