Thursday, July 22, 2010

Theme Thursday - Park

I've showed you so much of Ballard Park that I thought featuring it for the Thursday theme of "Park" would be overkill. Instead I thought I'd show you some of the other parks I frequent in Newport.

Battery Park overlooks the upper harbor in the Point section of Newport. It's a pleasant place that has a cool breeze blowing even on the hottest days of Summer. When I first moved to Newport in 1974 I lived just up the street and would come here to watch the sun set behind the Newport Bridge and watch the lights on the bridge turn on. I often had long conversations with a nun from the Carmelite chapter house that used to be across the street from the park; she was there for the same reason I was. The Carmelites are gone now, and the nun I talked to was verging on ancient in 1974, so I'm sure she's long gone too.



Touro Park on Bellevue Ave. is another one I hang out in frequently. You've seen it on this blog before, at Cherry Blossom time and showing pictures of the Old Stone Tower in all seasons. Since this is atop the highest hill in downtown Newport, there's always a pleasant breeze here, as well as benches under shady trees, so it's a nice place to hang out. A note on this photo: I took this on April 27 of this year. I took the identical shot on May 9 of last year. That really drove home to me how early everything's been blooming this year - about 2 or 3 weeks - due to an unusually warm Spring and early Summer.


Rovensky Park is at the opposite end of Bellevue Ave., just south of the famous 19th Century "summer cottage" mansions of the robber barons. In fact the park is owned and maintained by the same organization that has restored and runs those mansions now as museums - the Preservation Society of Newport County. Rovensky Park serves as a sort of arboretum; it's full of a wide variety of trees from around the world, all labeled and identified for the education of visitors who seek it's shaded paths and comfortable benches. The ocean is not far away both to the east and to the south, so there's also usually a pleasant breeze here, too. [Note: If I seem to be obsessed with shade and cool breezes in this post, it's because we're undergoing a looooong stretch of heat and high humidity; cool ocean breezes and shade have become objects of much fervid longing these days!]




Music videos time! And we get to join Mr. Peabody and Sherman and climb into the Way Back Machine to travel back to the '60s, when there were some really groovy songs about parks. The first is especially apropos, as it involves some local talent who got internationally famous. Yup, I'm talking about the Cowsills, and they were indeed from Newport. And "The Rain, the Park, and Other Things" (also known as "The Flower Girl") was their first hit in 1967. And here it is, with an appropriately psychedelic visual to go with it.


Speaking of psychedelia, here's a tune you had to be stoned or tripping to really enjoy, written by Jimmy Webb and a huge hit for Richard Harris in 1968 - "MacArthur Park". Yes, the cake is still melting in the rain.


And last but not least, another bit of psychedelia from 1967, all about getting high in the park and seeing beautiful, dreamy visions - Small Faces and "Itchycoo Park". "What did you do there? I got high, yeah!" Oh my, another song we had to hide from our parents! Enjoy!


Photos & text © 2008 & 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

PS - Check out the new blog on the block. Citizen K has started a new blog called 365 Days of Emmylou Harris, featuring photos and music videos of, you guessed it, Emmylou Harris. I'll be contributing to this as well (although my first posts won't be debuting until next week). K and I have a mutual obsession with Miz Emmylou and her music, and we figured this would be a good outlet for it; it was either that or jail time for stalking, and this just seemed safer!

18 comments:

  1. Those are some fine looking parks. Lovely, in fact.

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  2. That cherry blossom pic is just fabulous, Roy!

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  3. I could 'park' myself on any of those benches and enjoy the view! Lovely!

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  4. ah, i feel refreshed just looking at your gorgeous park pics!

    oh, i forgot all about the song macarthur park....omg, the lyrics are too much! trippy indeed! i'd don't think i can take it..... i'll never have the recipe again!!

    god, i hope this isn't today's earworm!

    there will be another song for me

    (i hope)

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  5. bootiful places...love looking out over the water

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  6. love the photos--I wish I could find some shade here too---I will check out the new blog ! happy tt!

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  7. You got a lot of parks there! Beautiful parks with all the green and blossoms! Then you gave us park songs too! Great!

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  8. There is something about a park that we all find inviting. It's like a sanctuary away from home. Benches, trees, flowers, the paths, the woods, the scenery, the people. We just like to go there....for a a walk, a jog, to talk, to sit and relax. Parks just fit us. And I love the pictures. They make you want to be there. And now you have dated me because I know all those songs.

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  9. Beautiful photos and the videos really took me back in time. ("The Rain, the Park and Other Things" was a favorite of mine).

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  10. Great park photos--Newport looks like a wonderful spot. If I was ever there it was many years ago; did some touring around Rhode Island one summer with the my mom as a boy. Note to Mouse & others: MacArthur Park=earworm! (many Jimmy Webb songs do) Beware!

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  11. OMG the Wayback Machine has me laughing. Richard Harris and "MacArthur Park" which was really an awful song. It made no sense whatsoever but we all loved it. I think the girls loved it anyway. Not so much the guys. "Itchycoo Park" was another fave back then. The Cowsills...did they also sing "It Never Rains in California". Were they the family group the tv series, "Partridge Family" was modeled after? I'm too lazy to look it up.

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  12. some beautiful park pics roy...esp the cherry blossoms and that view across the water...nice. happy tt!

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  13. CG - "It Never Rains In Southern California" was written and performed by Albert Hammond; it was a sort of minor hit in 1972. The Cowsills never covered it; by 1972 they were pretty much splitting up and going their own separate ways. Besides "The Rain, the Park..." they also made hits with "Hair" (from the musical of the same name) and "Indian Lake". "Indian Lake" was huge around here because the song is about a local Summer playground/campground/inland fresh water sports place over across the Bay in South Kingstown. People always get excited about songs that mention places and people they know.

    And yes, the Partridge Family was based on the Cowsills.

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  14. Lovely parks! It reminds me I should get up that way again.

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  15. beautiful places to park.
    cool take!

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  16. Fascinating tour of your parks - it inspires me to do the same thing for West Yorkshire. I can't match your photos, nor can I match your views. A great selection of music too.

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  17. Ah Roy this one was made for you wasn't it. Love your parks and the fact that there are so many of them close by. The bridge looks familiar too. I think the same designers build their signature bridges the world over. Lovely walk in the park. Thanks. (Don't ask me why but I used to have the biggest crush on Richard Harris. God look at those sideburns!)

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