Washington Square Park Phase II Work To Begin This Week – Fencing Off of NE, SE, and SW Quadrants of Park Imminent

Updated

According to the New York City Parks Department, park goers’ access to all of Washington Square Park — which has been SO nice over the past four months after the NorthWest Quadrant and Fountain Plaza were previously closed for one and a half years — will soon end.

Work on Phase II of the Washington Square Park redesign is scheduled to begin shortly and the fencing around the NorthEast, SouthEast and SouthWest Quadrants of the park will be going up THIS WEEK.  (Today? Tomorrow? Friday? Not certain.)  It will take several days to get these sections fenced off.

According to the Parks Department press department:  The contract for phase II of the work was “awarded to Tucci Equipment Rental Corporation. Contract amount is $9.1 million. The work will incorporate the NE, SE, and SW quadrants of the park.”

You might recall that the entire budget for the park’s redesign was initially $16 million.  Phase I costs skyrocketed from a projected $6 million to $13 million. Update: I stand corrected. Phase I alone was $16 million. We are now upon Phase II and there is also a Phase III (bathrooms and Park administrative offices) up ahead.

Read more (previous blog entry) about Phase II plans for Washington Square Park here.

As I reported back in July, Phase II will see dramatic changes to : the Garibaldi Plaza, the Dog Runs, the “Teen Plaza” / Performance Area, the Chess Area, the “Mounds” and more!  A positive has been the Parks Department’s agreement to preserve four of the Park’s seating alcoves – one reconfigured on the Southeast side while the two on the East side and the one on the Northeast side of the Park will be preserved as ‘is’.

Alan Gerson Loses NYC Council Democratic Primary in District 1 (covers Washington Square Park); Christine Quinn Prevails, but Barely Maintains Majority against Challengers

Updated

It was much stated during the NY City Council term limits hearings that one reason to limit New York City elected officials’ terms is that incumbents are re-elected 98% of the time.

Apparently; however, if you cross the voters on term limits (and perhaps other things), you may not be.

And so the big news of the morning is that Alan Gerson did indeed lose the Democratic primary held yesterday in District 1 (which covers Washington Square Park) to Margaret Chin. (In the district, people didn’t expect him to win but he was the incumbent so you had to wonder…)

From today’s New York Times’ story, “Voters Reject 3 Council Members Backing Longer Term Limits:”

At least three veteran City Council members were ousted by angry voters Tuesday, the greatest repudiation of incumbents in a generation. All three had voted last year to change term limits, allowing them to run again.

Until Tuesday, council members were more likely to lose their seats by being convicted of a felony than by being defeated in an election. Voters more than evened those odds. They rejected Alan J. Gerson of Manhattan, Kendall Stewart of Brooklyn and Helen Sears of Queens in a rare rebuff to incumbency.

Also:

This was the voters’ first opportunity to register their disapproval, and a record number of candidates took advantage of the backlash by mounting challenges in the primary.

The groundswell may be a bad sign for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who was instrumental in persuading the Council to grant the extension so that he, too, could seek a third term.

I think voters had issues with Alan Gerson other than term limits and this tipped the scale.  Under a stronger City Council member, what transpired at Washington Square Park would never have happened and would have played out much differently.  Under wishy washy Alan Gerson, Mayor Bloomberg’s Administration persevered in their quest to change the nature of the Park, repeatedly ignoring and bypassing Washington Square Park users and community input. This was done hand-in-hand with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.  (It’s time for her to go too.)  No word yet on #’s for District 3, Quinn’s district (tho’ Quinn prevailed against Yetta Kurland and Maria Passannante-Derr) but the Times did say in this article:  “Even Christine C. Quinn, the Council speaker, barely mustered a majority against two challengers.”

Updated: #’s for District 3 from the Downtown Express:
Quinn won with 6,868 votes (52 percent), versus Kurland’s 4,108 votes (31 percent) and Derr’s 2,117 votes (16 percent).

The general election, including the offices of Mayor, City Council, Public Advocate, and Comptroller, will be held on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009.

(Above image from The New York Times)