Sunday, February 12, 2023

Photo of the Day: Weasel Brook Park, Clifton, NJ

Weasel Brook, a tributary of the Passaic River, is the center of a 19-acre “pocket park” in Clifton, NJ. It reminds me of the stream in my neighborhood in Bergen County, except that Clifton has surrounded it not with housing but with open greenery and recreational facilities.

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 House.

(“Weasel” is a modification of “Wesel,” a town in Holland, and the first inhabitants of the area surrounding the brook were Dutch.)

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.

No comments: