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.

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Arundhati Roy at Washington Square Park Wednesday, November 16th 12:30 p.m.

Arundhati Roy

If you’ve ever heard Arundhati Roy speak – and I had the opportunity at Riverside Church in 2003 – then you know that she is worth any effort involved to do so ! If not, you will have your chance on Wednesday afternoon, November 16th at Washington Square Park from 12:30 – 1:15 p.m. when she will appear courtesy of the People’s University.

Note: Rain or shine – near Arch / Fountain.

The People’s University “brings education out from the classrooms and into public spaces.” Washington Square Park is their focal point.

About Arundhati Roy:

Arundhati Roy won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things. Her non-fiction work includes An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire, Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers, and Broken Republic. An impassioned critic of neo-imperialism, military occupations, and violent models of economic ‘development’, Roy was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in 2004. Her consistent exposure of the Indian state’s repressive policies has led to her being variously labelled a seditionist, secessionist, Maoist and unpatriotic troublemaker.

Roy was trained as an architect and worked as a production designer before the acclaim and fame she received for The God of Small Things led her on other paths. That book remains her only novel – since then she has written non-fiction and writes and speaks out on issues of concern to her.

“Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds… Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.” (Arundhati Roy quote)

More on the People’s University:

The People’s University draws inspiration from the occupations on Wall Street, other cities in the United States, and throughout the world.

The People’s University acknowledges that NYU, and other private universities in New York City and beyond, have colonized our neighborhoods, erecting physical and social barriers to inclusion. The People’s University will now decolonize the public space at the center of NYU’s real estate empire—Washington Square Park.

The People’s University aims to remove education from the marketplace. Learning must be free of charge, and opportunities for education must be plentiful, not scarce. The People’s University is one small step in that direction, because it says that education is not a consumer good. It is what the 99% can and must share in common.

The People’s University is organized in solidarity with #OWS in Liberty Square and complements the education and empowerment work ongoing there.