As the crowd converged on the chairs, people who had already paid for the right to sit, abandoned the chairs and fled from the park. One of Spate’s man quit his job on the spot, and he also fled the park. However, another one of Spate’s men continued to try to collect the chair fees. But he quit his job too after an angry old lady jabbed him in the back of the neck with a hairpin. On Monday July 8th, Madison Square Park was the site of almost constant rioting. A dozen or so boys went from chair to chair, sitting for as long as they pleased, accompanied by an unruly crowd threatening to hang any of Spate’s men who tried to collect any fees. A brave and foolhardy Spate employee named Otto Berman slapped one boy in the face. The crowd surrounded Berman and his life was saved by six policemen, who bum-rushed Berman out of the park and into safety. Things had gotten so-out-of-control in Madison Square Park, police reenforcement were called in from the nearby West Thirtieth Street police station.
Suddenly, two broad-shouldered men approached the rocking-chair sitters. They wore identical gray suits and they carried black satchels with straps over their shoulders. The men in gray told the sitters that these were private chairs for rent, and that if they wanted to continue sitting they had to fork over five cents a day for the better seats, and three cents a day for seats that were not in as preferential a position in the park. Some people vacated their seats, but others paid. People who did neither were physically ejected from the seats. When they asked why, the men in gray said, ”Them’s Mr. Spate’s chairs.”
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That question was asked of me recently by a pastor we were working with. He had contacted us regarding the worship seating needs of his church, he was operating with a very tight budget, and he wanted a church chair that featured a high degree of quality. As we conversed, I suggested one chair solution that we have placed in several churches that performs very well, possesses great quality and is easy on the budget. The pastor though, even though he loved the price and was pleased with the specifications of the chair, uttered the words above.
A church chair is secondly a chair that is in compliance with any and all legal requirements that are in force in the particular jurisdiction where your church is located. We find that many churches are unaware that when a room reaches a specific number of people occupying it (you will have to contact your local officials to determine this limit for your area) rules can go into effect for your seating. For example, in some areas your chairs may be required to be ”affixed” the floor. In other areas, the ability to effectively connect your chairs to each other may be non-negotiable. The fire-retardant requirements for the fabric and foam that make up a part your chairs may be stricter in some localities than others. The simple truth is that your chairs should be in compliance with those codes in force in your location. Please know again that this truth is not related to the appearance of your church chair. Instead it has everything to do with honoring authority.
A church chair is a chair that provides those in attendance at a worship service the ability to focus on the service itself versus continually dealing with discomfort because of the chairs they are sitting on. The reality is that when people attend a church service they want to be able to see what is going on, hear what is going on, and be able to choose to participate in what is taking place. But when the chair they are sitting on is uncomfortable, all of the above are affected negatively and will become a distraction for them throughout the worship service, versus something that enhances their overall experience. Please know the above truth is not related to the appearance of the chair. Instead it has everything to do with the comfort the chair provides.