Washington Square Park Eastern Side Opens Today!

Updated

Looking West Towards the Fountain

Pathway headed East from the Fountain

Garibaldi!

Garibaldi Plaza Stage

Costa Nicholas, first musician to grace Garibaldi Stage !

Playground Opens

Little Girl in the Playground

Some Tiles Salvaged from "Teen Plaza" in Playground

Two Men Chatting on the NorthEast Side

North East Quadrant

Small Dog Run on Wash Square South

Strange little alcove along Washington Square South

And, of course, The Arch (not part of Phase II)

The Eastern Side of Park – under construction for oh so long – opened today and people seem ecstatic to reclaim this large swatch (swath?) of New York City public space. I realized how much I missed the East Side. It was the end of the park I knew better than the Western end. No commentary today – just pictures! And the fountainout from under repair, is on!

Post from earlier today has more details on Phase II specifics and what’s taken so long, how much it cost, what some of the issues have been around the 20 months of construction and park’s redesign.

Commentary and thoughts on Washington Square Park Redesign: Phase II-A’s unveiling coming Monday, June 6thTuesday, June 7th!

Photos: Cathryn

The News You’ve Been Awaiting: Eastern Side of Washington Square Park (Phase IIA of Redesign) Opened Today!

The news you’ve been looking for! The Northeast and Southeast Quadrants of Washington Square Park opened today, Thursday, June 2nd! This will complete Phase II – A, a large section of the park, the entire eastern side, which has been under construction for 20 months. PHOTOS COMING!

Phase II was scheduled for completion by Fall 2010; then we heard the end of the year (tho’ doubted it), then “Spring 2011,” then “by Memorial Day,” but park goers looked happy to be finally able to stream through the eastern end of the park.

Of course, this isn’t all of Phase II, since, for one, part of it (The Mounds and the Large Dog Run) was moved into Phase III. And Chess Plaza, technically still in Phase II, now Phase II-B, won’t be finished til the end of the month. At least, at last, it’s something!

WSP Blog chronicled the problems back in September 2010 outlining how the city’s parks department caused numerous delays in getting the job done, how the project was over-budget, and the fact that no governmental agencies were providing oversight.

Washington Square Park’s entire redesign – Phases I, II, and III – was budgeted and approved for $16 Million at the onset. Phase I alone — which moved the fountain to align with the Arch, reduced the public space around the fountain, and re-landscaped the NorthWest Quadrant, opened in May of 2009 — cost $13 Million. Phase II was budgeted at $9 Million but will likely be $8 Million and that’s without the Large Dog Run and Mounds (included in the original figure). Phase III (rest rooms and administrative building – the new “pergola”) had been budgeted at $9 Million (note – that’s before the cost of the Mounds and Dog Run are added in). (Got all that?)

Since the Parks Department’s projects continue to be seriously over-budget with no apparent oversight by any governing body, the project by the end will have more than doubled from its approved budget and is now projected for $30-$35 Million in cost.

The fountain is out from under wraps but not on yet – in case you were wondering.

PHOTOS here.

Poem: In Washington Square Park

A poem submitted in the comments from Mitchel Cohen:

In Washington Square Park

Like invisible ink
encoded in our genes
Spring, irrepressible,
suddenly emerges
baked in the sun. Global
warming, tornadoes, nukes,
imperialist wars,
collateral damage
for a few minutes slip
out of mind, out to sea
with bin Laden’s body
and Fukushima’s rods.
We have too few moments
uncluttered. Remember
how joyous life could be?
Recharge those batteries,
chase those metaphors down
bleached trails of consciousness,
bared thighs, short skirts, flashing
like hawks above the park.
I sit here soaking up
the sun unrecognized,
eyes opened wide, sparkling,
decoding messages,
invisible — this park,
this Washington Square Park,
on the edge of Summer.

– Mitchel Cohen
May 27, 2011

Visit Mitchel’s web site for many informative and interesting articles he’s written as well as by others on environmental and political issues.