Washington Square Park Redesign: Phase II Unveiling is Imminent … Well, At least, Some of It is

by cathryn on March 18, 2011

New York City Parks Department’s Redesign of Washington Square Park: Phase II — modified from its original plan which included additional elements like the Mounds and large Dog Run (now in Phase III) – is close to ready for unveiling. At least, the Eastern side of the Park is. The Southwestern side is still challenged and likely two months from completion.

This brings up the question: Will the Parks Department have two grand opening ceremonies to celebrate first the unveiling of Phase II East and then Phase II SouthWest? How will this be handled? Something should open, don’t you think? And soon.

Washington Square Park’s Phase II construction began in the Fall of 2009. At the time, the scheduled completion date was September 2010. See previous WSP Blog coverage of the delays and reasons for them. The projected cost of Phases I, II and III is now at $30 Million and counting.

Still, additional questions remain:

  • Will the Garibaldi statue soon be refinished and unveiled? (It’s really time for him to get out of that bright blue cloak. I’ve written to the Landmarks Preservation Commission update: it’s the - Public Design Commission - which is - the agency which will ultimately give the go ahead on how Garibaldi should be completed with no response as yet.)
  • Is completion of the large kids’ playground on the Northeast side majorly delayed due to Parks Department, um, actions? Will this further hold up the Eastern side from - at last - opening?
  • Is it even conceivable that the Chess Plaza will open at the same time as the Eastern section? This section is lagging way behind partly due to the fact that the Parks Department’s original design for the area had to be redone (a tree was in the ‘way’ of the circle). The Chess Plaza and surrounding SW Quadrant are still about two months from completion whereas the Eastern side is pretty close to finished (assuming there will be resolution on Garibaldi and Children’s Playground some day soon).
  • The sidewalk that borders the Northeastern section of the park is in terrible shape. (I did not survey every sidewalk around the park but this got my attention; see photo.) Will the park open with it left this way?

Latest on Washington Square Park Redesign: Phase II in Photos:

New Low Stage by Garibaldi Replaces "Teen Plaza" Stage Area

Garibaldi Remains Under Wraps

Pathway East of the Arch

Seating Alcove Northern End (Playground in Background)

Sidewalks in Disrepair, Northeastern Perimeter

The Hills Are Alive (Washington Sq North)

NE Entrance

Seating Alcove Eastern Side (does look smaller?)

Western End of Park Still Challenged

Tree in Chess Plaza - at Right - Which Caused Drama

Oh, and my vote in how this will be handled is that the Parks Department will have a grand opening of the Eastern section of Washington Square Park in April, possibly May, and then, with less fanfare, open the Chess Plaza area.

*** Previous WSP Blog coverage of the delays and reasons for them. ***

 
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Giulia March 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I pass through WSP everyday and I am ashamed: anybody is barely working there. There are usually just 2 construction workers and they are always taking a break whenever I pass by. We desperately need the playground and more space to let the kids run around. I haven’t seen any progress in months!

Reply

cathryn March 20, 2011 at 10:42 am

Hi Giulia,

It is taking a really long time, I agree. My understanding is that some of the slowness is due to dispute between the contractor and the Parks Department. Work on the playground apparently was stopped for some time because the Parks Dept was concerned a tree was potentially in a dangerous place in relation to a slide but now has changed their minds on that. It’s all a bit baffling.

You might want to contact Council Member Margaret Chin. I really think she needs to hear from more people.

Thanks for writing!

best,
Cathryn.

Reply

Giulia March 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Thanks! I would be happy to contact her! Do you have her contact info?

Reply

cathryn March 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Hi Giulia,

Great! Yes; here is the info:
Margaret Chin; District office phone # 212-587-3159.
Also, contact in her office: Lorna Chin-Nobile.
Email: chin@council.nyc.gov
cc: Lchin-nobile@council.nyc.gov

Calls are always great. You can do either or both.

Thanks! (Let me know if they respond.)

best,
Cathryn.

Reply

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