Washington Square Park Private Conservancy on Agenda of Community Board Meeting Wednesday, June 3rd

Washington Sq Park private conservancy founders

Washington Square Park private conservancy continues to assert itself to take over more and more turf from the city’s Parks Department – the public entity which actually runs and manages the park and has done so for decades.

After Washington Square Park Blog brought to light the misrepresentations and omissions by this private group in the founding members’ public statements in 2013 and 2014, Community Board 2 stipulated that the four wealthy neighborhood women (pictured above) who founded the group (behind closed doors) must come before the board every six months. The truth is this hasn’t really meant much because most on CB2 don’t acknowledge, as they didn’t when the crucial vote to ‘approve’ this private group took place, what the issues are. The debate over privatization of public space is very much muted. That does not make it any less important.

Tho’ it’s now been 15 months since the private conservancy last came before the Board (they last appeared in March 2019), you can join in this Wednesday, June 3rd to hear what they are up to, via Zoom.

The private conservancy ladies typically send Sheryl Woodruff, previously from Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation, to answer questions. Other than when George Vellonakis did, but it appears he has left the building. (More on this to come.)

Please sign up to participate. And remember this private group *does not* run the park (despite what they may think). This “conservancy” is not like others at the privatized parks (such as Bryant Park, Madison Square Park, Central Park, Prospect Park). The community around the park specifically did not want such an arrangement which would lead to corporate and commercial influence on the park. This group does not have a “license agreement” with the city and they were “approved” by the Community Board, such as it was, in the context that they would not do so. Then again, the founding members also presented themselves, or misrepresented themselves, as aiming to be a “little friends [of the park] group.”

Any issues about this public park should be relayed via a separate Community Board meeting.

More about this Community Board meeting and how to register:

PARKS/WATERFRONT Rich Caccappolo, Chair
Wed. June 3rd, 6:30 PM – Meeting Access via Video Conferencing

  1. *Presentation by NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and NYU representatives of the proposed updated design for the interim renovation of Mercer Playground.
  2. *Discussion of a proposal by NYU in partnership with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and NYC Department of Transportation, to improve a small sidewalk area along Bleecker Street adjacent to the north entry of 181 Mercer Street public atrium by continuing the Bleecker Street Landscape aesthetic to the east.
  3. Update by the Washington Square Park Conservancy on recent and upcoming activities.

Please register at the following link:

Look for more from Washington Square Park Blog on these issues over the next few days.

For background, see Private Conservancy Watch page.

Left to right: Justine Leguizamo, Veronica Bulgari, Gwen Evans, Elizabeth “Betsy” Ely

Photos: Cathryn

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