This flyer counters the NYC Parks Department’s spin on what is actually happening behind the fencing to Washington Square Park at the hands of the Bloomberg Administration. It’s been pretty effective since people read it quite thoroughly. The question everyone asks is “Why?” The flyer attempts to answer the question while putting into context the politics and involvement of everyone from Mayor Bloomberg, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, and NY City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to private interests like New York University and the Tisch Family in the unwelcome redesign of this dynamic public space.
However, there are still things that can be done:
1. No Conservancy: We want Washington Square Park to remain a public park without corporate influence.
2. Preserve the Seating Alcoves Along the Northern, Eastern and Southeastern Edges. In the redesign plan, these areas are scheduled to be removed. People utilize and enjoy them for reading, music, studying, talking. They further contribute to the charm of the park.
3. Maintain the public space around the Fountain. Numbers vary as to whether the entire Plaza will lose up to 23% of its valuable public space. The NYC Parks Department has been less than forthcoming in confirmation of this number.
4. Save the Park’s Trees. Work all existing, mature trees into the design. They are part of our urban habitat and deserve to be treated as living entities that are an integral part of Washington Square Park. (At least 14 of the Park’s trees have been axed thus far in Phase I of the redesign.)
5. Change the Planned Fencing. The height of the fence at 3 feet has been a core design element of the park and is welcoming and desired. The fence being installed is 4 feet (which makes quite a bit of difference) and contains decorative spears on top in direct violation of the Parks Department “agreement” with Council Member Alan Gerson and Speaker Christine Quinn.
6. Save the “Teen Plaza” and maintain height of the stage. This stage has worked well for many years for the Washington Square Music Festival and other events. The current height is 36″. The proposed height of the stage at 22″ is much too low for classical music performances and other usage (protests, other performances, etc.).
7. Leave the Dog Runs as they are. Moving every piece of this park at this time does not make sense.
Write in with any and all ideas, of course.
Read an expanded version of the flyer’s information here.