Some Thoughts on Completion of Phase I Washington Sq Park Redesign … And A Rainbow in the Fountain!

Updated

Rainbow in the Fountain Wednesday afternoon May 20th, 09
Rainbow in the Fountain Wednesday afternoon May 20th, 09

More thoughts on the newly opened, reconfigured Washington Square Park Phase I, which, as you most likely know, involved moving of the Fountain 23 feet east to align with the Arch … coming next week.

However, I think it’s important to give it a minute and see how it all works together before making quick judgments. All the press I’ve read thus far speaks as if people somehow thought a newly renovated park wouldn’t look … nice? It seems to me the long standing dispute between a large portion of the community and NYC government/Parks Department has made the situation confusing – for most – to assess.

As you most likely know, I have critiques of the NYC Parks Department. However, I did not question that they could pull off a nice-looking park. Some of the design aspects Park re-designer George Vellonakis pointed out to me on Tuesday, Phase I’s Opening Day, may work well (I’ll get into some of them another day). However, there are still serious questions that arise.

Yes, the Park looks pretty. But it had also been allowed to fall into serious disrepair. A lot of time, money and thought went into the last 16 1/2 months while the NW Quadrant and Fountain Plaza were closed – attention that hadn’t been given to Washington Square Park, a world famous park in New York City, in years. Why?

Some questions to ask are :

* did the City integrate key public input into the process? was there purposeful evasiveness and lack of transparency to avoid doing so?

* does the space work without losing the unique character it had by becoming sanitized ?

* why was the Park allowed to fall into such disrepair?

* are private interests driving some of the decisions?

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Oh, and I’ve been wondering, why do only children go in the Fountain… what stops the adults?

Note: Blogging Break ’til Tuesday, May 26th. Unless I appear with some new photos, news or random thoughts on Monday. We’ll see how that goes.

Have a great weekend.

See you at the Park..?

Photo: Cat