For several months, benches alongside Northampton, Massachusetts' Hampshire County courthouse and the upscale Hotel Northampton have sported bolt-reinforced wooden dividers. With all the sophistication of a middle school shop project and evocative of urinal partitions, these contrivances—in one of America’s most avowedly liberal small cities—have one underlying purpose: to keep the homeless and other consumers from embracing horizontality. There’s a warm air grate near the Hotel Northampton; combine that with benches that allow for stretching out, and you’ve got a magnet for the homeless, observes a life-long Northampton townie and student of the city’s infrastructure.
|No magistrates at the bench.|
The partitioned benches also offer a behavioral nudge, enticing the horizontally disposed to real deal benches across Main Street in Pulaski Park. Chez Pulaski captures Northampton at its win-win giddiest, with its warren of benches in an enclave set back from the city’s frolicsome and commercial pursuits.
| Pulaski Park: A safer haven?|
(photo: wmshc_kiwi's photostream)
|Town Hall Northampton, October 2011|
Photo by Garson Fields