Though I have seen on the Internet that Clifton has
upgraded Weasel Brook Park, which I visited yesterday, it doesn’t seem
to have attempted to change its flow.
That may be just as well: in the age of climate
change, any belief that a dam project would stem flooding for good might have
been a dangerous illusion (as my hometown, Englewood, found out when Hurricane
Ida overflowed the banks of the creek across the street from me, on what had
years ago been labeled a floodplain).
Instead of residences that would have to be evacuated,
Weasel Brook Park features two basketball courts, a picnic area, a playground,
a multiuse athletic field, and, up a hill, the restored, 300-year-old Westervelt-Vanderhoef
(“Weasel” is a modification of “Wesel,” a town in
Holland, and the first inhabitants of the area surrounding the brook were
Mostly, it provides a chance to walk a dog, breathe in
the air, even to exercise. (Yes, there’s an “outdoor fitness system,” with stops
for, among other things, a “chest/back presser” and “cardio stepper.”)
But, as a longtime fixture of Clifton, and among a
group of county parks managed by the famous landscape architecture firm Olmsted
Brothers, this slice of land gives residents a chance, for a few minutes, to
slow down the pace of life in this Northern New Jersey city.