Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Free Fun at Madison Ave Pocket Park Opening Day Celebration

Graphics: Madison Avenue Park

Graphics: Madison Avenue Park

The Madison Avenue Park (MAP) will open to the public with a free daylong celebration on Friday, April 21st.

Celebrate the grand opening of this new pocket park in the heart of downtown Memphis with food trucks, live music, video screenings, dance, theatre, food trucks, and more. All events are free and open to the public from 9am to 9pm on April 21st.

Opening Day Schedule:

  • Madison Avenue Pocket Park9am: Downtown Yoga
  • 10am: Visible Music College
  • 11am: Tennessee Shakespeare Company
  • 11am: Sache T-Shirt Truck
  • 11am-2pm: MEMPopS and Food Trucks
  • 12pm: Charveymac
  • 1pm: Memphis Symphony Orchestra Star Wars preview
  • 2pm: Opera Memphis
  • 3pm: Hattiloo Theatre
  • 4pm: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
  • 4:30pm: Stax Music Academy Choir
  • 5pm-7pm: Happy Hour with MEMPopS and Food Trucks
  • 5:30pm: Kaleidoscope (U.S. band)
  • 8pm: Indie Memphis – Local Music Video Block

Scott Crosby, attorney and co-owner of The Brass Door, has brought Planning + Art Resources for Communities (PARC) Foundation, architects, and other Memphians have collaborated on a privately funded pocket park at 151 Madison Avenue.

“I believe in the core,” says Scott Crosby. “Everything flows from the core.”

Scott, a lifelong Memphian and local attorney, is referring to a new public park on Madison Avenue across the street from the Brass Door, of which he’s a part owner. Across many American cities, previously dormant spaces and places are being rediscovered and activated. The new Madison Avenue Park (MAP), located on the site of a former, abandoned Burger King next to the iconic First Tennessee Bank tower, is both an exemplar of this development wave and one of its precursors.

In Memphis alone, new developments along the South Main corridor and Mississippi Riverfront and in the Edge and Crosstown neighborhoods, along with massive new investments coming to the Pinch district, are proof positive of this. By some estimates, approximately $3.8 billion in public and private capital are being deployed within the city’s historic parkway system, which roughly frames its urban core.

“I’ve worked in downtown Memphis for 20 years,” explains Crosby, a partner at the law firm of Burch Porter & Johnson. “I’ve always been fascinated with ‘third places’ — where do people live when they’re not at work and they’re not at home. To some degree that was what creating the Brass Door was about, and it worked. When the Burger King became available, we knew we could do something great with it too.”

Various scenarios were debated — including a second pub and a surface parking lot — and discarded before a colleague of Scott’s at First Tennessee Bank had a simple idea: Why not a park?

The idea proved kismetic, because within a span of months, family and family friends of Crosby’s had connected him to The PARC Foundation, a nonprofit founded by artist David Deutsch which is dedicated to “strengthening communities by serving as a catalyst for the development and promotion of contemporary art and architecture.” PARC agreed to design and fund the construction of an innovative new public space amenity that would feed off of the humming energy of the street while also providing a peaceful respite from it.

MAP 1

The multileveled space includes ample green space, as well as a small performance stage at the peak of its top level and a vitrine gallery space underneath. By removing the previous eyesore structure, Madison Avenue Park breathes literal new space into a segment of downtown that had been overlooked. The world-famous Peabody Hotel and Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous are now plainly visible from the Brass Door, instantly creating a more seamless, inviting, and intuitive pedestrian experience.

The PARC Foundation and Davies Toews Architecture co-designed the space and Montgomery Martin was the general contractor. No tax dollars or other public incentives were used in any phase of the project.

Join the facebook event page here for updates on opening day celebrations.

What do you think about these plans? What events would you like to see happen here? Comment below with your ideas!