The Fountain, (Side) Plume-Less Again

Fountain, No Plumes

Side Jet Uncovered

For a brief period beginning in late August, the fountain regained its side plumes but, alas, as of sometime last week, the fountain is plume-less again. In case you’re wondering, it seems one source of the trouble is this ‘jet,’ above, on the Northern end of the fountain which is uncovered at the moment. All the other jets, which are the source of the fountain’s side plumes, have brass coverings.

A reminder of the fountain in its glory (for a brief period, late summer, after no plumes for more than a year) – from a week and a half ago:

What a Difference a Plume (Or Two) Makes!

Top Two Photos: Cathryn
Bottom Photo: Scott Steinbaugh

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Late Summer 2012: After More Than a Year, The Washington Square Fountain’s (Side) Plumes are Back On!

Plumes On!

After more than a year not functioning, the Washington Square Fountain Plumes are Back!

The new fountain debuted, with side plumes, in May of 2009. At some point in June of last year, the side plumes (or jets) stopped working and remained that way. I wrote about it in August (“It’s the Prime of Summer 2011: Is Something (New) Wrong with the Washington Square Fountain?”) and have wondered about it since. So imagine my surprise as I sat by the fountain yesterday and it slowly dawned on me that something was different.

No Plumes Summer 2011

2012: What a difference a plume makes!

No idea what caused the push to repair whatever the problem was but … yay! (I reached out to the Parks Department to find out some more information. We’ll see if there is a response.) It truly makes a difference. Scott who took these shots – thank you! – decided to sit down by the Fountain when he realized the plumes were on; he noted, “There’s less room to sit” but was in agreement it was nice having them on. Repaired just as the summer is coming to a close, the side plumes make the Fountain experience fuller somehow.

Top and Bottom Photos: Scott Steinbaugh
Middle Photo: Cathryn

To Cool You Off in NYC … The Washington Square Fountain (Photo)

If you can’t be in the fountain today, hopefully looking at it will make you feel cooler!

Photo: Via Instagram from Kate Spade NY on Twitter

The Fountain


Friday early evening.
Photo: Cathryn

Untapped New York Looks at WSP’s “Hidden History”


Untapped New York takes a look at The Hidden History of Washington Square Park:

The Washington Square Arch has been a staple of the park since 1889. Designed by Stanford White, the arch was first built out of wood to commemorate the 100th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration. The prominent citizens loved it and paid for White to design it out of marble. Alexander Stirling Calder made the statue of Washington and Fredrick MacMonnies carved the relief work.

In 1916, painter John Sloan, dadaist Marcel Duchamp and three of their friends broke into the interior staircase of the arch. They climbed to the top, cooked food, lit Japanese lanterns, fired cap pistols, launched balloons and declared it the independent republic of New Bohemia. The citizens were outraged and the interior door of the arch was sealed. Some of the lucky have been able to tour the inside.

The fountain was built in 1960 and reminds us of the now-covered Minetta Brook that even today still flows under the southeast corner of the park.

I’ve noticed that it looks like the Arch door now in fact has an alarm on it or else a really secure new lock. Will post a photo.

Image: Downtown Doodler

Thanks to Local Ecologist for letting me know about this piece!

Photos — And Fountain Finally Off!

Friday - fountain off and empty

Arch (look closely - police guarding at left)

Bobby perhaps? Red-tailed hawk flies over the fountain

Policeman guarding ... pigeons?

Downed light eastern entrance to park

In case you missed it, here’s the saga of the perpetually flowing fountain (November 17, 2011).

Washington Square Fountain Often Left On To Deter “Protester” Use?

It’s past the time of year when the Washington Square fountain is typically shut off and yet, up until this morning, the fountain has been on – presumably to deter protester use of it. The fountain – when not on and also empty – has traditionally been used as a gathering space and a place for, yes, protest. The Bloomberg Administration is apparently so worried of that usage that the fountain is often left on in the rain, and long after the park’s water fountains have been shut off. (When it’s not on, water is left within it to discourage usage.)

Here are photos from yesterday – the NYPD preparation for Arundhati Roy’s scheduled visit to the park (it was moved inside to Judson Church due to rain). Fountain was on this morning but is off as of now (3 p.m.).

NYPD on the Fountain Plaza

NYPD - TARU: Technical Assistance Response Unit






NYPD TARU = Technical Assistance Research Unit.

I love seeing the fountain on but it’s getting a bit ridiculous. At least, the Arch is no longer barricaded.

Video of Arundhati Roy at People’s University yesterday.

** If you like this and other WSP Blog coverage, please contribute during Fundraising Week –  this blogger is trying to raise some funds! **

It’s the Prime of Summer 2011 – Is Something (New) Wrong with the Washington Square Fountain?

Updated 4:45 p.m.

Opening Day Phase I - May 2009

Fountain Now, Summer 2011

Fountain, No Side Water Plumes, August 2011

In mid-May of this year, the new Washington Square Park fountain went under repair for two or so weeks. As part of the Bloomberg Administration’s redesign of the park, the famous fountain, in its previous location since 1871, was moved 22 feet east to align with the Arch. It is now a little over two years old. The “new” fountain was unveiled in May 2009 and is pictured at top at the opening of Washington Square Park Redesign: Phase I. The fountain was rebuilt from scratch using the stones from the previous structure. The “old” fountain was eighty years old — according to documents I unearthed recently, written by former City Council Member Alan Gersonand still working.

The fountain has side plumes or “jets” that spout water from them. They were working up until June of this year but they are currently not working and haven’t been for over a month. It’s unclear if the issue is (again) related to the construction or to perhaps maintenance of the Washington Square fountain.

Opening Ceremony Phase I 2009 - Side Jets Working

In June -- Plumes Still Working

The plume source -- Now

If you visit the fountain, the experience is somewhat lessened to say the least. It’s perplexing what the exact problem is. (I wrote to the Parks Department Press Office but did not receive an answer on this.)

Will this latest issue be acknowledged, addressed and fixed at some point? Much money and resources were used to dismantle, relocate, align and reconstruct the Washington Square Park Fountain. You’d imagine, at a major city park, in the prime of summer, that those side water jets on a virtually new structure would be working for the public’s enjoyment and use. If something is wrong – which appears to be the case – what could it be?

* * *

On a side note: Yesterday the fountain was drained and cleared of bottles that accumulate underneath it and cause problems and are of a concern to people wading IN the fountain. (Note: this is not the cause of the plumes not working!) I gather later in the evening people are leaving bottles in there. I don’t know if those people read my blog (!) but, if you see someone doing so, perhaps ask them to clean up a bit! There’s also handily now recycling for bottles and cans at the park. Someone just wrote in about seeing cigarette butts in the fountain as well. The Parks Department without a doubt has its issues but we do all need to respect the space that we are using and share.

** Previous WSP Blog Post from May 16th, 2011: Is the New Washington Square Park Fountain Falling Apart? Fountain Now Under Wraps

Photos: Cathryn

Scene: The Fountain Last Friday Night at Sunset

FILM CANCELLED DUE TO EXPECTED RAIN Tonight at the park —  “Films on the Green” – Free French Films – 8:30 p.m. featuring director Eric Rohmer’s “A Summer’s Tale.”

Photo: Esther S. Kim (blog for ladies!)

What is going on with the Washington Square Park Fountain?

Yesterday, Fountain Off

What’s going on with the Fountain? Erratic hours, turning off at 7 p.m. (it’s supposed to stay on ’til 11); sometimes not on at 11 a.m. in the morning lately. Yesterday, a reader reports it was not on AT ALL as of 1 p.m. and then again at 5 so off all day?

Is this another effect of Parks Department budget problems or the overblown redesign? Pick one. While the department spends $35 MILLION on Washington Square Park Phases I, II and III, it appears either the agency had bad construction work done or can’t maintain consistent hours. The fountain has been a part of the park experience for years.

4 weeks ago

The Washington Square Park fountain went under construction during Phase I of Washington Square Park’s redesign. Under the Bloomberg Administration’s directive, it was moved 23 feet east to align with the Arch and was reconstructed from scratch; unveiled to the public in 2009. It recently went under repair on May 16th for about 2 weeks before it reopened to the public in time for the Eastern side of the Park’s opening (Phase II-A) on June 2nd.

Previous WSP Blog Post (May 16th): Is the New Washington Square Park Fountain Falling Apart?