Nothing incites the general public more than someone trying to charge for something that was once free. Yet that’s exactly what entrepreneur Oscar F. Spate tried to do in the New York City parks in the blistering summer of 1901. It all started in Central Park on June 22, 1901, when a group of people spotted rows of bright green rocking chairs along the park’s mall, near the casino. Usually in this same spot, stood rows of uncomfortable wooden hard benches, so it was a pleasure indeed for the park-goes to sit and rock and enjoy the wondrous summer day.
The last key option you will want to take into consideration when choosing your desk chair is the type of armrest you will want. If your desk height is lower than a standard desk and you are not going to have a lot of clearance from the desk to the top of your thighs, consider getting a chair without arms. Armrests are not always necessary features to have, especially if you spend most of your time typing. You may also opt for an armless chair if you have a keyboard tray installed underneath your desk which will add even less room to move around. If you have a standard height desk, it is always safe to get adjustable height armrests as an assurance that they will fit properly under your desk. If you use your armrests often, look for a chair that has upholstered or padded armrests, which are cushioned and more comfortable. If you only want to use your armrests from time to time, look for a chair that has swing away arms which allows you to essentially swing the arms away when not in use.
By this time, the president of the Park Commission George C. Clausen was figuratively tearing the hair from his own head. Having first said he could do nothing about the situation without the permission of the rest of the Park Commission, Clausen then reversed himself and said since he was the one who had confirmed Spate’s contract, he could also revoke Spate’s contract with New York City. Spate quickly answered by by getting a court injunction ”restraining Mr. Clausen and the Park Commission from interfering with his valid contract with the City of New York.”
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Park Commissioner Clausen tried to defend his actions by telling the press that there were always plenty of free benches for people to sit on, except, of course, on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The New York Tribune pointed out that those were the days with the biggest demand for seats in the parks. As this issue became monumental, Spate became more resolute. He ordered more chairs be placed in Central Park, and also in Madison Square Park, which was across the street from his office. Some people paid to sit, and those that didn’t, were unceremoniously thrown out of the chairs by Spate’s thugs in gray suits.