A Look Back: Sledding on the Washington Square Park Mounds as Seen in “Merry Mounds” Video

An annual holiday must watch! Scenes Prior to Park’s Redesign

The “Merry Mounds” video, set to Karen Carpenter’s “Sleigh Ride,” features kids sledding and frolicking in the snow on the old Mounds at Washington Square Park in December 2008 before their remodeling. These guys and gals would be maybe 18 years old or so now! The footage illustrates perfectly how the structures, sometimes referred to as “the three hills,” functioned as a place of spontaneous play.

A Holiday Chestnut

Video Shot During Park’s Phase I Redesign Construction December 2008 – 10 Years Ago

Look at the low fences around the park! You can see parts of the park were under construction in the background. No more sledding now. There was talk at Community Board meetings at one point of bringing in “temporary sledding structures” – no mention of that recently.

Located in the Southwestern section of the park, the “Mounds” were originally scheduled for removal in the controversial Bloomberg-era redesign plans. Activists pushed for the Mounds to be included, they were successful, and, as we know, they are a hit! The new “Mounds” somewhat resemble the old Mounds and yet are definitely different: they are shorter — the old Mounds were 6 feet tall; the new version was supposed to match in height but does not — covered in artificial turf and “cable-net play.”

This video was produced by Matt Davis who was putting together a film, “SQUARE: Straightening out Washington Square Park,” documenting what went on behind-the-scenes and within the community around the contentious redesign of the beloved park (2007-2014+).

It is ironic that the new Mounds, which the Bloomberg Administration Parks Department and re-designer George Vellonakis (now Park Administrator) so did not want in the park, are so popular.

Click here for what I wrote about this video and the old Mounds in 2013 as the new “Mounds” were set to debut.

Original Mounds, 1977

Previously at Washington Square Park Blog:

New “Mounds” Taking Shape at Washington Square Park – but in What Form? August 16, 2012

What’s Up With the Mounds? Why People Like Them December 16, 2008

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