Sunday, December 23, 2007

Contractor Territory

Photo Liza Béar December 19 2007

From the film Squaring Off, work-in-progress, recorded at the Landmarks Commission 2005.

On the night of January 23, 1917, Marcel Duchamp and his friends found the doorway to the staircase and climbed to the top of the Washington Square Arch where they famously issued a proclamation: "Whereas, whereas whereas.......we hereby declare Greenwich Village to be an independent republic. " At the public hearing on May 10, 2005, this quote was met with wild applause by the audience but had absolutely no effect whatsoever on the Landmarks Commissioners (all political appointees). A week later, Landmarks ignoring their own mandate to protect designated landmarks announced their ruling in favor of Parks' bulldozing of Washington Square (the word 'redesign'
really seems inappropriate at this stage of the game).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Washington Square's Trees: After Years of Neglect, "Removal"

Photo: (c) Liza Béar, December 13 2007

Moving the fountain, flattening and shrinking the fountain plaza entails cutting down the trees around the fountain--an absurd proposition on all counts. But that's not all that Parks designer (not a qualified landscape architect) has in mind.

The original bid documents called for removal of 32 mature trees as part of Phase I. Did the Landmarks Commission, the Art Commission realize what they were voting for? Are New Yorkers going to let this happen?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Drastic Developments at Washington Square

Photos Liza Béar December 11-13 2007

This is not some digitized special effects for "I Am Legend", it's the sobering reality following Judge Joan Madden's recent decision. She rejected the community's call in their final lawsuits for Parks to do an Environmental Impact Statement prior to starting construction. Go to for videos about more misrepresentation, at the highest echelons of the Parks Dept, about the cost of relocating the fountain, estimated by an independent study to be $508,000.