Look! Parks on C.B.2 Agenda including Washington Square Important Issues: Wed. April 6

washington square park arch fenced off no gatesThis one took me by surprise! Community Board 2 Parks Committee chair Rich Caccappolo has been looking for ways to put closures (i.e., gates) at the entrances to Washington Square Park for awhile now. While no one from the community has ever complained, at least anyone who actually attends the meetings, the committee has seemed obsessed with pushing for this, citing neighbor complaints. Committee member Susanna Aaron tried to press the local NYPD commander to divulge horrendous problems around the park a couple years ago: he had none to report.

Parks * With * Stringent Borders?

At times, musicians play under the Arch on late summer nights. That is the only issue that has ever been mentioned affecting the outskirts of the park. Is that potential (and easily resolved) issue a call for “chains” or more “effective signs?” This seems to be an agenda for something else, somewhat ironic after the last meeting, which introduced the Parks Without Borders initiative, very important to Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.

Are wealthy Fifth Avenue socialites pulling the strings behind the scenes?

The neighbors who may have issues with the way the park is closed up never appear at any meetings, possibly they are conservancy affiliated socialites or members of a very affluent class, but they should have to follow the same procedures as everyone else, no?

Back room conversations should not be allowed, moving the issues of a select few to the fore (a la the “hot dog” vendors).

Should the park be closed up in any different manner than it is currently? Why? If someone walks through, strums a guitar, sits by the fountain, sleeps on a bench (the horror!), what is the problem?

Parks Committee members serving a select few?

This sounds like a few wealthy neighbors who are complaining directly to a back channel of a private conservancy run by other wealthy neighbors: something that was always an odd fit, with the private organizations imposed and often repeated mantra of keeping the park “clean, safe and beautiful” (so sanitizing and un Washington Square), assisted by select members of a Community Board committee fawning all over them.

Perhaps it is also something Manhattan Parks Commissioner Bill Castro wants: Castro played a nefarious role around the introduction of a private conservancy and prior to that throughout the redesign process.

The Parks Committee members have shown that they will protect the Parks Department at the expense of the larger public. Sigh.

The other item on the agenda related to WSP is curious as well. As far as anyone knew, the issue of loud music was “resolved” with the introduction of decibel meters: not sure if they were ever actually put into play, despite being brought up again and again by WSP Administrator Sarah Neilson.


C.B. 2 PARKS/WATERFRONT MEETING Rich Caccappolo, Chair
Wednesday, April 6th, 6:30 PM- NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Place, Room 520


*Update on latest plans for addressing sound levels from non-amplified instruments and music played at high volume in Washington Square Park.
*Proposal to install chains and signs for effective night time closing of Washington Square Park.
*Update from Dept of Parks and Recreation on status of renovation project at DeSalvio Playground as well as Father Fagan Park and Little Red Square.
*Presentation by Friends of High Line about upcoming programming including an event with Target Corp in the street level plaza directly below the High Line, adjacent to the Whitney Museum of American Art.
*Request to the Dept of Parks and Recreation to install a low permanent fence, possibly a hoop fence, around the gardens on the west side of Hudson south of Bethune Street.

*     signify Public Hearings, believe it or not.

Will there be signs around the park this time announcing this meeting as other Community Boards do?

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