Memorial Day Weekend – Fountain On! Lawn Mostly Sequestered

Beautiful weekend in NYC and at WSP.

A small portion of lawn was opened up south of the Fountain in time for Memorial Day but not much else. Side plumes on the Fountain are still not operational.
More photos coming…

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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Washington Square Park Fountain Looks Lovely ON … but Do you Think They’ll ever Turn it OFF?

I had this strong desire to see Washington Square Park’s Fountain turned ON before the long-under-construction and fenced off Plaza opens (it looks like any day now). I’d heard they’ve been testing the waters. (And I bet they were, um, happy to discover that the Fountain actually worked after re-routing all the underground water pipes to gain that oh-so-necessary alignment with the Arch at Fifth Avenue.) I was starting to lose a bit of hope that I would actually see it on. But, then, by chance, the other day, I did! Everyone else walked by barely taking a glance at the water spouting upwards in the middle of the fenced-off isolated Plaza. But, for me, it was exciting.

The Arch and Fountain Together Again

The Arch and Fountain Together Again

"New" Fountain ON

"New" Fountain ON

It just makes me wonder… as lovely as the new Fountain looks ON, do you think they’ll ever turn it OFF?

"Old" Fountain flowing with people

"Old" Fountain flowing with people

"Old" Fountain

"Old" Fountain

As Jane Jacobs wrote in The Death and Life of Great American Cities of Washington Square Park’s famous fountain, “In effect, this [fountain] is a circular arena, a theater in the round, and that is how it is used, with complete confusion as to who are spectators and who are the show.”

About Washington Square Park overall, she stated, “The city officials regularly concoct improvement schemes by which this center within the park would be sown to grass and flowers and surrounded by a fence. The invariable phrase is ‘restoring the land to park use.’ That is a different form of park use, legitimate in places. But for neighborhood parks, the finest centers are stage settings for people.”

Top Three Photos: Cat

Photo#4: CharlotteWebGal (on Flickr)

Photo#5: NicoletteSara (on Flickr)