A Look Back: Washington Square Park After Redesign Began 13 Years Ago

Construction on the controversial redesign plan for Washington Square Park pushed through by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration got underway — after delays due to the community envisioning something else for their park — between Christmas and New Year’s in 2007, 13 years ago this week.

I became involved in the opposition to this plan just prior to that after an attorney friend alerted me to the contentious proposal which called for the axing of dozens of this Greenwich Village park’s trees. Many more trees died through the whole process, and, as predicted during one of the two lawsuits which attempted to stop the plan, it was difficult to tie them to the haphazard redesign construction as the deaths happened more than a few years later (for most). Without adequate protection from the constant and pervasive construction, trees perished.

A good portion of the battle occurred many years prior to my involvement amidst packed Community Board 2 meetings. This was not just about trees but about the very soul of the park.

Construction on the redesign of Washington Square Park was completed in four-five phases over seven + years (if you don’t include the sidewalk reconstruction).

This blog was founded in February of 2008. I’ve revisited photos from early on in this post. Phase I, including the NW and fountain plaza, opened in May 2009.

A look back:

WSP Fountain Plaza Pre-redesign
WSP Blog original masthead pre-redesign
Woman & baby watching pre-opening fountain test 2009
Picnic Tables in NE corner (pre-redesign)
May 13, 2009 pre-opening, so pristine
Benches lined up
Parks Dept. logos abound spring 2009 reopening
May 2009 Phase I Ribbon Cutting
After Phase I opened, “Demolition” signs popped up
SW Corner

All photos: Cathryn except #2: Unknown

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