This new phenomenon was covered extensively and very contentiously, in the following day’s daily New York City newspapers. And the man on the hot seat was the president of the Park Commission – one George C. Clausen. It seemed that a few days earlier, Clausen had been visited in his official Park Commission office by a man named Oscar F. Spate. Spate seemed amiable enough, and he offered Clausen a proposition Clausen saw no difficulty in accepting. It seemed that Spate said he wanted to place comfortable rocking chairs in the parks throughout New York City. And for the privilege of doing so, Spate offered the city the tidy sum of $500 a year.
Sitting in an office chair with arms, arguably, is the norm and preferred form of seating in most workplaces across the world. Ask any of your coworkers or friends if they would prefer a chair with armrests and the great majority of them would probably answer yes. While you may find many people prefer to sit in a chair with armrests, there is also a great number of people who would choose sitting in an armless chair instead. Armless office chairs possess quite a few benefits that office chairs with arms do not offer which makes them a great alternative for your office seating.
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If that’s the case, then we should buy good workplace chairs, right? If we look at the market today, we can see that most companies already offer chairs that are said to be ergonomically correct. This means that they are designed especially for the human body. But aside from ergonomics, what else makes a good office chair? A good office chair gives comfort, One of the first things we usually consider before buying an work chair is whether it is comfortable or not. This is important because we are going to sit on that chair for almost the entire day everyday and who would want to sit on something uncomfortable for that long? It has also been found that comfortable seats can affect our work productivity.
”They do this in London and Paris,” Spate told Clausen. ”And it would undoubtedly be good for New York City.” Clausen saw no problem with Spate’s line of thinking, so he readily agreed; albeit without first consulting with the other member of the Park Commission. As a result, Clausen graced Spate with a five-year contract, allowing Spate to place his rocking chairs in all the New York City parks. With the ink still not dry on his contract, Spate immediately ordered 6,000 chairs, costing about $1.50 each. If Spate’s projections were correct, these chairs would earn him an estimated $250-$300 a day.
Spate also told the reporters he was doing the city a favor, since charging for the chairs would keep the undesirables (read – the poor) out of the parks, thereby keeping the parks sparkling clean and free of loiterers who leave a mess in their wake. The outrage from the New York City press and from philanthropists came swift. Randolph Guggenheimer, the president of the Municipal Council, said he ”saw no good reason for allowing private parties to occupy park grounds and make money through a scheme like this.” The New York City Central Federated Union sent a statement to the press denouncing both Spate and Clausen for their ”hideous actions.” The New York Tribune wrote in an editorial, ”This is only another instance of the hopeless stupidity of the present Park Commission.” The New York Journal also wrote an editorial defending the ”rights of poor people to sit in public park.” However, the New York Times saw no problem in what Spate was doing, as long as ”the prices were regulated properly.”