Interview with Washington Square News

Update 11/29: It’s now on their website here!

I completed an interview with NYU’s daily newspaper, Washington Square News, which appeared last Wednesday (11/16). Their site isn’t set up to have online stories or links so it’s uploaded below.

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

New LUMA Blog

Coney Island Wonder Wheel Day of Mermaid Parade

You may not remember LUMA, a restaurant that existed in Chelsea in the ’90’s on Manhattan’s Ninth Avenue but I loved it there. My new LUMA blog is devoted to the spirit of LUMA – or how I remember it.

LUMA Blog will be broader in focus than WSP Blog – it’ll cover NYC with probable emphasis on the Village and Brooklyn; it’ll look at places and people, issues, and well.. life.

The nice thing about Tumblr (where LUMA Blog is hosted) is that you can follow blogs similar to how you follow people on Twitter.

Today’s LUMA Blog post focuses on the new organic, locally sourced Celebrate Cafe in the Bowery Poetry Club, operated by the Lower East Side Girls Club, which opened yesterday.

LUMA Blog debuted yesterday, June 21, 2010 with photos from the delightful Mermaid Parade on Coney Island.

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…)

Guess what? Washington Square Park Blog is 1 year old on Thursday, February 26th!

It’s true. This blog’s one year anniversary is this coming Thursday!

I might have missed the 1 year mark if I hadn’t gone back to the archived February 2008 calendar to check. I thought the blog’s starting date was February 28th, but actually, it was February 26th, 2008 that I created the Washington Square Park Blog. I’ll write more about it that day.

Thank you to everyone who has read regularly or stopped by now and again.

Cathryn.

Photo: Venetia27

Blog Update !

In order to up the activism component of the blog and increase other writing and activities, Washington Square Park Blog will be updating three times a week for the month of September. (I’ve updated substantively pretty much every day Monday-Friday – sometimes more – for the last seven months since I started. I’ll write more, of course, when there’s ‘breaking news.’) I’m hoping to switch the site to a website type format so that the topics will be more easily categorized and accessed. And… I have an event and some other ideas that I’ll post about soon. So… stay tuned!

September has good energy to it. We have some juicy topics to address. Including Tomorrow — NYC Parks Department‘s avoidance of answering an easy question. What’s that about?

New post below!