Mike Myers and Mario Batali Film Atop the Washington Square Arch

Updated June 15th, 9:59 a.m.How does one get access to the top of the Washington Square Arch? A few months back, a Wall Street Journal reporter gained access. But a tv show or commercial? Yesterday, I looked up to see people atop the Arch! Not realizing at the time those people being filmed were actor Mike Myers and chef Mario Batali (they later played ping pong together on the Plaza). The filming was apparently done for some Mario Batali venture. According to Pam Levy, Batali’s publicist, it is for “a private Internet webisode project.” She added: “I can’t tell you anything more than that at this point.”

Mike Myers and Mario Batali wave (tho' no one seems to notice!)

Men Guarding Entrance to the Arch

Mike Myers Looks Pensive (Imagine the view!)

The full picture

Picture at left captures the ping pong part of Myers’ and Batali’s venture to Washington Square. Not sure how it all works together.

I wrote to Batali’s publicist and the Parks Department for additional information (Parks Dept. has not responded as of Wed. a.m.).

Questions such as: What were the arrangements and terms under which Mario Batali filmed on the Plaza and was able to enter and film within/from the Arch? If financial, what was the amount agreed to?

Has Mario Batali given money towards Washington Square Park in the past and/or pledged money in the future towards maintaining, renovating, or some other aspect of the Park? (WSP Blog Note: Batali was in photos with City officials when Phase I opening ceremony occurred.)

And, of course, how does the Parks Department determine who is allowed access to the Arch?

As Batali was walking away from the ping pong table, he said to the people gathered around: “support and give money to the Washington Square Park Foundation.” An organization, to my knowledge, that does not exist.

Batali runs a host of restaurants in the neighborhood and his “GelOtto” vending cart recently appeared in the NorthWest corner of the Park.

Photos: Cathryn.

Washington Square Park Dog Run Flooding Ignored; Rainwater and Restroom “Runoff” Creating Disease-Producing Conditions

Gothamist reports on the status of the Washington Square Park Dog Run after a reader informed the site that a combination of rain and “runoff from the adjacent restrooms” was causing a huge flood in the middle of the dog run. The reader wrote:

Backed up drain from restroom filling the run, mosquitos everywhere, hookworm and giardia epidemics. This is crazy, where are our dogs supposed to go and why doesn’t the city care about this diseased cesspool in the middle of Washington Square Park?

I don’t venture into the Dog Run much but this situation sounds beyond horrible; yet fixable and in need of priority attention.

A commenter (“washingtonsquareparksucks” – hmm…) at the site wrote:

The dog run has been like this for over a month. There have absolutely been sick dogs with hookworm and giardia. One vet said he saw five cases in one day and they all were dogs who attend this run. It is a shame that the entire park has had a facelift and the dog run has become a festering waste.

As a dog walker with over 25 dogs a day to exercise there is no way I would bring my clients animals in there. This is a disgrace. The park manager Becky has supposedly tried to get a city plumber but to no avail. She has also been spread thin because of budget cuts and is now managing Union Square Park and Washington Square Park making her unavailable to really prioritize this issue. The dog park manager Pat has blown this issue off because she is frustrated with the whole remodel and never being able to get anything done via the parks department.  Village residents are disgusted and have been campaigning everyone to call 311. We all know how that effective that is… useless. PLEASE FIX OUR DOG RUN!

So, does this further confirm the fact that the city’s Parks Department, under Commissioner Adrian Benepe, entirely has its priorities backwards? Parks are being overhauled left and right (Union Square, Washington Square, Prospect Park, the High Line) with no regard to how to upkeep them – during or afterwards.

Where is the City Council? Where is Margaret Chin? (It’s her district but she’s been profoundly low key unlike her predecessor Alan Gerson, who may not have been perfect, but was responsive in his own way.) How is there NO oversight?