Gorky Park's Transformation from Gritty to Glam

Moscow's Gorky Park, once the rundown backdrop of a murder novel, has experienced a remarkable turnaround. Today, the mayor imagines its recovery as part of his legacy while Muscovites simply see it as the perfect place to play, dine, and relax.
David Basulto / Flickr

"Long a drab concrete repository of secondhand carnival rides, Gorky Park has been transformed over the past two years into one of the most extravagant, exuberant and excessive urban recreational spaces in a major world capital. Imprinted in many Western minds by the Soviet-era crime novel and film of the same name, Gorky Park celebrates its 85th anniversary this month. It is not only a park in the leafy retreat sense, but also a psychic respite from the increasingly tense political pressures of modern Russia," writes David M. Herszenhorn.

"Beyond the gardens for strolling and the ponds for paddle-boating, the park in its current form is instead an entertainment destination with more than a dozen restaurants, two dance platforms, an outdoor movie theater, and Garage, a buzzy modern arts center housing an exhibition hall and concert space."

"There are basketball and tennis courts, and many Ping-Pong tables, but the park also embraces extreme sports in a way that would thrill personal injury lawyers in the West, with places for skating, bicycle jumping, skateboarding and the obstacle-course bounding of parkour and free-running. There is also beach volleyball (thanks to tons of trucked-in sand) and even pétanque, the French bocce, played nonstop outside a cafe that could have been imported directly from Provence."

"Mayor Sergei S. Sobyanin, who is running for re-election, counts rejuvenating the city’s parks as one of his main achievements, and he has an even bigger, multimillion-dollar renovation planned that will connect Gorky to several other parks for a green belt along much of the Moscow River."

Full Story: Gorky Park, Once Drab, Now Glows

Comments

Build Your Own Paper Block City

Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds.
$24.95
building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.
$50.00