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Benched! High Line, Washington Square Park Seating Scolded

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How slow is the summer news cycle? This week the Villager has not one but two stories about people complaining about benches in new and improved public oases. First up, a group of activists are circulating a flier titled "High Crimes on the High Line," condemning the use of rainforest-harvested ipe wood for the promenade's benches, bleachers and in-demand loungers. In a statement defending its choice of lumber, Friends of the High Line says the ipe was "taken from a managed forest certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which is recognized by many major environmental organizations for creating and"?OK, we already fell asleep twice. On to the next raging rear-end controversy!

The renovation of Washington Square Park has been celebrated by many, but not by longtime Village resident Stephen Maniloff. The problem? The new benches are hella uncomfortable. "It's my worst nightmare. The benches are just egregious," he tells the Villager. How does this bench debacle fit in with the conspiracy theory that the Parks Department is on a mission to create a more antiseptic Washington Square Park? Glad you asked! According to Maniloff, the benches are intentionally uncomfortable so people don't linger. Is it true? The Villager recruited an ergonomics expert(!) to get a professional opinion. His take: "The new benches are ergonomically superior to the others. The subtle shape of the base should certainly be appropriate for a wide variety of body types, and the lumbar support seems to be perfectly placed." Clearly The Man already got to him.
· Rainforest activists: High Line wood a ‘pour’ choice [Villager]
· New-style benches don’t sit well with park regular [Villager]