More from the NYC Parks Commissioner! — On Washington Sq Park and WSP Blog Concerns

A follow-up letter from NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe to me in response to my letter of February 13th. We’ve had a bit of a back-and-forth. It’s true that the Parks Commissioner and I are most likely never going to agree on many aspects of the redesign – and the history of the redesign – of Washington Square Park. I have a few thoughts in response to this, but first, his letter which I’ve posted below:

**********************************************************

April 7, 2009

Dear Ms. Swan:

Thank you again for your correspondence about the renovation of Washington Square Park. It seems there are a number of points where we will have to agree to disagree. We may never come to an understanding on what is or is not public space (I would argue the entire park is public space), how to define a renovation versus a “spruce up,” a spear versus a ball and whether or not the Parks Department has been responsive to community concerns.

Many aspects of the renovation you wish to “come to an agreement” on were settled long ago. In fact, your request to change aspects of the renovation that have already been completed or that are currently under construction is nearly impossible to grant at this point. The fountain plaza is very close to completion and the fence is already installed. After the February 4th Washington Square Park Task Force meeting, the Parks Department made additional changes.

When Washington Square Park is completed I am confident that it will continue to be a vibrant, eclectic gathering and performance space for Villagers, students and visitors and I truly believe you will enjoy the restored park.

Thank you for your support and interest in Parks.

Sincerely,

Adrian Benepe

Leave a comment

2 Comments

  1. Ray

     /  May 2, 2009

    Its clear that the parks commissioner has been responsive to your outreach.

    Your tenaciousness has allowed for a (more than) thorough airing of the issues of concern to you and others who oppose the project. Moreover, your attentive sharing through this blog has created a fantastic document for all to review the twists and turns of the debate.

    I think the last paragraph of Benepe’s letter says it all. This story is now history. The new park will soon be opened for ALL Villagers to enjoy.

  2. Hi Ray,

    Thank you! Nice to hear your comments and thoughts.

    One point I disagree on is I don’t think the Parks Commissioner inferred that the story was “history.” He writes that when the Park is “completed,” everyone will enjoy it. Technically — although Phase I will soon open — we are a long way from there. Yet I do believe that the Park will be whatever people make it (despite, or, because of, the design).

    I appreciate your comments particularly since I know you check in here and we also may have some differing views on the project.

    best,
    Cathryn.

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