Washington Square Park Blog turns 10 today!
The first WSP Blog post:
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.
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“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.
Editor, Washington Square Park Blog
Photo: Cathryn (2008, Phase I – park under construction)