The ongoing saga of the renovation of Washington Square Park is now coming upon the end of year three, and still vast swaths of the famous hangout are surrounded by cyclone fencing and out of reach. After reading the latest bad news from the Washington Square Park Blog, where the design slip-ups and cost over-runs have been chronicled since mid-2008, we decided to go view the shitshow with our own eyes. The result: a photo tour of the park's unfinished elements.
Peering through the fence along Washington Square South, we were glad to see that Garibaldi has dropped his winter wear, but he stands alone, gazing across his new namesake plaza and overlooking the empty Teen Stage, nearly complete in grey granite cladding. With his eyes unbound, the big bronze Italian has a clear view of what isn't ready: the Petanque court, still a big sand pit, and unpaved paths along the park's south edge.
Behind Garibaldi's back a new playground sports slides and jungle gyms, all encumbered by shredded plastic wrap. Trees await planting and fence posts need to go up. This entire east side of the park, or Phase II as the Parks Department likes to call it, has sprouted recently re-written signs claiming "Scheduled Completion: Spring 2011." We won't believe it until we see it.
Phase III of the park renovation, covering the southeast corner where new dog runs and re-designed restrooms will go in, is a mess of machinery and torn up earth. The mounds that used to rise here are but a memory. Amidst a collection of construction equipment, pups scamper about in a ramshackle run. Overlooking it all is the new NYU Center for Academic and Spiritual Life, a block of sandstone that has gone from a holy hole in the ground to near completion in less time than it's taken to tear up the old Washington Square Park and get it half done. This weekend's park-goers were taking all in stride, which is about what we'd expect after that amount of time.
· Washington Square Park Redesign Phase II: An Eerie Silence [WSP Blog]
· Washington Square Park Renovation coverage [Curbed]