On the Fences around the Park… And Kids Will be … Kids?

Kids find a new use for the chain fence
Kids find a new use for the chain fence

Updated: When they redesigned Phase I (the NorthWest Quadrant and Fountain Plaza) of Washington Square Park, the NYC Parks Department opted to replace the well-liked piperail fence — which surrounded the Park at a welcoming 3 feet high — with a new 4 foot high, less inviting fence.

In the interior of the Park, the piperail was replaced with a post-and-chain fence. I don’t mind the interior fence that much (I think the exterior fence is more problematic) although it’s true the old fence you could just lean against leisurely. However, NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe explained to me in one of his letters that the fence was never meant to be sat on. Hmm. Nonetheless, I don’t think that they anticipated that the new fence would be used for this purpose (above). I would think people sitting on the fence would be preferable to them, uh, walking on it.

But I suppose as kids will find play spaces in areas we wouldn’t anticipate, perhaps the park will change in ways we can’t even imagine at this moment. So that people will feel they can reclaim the things that were perhaps lost or create new traditions and new uses that are their own within this public space, not engineered by our City government and private interests – NYU, the Tisch Family, a possible conservancy – with their own agendas.

Previous WSP Blog Entry: A Tale of Two Fences

** Yesterday’s post updated also! See below. **