The curvy wurvy One Jackson Square has been an undulating obsession around these parts for a while now, even winning the much-coveted DDJ status. But in all of our dispatches about the West Village's new wonder, we can honestly say we've never tackled the topic of Jackson Square itself. Or have we? Eh, who cares, because this is still good stuff. A reader bemoans the declining state of the square, and follows it up with a dire prediction:
For the past seventeen years I’ve lived at 2 Horatio Street in an apartment overlooking Jackson Square itself. When I first moved in, the City had just finished an extensive renovation of what used to be a derelict park. They did an extraordinary job. For a few years it was a pleasure to have this beautiful park with slate sidewalks and a fountain right across the street; not only to admire from our apartment but to spend time in as well. Cut to 2007, and the picture has changed vastly. For ten years now, a coterie of homeless alcoholics and drug addicts has so overtaken the park—both inside and out—that I can’t remember the last time I stepped foot into it. To see them blithely urinating, defecating, drinking, and littering in the park daily is to feel the kind of rage anyone feels when they watch something beautiful being systematically destroyed. Add to this the nasty and insane “Pigeon Lady’” who illegally dumps enormous amounts of seed in the park every day. Thanks to her, toxic pigeon droppings rain down on everything, making it impossible for flowers and ground coverings to grow. Endless calls to the 6th Precinct have absolutely zero effect. It’s simply not on their radar. As a result, those of us who live here have just grown used to this blight. You smack your forehead occasionally in disbelief that this kind of behavior is happening, but the City has gone AWOL on this one. Particularly bad is the northwestern corner of the park where Greenwich Avenue joins Eighth Avenue. Every day, the same group of bums sets up camp on this corner, harassing anyone who passes by and begging money from motorists stopped at the light. This corner is literally across the street—about 12 feet away—from the proposed front of One Jackson Square. So after this lengthy tirade, what I want to know is how is ANYONE going to spend the kind of money they’re asking for these apartments and live with that right outside their floor-to-ceiling windows? Have any of these prospective tenants even bothered to take a walk to the site and seen for themselves what they’ll be looking at and listening to from 7:00 in the morning to 10:00 at night? I saw the renderings of
the park on the building’s official web site but somehow their artists conveniently left out the pile of bums passed out on the sidewalk. At least on my side of the park I don’t have to look at this group, but the folks at One Jackson Square are going to have a ringside seat. What’s it going to be like to invite guests over to their new,
multi-million dollar apartments and try to brag about a view that includes some guy defecating on the sidewalk 10 feet away? Boy are they in for a rude surprise! I can’t believe the developer’s not aware of this problem and I’m hoping they’ll put pressure on the City to get rid of it. Otherwise, they’re fancy new building is just going to end up being a backdrop for Skid Row.