Washington Square Park Eastern End Reopens

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Esther Zuckerman
The eastern side of downtown Manhattan's Washington Square Park was filled with people today as it reopened after a long period of closure for renovations. Washington Square Park Blog has furiously covered the travails of the park's redesign, which began in December 2007. The opening of the northeast and southeast quadrants today mean that part of Phase II of the project is now finished. Phase II was at one point scheduled for completion in Fall 2010, the blog explains, which was then pushed to "Spring 2011" and, following that, "by Memorial Day." Another part of Phase II and the entirety of Phase III are still to come.

When Thomas O'Hare ventured out today, he had "no idea whether it was open or closed."

"I figured maybe it's open by now," said O'Hare, who lives on 16th Street.

Although O'Hare was sitting on a bench near the park's edge, he said he was momentarily thrown off when approaching this end of the park because of a chain-link fence that still outlines its boundaries.

The park's facelift saw opposition from community members, one of whom O'Hare said he spoke to today. The woman, O'Hare explained, had some gripes. For one, the benches, she told O'Hare, do not have as many slats as they used to.

Some interviewed in the park were surprised to see the park open today, while others, like 90-year-old Augusta Irvings, didn't know it had been closed. Irvings, who lives nearby, usually sits on the other side.


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