Parks Cuts The Ribbon On Bleecker Sitting Area
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Parks & Recreation Commissioner Veronica White today joined City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, State Senator Tom Duane, State Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Community Board 2 Chair David Gruber, and Village resident Clifford Ross to cut the ribbon on the reconstruction of the Bleecker Sitting Area at Bleecker Street and West 11th Street.
Thanks to the community advocacy efforts of Clifford Ross, the financial support of private foundations and the City Council, and with a design from Parks Landscape Architect Gail Wittwer-Laird, the Bleecker Sitting Area was transformed into an accessible, peaceful and relaxing open space.
“The reconstruction of the Bleecker Sitting Area is the result of a true public-private partnership,” said Commissioner White. “The renovation would not be possible without the advocacy of Village resident Clifford Ross, as well as the support of Council Speaker Christine Quinn. I also thank the community for their involvement, in particular the members of the Friends of the Bleecker Playground. Now, Village residents can benefit from a striking new open space for peaceful respite.”
“The Bleecker Sitting Area serves as an oasis in this neighborhood, and as a Village resident, I'm delighted to have worked with Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn, Commissioners White and Castro, designer Gail Wittwer-Laird, and former Commissioner Adrian Benepe to transform this public space into a community gem for residents and visitors alike,” said Clifford Ross.
The Bleecker Sitting Area is now a thriving open space in a growing retail and restaurant area. The existing seating area at this location was first built in 1965 when Bleecker Street was widened. It had not been reconstructed since that time. These enhancements upgraded all of the site furnishings while maintaining the open quality of the space with an ellipse motif. The work included removing and replacing the buckled brick pavement and broken benches, while enhancing and planting new gardens, flowers, shrubs and trees. A new central seating area now has movable tables and chairs and the perimeter has two new chess tables and new benches. The new pavement is a light colored quartzite from an upstate Warrensburg, NY quarry, rather than bluestone or traditional asphalt hex bloc. This brightens the walkway and provides a subtle range of colors and textures to enliven the floor.
This past June, the Bleecker Sitting Area was awarded a Village Award by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation for its extraordinary transformation of a public space, made possible through the persistence of the community and a public-private partnership.