Grand Canal Court
Parks & Recreation Announces March Park Of The Month
Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Canal Park in Lower Manhattan is March’s Park of the Month. This new park, located between Canal Street North and Canal Street South at Washington Street, was restored in the fall of 2005, nearly 80 years after it was decommissioned as a park.
One of the oldest parks in Manhattan, its historical significance and original intent were only realized after a group of vigilant and resourceful neighborhood residents began researching the history behind the triangle of land, which was at the time being used as a parking lot for the Department of Sanitation. Through their research, they discovered that, although the site played many roles throughout the years, its primary function was that of a public open space.
The site was established in 1833, when it operated as the Clinton County Market. After nearly 30 years, the public market was torn down, and in 1871, replaced with the M. A. Kellogg/I. A. Pilat design plan, which included the installation of a perimeter fence that offered no public entrance. The pavement surrounding the park was used for the City’s Flower Market.
In 1888, The Calvert Vaux/Samuel Parsons, Jr. plan replaced the Pilat design, inaugurating the Small Parks Act, which enabled the City to renovate and open to the public many of the City’s smaller parks, previously locked and inaccessible to the public.
"We are grateful that this historic site, which disappeared for more than four generations, has once again been opened for the public to enjoy," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Benepe. "Thanks to area residents and former Council Member Kathryn Freed, the park is back, double its original size and beautifully reinterpreted as a horticultural oasis."
The $2.7 million renovation project, completed in 2005, was funded entirely by the New York State Department of Transportation. The new .66-acre Canal Park features the original ornamental fencing, granite bollards, hoof benches, and a distinctly-shaped central pathway. The park was raised one foot above the existing levels, due to underground utility constraints. Green lawns, evergreen and flowering plants, cobblestone street tree planting strips, distinctive tree guards and custom cast-iron bollards enhance the landscape. An interpretive granite planter depicting historic images was installed at the tip of the triangular-shaped site. Parks & Recreation landscape architect Allan Scholl designed the new Canal Park, which was inspired by the original designs of Calvert Vaux and Samuel Parsons, Jr., a design implemented at the site in 1888.
The re-creation of Canal Park was also made possible thanks to the Canal Park Conservancy and the research of the Canal West Coalition, the group of dedicated area residents who first approached Parks & Recreation in 1998 with historical findings regarding the park’s original design.
Park of the Month introduces some of our greatest parks and greenspaces to curious New Yorkers and visitors alike. A link to this month’s highlighted park is available on Parks’ website, www.nyc.gov/parks, and the dedicated page includes panoramic and still photos, an interactive map, historical and press information, as well as links to capital projects and inspections.introduces some of our greatest parks and greenspaces to curious New Yorkers and visitors alike. A link to this month’s highlighted park is available on Parks’ website, , and the dedicated page includes panoramic and still photos, an interactive map, historical and press information, as well as links to capital projects and inspections.