So goodbye, Washington Square.
This e-mail invitation just arrived:
Dear Friend of Washington Square Park,
It is with frustration and remorse that I write to inform you of a memorial service for the spirit of Washington Square Park.
A number of our neighbors in Greenwich Village will be gathering this Wednesday, December 19, at 6 p.m., in a circle around the fountain. If we cannot gather around the fountain because of construction or obstruction, we will gather around the arch.
I join with other members of our community who have expressed great concern that our beloved Park’s unique central plaza, at the heart of the Greenwich Village Community, is about to be demolished and transformed. Despite our resistance, our protests, our lawsuits, and the near-unanimous opposition with which our community has fought this plan, the spirit of our park has been bulldozed our Parks Commissioner, Mayor, and City Council Members.
Thanks to these elected officials, we will have two to four years of construction fences for redesign, instead of repairs. The fountain will be moved and reborn as an inaccessible, ornamental fountain, the central plaza will be brought to street level grade, and the gathering space at the park’s center will be shrunken by more than 20%. The open spirit of this, the most successful open gathering space in the United States, will be further diminished by a four foot fence shrouding the entire park.
So it is time to say goodbye to a Washington Square Park experience that has meant so much to so many of us.
Please bring a candle this Wednesday and join us for a peaceful candlelight farewell. There will be no speeches, no amplifiers, no civil disobedience or arrests. We hope to just have a circle with candles; a farewell vigil for a half hour or so around the fountain or arch.
We will invite the media to see how we feel about the actions (and inactions) of our elected officials. Feel free to bring a sign that expresses whatever you feel to the media, the public, and to this wonderful place.
The Open Washington Square Park Coalition