Most ribbon cuttings and grand openings in D.C. are met with at least a small and mighty neighborhood reception, but the opening of Chuck Brown Memorial Park earlier this morning was an outright party. Police had shut down 20th Street NE between Franklin and Hamlin, vendors set up tents, artists sold paintings and not even the rain could stop the crowd of people from gathering in the brand new space dedicated to the Godfather of Go-Go. Mayor Vince Gray, who helped open the park, refused to acknowledge the weather conditions, choosing to call it "liquid sunshine."
That said, Mayor Gray did not hesitate to address the difficulties that the park faced in opening. He never explicitly mentioned the park's proposed amphitheater that the neighbors ultimately shot down, but he did state that the process was not smooth and that some of the community meetings got particularly rough amidst his list of opening congratulations. A blue tarp covered the photos of Brown on the semi-circular wall at the east end of the park, but visitors could still play the drums and chimes, look at his discography and step amidst the sculpture designed by local artist Jackie Braitman. Have a look.
· All Chuck Brown Coverage [CDC]