Updated January 29, 2010:
Work on Phase II began Fall 2009 and is scheduled
to be completed Fall 2010. Note: as of early 2011, the work is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2011. Part of Phase II (Large Dog Run and Mounds) has been moved into Phase III.
Phase II of Washington Square Park’s redesign will focus on the Eastern and Southwestern sections of the Park and will see dramatic changes to : the Garibaldi Plaza, the “Teen Plaza” / Performance Area(no more Teen Plaza, basically, and a big circle will encompass Garibaldi, who will be moved, the stage will be lowered), the Dog Runs(moved to the southern rim of the park), the Chess Area (same # of chess tables but the area will be reduced), the “Mounds”(will be redone and lowered basically so they are less in view and artificial turf will surround them) and more!
A positive has been the Parks Department’s agreement to preserve four (of six) of the Park’s seating alcoves — one reconfigured on the Southeast side while the two on the East side and the one on the Northeast side of the Park will be preserved as they currently are.
If I was in charge (that would be fun!), I would envision Phase II’s reconstruction in two parts, completing the work on the East side of the Park all at once while leaving the Southwest side open. Once finished, I would focus on the other side. This would be preferable to closing off two huge sections of this public park at once. (Similar to what was unnecessarily done in Phase I with the Fountain and Plaza in addition to the whole NorthWest section of the park being off limits – all at the same time.)
Phase III (projected date of work unknown) will encompass the comfort stations/bathrooms and the maintenance buildings on the South side of the Park.
An argument could also be made for modification of the plan at this point, given budgetary and other constraints in this climate.
The original budget for all three phases of Washington Square Park’s reconstruction work was approved by the NY City Council at $16 million. Phase I of the project (which opened May 2009) ended up cost $13 million Update: $16 million ! and Phase II was estimated earlier this year at $14 million (Update: Bid came in at $9 million but let’s see the final numbers…).
Adding in Phase III, we will see the original approved budget of $16 million likely doubled. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of NYC Parks Department and NY City Council oversight we might see in relation to this in the future.
* From September 2010: Problems with Phase II and Why it is so Behind Schedule