"Honey, I Shrunk the Park" — City's Plans call for 23 percent reduction in "public space" around Washington Sq Park Fountain


Figures don’t lie. But a lot of liars figure.

The NYC Parks Department figures that the “new and improved” Washington Square Park will have just as much public space as the old one. But let’s check the figures:

* The EXISTING entire plaza is currently 51,223 square feet.

* The PROPOSED plaza area will be 39,419 square feet.

That’s an 11,804 square foot reduction, right in their official plans.

* The old and expansive interior plaza was 27,650 square feet.

* The PROPOSED interior plaza will be 20,662 square feet.

Who’s lying? Who’s figuring?

It was a lie when George Vellonakis, the new plan’s “designer,” told the Community that the reduction in public space would be five percent.

The shrinking of the public space in Washington Square Park has a tremendous impact on how it will be used, which in turn impacts on the character of the park. Who gathers there? HOW will they gather? And how will the new, constricted space be regulated?

Will musicians need official approval? Will performers and political speak-outs be required to obtain a permit? Will the free spirit of the Park be shredded and destroyed?

Maybe that’s Mayor Bloomberg’s whole point.

* Recycled Entry * Originally Published March 17th, 2008 *

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WSP Blog NOTE:The reduction of public space at Washington Square Park – and a mandate to increase it – is something the Community Board could still address as well as NYC Council Member Alan Gerson and Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum.