The Snow Storm Arrives at Washington Square Park via Walking Off The Big Apple

Great shot from Walking Off the Big Apple as major snow approaches NYC; here at WSP – Sunday, December 26th at 5 p.m.

Path Cleared Around Fountain; Arch and Tree in Background

And then, this morning at the Fountain.

For additional photos at the park and around the Village, see more here.

Photos: Teri Tynes, Walking Off the Big Apple


New York Daily News reports on citywide elected officials wondering what in the world happened to Mayor Bloomberg’s repeated assertions of his managerial prowess as outer boroughs are ignored in snow removal causing delays, frustrations and one death.

Have a Nice Holiday ** Best wishes in the New Year!

Thank you to those who’ve stopped by this blog regularly and those who come by now and again to see what’s new.

Your reading of the blog, comments and insights are always appreciated.

Best wishes to you in the New Year!

WSP Blog

NYU Students: “Washington Square Park Really IS Our Quad” + How Much Property the University Owns Surrounding the Public Park

Purple = NYU owned

A juicy tidbit that almost got by — NYU Local reports muses:

It’s easy to forget just how much of the Washington Square Park neighborhood NYU actually owns. (WSP Blog ed. note: really??)

This is a great visualization of NYU’s core neighborhood. The purple areas are NYU owned, and most have been fully built upon.

The two blocks to the south are where NYU is looking to expand in the Village. You can read about their proposals (part of the 2031 plans) here.

Image via Local tipster.

To which a student responds: “As someone who’s tried to plan many events (some for student clubs, some for brands) in the park, I really hate how difficult it is to table in the park similar to how other students can on their campuses. I’m not saying we should be allowed to take over a city park, I’m saying the city should create separate, simple (free) permits to allow students to actually use it as a quad.”


Well, now that we’ve cleared that up.

Gee, all of the above is depressing.

New Entry at Cathryn’s World Blog: Lost Garden

I came across an arrow indicating a “Lost Garden” next to an isolated diner along the West Side Highway on a snow-covered morning in the far West Village awhile back. Does it still exist? Can something like that exist in NYC today? More on this at Cathryn’s World.

Unsilent Night strolls through NYC – Washington Square to Tompkins Square – Saturday, December 18th

Huffington Post New York reports that Unsilent Night in New York City will take place this coming Saturday, December 18th beginning at 6:45 p.m. at Washington Square Park under the Arch. The event was started by artist Phil Kline 18 years ago. On the Unsilent Night site, Kline explains the event: “Every year I present Unsilent Night, which is like a Christmas caroling party except we don’t sing, but rather carry boomboxes, each playing a separate tape or CD which is part of the piece. In effect, we become a city-block-long stereo system.”

To participate, you can bring your own boom box and get music there in cassette or CD form or download the music in advance at the site and place on your own CD. A limited # of boom boxes as well as cassettes and CDs will be handed out. The group will then proceed through the city streets ending at Tompkins Square Park. Unsilent Night has expanded from its New York City beginnings to cities across the U.S. and the world. In the past few years, several hundred people have walked the stretch together between the West Village and East Village parks holding boom boxes playing the same ambient music. They look very happy! You can see video of the 2008 event here.

Happy, Merry, Enjoy! – Merry Mounds Video Shot at Washington Square Park

** Recycled – modified – Entry from December, 24, 2008 **

Happy Holidays! (Blogging a bit less frequently now but) There’s still more in store for the New Year!

Since you can never get enough of the Mounds, this is a delightful clip of kids at Washington Square Park sledding and frolicking in the snow. The video features Karen Carpenter’s version of the song “Sleigh Ride” and illustrates how the children gravitate towards the Mounds as places of spontaneous play. Perfect if you are in need of a bit of holiday spirit.

Produced by Matt Davis (“SQUARE: Straightening out Washington Square Park“).

* Be sure to check out the archives; there are 290 544 posts which cover many topics – see the Categories to search for a few.

In the News: NYC’s Plans for Private Restaurant in Union Square and Public-Private Partnership Conflict Continues at Prospect Park

* From Washington Square News: City looks to build restaurant in Union Square

— Previously on WSP Blog: The Union Square Pavilion & Privatization of Public Space

* Should someone be a City Parks Dept official and head of a private conservancy?

That’s how it goes at Prospect Park (via The Brooklyn Paper).

— Previously on WSP Blog: Prospect Park and the “sad legacy” of public-private partnerships

A Reader of WSP Blog writes: “Let’s catch the persons responsible for the horrid destruction of the Park and misappropriation of funds”

On November 30th, a reader “pattycake” responded to the blog piece, “The Squirrels of Washington Square Park have many fans but Now also a Killer in Their Midst,” with the following comment:

so stupid.. im sure the girl isnt intentionally letting the dog kill them. Forget “catching” the squirrel killer..lets catch the person or persons responsible for the horrid destruction of the park and misappropriation of funds…where is the money? why isnt the park done? where is the new dog run? why are the trees cut down? WHAT ABOUT THAT?

I responded, on December 1st, as follows (this version is slightly expanded from the original response):

Hi Pattycake, I’ve heard enough to believe that some malicious intent may be going on in relation to the woman and the squirrels. She knows her dog(s) is(are) aggressive – I don’t blame them, they’ve been encouraged by her – and I’ve heard other dogs have been attacked, to the point where she’s been banned from the LeRoy Park Dog Run.

Re: the park itself, I agree with you!

I’ve tried to get questions answered and more scrutiny on the process of the redesign of Washington Square Park at Community Board 2 meetings.

The chair of the Parks Committee, Tobi Bergman, is very evasive and states there’s nothing more they can do. (He is a former NYC Parks Department employee, it should also be noted.) The chair of Community Board 2, Jo Hamilton, hasn’t given it her attention, leaving it in Parks Committee’s hands, but I don’t think people are pressuring her about it either.

I’ve written to City Council Member Margaret Chin – who took Alan Gerson’s place – with finally a response from her sister who works in her office. I sent a bunch of follow-up documents and then received no further communication.

Without a loud yet effective group asking questions, I don’t know how anything can be achieved. People who were involved for years need to become visible and outspoken again; too many have become silent. And new voices are needed as well. I am happy to have others speak out !

PLEASE CONTACT City Council Member Margaret Chin at It’s her district. She took Alan Gerson’s place but has not been involved at all. She needs to hear from people that they want her involved.

You ask good questions but asking them of (CB2 Parks Chair) Tobi Bergman and (CB2 Board Chair and WSP Task Force Chair) Jo Hamilton and Margaret Chin would be a great follow-up.

Thanks for writing.

WSP Blog

p.s. Which trees are you referring to?


Write to New York City Council Member Margaret Chin. Some of the unanswered areas and concerns around Washington Square Park are:

1) the delay (Phase II – currently under construction and encompassing the Eastern and Southwestern sections of the park – was supposed to be completed Fall 2010; it is now projected for Spring 2011 with some of the work moved into Phase III)
2) the budget having more than doubled (budgeted at $16 million; now $32 million + counting)
3) the destruction of trees
4) lack of Community Board 2/Washington Square Park Task Force oversight
(basically : zero oversight)
5) no attention being paid to the details of the redesign, etc.
(see point #4)

Write to her at:

Did you notice with NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg that libraries, senior centers, animal protection, firehouses, police department and more are cut from the City Budget but never elaborate and unnecessary redesigns of parks?

Oh, and I never wrote a report back on the last Community Board 2 Parks Committee meeting held October 6th addressing Washington Square — after 10 long months of silence — because it was mostly an exercise in frustration. (Although any doubts about Tobi Bergman’s role in stopping closer scrutiny of the redesign of the park were put to rest.) The Parks Committee has not met for the past two months following the meeting.

** To get up to speed on some of the issues, see previous WSP Blog Post: Washington Square Park Phase II: Lack of Transparency & Oversight Continues

Washington Square Park Annual Tree Lighting Tuesday, December 7th & Caroling Friday, December 24th

Last year's ceremony - tree lighting under the Arch


Washington Square Tradition Older than Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting

Two Events: Tuesday, December 7th and Friday, December 24th, 2010

Washington Square Park will hold its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony under the Arch on Tuesday, December 7th at 6 p.m.  This will be the 84th year a tree has been lit. The Washington Square ceremony is one of the oldest tree lighting traditions in New York City, older than the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting! That annual tree lighting tradition began in 1931 making it 79 years old, five years younger.

After the tree is lit, song leader Mary Hurlbut, accompanied by the Rob Susman Brass Quartet, will sing holiday songs.  There will be a Santa Claus present. 

On Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24th at 5 p.m., swing by for caroling under the Arch, another annual tradition, led by the Rob Susman Brass Quartet.

The Washington Square Park Christmas tree – 45 feet tall! – will be lit in front of the Arch at Fifth Avenue between the hours of 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. throughout the holiday season until early to mid January.

Songbooks for the two events will be provided by the Washington Square Association which also donates the tree.  The Washington Square Association was founded in 1906 and is one of the city’s oldest community organizations.

Photo: Ken Howard

Washington Square Music Festival Free Concert Friday December 10th 8 p.m.

Washington Square Music Festival will perform a free concert “Strings, Winds and Piano” featuring Clarinetists Stanley Drucker, formerly of the New York Philharmonic, and Naomi Drucker with the Washington Square Music Festival Chamber Ensemble. The concert will take place on Friday, December 10 at 8 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church.

Pieces performed will include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, K. 581 written in 1789. A clarinet quintet is a work for one clarinet and a string quartet. From the release: “It was Mozart’s only completed clarinet quintet, and is one of the earliest and best-known works written especially for the instrument. It remains exceptionally popular today due to its lyrical melodies, with the second movement the best known.”

Location: St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, 371 Sixth Avenue at Washington Place.
Trains: A,B,C,D,E,F to W 4th Street-Washington Square or 1 to Christopher Street.

More information: #212/252-3621