Help Me Win a $2000 Grant from GOOD Magazine — Vote for My Book! Your Vote Matters!

Hi Blog Readers,

If you’ve appreciated my work here at WSP Blog, I’d appreciate if you would take a minute and vote for my project, The B-girl Guide: Rethinking the Way We Live (Living in Earth, Animal & People-Friendly Ways), which is up for a $2000 grant to fund the final editing, illustration and printing of the book.

It just takes a few minutes! It’s me and 60 other projects and it’s totally dependent on your vote. There’s a lot of great, great projects there & I’d love to win!

The project with the most votes as of May 30th at 3 p.m. Eastern Time wins!

Click for “Vote for this Idea” to vote for me! If you don’t have a GOOD account, you just need to log in with an email address or Facebook account to register. You will be emailed a link to validate and, once you’ve voted, you’ll get verification that your vote has been counted. You can only vote once – please tell your friends to vote and spread the word! (Good recommends using Firefox or Google Chrome to access their site. It does not work as well with Internet Explorer apparently.)

GOOD Maker is a project of GOOD Magazine and is “a tool to help you make good things happen. GOOD Maker gives individuals and organizations the ability to tap into the public’s creativity and energy to address an issue that’s important to them.

Please vote for me and The B-girl Guide here at Good. Thank you!

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Thanks & Almost There! Blogger Fundraising Appeal

Seen on the Fountain Plaza

Hi. Thank you to those of you who responded to my initial fundraising appeal three weeks ago. Much appreciated. I wanted to put forth one more appeal with a specific goal : to raise $200 which would allow me to do some blog upgrading. Of course, any and all help appreciated. $10… $20… more ! Every bit helps.

Reader support will help keep this blog going and the news coming. There never seems to be a lack of things happening at – or related to – Washington Square.

Thanks for whatever you can do —

Cathryn.
WSP Blog

WSP Blog Fundraising Week – An Appeal

If you’re not aware, I’m doing a bit of a fundraising campaign. I can use your help. If you like the coverage you’ve seen here, please contribute.

Your financial help will serve to maintain, improve and support Washington Square Park Blog. Just click below (all major credit cards accepted). Thank you.

Original Post 11/16: WSP Blog Fundraising Appeal

WSP Blog Fundraising Apppeal

Funds Needed ** to Keep This Blog Going

(Updated) I know we all read blogs and consider them ‘free’ and maybe we take them for granted at times. I’m sure I have! However, I’m sending out a request to help keep this blog going. Your financial help will serve to maintain, improve and support Washington Square Park Blog.

It’s been 3 years and 9 months since I started the Washington Square Park Blog — it has not only covered the redesign of the park, ongoing events and its history and also documented issues relating to NYC, other public spaces, and the city’s attempts to increasingly privatize them.

It’s been a lot of work (there are 757 posts here!) and gratifying in many ways. This blog has broken stories and drawn attention to issues around Washington Square Park and New York City that would not be covered elsewhere in our increasingly corporatized mainstream media.

You can PayPal cathrynbe-at-earthlink.net or click button below. It’s quite easy and quick and all major credit cards – Amex, Visa, Mastercard, Discover – work.

Thank you —

Cathryn
WSP Blog

2nd Anniversary of this Blog!

This is an abbreviated, edited version of the post I ran last year on the blog’s 1 year anniversary – with an update at the end:

I recounted here how I started this blog after going to an exhibit in January 2008 at the Municipal Art Society on Jane Jacobs. Jane Jacobs had been critically involved over the years at Washington Square Park (and, of course, New York City, in general). The goal of the exhibit was to inspire community activism. I recognized that many people in the community had tried the typical routes (go to meetings, talk to politicians, talk to your community board, hand out flyers, etc. etc.). At the exhibit, a little booklet was handed out which stated, basically, if all else fails, if you’ve tried everything, START A BLOG. That got my attention. I thought, why not?

Right around the time I started, I met all these wonderful Brooklyn bloggers at a luncheon. They were all so inspiring, honest, quirky, talented, encouraging. Truthfully, if I had realized how much work it would be, I might have rethought it but this blog provided a place to practice writing in a structured way that was part activism, part journalism. I have a background in public relations so it seemed like some of that might get thrown in also.

I started out wanting to tell the story of what had happened – to that point. Then, last summer (’08), new meetings about the park’s redesign began and I was able to report the story as it was happening. Curbed called this a “watchdog blog.” Along the way, this blog got written up in the New York Times, linked to by numerous other blogs and web sites, and I had written dialogue with the NYC Parks Commissioner.

I’ve felt it was important to interconnect other issues going on in our city and public space that also relate to the issues at Washington Square Park, such as:

* the reduction and privatization of public space (particular emphasis on Washington Square Park, Union Square Park, and Yankee Stadium Parkland);

* the cutting down of hundreds if not thousands of trees in our parks across the five boroughs while the Mayor hypes his MillionTreesNYC “initiative” ;

* the dangerous and controversial use of artificial turf in our parks and playing fields;

* NYU: Washington Square Park’s influential neighbor and its reckless real estate land grabs which are decimating communities and neighborhoods throughout Manhattan as it plants its flags seemingly everywhere. (NYU owns, after all, basically all the real estate that surrounds the park.);

* Business Improvement Districts and Park Conservancy Models : The problem with the overly pervasive BIDs and Conservancies is that they get a stronghold on our public spaces, thereby influencing usage based on bolstering real estate values over community interests;

* Failure of elected officials: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and (former) City Council Member Alan Gerson failed in protecting Washington Square Park and in responding to their constituents’ pleas for intervention;

* Washington Square Park Task Force — Largely comprised of members of Community Board 2, as well as representatives of elected officials, and community members. Too often the requests it puts forward to the Parks Department lack a true sense of advocating for the Park;

And… of course…

* Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Without him and his deft and slickly corrosive way of maneuvering through city agencies and outside groups, none of what’s happened at Washington Square Park and in our city would have been possible.

**************************************************************

2/26/10: Right now, we’re in full swing of Phase II construction at the Park. There is a Phase III yet to come! This blog became an important space for me personally when I first started writing it — it’s written itself at times! I’ve had to slow down and post less often (I posted once a day for close to the first year and a half) and future posting will be more sporadic. Yet, there are 492 posts in the archive (check ’em out – see Categories on right hand side bar) and a lot of material has been covered here.

I learn all the time from the other NYC bloggers, and it’ll be interesting to see where this whole “citizen journalism” movement goes (especially as mainstream journalists move in).

If there’s one change I would have liked to have seen, it would have been more transparency and less arrogance, a change in the way the NYC Parks Department related on Washington Square Park and all park issues.

While the Phase I section of the Park (around the Fountain), which opened May ’09, looks “pretty,” it also looks suburbanized, homogenized, “aligned.” Even the latest news, of those two old trees axed amidst Phase II Construction ones that landscape designer George Vellonakis insisted would be saved – confirms another untruth, on top of too many others, from the New York City Parks Department. Another inappropriate action from a city agency, as we navigate Mayor Bloomberg’s (engineered) third term.

However, the spirit of the park will live on! It’ll change (again) as the years go by. And I believe ultimately the truth (about Mayor Bloomberg, about the Parks Department under Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, about whatever behind-the-scenes deals that were done) will prevail.

As always, thanks for reading and stopping by whether it’s been often, from time-to-time, or just today!

best,
Cathryn.
WSP Blog

*The First Post: The Magical Park, February 26, 2008

*Links to many of the issues noted above (topics covered on this blog) here.

Photo: Venetia27

A little Self Promotion!

Updated 2/20

Yes, this is self promotion but, hey!, I’ve been writing this blog for close to two years, I think I can throw some in at this point! Two more days ’til fundraising to complete my book on Kickstarter ends — for each level of backing, you also get Rewards (a completed book, a thank you on the web site, a thank you in the book, etc.!) – plus I have a new video. Check it out at my Kickstarter page here!

As of this minute, I have 38 hours to go! I have til Friday, February 19th at 11:15 p.m. On Kickstarter, the end call for funding of your project is the most important one, as I only receive the funds pledged IF I reach my goal of $6500. With your help, I can meet my goal.

THANK YOU to WSP Blog readers and other bloggers that have helped out either via pledging or spreading the word. MUCH appreciated!

Cathryn
WSP Blog

Update: 2/20 — I made my initial goal! The site can still take pledges to fund my book but my Kickstarter venture was a success!

A Personal Appeal — Support This NYC Blogger/Writer

Dear Blog Readers:

I’m writing you a personal note to ask for your support! Whether you read my blog regularly, stop by from time to time, or totally disagree with some of my views but appreciate the updates and hard work (!!) that have gone into this blog, I thank you! — this note is for you – and you – and you!

It’s hard to imagine that it’s close to two years since I started the Washington Square Park Blog (February 26, 2008) but it is. I’d never written a blog before but jumped into creating it because the issue of New York City’s actions as they affect our parks and public spaces is so important.

As I was figuring out various things in my own life, this blog connected me to other bloggers (I met many of the amazing Brooklyn bloggers in person and the Manhattan & other borough bloggers have been great support virtually). Those connections have been very important to me and this blog.

Washington Square Park Blog has given me the opportunity to delve into this burgeoning concept of citizen journalism and expose the intense – and sometimes joyous – details of what is happening in our City. Today, the idea of hyper-local blogs focusing on specific neighborhoods or places like Washington Square Park as a window onto the larger world has gained more traction.

While I’ve been writing my blog, I also have been writing a book.

Connecting the Dots

At times, finding the connections between disparate news items — such as the City’s attempt to put a privately owned restaurant in Union Square Park, or the construction of the new Yankee Stadium (which involved confiscation of 22 acres of public park land that still has not been fully replaced), privatization of our parks, or the question last year of Mayoral and City Council term limits! — and writing about these topics on this blog has been so compelling that I couldn’t turn away and not write about it, sometimes at the expense of working on the book!

And, of course, all the material directly related to Washington Square — the Community Board, Task Force & Landmarks Preservation Commission meetings, outlining the Phases of the redesign of the Park, letters to – and from – the NYC Parks Commissioner, write-ups in the mediaNY Times, NY Daily News, NY1, Time Out NY, NYmag.com, MSN.com, Curbed (Curbed has kept me going at times and always made me laugh!), and numerous other blogs, the re-opening of the park upon Phase I completion, highlighting events at the park, the history of the park, to, more recently, breaking the news of the discovery of the tombstone from 1799 during recent construction! – it has often been difficult to turn the stove down to simmer.

I realize that when we read blogs – I read many of them! – we consider the content “free.” As it SHOULD be! There’s something really nice about the fact that it is.

But, as you probably know, A LOT OF WORK goes into researching and writing this blog. So, I’m asking you, now, to help support your local blogger! For a number of personal reasons, this would be a very good time to do so! And there’s good reason to: You can help me publish my book. (more…)