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Washington Sq. Park Mounds: They're Spectacular, But Are They Real?

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[Photo via Hubert Steed's Playground Mound collection]

The Washington Square Park blog has wrapped up its epic three-part series (after initially promising just two!) investigating the Parks Department's plans for the next two phases of the Washington Square Park renovation, and one interesting revelation is the fate of the mounds. The mounds, you'll recall, are the man-made mountains of Greenwich Village?three "decaying asphalt lumps" (as the Times once described them) at the southwest corner of the park that for years served as recreation for kids and refuge for rodents. The original plans called for them to be replaced with grass, but mound fans were outraged, forming support groups and rallying to save the humps. Well, WSP reports that park designer George Vellonakis has a solution to the controversy, though it may not satisfy mound purists:

The Mounds are scheduled to be recreated in Phase II. However, the two words associated with the recreation of the Mounds area that got people alarmed were “artificial turf.” Although Mr. Vellonakis tried to assure people that what the Parks Department planned to use was some better version of synthetic turf and “not infill rubber,” (a) can it really be that much better ? and (b) is it really necessary to use in this area? Mr. Vellonakis tried to make an aesthetic argument for using the artificial turf stating that it would “blend into the landscape” and therefore “make [it] more attractive.” Mr. Vellonakis also stated that the artificial turf would “hold snow better.” Hmmm.

Hmmm indeed! Do rats enjoy the fake stuff? Will the 2000 St. Louis Rams reunite to take on all challengers on the new surface? The mind boggles!
· Part III Report-back on NYC Parks Dept. Presentation of Future Phase Redesign Work on Washington Sq Park [WSP]
· Washington Sq. Park Sequel Promises Twice the Anger [Curbed] UPDATE: Washington Square Park blog scribe Cathryn Swan writes in with a moundification clarification: "One thing -- and I was not clear in my original post which I have now clarified -- the artificial turf is scheduled to be on the ground
surrounding the Mounds. I'm not sure of the exact substance that the Mounds will be made of." NOTED.