Settling the Urban Park Debate

At work this morning I got into an unusually passionate debate with a coworker about which is the largest city park in the United States. He adamantly maintained that it was Golden Gate Park, in San Francisco. And I, being a proud Philadelphian, boasted that Fairmount Park was the undisputed urban park champ of the world.

Well, turns out both of us are wrong. And, to my Brooklyn homies out there, no, it ain’t Prospect Park either. Nor is it Central Park, you egocentric Manhattanites!

According to The Straight Dope, Golden Gate, with its measly 1,107 acres, wouldn’t even be in the top ten. At 840 acres, Central Park would come in at about 15th place. By comparison, Philly’s Fairmount Park looks like Goliath, with 4,618 acres (4,239 if you deduct the Schuylkill River, which runs right down the middle). But even that isn’t enough to give it the top spot. It’s not number two, either!

As it turns out, one city lays claim to both. The largest city park in the U.S. is South Mountain Park, currently 16,169 acres but planning to expand to 16,455. Which city spawned this monster? None other than cursed Phoenix, the metropolitan abortion that just usurped Philly as the 5th largest city in the U.S. This cancer of the Southwest is also home to the number two park, Phoenix Mountain Reserve, which is also expanding from 7,358 to 7,750 acres.

Still, I’m not willing to concede nothin’ to Phoenix — Phoe-friggin-nix! If insisting that Philly has the largest urban park is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

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