New Yorkers Still Oppose Park Redesign Already Underway

Plans to redesign New York City's Washington Square Park have been hotly protested by community members since their inception. The work is already underway, but the opposition sentiment remains.
November 26, 2008, 7am PST | Nate Berg
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"We all want to write our desires on New York. But in a metropolis of eight million overlapping voices, that is rarely possible. Public spaces like parks are a particular battleground, equally prized as green oases and places for personal expression."

"And other than Central Park, perhaps none are more valued than the 10-acre, 181-year-old Washington Square Park, the beating heart of Greenwich Village. Through the decades the park has been the haunt of some of America's best-known artists, writers, musicians, anarchists and Beatniks, and a seemingly round-the-clock distillation of the frenetic spirit of New York."

"In 2004, responding to what it said were numerous calls for repairs and improvements, the parks department announced a plan to renovate the space, a proposal quickly met with bitter opposition from residents who complained that their park was being violated. In December 2007, after candlelight vigils, demonstrations and rancorous fights at community board meetings and in the courts, the city won and workers began moving in."

"Many people who use the square have since accepted the changes as improvements. Yet, even though the fences are due to come down next month on Phase 1 of the redesign to reveal a gleaming, newly paved central plaza with a relocated fountain, plush lawn and sculptured bushes around the fabled Washington Arch, a core group of protesters remain unconvinced and bitterly angry."

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Published on Friday, November 21, 2008 in The New York Times
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