A Tale of Two Fences and No One Minding the Store at Washington Sq Park

What is wrong with this Picture? The fence on the bottom right is the 4 foot high fence that the New York City Parks Department has begun installing in the NorthWest Quadrant of Washington Square Park (currently being redesigned) with, I would say, decorative spears on top – in direct defiance of the “Gerson-Quinn Agreement.” And much too high overall.

Washington Sq Park Fence Now
Washington Sq Park Fence Now
Washington Sq Park Fence The City hopes to Install
Washington Sq Park Fence The City hopes to Install

This, as you see, changes the welcoming intimate nature of this Park as demonstrated in the photo on the left which depicts Washington Square Park‘s current 3 foot high fence which has worked beautifully for many years.

The existing height is one which everyone likes – except for designer George Vellonakis and Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe because it doesn’t work with their vision of pacifying this magnificent public space into a pass-through garden.

Unfortunately, thus far, I have found no one really minding the store (Community Board 2? Washington Square Park Task Force? NY City Council Member Alan Gerson? Community Groups? Is anyone out there?) to make sure the Parks Department is in compliance with the tepid “Gerson-Quinn Agreement” brokered by City Council Member Alan Gerson and Speaker Christine Quinn. (Yes, it’s tepid in what it ‘won’ on behalf of the Community for the Park’s redesign but at least it’s something. However, apparently the City can’t even adhere to that).

Have you seen the lamps they’ve begun installing? Tragic.

Photo at top: Louis Seigal

Photo bottom: Cathryn / WSP Blog

Spread the love

6 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Fences and No One Minding the Store at Washington Sq Park”

  1. Come on, be creative! Imagine the terrific decorative “shrunken heads” that can be impaled oh so decoratively on those spikes, once we finish building the guillotine where the old fountain used to be.


  2. The new design is perfectly charming and elegant.
    You don’t need to sit on a fence to make a park “welcoming”.
    Go sit on a bench like everyone else.

  3. When are spears ever welcoming? The whole point of them is “get the hell away from here!!!”, especially when they are topped with spears, considering they could hurt someone if they tried to jump it or sit on it. I’m 5 foot 4. It wouldn’t be pleasant for me to try to jump a 4 foot high speared fence, or to sit on it. I see people sitting on the fence all the time – playing music, eating lunch, or just hanging out. It’s just another well used part of the park they are trying to remove. They are hacking at each little bit as much as they can in order to create a less functional, less interesting place to be. They are shrinking when you can be, where you can be, and how you can be. That’s the point of it. The trouble is though, it is a public park, with a history of being free and open. This just flies in the face of that. Then they can keep it free for graduations and God knows what else they have planned. A private restaurant, like Union Square? They are constantly plunging to new depths in their ideas. Who the hell knows. Only Bloomberg’s buddies really know what the plan and goal is with this redesign, and they are guarding the truth with all the money they have.

    I have no idea if anyone is following what is happening with the park at all. I went to a full board meeting and it was like no one had even HEARD of the park. They were updating the crowd on all of the little and big projects in the district, and the park wasn’t mentioned, except for one question about ADA standards for it. They dropped the subject right away. I saw Alan Gerson speak, he made no mention of WSP in his lengthy laundry list of happenings in our district, then said “Well, that’s about it!” and walked away. The exact same thing happened with Christine Quinn’s speaker. It was like the twilight zone. There are at least 3 WSP sites that haven’t been updated since last January. I’ve seen hardly any press coverage of it. I have no idea what is going on, but there is a disturbing lack of dialogue (except for this site), and I don’t know why. I haven’t met anyone here who is in favor of what they are doing to the park. I’m certainly baffled.

  4. P.S. The lamps are beyond hideous. I was approaching the park from a ways back a couple of nights ago and saw an odd, low, blue glow, and immediately thought “Eeew, what is that??” Then I saw it was the park and was instantly bewildered/frustrated. Who thought that looks good? It looks like the aliens are coming. And why such short lamp posts? Very odd….


Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: