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BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Construction has started on the N.Y.U. superblocks!
No, not on the university’s contentious 2031 plan — but on Adrienne’s Garden, a new toddlers playground sporting a flashy dragon on LaGuardia Place between Bleecker and W. Third Sts.
About two weeks ago, a chain-link fence went up around the site, which is located in LaGuardia Park just north of the Fiorello LaGuardia statue.
The playground project is slated at $450,000 and is expected to be finished by next February. It’s being financed by mostly city capital funds allocated by Borough President Scott Stringer, former Councilmember Alan Gerson and the Mayor’s Office. In addition, Friends of LaGuardia Place raised $75,000.
Adrienne’s Garden’s centerpiece will be an inventive play sculpture in the shape of a dragon. This feature was specially designed for the site and was inspired by a child’s painting of a friendly dragon. Children will be able to climb up to the top of the dragon’s head and slide down its tongue or climb on the dragon’s back.
There also will be a small garden and a sitting area.
The garden is named after the late wife of Lawrence B. Goldberg, the president of Friends of LaGuardia Place.
“I’m very excited about it,” Goldberg said this week. “When I saw that construction fence go up I was very, very happy. I hope this is going to be the only construction on the superblocks — but this is the construction we’ll all be happy with.”
Goldberg added that the Friends have also done a redesign for the rest of the park, which is 440 feet long and 50 feet wide. N.Y.U. reportedly feels that the park, currently blanketed with ivy, is not publicly accessible.
“I think it is publicly accessible,” Goldberg said, “but it will be even more accessible” after the Friends’ planned upgrade.
The Friends plan would keep all the trees, while adding places for people to sit and enlarging circular plaza areas.
Goldberg, who lives in Washington Square Village on the northern superblock, strongly opposes N.Y.U.’s development plan, which would add four new buildings to the two blocks.
“It’s so big,” he said. “It’s so out of proportion to the rest of Greenwich Village.”