Spring in Washington Square Park – The Park is Bustling. What Happens Next?



There’s something about the spirit of Washington Square Park that even now, despite virtually HALF of the Park being closed for the City’s “renovation,” the open space is still filled to the brim with people commingling, creating music, art and conversation in new locations. (There’s no choice as the Fountain, its Plaza, and the Arch are behind gates and off-limits).

Interconnections happen at Washington Square Park in ways that just do not happen in other spaces. That is why it is such an internationally known, perfect public space.

The City’s redesign plans don’t take this into account. Their aspiration is to create a Park that is prettified and glossy and passive.

The areas at Washington Square Park where people are gathering now – the north east corner by the picnic tables, the Garibaldi statue, the teen playground – those areas will all be REMOVED with the completion of the City’s redesign plan. In the North East corner (well, in every ‘corner’ of the Park), there will be a “plaza.” What that means I am not quite certain but the significance of that is – without question – a diminishing of the public space. The Fountain and the surrounding Central Plaza – the premiere area where people gather at the park – are scheduled to be reduced 23 percent. How is this allowed to happen?

At Union Square Park right now, it’s a familiar drama that is being enacted. Some of the same actors, slightly different script, same basic plot, all being pushed through by Mayor Bloomberg and the City’s Parks Department — in the interest of privatizing and reducing the public space. If this is troubling to you, you have to something to say, join us Friday at Union Square Park from 6-8 p.m., pick a Park in the City to represent, create some art, make some music, dress up.