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Cornerspotted: James J. Walker Park in the West Village

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This week's Cornerspotter puzzle was recognized very quickly, despite the wide disparity between its present state and the picture of its original design. Now called James J. Walker Park, this West Village park bounded by St. Luke's Place, Clarkson Street, and Hudson Street was known as Hudson Park when it was designed by Carrère and Hastings in 1895, according to Untapped New York. Their designed featured a sunken Italianate garden, a lagoon, and possibly the most solid-looking gazebo ever constructed.

Just a few years after Carrère and Hastings finished their Beaux-Arts Hudson Park, it was altered slightly to accomodate a children's playground. Perhaps that this speaks to the fragility of this style of design, that once the order was broken, it was only a matter of time before regular renovations transformed the park to the James J. Walker Park it is now—with jungle gyms, a diamond field, and swaths of concrete.

One can still recognize the squared stone piers at regular intervals along the perimeter fence, most easily seen in this historic photo taken from above, and in the current photo (center, background). The current park name is appropriate. James J. Walker is a former NYC Mayor who appreciated a good time, and legalized the playing of baseball on Sundays.


· Hint: Beaux-Arts Square Meant for Walkers, Now Concrete [Curbed]
· Carrère and Hastings' Lost Masterpiece [Untapped NY]
· James J. Walker Park [nycparks.gov]