Alternate View on Performers at WSP – Time Limits?

The WSP performance crackdown has, seemingly, temporarily subsided and will be addressed at the CB2 Parks Committee meeting tonight.

In the meantime, a neighbor, Seth W. who lives at 2 Fifth Avenue wrote in as follows:

I live in 2 Fifth and face the arch and have always enjoyed the music echoing in but now it has become disruptive. My position is simply: let music be part of Washington Square Park so long as the performers vary their music and do not stay more than one hour so that we can hear different musicians and instruments. VARIETY is what is needed and not the same music like those singers who now are found outside the Met Museum of art doing the same songs over and over. Send these musicians who also put out their hats or music cases like the banjo player, etc. to the Met, keep our park open to musicians who have practiced and come to give a performance for no longer than an hour and move on.

Seth writes, that, for him, the music became more noticeably disruptive (my word, not his) in the Fall. He says that certain performers are “most egregious in staying too long and … never stopping and endlessly repeating their solos.”

At the CB2 meeting last month, more than one performer cited the Arch as having perfect acoustics and, indeed, the Opera Gals told me “the Arch is the spot to sing.”

Seth also believes that “NO MUSIC be performed under the arch for it is an echo chamber that blasts onto 5th Ave and into our apartments. I will defend the right for music to be played in the park but limits are needed and stopped by 10 at night.”

To me, this becomes a slippery slope – the minute you attempt to put restrictions on this and the Parks Department’s way of going about this is bad enough. I’m open to airing an alternative viewpoint. Why any sound issues would have changed more recently from 50 years of performances in the park; what the park is known for, I don’t know.

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3 thoughts on “Alternate View on Performers at WSP – Time Limits?”

  1. Hey, my name is Seth and I live at 2 Fifth and have posted here before — but I’m not the same Seth! (There are several Seths in the building.) I personally have no problem with any of the performers in the park or how long they want to play.

  2. Hi Seth,

    Oh! I did sort of wonder if it was the same Seth – you – who’d commented here before but I wasn’t sure. That’s odd tho’ right? Obviously, there could be more than one Seth at 2 Fifth Avenue! (oops. I see you noted that.) He didn’t say I couldn’t use his last name but I didn’t. Maybe I’ll change it and put a first initial. It is Seth W. – the ‘other’ Seth.

    Thanks for clarifying!


  3. The other Seth who has posted before from 2 Fifth Ave. has no problem with the music entering his ears. Does this mean I should have no problem? I do not need to hear endless Puccini Boheme tunes banged out on the piano over and over again without finesse or quality and applause from people more enthralled with seeing a piano [ more than half ruined from the elements] being played at least with some virtuoso flourishes. Where are the quartets: string or wood winds, or even brass? Snob that I must be, must everything be pseudo folk? And who needs people practicing? Let them practice in their own basements! In 2 Fifth we have trumpeters practicing all day too but they are in their own apartments! I have not heard one authentic folksong from Spain or Greece or from Korea or Russia from “our” park in years. Why not have a Chinese opera performed or a noh play? Why not hear a small group perform a zarzuela. Some variety! Must everything be pseudo-blues? Cranky country or worn out New Orleans or Chicago jazz efforts? I should like to see some dancing of all sorts with musical accompaniment. That would add to the park’s attractions. Once we could even hear poetry declaimed. The Beats even performed at Washington Square Park. I don’t see any more painters, water colorists or charcoal drawers. The park once had real cultural activity. Now I hear too much repetition of standard melodies and tired riffs none of which show much originality as of yore! We are talking about The great Washington Square Park of Greenwich Village fame after all is said and done!


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