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MelodyO
07-10-2007, 10:44 PM
I'm trying to figure out what a park in a very bad big-city neighbourhood would be like at nightfall. Do the gang members/junkies/homeless people make a lot of noise and carouse, or does everybody sneak around in the foliage, or what? Any authentic details would be appreciated, as my two characters are stuck on a park bench, and I need to plan what happens to them next.

Cath
07-10-2007, 10:54 PM
Depends what effect you want. You could have city noise in the background or you could have a haven from the city. IMO, quiet is scarier - with a lot of rustling that could be people or animals.

I suspect the only noisy carousers would be party-goers on their way home - the others have reason to be quiet.

Dan J
07-10-2007, 11:10 PM
We've got a park in the middle of our town, right next to the town centre, and in my teen years we used to hang out their long into the night, we used to drink their underage so their would be alot of fooling about and shouting, and I imagine if you'd been sat anywhere else in the park you would have heard us although probably not seen us which I imagine would be pretty scary, however despite the park bein right outside the town centre and surrounded by main roads you could never really hear anything outside the park, the rustling of the trees is alot stronger.

So basically if your having gangs in the park then you could definatly hear them in the background but id keep the city sounds to a minimum, maybe throwing in a police siren or something.

Hope this has helped you.

BarbJ
07-11-2007, 12:46 AM
Years ago, I managed a gas station across the street from a large park for a year or so. There was an occasional party, but that noise usually died down around ten or eleven. After that, it was quiet except for an occasional shot (or, oddly, cherry bomb) or sudden abrupt cussing as someone ran across the street. Usually just the sound of traffic and trees.

What I remember most vividly was the raped women, and there were several. We were open 24 hours, so those on our side of the park would run towards our lights. Out of five, four didn't want us to call the police and ran if they thought we were going to. The fifth was just a scared kid.

Several times, I came in the morning and found blood all over the restrooms, both the mens' and womens'. Since they were behind the building, out of sight of our windows, we never knew where it came from, aside from one young guy we had to call an ambulence for. But we were fortunate; at another station, there was a dead body.

Sometimes I came to find yuckier things in the restrooms. Let's not go there.

The police came to trust me (apparently the prior owner had been trafficking), so they began having coffee and doughnuts while parked on our lot, and it got better. But, back to the subject, it was commonly a quiet and peaceful scene on the surface.

Jean Marie
07-11-2007, 02:25 AM
Geez, the first park that comes to my mind, is Central Park in NYC. They tell you to never, ever go there after nightfall. There have been more attacks there than, I think, than any other city in the country.

And, of course, there are benches all over the place. There are also running trails that wind through wooded areas, as well. Would-be attackers have hidden there. There is one well known case of a jogger, who was nearly killed a number of years ago.

It's the kind of set-up that easily lends itself to fright to the reader.

Sandi LeFaucheur
07-11-2007, 04:59 AM
I lived next to Crystal Palace Park in South London in the 1980s, and although I never ventured into the park at night (you'd have to scale the gates to do so, as they shut them at dusk), I can tell you that it wasn't unusual for the police chopper to be circling overhead at night--about five feet over my roof, it seemed, and shining its light in my bedroom window every five minutes or so.

yesandno
07-11-2007, 05:37 AM
I was walking my dog in a small park in my small hometown late one night. Without warning, I noticed that people from three different directions were heading purposefully my way, closing me in. I've never run so fast in my life--I think my dog was flying out behind me at the end of the leash with no paws on the ground.

I'm not sure how other parks are, but this was definitely a skulking-in-the-dark kind of situation.

Chumplet
07-11-2007, 05:44 AM
We have several large parks along river valleys, running through our large city. There was a high profile gang murder a few years ago -- sparked by a fight over cigarettes. A fifteen-year-old boy was beaten to death.

In my smaller home town, a beating took place in broad daylight in a park surrounded by affluent houses. The teenager suffered severe brain damage, but he perservered and graduated high school, going on to university. His father started a campaign to bring underage offenders to justice.

JoniBGoode
07-11-2007, 06:26 PM
I'm trying to figure out what a park in a very bad big-city neighbourhood would be like at nightfall.

I would have to say that a park in a "very bad" big-city neighborhood would be unsafe at any time of day. In those neighborhoods, the gangs own the parks 24/7. I live in Chicago, and there are some parks I won't go to at high noon, because there is obvious drug and gang activity. So, there's no difference at night in those areas. (Okay, maybe more activity and gunfire at night.)

It's actually in better neighborhoods and suburbs that the parks are safe during the day, but dangerous at night (at least in my area.) They aren't crowded, but when you do encounter someone they look like a gangbanger. You may hear random noises that could be backfires, firecrackers or gunshots. You may well encounter someone who tries to follow you, or mugs you.

As far as homeless people, mostly they are looking for a safe place to sit, or to sleep. They might recline on a bench, or sit in the bushes with all their belongings, but they usually won't bother you. They can be really scary (as I'm sure you know) if they exhibit signs of psychosis or other mental illness.

WriterInChains
07-15-2007, 09:48 AM
JoniBGoode's post is spot on. The only time I've ever been attacked in a park was in the early afternoon in a small neighborhood park in Oakland, CA. And the guy I was with (his first name is "ex" to me now :)) lived in that neighborhood. You couldn't pay me to go there at night.

Skyraven
07-15-2007, 08:23 PM
Well, Central Park is definitely a place I avoid after dark. Prospect Park in Brooklyn is another one. Many women get raped there while jogging. For the most part, the idea is that there aren't that many people around in the first place so that someone can sneak up on you. That's why as a New Yorker, I only walk where there are crowds or at least keep on main streets and avenues. I tend not to walk around alone after night falls. Unfortunately, I have to be on guard here.

Hope this helps.

Read my blog:

www.skyravensays.blogspot.com

jennifer75
07-18-2007, 11:04 PM
I'm trying to figure out what a park in a very bad big-city neighbourhood would be like at nightfall. Do the gang members/junkies/homeless people make a lot of noise and carouse, or does everybody sneak around in the foliage, or what? Any authentic details would be appreciated, as my two characters are stuck on a park bench, and I need to plan what happens to them next.


Research Macarthur Park in Los Angeles Mid City area. Oh boy, that's a fun one. Also Echo Park Lake had its share of crime and bodies...

kenzie45230
07-19-2007, 07:32 PM
This is from years ago, but... We had a park next to our house. The rules said that no one was allowed in the park after dark. So any loud noises left at or just after dusk. That's when the quiet problems started. Drugs, booze, sex parties (you could tell by all the condoms left in the morning). The only noises were from dogs who detected people in the park who shouldn't have been. They were never visible. Always hid from view so when the cops drove by they couldn't see anything.