Volume 79, Number 16 | September 23 - 29, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Villager photo by Jefferson Siegel

Chain-link fencing sprung up around part of Washington Square Park last week, closing off the area for the second phase of the park’s renovation. The Parks Department was not responsible for the protest sign.

Mounds, dog runs, stage… Wash. Sq. phase two begins

By Albert Amateau

Phase two of the reconstruction of Washington Square Park began Wed., Sept. 16, when chain-link fencing was erected around the northeast, southeast and southwest quadrants of the renowned park in the center of Greenwich Village.

The construction is expected to last a year, with a reopening slated for the fall of 2010, said William Castro, Manhattan borough commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

However, work on the reconstruction of the playground in the northeast corner of the park is beginning immediately and the playground might open earlier in 2010, Castro said.

The project will include a new version of “the mounds” in their current location, slightly lower to blend in with the rest of the park and with a playground incorporated into the feature for older children. A playground was part of the three mounds when they were first built, Castro noted.

The Garibaldi statue will be moved to a position slightly north of its present site to open sightlines, Castro said. Repositioning Garibaldi will complement the repositioning of the Holley monument in the phase-one reconstruction, which was completed in June, he added.

The southeast quadrant design, approved in April, will include alcove seating areas, plus a new music stage a little larger and lower than the current one, but shifted slightly to a more central location.

The chess plaza in the park’s southwest corner will be rebuilt, new dog runs will be constructed and the petanque courts near the southeast quadrant will be rebuilt near their present location.

New lampposts will be installed and new shade trees and flowering shrubs will be planted.

“If you like Washington Square Park now, you’re going to love it when it’s finished,” Castro said.

Phase two will also involve putting in new sidewalks around the entire park, he added.

Phase two is expected to cost $9.1 million. The cost of the renovation project’s phase one — which included the rebuilding of the park’s northwest quadrant and the central plaza and the restoration of the fountain and centering it with Fifth Ave. and the Washington Square Arch — was about $12 million.

New York University is planning to hold its 2010 commencement elsewhere, probably Yankee Stadium as it was for the class of 2009.

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