Thursday, March 1, 2018


We have a "Nextdoor" website where folks from my neighborhood 'discuss' current issues.  I've been taken to task  by a man with an Armenian name for my being in strong opposition to the destruction of Central Park here in Glendale, California.  The back and forth includes some mild criticisms and being summarily dismissed by this person who thinks that this idea to spend Eighty Million Dollars to revamp Central Park and the entire area around our recent twenty million dollar revamp of the Central Library with a large edifice, "The American Armenian Museum," is a good idea.  I'm very much in favor of a museum, but  strongly disagree regarding the location. To that point I've posted the following on Nextdoor: 

I am so happy to see a response that is not 'rude'.. of course, my confrontational 'style' may seem outre but it's for a purpose. It's time for folks to speak up.. and I am so very grateful for Phil James's thoughtful and respectful response.  Of course, the benefits return to our Armenian immigrants.  There will never be a positive return, except to them. Peripherally, long time residents of Glendale, tolerant of this impending take over may shrug and just take it. Financially? Parking for the Americana? More taxes from sales of expensive goods there?  Wow. I wonder.  Keeping the park out of the hands of Rick Caruso? Double Wow.. It's like a big Monopoly game with the rich folks just doing what they please. 

The dog and pony show that the City presented promoting this debacle is a sham.  The fact is that this huge museum is a monument to Armenia, not to Glendale.  I should point out that the museum is not, by itself, an Eighty Million Dollar project.  The entire destruction of Central Park and environs may cost that huge price tag. 

Many of us feel helpless in the face of elected officials ruling by 'caveat.'  "These are the times that try men's souls?"

The current plan does, I think, include an Environmental Impact Study/Report. So!  If Health and Happiness for Human Beings is important, it seems to me that destroying open space is not the way to achieve that.  By re-purposing any of the suggested alternative sites, we save Central Park and enliven now moldering real estate with the Mountains of Ararat.  Actually, in another space  like the available restaurant at Brand and Glenoaks?.. we achieve the goal of a monument to Armenia and fill a long languishing corner.  That the museum design is not to my particular more conservative tastes is personal. 

I draw attention to the Museum of Tolerance on Pico in Los Angeles.  It is modestly designed and located and serves a respectful community. The Armenian Museum could easily appear at Glenoaks and Brand, serving their community as the Museum of Tolerance does and not destroy Central Park.

Let's not be hasty to forever remove a space that reminds us that we are Human Beings.  Ara Oshagan's huge installation on Central Park to remind us of the humanity of his ancestors is a good example of how important an open and lively space is. Chrome and glass and underground parking is not a good idea, to me, at the expense of open sky and.. when it rains.. a welcoming lawn where one can breathe and even lie down to enjoy the day. 

I won't apologize to anyone for strong feelings.  It's my prayer that government by caveat will not overwhelm common sense and that Glendale may share its values with our new immigrant neighbors without succumbing to what feels like a cultural takeover. 

Please.. Let's find a proper site for this museum and build it with private funds and, as with The Museum of Tolerance, support it with admission fees and donors who share the Armenian vision.  Please.. This is a sincere request. Please.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Michael, "Armenian immigrants" are as much citizens of this city as you are. And museums benefit everyone who want to take the time to learn from them.