3rd Anniversary of this blog; The first post: The Magical Park

(Updated) Tomorrow, February 26th marks three years since this blog began. I really don’t know what I expected when I first started – I find sometimes it’s better, when you venture into something new, to just jump in and figure it out as you go along. I remember at the 1 year anniversary I thought of stopping, and now, somehow, it’s THREE YEARS of blogging. I always feel it’s sad when people abandon their blogs but I do understand how that happens.

On WSP Blog anniversary’s year 1 and year 2, I wrote long missives. This year, I’ve reposted the very first post. Re-reading the early posts, sometimes I cringe a little; I feel some could use some tweaking. I think I’ve gotten better, through writing this blog regularly, at researching, framing, and outlining issues. That’s helped me in other areas and I’m thankful for that. Plus I got to know and appreciate the park so much better over all this time and also New York City in general. There have been 561 posts over these three years; 562 including this one! (The first year and a half I posted basically every day.) Thanks always for stopping by.

– Cathryn.

I edited this post just a little:

The Magical Park

When I first became involved with the issue of the proposed redesign of Washington Square Park, someone I met referred to the park as “magical.” It took me awhile actually to see that. Certainly, I’d been to Washington Square Park over the years. I’d sat and listened to music or watched strange happenings within the fountain. I’d marveled at the almost laid back ’60’s bohemian feeling the park retained, co-existing amongst college students, chess players, old-timers, newbies, dog walkers, families, tourists. Every type person coexists and intermingles within Washington Square Park.

My revived interest in the Park, in relation to the massive changes and radical overhaul the City has planned for it, occurred late last year (December ’07) out of concern for the cutting down of the trees; what that would mean for the wildlife in the Park.

As I looked closer, I realized what was going to be taken away by these mysterious, suddenly “necessary” changes — changes that would affect the whole essence of the Park and the things that make it work: those inexplicable factors which make it such a special place for so many people. To set out to change that seemed to me an extension of the long arm of gentrification and homogenization of our city by our current Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

It then became even more important to oppose these changes and advocate for something different. This blog is my attempt to document what I’ve learned in a short time and share that information.

Originally posted February 26, 2008

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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.

Washington Square Park in the Snow

The Magical Park (2006)

The Magical Park (2006)

.To see video of Washington Square Park in all its “Winter Wonderland” glory, click here.

Washington Square Park: Free love and relationship advice

Washington Square Park is an eclectic, wondrous place. There have to be reports on some of the positive things, right?  So, here we go…

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Washington Square News (NYU’s daily newspaper) has its own blogger, Life of Alvin. Alvin reports that last Sunday, on the southern side of the Park, a man appeared with a sign that said “Free love and relationship advice.”

Here’s an excerpt of Life of Alvin’s report back:

On Sunday, a man sat on the southern side of Washington Square Park with a cardboard sign that read: “Free love and relationship advice.” A handful of people waited patiently to speak to him, almost as if he had something important to offer.

I thought many people would talk to him for fun, not as a serious act of seeking advice. But I was wrong.

The one guy who sat across from this self-professed love expert clung to his every word. I tried to read lips, but I’ve never been too good at that so I settled for reading his facial expressions. It went from pouting to smiles back to pouting. It was almost as if this man was a puppeteer, changing the motions of his patrons with a twitch of his tongue.

I thought about approaching him, but I was afraid he would look at me and say, “Kid, I’m going to have to charge you money. You’ve got issues to sort through.”

(I tried to link to Life of Alvin but the linking was not working. Sorry!)

Did anyone talk to him? Witness this? Would love to hear some report backs.

I’ve often thought it would be worth sitting at the Park with a sign that says “Tell me what you think of Washington Square Park’s ‘renovation.'” Maybe that’ll be next. In the meantime… people can find “love and relationship advice” on a random Sunday at Washington Square Park, a place where you never know what will happen next.


The magical park

When I first got involved with what was going on at Washington Square Park, someone referred to the park as “magical.” It took me awhile to see that. Certainly… I’d been to Washington Square Park over the years. I’d sat and listened to music or watched strange happenings within the fountain. I’d marveled at the almost laid back ’60’s bohemian feeling it retained which co-existed amongst college students, chess players, old-timers, newbies, dog walkers, families, tourists. Every type person coexists and intermingles within Washington Square Park.

My renewed interest in the Park, in relation to the massive changes and radical overhaul the City has planned for it, occurred late last year initially out of concern for the cutting down of the trees and what that would mean for the wildlife in the Park.

As I looked closer, I realized what was going to be taken away by these mysterious, suddenly “necessary” changes — changes that would affect the whole essence of the Park … the things that make it work… those inexplicable factors which make it such a special place for so many people. To want to change that seemed to me an extension of the long arm of gentrification and homogenization of our city by our current Mayor, Mayor Bloomberg.

Then, it became even more important to oppose these changes and advocate for something different. This blog is my attempt to document what I’ve learned in a short time and share that information.