A fairly large chunk of Polyustrovo, located across the river from the city centre, has been recently revamped, turning industrial wasteland into a dignified, well-designed and maintained park.
Its chief purpose is to serve as framing for some office buildings. The newer ones, like the Benois business centre, are decent examples of modern architecture. A few are reconstructed 19th century hospital buildings. The truly authentic tram substation, built in Petrograd in 1916, is expected to be razed though.
But these structures, even though they house places like a yoga studio or a few cafes (none of which I find too interesting), are nowhere near as cool as the circus. Upsala Circus, billing itself as “the world’s only circus for hooligans”, is a social project assisting youths from at-risk social groups and special-needs kids. Its tents (there is an additional one set up in the summer) are next to the pond, and Upsala Circus regularly hosts events there. Unlike most Russian circuses, its does not use circus animals.
Then, there’s the specifically park side of things. The pond is surrounded by sun loungers and swings, so on the rare occasions the weather is good you can look at the black swans hanging around. Further into the alleys, there are park benches, squirrels to feed, and quirky plaques like the one saying “At this place, on August 31, 1768, nothing happened.”
There are two entrances – the one on Zhukova street is closer to the pond and alley, whilst Benois centre entrance is closer to transport.