Washington square park is a small busy green park in Greenwich Village which is really cherished by locals and visited by tourists. Some people know a lot, some just a few facts about the park. That knowledge of earlier historical facts doesn’t seem to change their perception much as they connect to that place more through their memories or stories of their family members. The park territory belonged to Indian tribes long times ago, Minetta creak used to flow through this land. In mid-17 century the land was used by Dutch as a farm land, and later was given to African-born slaves. Under the English rule they lost this land later, and it became a part of larger estate owned by English and Dutch. In 1797 the land became a burial field mostly for poor and indigent people. On July 4, 1826 the land was officially declared the Washington Parade Ground. That helped with development of a prime residential neighborhood around the land in next few years. The parade ground soon started to be recognized as Washington Square. The square further became a host for violent labor riot in 1863, which is the bloodiest urban riot in American history. In 1870 parade ground was renovated into elegant park. Curved pathways replaced straight military roads. In 1870s an fountain was replaced by one from Central park. And in 1889 temporary triumphal arch was designed in order to commemorate the centenary of George Washington inauguration. XX century brought young bohemians in the park and new apartment buildings development around the park. Few Victorian style buildings on the west side are still preserved though till today. Further park becomes a host for more community activities and renovations. There was Robert Moses renovation proposal, which would’ve destroyed the park. Community successfully fought against it, which lead to compete shut down of traffic roads going through the park. Further renovations of the fountain area and the arch made the park look like we know it today.
Core questions asked to interviewees:
-What brought you to the park?
-Do you live in NYC?
-How often do you come to the park?
-How long do you typically stay in the park?
-Do you have any favorite place here?
-What do you usually do here?/What is your favorite activity?
-Do you come more for business or pleasure?
-How often do you use technology here?
-What kind of tech?
-What sounds do you hear in the park?
-Do you know any history?