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Washington Square Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Community Celebrates Re-opening Of Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park Arch and Fountain
Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

On May 28, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, City Council Member Alan Gerson, Community Board 2 Chair Brad Hoylman, Village Alliance BID Executive Director Honi Klein, Washington Square Association President Anne-Marie Sumner, and community members to celebrate the completion of the first phase of Washington Square Park’s renovation. Entertainment was provided by the Baby Soda Jazz Band and refreshments were served up compliments of Crumbs Bake Shop, Amy’s Bread, Le Pain Quotidien, Fat Witch bakery, and Otto.

“Washington Square Park is a historic park, a neighborhood green space, and a great forum for diversity and public expression in the city, and with the completion of the first phase of renovation, it looks better than ever before,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Just in time for summer, visitors to the park can now enjoy a rebuilt fountain, renovated plaza, more trees, and a 20 percent increase in green space. We thank the community members and elected officials who played a role in the park’s first major restoration in almost four decades.”

The first phase of the Washington Square Park reconstruction, which cost $13 million and began December 10, 2007, covered the northwest quadrant and the central plaza. The improvements include new and expanded lawns and planting beds, the relocation and conservation of the fountain, conservation of the Alexander Holley Monument, repaved paths, new benches, lighting and more. The fountain was completely rebuilt and restored in its previous dimensions and is now the focal point of a large central plaza, rebuilt on one level to make it accessible. The shifting of the fountain helped make possible an approximately 20 percent increase in unpaved green space in the park. The new lawns abutting the plaza are for passive recreation.

The second phase of the reconstruction project will feature restored landscaping, plantings, and flower beds replacing excess asphalt in the remaining NE, SE and SW quadrants. The northeast playground will be upgraded, and a new play area in the southwest section will incorporate the “mounds,” rebuilt slightly below grade to improve sightlines and minimize their impact on the park landscape, and covered with carpet-style synthetic turf for safety. A new performance stage will be built, the dog runs will be relocated and expanded, the Giuseppe Garibaldi Monument will be conserved and relocated, the petanque courts will be reconstructed, the paths will be repaved, and new lighting and fences will be added.

The final phase will include a new park house with a new comfort station for the public and space for the Parks maintenance staff.


“We must be our own before we can be another's.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803 – 1882)

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