10 Years Covering “Magical” Washington Square Park | Blogiversary

10 Years Covering “Magical” Washington Square Park | Blogiversary

Washington Square Park Blog turns 10 today!

The first WSP Blog post:

The magical park

February 26, 2008

When I first got involved with what was going on at Washington Square Park, someone referred to the park as “magical.” It took me awhile to see that. I’d been to Washington Square Park over the years. I’d listened to music or watched strange things happening within the fountain. I’d marveled at the almost laid back ’60’s bohemian feeling it retained which co-existed amongst college students, chess players, old-timers, newbies, dog walkers, families, tourists. Every type person coexists and intermingles within Washington Square Park.

My renewed interest in the Park, in relation to the massive changes and radical overhaul the City has planned for it, occurred late last year initially out of concern for the cutting down of the trees and what that would mean for the wildlife in the Park.

As I looked closer, I realized what was going to be taken away by these mysterious, suddenly “necessary” changes — changes that would affect the whole essence of the Park, the things that make it work… those inexplicable factors which make it such a special place for so many people. To want to change that seemed to me an extension of the long arm of gentrification and homogenization of our city by our current Mayor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Then, it became even more important to oppose these changes and advocate for something different. This blog is my attempt to document what I’ve learned in a short time and share that information.

* * *

“Strange things happening within the fountain”

Washington Square Park Blog was first created to chronicle the controversial and often contentious redesign of Washington Square Park enacted by the Bloomberg Administration. Construction began in late December 2007; this blog began in late February 2008. Hyper-local blogs were pretty new at that time.

The site quickly expanded to cover history, events, personalities of the park as well as other parks, privatization of public space, animals, wildlife & environment, things going on in Greenwich Village, the city itself and more. What happens at Washington Square Park has always been a microcosm of the city – the world? – at large.

And I have no idea now what “strange things” I witnessed happening in the fountain. Did I just get used to “strange things” happening or are there less “strange things” now…? Something to think about 10 years on.

Thanks for reading, as always. And thanks to “the magical park.”

More on a decade of WSP Blog to come.

Cathryn

Editor, Washington Square Park Blog

Photo: Cathryn (2008, Phase I – park under construction)

A Personal Appeal — Support This NYC Blogger/Writer

Dear Blog Readers:

I’m writing you a personal note to ask for your support! Whether you read my blog regularly, stop by from time to time, or totally disagree with some of my views but appreciate the updates and hard work (!!) that have gone into this blog, I thank you! — this note is for you – and you – and you!

It’s hard to imagine that it’s close to two years since I started the Washington Square Park Blog (February 26, 2008) but it is. I’d never written a blog before but jumped into creating it because the issue of New York City’s actions as they affect our parks and public spaces is so important.

As I was figuring out various things in my own life, this blog connected me to other bloggers (I met many of the amazing Brooklyn bloggers in person and the Manhattan & other borough bloggers have been great support virtually). Those connections have been very important to me and this blog.

Washington Square Park Blog has given me the opportunity to delve into this burgeoning concept of citizen journalism and expose the intense – and sometimes joyous – details of what is happening in our City. Today, the idea of hyper-local blogs focusing on specific neighborhoods or places like Washington Square Park as a window onto the larger world has gained more traction.

While I’ve been writing my blog, I also have been writing a book.

Connecting the Dots

At times, finding the connections between disparate news items — such as the City’s attempt to put a privately owned restaurant in Union Square Park, or the construction of the new Yankee Stadium (which involved confiscation of 22 acres of public park land that still has not been fully replaced), privatization of our parks, or the question last year of Mayoral and City Council term limits! — and writing about these topics on this blog has been so compelling that I couldn’t turn away and not write about it, sometimes at the expense of working on the book!

And, of course, all the material directly related to Washington Square — the Community Board, Task Force & Landmarks Preservation Commission meetings, outlining the Phases of the redesign of the Park, letters to – and from – the NYC Parks Commissioner, write-ups in the mediaNY Times, NY Daily News, NY1, Time Out NY, NYmag.com, MSN.com, Curbed (Curbed has kept me going at times and always made me laugh!), and numerous other blogs, the re-opening of the park upon Phase I completion, highlighting events at the park, the history of the park, to, more recently, breaking the news of the discovery of the tombstone from 1799 during recent construction! – it has often been difficult to turn the stove down to simmer.

I realize that when we read blogs – I read many of them! – we consider the content “free.” As it SHOULD be! There’s something really nice about the fact that it is.

But, as you probably know, A LOT OF WORK goes into researching and writing this blog. So, I’m asking you, now, to help support your local blogger! For a number of personal reasons, this would be a very good time to do so! And there’s good reason to: You can help me publish my book.

Read more…