June 25, 2004
To start off, set back from the street in a nook between two skyscrapers, are nine sections of the original Berlin Wall. The sections are covered with artwork from three different artists, and there are several placards placed in front that talk about the wall. See those pictures! They also have an original East German guard tower from near Checkpoint Charlie.
To the left of this display is a set of steps (the entire park moves uphill in terraced steps as it broadly curves to the right) leading up to a series of symbols of freedom from around the world. Among the symbols are cast bronze replicas of the Goddess of Democracy located in Tienamen Square (similar to the Statue of Liberty, but with oriental eyes), a South African ballot box (end of apartied), the door to the jail cell where Martin Luther King, Jr was held, a small homemade boat used by Cuban refugees, reproductions of Women's Sufferage banners, an actual toppled stone statue of Lenin - sans head, a section of cobbles from the Warsaw Jewish ghetto, and finally, a slightly less than 1/2 scale bronze of "Freedom", the 1863 sculpture by Thomas Crawford that crowns the dome of the US Capitol building.
Still farther up is a Journalists Memorial, dedicated to those who gave their lives while practicing freedom of the press, known and unknown. A kiosk with a touchscreen terminal contains a directory of names on the memorial. There is also an attached Journalists Museum, but I haven't been in there yet.
Adjoining the memorial is a long curving series of fountains dedicated to early American journalism pioneers. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, James Gordon Bennett, Frederick Douglas, Horace Greeley (he of the advice to head west), and Ida B. Wells.
Across from the fountains are 270 pictures painted by kids that represent freedom. Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Religion, Freedom to Grow, Freedom to Learn, and so on.
Whoever designed the park did a nice job making it feel larger than it really is. It's impossible to hide the towering buildings around, but the eye is drawn downwards into the park itself. There are trees and grassy areas, and plenty of benches to enjoy the fresh air. This was a pleasant surprise to find, especially in the heart of the downtown area, and I'll probably go there often to have my lunch. If you're in the Rosslyn area of Arlington, you should check it out.
Thanks for posting this. I'll need to add it to my very long "places to see when I have a spare day" list. I never did make it to the Newseum when it was there...maybe when it reopens.
Posted by: nic at June 26, 2004 08:11 AM (16A49)
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