A Petition to Rename Binghamton’s Recreation Park for Rod Serling

It’s one of the most iconic images in the whole run of The Twilight Zone: the carousel in “Walking Distance“, Rod Serling’s bittersweet valentine to his upbringing in 1930s’ Binghamton, New York.

Even more remarkable, as many fans know, is the fact that you can visit the actual one that inspired him to write that classic episode. It’s located in Binghamton’s Recreation Park, one of six merry-go-rounds donated by businessman George F. Johnson.

Recently, I’m sorry to say, the park was damaged by fire, the result of arson that occurred in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder. The playground was completely destroyed — but the carousel, thank heavens, was undamaged.

Now we have a chance to do something positive. Nick Parisi, president of the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation and author of “Rod Serling: His Life, Work, and Imagination“, has started a petition to rename Recreation Park in honor of Serling.

As the petition notes:

Rod Serling, award winning playwright and creator of The Twilight Zone, called Binghamton his hometown. Even after he and his family had relocated to California, he would return to Binghamton every summer to see the places of his youth – his boyhood home on Bennett Ave, his high school on Main Street, and his beloved Recreation Park. It was here that he turned for inspiration for one of the most beloved Twilight Zone episodes, “Walking Distance,” about a middle-aged man who wants nothing more than to return to the parks and carousels of his youth. By signing this petition, we declare that Rod Serling’s love for his hometown – and particularly for Recreation Park, be officially recognized by changing the park’s name to Rod Serling’s Recreation Park.

I hope every fan reading this will join me in signing this petition. It takes less than a minute: just click this link and add your name and email address. (And if you’re then prompted for a donation, please note that it is certainly appreciated, but not required.)

“Everybody has to have a hometown,” Serling once said. “Binghamton’s mine.” Surely the man who enriched the lives of so many people through his immense talent deserves this honor.

***

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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

About Paul

Fanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.

Posted on 06/12/2020, in Rod Serling and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. How dare they burn a children’s park? That just burned ME up!
    I’m so glad the carousel was left alone too. I wish I could supply every signature for that petition!

  2. Burning a park is senseless. Renaming it after a man who tackled injustice in his writing would be appropriate.

  3. One of Rod Serling’s many great accomplishments was his mastery of writer’s resources. Dickens, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and other notable writers achieved success by writing about what they knew. Rod Serling did that with “Walking Distance.” And in doing so, he immortalized an obscure park to the rest of the world, perfectly capturing the longing for the achingly beautiful simplicity of youth. Without Mr. Serling’s unforgettable depiction of a personal time and place that he somehow made applicable to millions of people, this park would be just another place. Instead, it is part of that realm we treasure, the realm of wonders that are “as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.”

  4. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Paul! I signed the petition!

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