Friendship Park dictates traffic patterns for blocks in every direction, for everyone. It turns Friendship Avenue into an oblong roundabout and it interrupts two small cross streets, S. Milvale and S. Mathilda. Cars coming down those streets must go around the park to continue forward, but pedestrian traffic can continue relatively unabated.
Where those two streets would have run through the park are two sitting areas, cement circles dividing the park into thirds. All day long, people relax on benches while their neighbors cut through the park. Each sitting area is ringed in bricks. The bricks are old. They have survived many winters and summers, many rainy and sunny days. These continual changes in temperature and moisture cause the clay bricks to expand and contract (and expand and contract) until some finally fracture. The fractures create intricate patterns that almost make perfect sense. The most interesting are below.
Why are only some bricks fractured? One reason is the layout of the park.
While the two sitting areas are similar, they are not identical. For our purposes today, only one distinction is important: the circle at S. Milvale is small enough to accommodate a sidewalk on either side, but the circle at S. Mathilda extends into the grass, forcing pedestrians to walk on the bricks as they cross the park. The fractured bricks are concentrated in those walkways. So in addition to the stresses of outdoor life, those fractures represent daily routines. They are the result of thousands of neighbors going from home to work and back home again, going to restaurants and to church, heading out in summer and in the winter, in the rain and in the sun, year after year after year.