Happy Spring at Washington Square Park! Following is a pictorial with some editorial of recent issues at the square.
So many trees have died around the fountain plaza and WSP Blog has covered this repeatedly. The trees that were planted amidst the controversial redesign at the park replaced healthy 40 year old+ trees which were axed so that the fountain could be moved 22 feet east to “align” with the Arch, part of the Bloomberg Administration’s folly. The replacements have not fared nearly as well.
This tree on the eastern side of the fountain was replaced after it was drowned in water which pooled repeatedly amidst rain due to improper drainage from the redesign construction; it was a sad sight to see. The redesigner/previous Park Admin would not admit to any issues so trees kept dying over 10+ years. More than fourteen trees have died, some planted and replanted in the same locations two or three times.
There has at times been a push by the Community Board to put “gates” at the entrances to WSP. So far this has successfully been avoided; it’s another way to clamp down and make the park less accessible and friendly. Currently what exist at the park entrances are called “french barricades.”
Since the Bloomberg Administration’s controversial and contentious redesign of Washington Square Park (2009-2014+), and, particularly, over the last five or so years, skateboarders have taken on more and more space and become a bit more aggressive. WSP Blog appreciates a healthy mix at the park but it’s curious how much more aggressive the situation has become. Why?
Expect a separate post on the reinterment of skeletons back into the park earlier this year and the sad way this history at the park remains barely acknowledged here via a “paver” that has already disintegrated a few months later. Sigh.
The Mounds earlier this year had some issues, kept very much under the radar.
This guitarist had a small amplifier which technically is not allowed but for whatever reason the Parks Department of late has not figured out a way to regulate the levels of sound at the park.
Again, another issue that did not exist prior to the redesign of the park. Do we sense a theme here? In 2014, the city agency stated that they would train the Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) in using decibel meters. This may have happened briefly but the effort was curtailed. Everyone wants creativity and music to be a significant part of the park; it’s just if the sound levels exceed a certain amount, it disrupts the balance.
This signage that exists now to the east of the Arch is somewhat controversial. None of it was cleared by the Community Board. The historical reference board (far left) that exists here is quite selective. And this super large sign dedicated to Washington Square Park Conservancy was never approved (note: this private conservancy does *not* run this public park, unlike some other conservancies which do and those do not even exhibit signage like this … so which wealthy neighbors pulled what strings? This blog has advocated again and again for public, not private, control of public space which leads to, in theory, more transparency and less control by outside real estate and corporate forces).
If anything, since this private entity got involved in “raising money” for the park, it seems as if things have gotten more complicated. [For some history, visit this page.]