Forest Park: Best park ever
Also, the parking could be better.
There: That's the extent of complaints we can make about Forest Park in Everett.
This weekend, temperatures are expected to be blissful, hovering around the mid-70s with just enough blue sky, and so, if you haven't recently, we'd encourage you -- no, make that urge you -- to visit Forest Park.
Sure, you could go to another city park. Everett has 39 total.
There's Jetty Island, surrounded by cold water and a swarm of kiteboarders. There's Howarth Park, with its sprawl of gray beach at low tide -- but construction is complicating parking there right now. There's Thornton A. Sullivan Park at Silver Lake, with its trails and playground.
You have options. But if you're going to go, you may as well go big, and in Everett, there is none bigger, and none better, than Forest Park.
There also is none older. In 1894, two years after Everett's founding, the Swawell family sold 10 acres of forested land to the city for less than $10,000. The spot grew, with the city adding acreage until 1916, by which time the park's borders basically were established.
Today, Everett's population of 104,000 lays claim to a 197-acre park. To put that in perspective, New York City's 8.24 million people share Central Park's 843 acres.
Central Park, you say -- is that a fair comparison? Yes, we say, without batting an eye.
Sure, Woody Allen never included Forest Park in a sweeping montage set to a Gershwin instrumental. But in many respects, the two parks are on a level playing field.
Both are elegantly maintained green spaces. Both offer a near-complete escape from asphalt and concrete. Both have painfully unimaginative names describing their ultimately beautiful settings.
This weekend, though, Central Park is out of reach. Forest Park isn't. So it has that going for it.
It also has an indoor pool with a rope swing, diving boards and lap-swimming lanes. It has an outdoor splash park, jungle gyms, and an animal farm. It has shaded trails, a tennis court, and the quaintly shingled Floral Hall, completed in 1940 and now on the National Registry of Historic Places.
It has all that, and yet, you don't really need any of it on a hot August afternoon. You just need a Frisbee or a football, a beach towel or a book. You just need the smallest excuse imaginable to drive over with some friends or family and lounge outside.
Here is your excuse: Your tax dollars pay for it.
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