Arts and CultureNew York

The Mysterious Plaques on Central Park Benches

Updated: Aug 31, 2011 15:03
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Central Park Bench

I’m a proud New Yorker and as one I pride myself in not knowing a damn thing about tourist attractions the city has to offer. Sure, I’ve know where these places are located. I pass them by all the time but I never think to actually experience them. The mentality:” Eh, it’ll always be there. I’ll eventually get to it…one day”. (Sad but true.)I’ve never been to the Empire State Building, I’ve been to the Statue of Liberty once and I can count the number of times I’ve been inside of Central Park on my hands. My latest visit to the biggest park in the city gave me quite a surprise. I found these silver plaques on the benches with inscriptions on them. My friends and I spent about a half-hour walking around reading them. Some were unintentionally funny. So much so that it inspired me to look up what the deal was behind these plaques and what I could do to get one of my own.

Apparently there has been an Adopt-A-Bench program going on for the last 25-years. (As you can tell I lack awareness of the environment around me. I bet Stuart’s Broke-Ass Guide to Central Park would have helped.) The program began to fund the maintenance of the benches in Central Park. The money donated also takes care of the site around the benches. But how much did it cost someone to buy a plaque with an inscription that reads: This bench is reserved for Dick? Looks like someone paid a jaw-dropping $7,500. Broke-Asses beware!!! After uncovering that little tidbit I’m pretty sure I’m never getting a personalized plaque on a park bench…ever. More unsettling is that there’s an option to donate $25,000 to have your own plaque with inscription on hand-made rustic bench.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this can serve as motivation for those who are tired of being young, broke and beautiful. You know, at some point we grow up (hopefully) and want to be old, rich and ugly (like Donald Trump.) And for years the reason people have come to New York is to be successful. If there’s any motivation needed to achieve that, there it is. The people who had enough money to just get their own plaque on an adopted bench must have accomplished something great in their lives.

In conclusion, being broke allows you to be creative and makes your adventures a lot crazier. Meanwhile having money can buy you a lot of crazy things. Either way you have a story to tell. I already have too many crazy stories. Maybe one day I can take a nice girl to Central Park and tell her about the bench I adopted. But until then I’ll just be taking the slutty girl to the bench in the picture.


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Alison Lambert - Half Price Headliner

Alison Lambert - Half Price Headliner

Ali was born and raised in the Wholesome/Creepy capital of the world, Salt Lake City, UT. Once she was old enough to blow that pop stand she escaped to the place that was the anti-SLC: The Peoples Gay-public of Drugifornia aka San Francisco (holla 30 Rock!). You can now find her throughout this glorious city slurping Pho and scheming with her best friend Pinky doing what they do every night; try and take over the world.