News / Europe

Moscow's Famed Gorky Park Gets Makeover

Moscow's Gorky Park, Once Dreary, Goes for Volleyballi
|| 0:00:00
X
James Brooke
August 22, 2012 9:29 PM
During the Cold War, the image of Moscow’s Gorky Park got tangled up with the book and movie thriller of the same name. Then, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it suffered two decades of decay. James Brooke checks in on Moscow’s new Gorky Park.

Moscow's Gorky Park, Once Dreary, Goes for Volleyball

James Brooke
MOSCOW — During the Cold War, the movie thriller "Gorky Park" gave the real park a scary reputation.  Then, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the park suffered from two decades of decay.

Fast forward to today, and the largest downtown park in Europe’s largest city has a totally new look.

Irina Datsiuk now comes to the park to play beach volley ball, in the heart of Moscow.  Dressed in a bright bikini, Irina talks to VOA, “I really like that you can play sports and then go relax, and visit the little shops.  They made everything so comfortable.”

The new Gorky Park offers yoga lessons, tango lessons, salsa lessons, an open air movie theater, and space to play African drums outdoors by the Moscow River.

Stefano moved from Italy to here in June to work as a pizza chef.  Unable to speak Russian, he says in Italian that Moscow is a beautiful city and the customers are happy to find his pizzas are made with Italian ingredients.

During the next five years, Moscow is spending $100 million a year to rebuild its parks.  The goal is to inject some green into the gray cityscape, and to take the rough edges off a city often called "kameni gorod" or stone city.

Assistants put the finishing touches on artwork project in Russia's Gorky Park, June 26, 2012.
Assistants put the finishing touches on artwork project in Russia's Gorky Park, June 26, 2012.

Gorky Park director Olga Zakharova says before the total remake started 18 months ago, only 2,000 people a day ventured into the 120-hectare park.  She says, “This year, we have from 40,000 people on weekdays, and from 100,000 on the weekends.”

“Gorky Park has a huge amount of programs,” she answers when asked if there are now traffic jams near the park seven days a week.  “We do not miss any holidays.  For us, Gorky Park is a place where we spend a great deal of time.  And we want to make it so that everyone comes here and feels happy. Like every day is a holiday.”

Opening in a few months is a modern art center, designed by Rem Koolhaas, the Dutch architect.  Guaranteed to provide more buzz, and more visitors, the project is bankrolled by Roman Abramovich, a Russian billionaire.

And all this may good politics too.  Young people who are outdoors, having fun, may have less interest in political protest.

You May Like

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid