12.11.2007

Farewell to Asymmetry: The Remaking of Washington Square Park has Begun

Yesterday, while walking through Washington Square Park, I heard the sound of an accordion playing a tune in a minor key. Romantic but mournful, the song sounded like the soundtrack of a European postwar movie. Rounding the statue of Garibaldi, I saw the musician playing this sad song, and then I saw them, the crews unloading the barricades for the long-delayed and much-litigated renovations of the park. I'm glad I had an appropriate soundtrack for that moment.

Washington Square Park is my park, as many New Yorkers have adopted a park as their own. It's where I walk my dogs, where I met my first friends (in the dog run, of course), and where I start my walks. It's where I've heard the best free music and where I took students first to learn about New York.

So for the sake of symmetry, the fountain will now be shifted to bring it more in alignment with the Washington Square Arch. The fountain will get new plumbing. Other renovations will follow over the next two or three years. It will be sad for me to see the park torn up like this. I hope the accordion player comes back.

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