A Tale of Two Fences…

Current (and long-time) WSP fence

Current (and long-time) WSP fence

Fence being installed

Fence being installed

So Commissioner Benepe says that this new 4 foot fence (currently being installed) does not have spears on top. The issue is relevant because Commissioner Benepe made an “agreement” in 2005 with City Council Member Alan Gerson and Council Speaker Christine Quinn to install a new fence without spears and that kept the “inviting nature” of the Park.  Commissioner Benepe writes, in his letter to me: “Despite your assertion, the top of the fence has rounded balls, not ‘spears,’ as you put it. In any case, it was never intended that people would sit on top of the fence.” I’d argue that the fence has spears with “rounded balls” at the top of the spears.

Interestingly, Washington Square Park, previously, before the last redesign, had NO fence around it. It was with the 1970 design that a fence – the current 3 foot fence – got installed (correct me if I’m wrong on the time frame). Now, the Parks Department is installing a four foot fence. What will the height of the fence with the Park’s next redesign be?

Commissioner Benepe also missed my point. The community want the fence kept at the lowered height.  That would have been truly listening to the community (articulated during all that “review” Commissioner Benepe references) vs. imposing what Parks Commissioner Benepe and Mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted.

I realize people couldn’t sit on top of a four foot fence – that’s sort of the point, isn’t it? The “Gerson-Quinn Agreement” stipulates (and, note:  part of my issue with the Washington Square Park Task Force is that they have not been paying close enough attention, ensuring that the agreement is enforced, by staying on top of these things) that the new fence “preserve the park’s sense of openness and its inviting character.”

Does this fence do that?


Note: Since there is a Washington Square Park Task Force meeting this evening, I am going to hold off on responding to Parks Commissioner Benepe until Friday so I have the most up to date information.

Leave a comment


  1. Dave Stewart

     /  February 26, 2009

    This new fence looks great! Can’t we pick another issue to fight? The fence is decorative and appropriate for a historic park. The old fence was an eyesore.

  2. The issues around the Park’s redesign often need to be taken into consideration on the whole, not individually. However, a new fence could have been installed that was a lower height and that would have worked quite well. It could still look “great.”

    WSP Blog

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