Not just leaves, but also branches and twigs have been falling in the Panhandle this month, and so we began yesterday's workday raking and filling dozens of wheelbarrows full in the garden around the playground. The small plants were glad to be uncovered.
Some volunteers asked me, "what is this space?" The simple answer is that it's a very useful paved space: birthday parties, Tai Chi groups, and bicycle ballet rehearsal all make frequent use of it. Historically, it's a reminder of the roadway that used to wind down the center of the park. Here's the area between Ashbury and Masonic in a 1938 aerial photo (and visit the image at the David Rumsey Map Collection to zoom in and see the surrounding area).