The Preserve Washington Square Park Blog

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This weblog will consist of extracts from the emails that you send in and editorial pieces as well. Names will be shown if given, or you can be anonymous if requested. All posts will be considered if short enough and appropriate to the purpose of the site.

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12 Mar 08

My Mosaic Triangle
In the Spring of 1973, when the mosaic circle patio was being installed, I was a senior in Fine Arts at NYU. On my way to class one afternoon, I noticed fresh cement being poured into the small triangle shaped modules that line the circumference of the circle. A businessman was kneeling, putting tiles in wet cement. Naturally, I asked the construction guys if I could design a module.

Now, my son, Max, is a senior at NYU Tisch film school. Throughout his four years there, he would occasionally stand on my module, and call me. Wow, has technology changed!

My perimeter triangle has flames. Max and I are both fire signs. I WANT MY TRIANGLE!

Do you know how I can get it? When will that section of the park be torn up? Can Max come by and pick my piece up?


Wendy Rochman
12:26 pm est

8 Feb 08

Bones and Desecration
Dear Mr. Greenberg,

I applaud your efforts and stand firmly behind you.

It was appalling to read about the discovery of the bones, an event that accidenttaly escaped the vigilance of those who support the park's destruction. On that basis, alone, all digging should cease. I have very strong feelings about the desecration of our historical park and can't help but view the proposed "renovations", including the naming of the fountain, as yet another move designed to showcase NYU, which is seen, especially after the razing of the Poe house, as totally hypocritical.

Good luck in your efforts.
Barbara Pryce
3:19 pm est

18 Dec 07

Where's the Washington Square Park Outrage?
Ever since running those photos of workers setting up shop in Washington Square Park last week, we've been waiting for the angry e-mails to flood in. But they haven't. Could it be that the rapid transition from pending litigation to certain renovation has resulted in a bit of shell-shock amongst the old guard of Greenwich Village bohemians? Not quite! Finally, a park lover dares speak her mind, and the topic is trees. And while the big one pictured at right is most likely safe until Dec. 26, we ca't say the same for other guys:

In removing dozens of trees (I've heard thirty) in Washington Square Park, and other 'plans' by the Parks Department, which include aligning the fountain with the arch, reducing the public space and the fountain plaza to make it more 'green,' & removing the chess tables, city officials and, perhaps, more visibly, NYU, are taking away what made Washington Square Park historically, ecologically, and socially what it is. In addition, City officials are tampering with human and wildlife space and the wildlife's existence.

There are many squirrels and birds that reside in those trees. Squirrels, in particular, are territorial and do not easily move to another area. Are they not taken into consideration? Isn't it important if their survival is at stake? Where will they move TO with the removal of up to thirty trees?

What do we make of the needless destruction OF the trees coinciding with Mayor Bloomberg's supposed tree and sustainability initiative, here we have the Parks Department cutting DOWN numerous trees? And, ironically (maliciously?) to create more "green" space (talk about not seeing the forest FOR the trees) and move their precious arch, while destroying and tampering with the existing ecosystem.

They are also interfering with the historical spirit of the park while catering to a corporate entity which already has more than enough visible presence (and land)
in the area.

In the courts, none of the legal challenges held up, so I would argue this needed (needs) to be brought out into the court of public opinion. Why is it so quiet?

There is an important place for - and argument to be made by - wildlife advocates and ecosystem (that means our city and other species) defenders. I don't, however, know how much time there is 'left.'

Can your Park be bought? Aren't there dozens of parks in the Parks system that could use that $16 million? Is this about the encroachment of NYU into the area, the loss
of previously entrenched Jane Jacobs bohemian types to wall street, advertising and "glamour" field stereotypical bodies who can't be bothered (or really... don't care)? This is another example of the further sanitization of public - and all - space. Can't we keep a little bit of grit and spirit in our city or, in this climate, is that just not possible?

From Joey in Curbed.Com
8:35 am est

16 Dec 07

Viva La Park!
Many years ago Ray Viola who was then in charge of real estate confessed to me personally that NYU wanted to turn Washington Sq. Park into the same structure that Gramacy Park is..with private keys and gates keeping out the public.

This renovation is step one to achieve this.

I just learned that the beautiful garden around the dog run was removed the middle of winter and replanted in another part of the park. Only a monster like Adrian Benepe would approve something like this. The man is supposed to love plants. Think again..he's a self centered power hungry politician who couldn't care less about plants! He tore up the community garden I started and tore up the children's garden without warning so that when the children came to the park to weed their little lots, they were in tears, wondering where their beloved garden had gone in the middle of the night.

I don't think that there is anything that can be done to stop this infestation of NYU joined together with Benepe but you can show force. Chain yourself to trees! Climb up and bring heat packs with you and a sleeping bag and don't let anyone remove you. Save the trees.

We really needed a force before this all began. The community board and the preservation committee is in on this..all in the pockets of NYU...this started a long time NYU folks getting themselves positioned just for this sad and sorry day!

Shelley Davis

Original founding member of the Washington Sq Dog Run and the Community Gardens in Washington Sq. Park!
1:39 am est

Greenwich Village R.I.P.
Washington Square Park is right now, Saturday afternoon, being physically demolished, it will soon be shut down entirely and permanently killed.

"First they came for the park, and I said nothing ....."

Already, new, unprecedented tall wire fences, chain link fences, and wooden plank structures have been put up and wrapped around the southern and western perimeters of the park. This is the prelude to the closing and "redesign" razing and walling up of the parks walkways, the chopping down of dozens of its large, tall trees, not to be replaced, and the removal of all its chess tables, forever (if we're lucky, they may provide a new corner for a few game tables, not chess but "scrabble" ---I kid you not).

What was just last week still one of the world's great and renown open urban spaces and free public gathering/protest places, today resembles a caged-in POW camp. Washington Square Park is dead, murdered, and its further dissection will occur before your very eyes and you stand by haplessly, doing nothing, mute even.

Assuming the "progressives" "left" liberals" neighborhood preservation people, historians, people with children, or a basic sense of freedom, or ecology or beauty EVEN CARE about this unforgivable cultural genocide, or what they are doing to the world, their children's future or even themselves. And I have conclude, after all, that you just don't care.
You don't. Otherwise it wouldn't have gotten this far. Otherwise you would stand up today, or tomorrow, and do something. And you won't. That just can't be expected. Perhaps, for all intents and purposes, you pseudo-"activists"

and "people who care" died a long time ago, before the park did. Before the police surveillance cameras went up in the Wash. Sq. Park trees watching you day and night. Those trees are soon to be killed and even the stumps removed, but the kameras will remain. Bigger and more powerful ones, even, behind the high, iron bars and locked gates.

And at far-off some point in the future, the people of the world, today's children, will ask how you could have stood by and, tragically, criminally, let this destruction and deprivation happen. They will ask what happened to them, what was wrong with them?

And I will tell them

--Shelley Davis
1:32 am est

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