The Pieces of the Washington Square Park Fountain – Dismantled

This is a photo of parts of Washington Square Park‘s famous fountain dismantled and behind gates taken at the Park May 7th, ’08.

There’s so much history there and yet the city just chops it up and prepares to install a new and “improved” version.

At a workshop last week, “Livable Neighborhoods,” presented by the Municipal Art Society, I heard Marci Reaven speak from the organization, Place Matters. She talked passionately about the importance of Places in New York City and why they matter. She stated that we must figure out ways to get that message across… we must be able to describe why a place is important, be able to describe it, and get the word out, ensuring that enough people know about it.

Now, with Washington Square Park, it would appear that quite a lot of people know about the place and they are able to talk eloquently about what they appreciate about it. (Whether enough people know what the redesign plans entail, still to this day, is another story…) But does New York City’s government hear? Perhaps that’s the question.

One of Ms. Reaven’s points was that when the physical landscape disappears, the “memory landscape” disappears also. Therefore, with New York City’s redesign “plans,” which alters the physical landscape of this historic park, it becomes that much more important to preserve the “memory landscape” of Washington Square Park – and somehow get the City to do so as well – and not stop trying to get the message out there.

**Link to Place Matters.

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2 Comments

  1. Karen Koziol

     /  May 18, 2008

    I’d love to see the link. Place does matter. Washington Square Park has been the setting for many a happy day in my world. KK

  2. This is actually NOT a reconstruction of the fountain but the complete dismantling of it, and the building of a different fountain a few yards away. The reason this is significant is that the old fountain was only occasionally on, and most of the time it was used as a performance space and amphitheater, where on some occasions literally thousands of people would in a huge communal circle, read, debate, watch this or that performer who took “center stage”, and served as an unpermitted public space.

    The new Tisch fountain, on the other hand, will no doubt sparkle. But it will be much smaller, and will be used as … well … a FOUNTAIN, with none of that public theatrical function possible. So those thousands of “seats” are being uprooted, and all of that public space will be gone.

    Mitchel Cohen
    Brooklyn Greens / Green Party

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