Seward Park is Getting Bulldozed, Courtesy of Parks Without Borders

Posted on: April 3rd, 2019 at 5:00 am by

Now more than three years in the making, upgrades are underway in Seward Park, the oldest municipal park in the country.

A project summary (with rendering) holds court on the park perimeter, providing the estimated “fall 2019” completion date. Initial projections had construction starting after Labor Day 2018 and lasting about a year.

Thanks in part to hard-fought battles for funding and upgrades by its namesake conservancy over the last few years, Seward Park scored $6.4 million as part of the “Parks Without Borders” program to reinvigorate the century-old parkland. It’s certainly a long time coming for the 3.4 acre green space; the last time the park received such major overhaul was during the 2000-era makeover.

Below are a few quick hits of what to expect once the dust settles:

  • The marquee area of improvement is the wide plaza space outside the landmark Seward Park Library. The former street bed – it was once part of Jefferson Street – will be replaced with surfacing in the “academic paving pattern” seen in places like the Columbia University library (chevron brick pattern with granite-limestone band). There will be a larger garden area, game tables, lawn, and small amphitheater for “sitting and storytelling.”
  • The so-called “Schiff Mall” – where the dry fountain sits – will also receive attention. The “blue stone pavement” will be reconstructed, and the complex series of smaller fences removed.
  • The most controversial element of the plan is a reduction in height of the perimeter fencing from seven feet to four feet. This could have major implications on park loitering, since, as it stands, the area tends to get pretty dicey at nightfall.
  • All five entrances will be open during park hours, but gates will be locked thereafter.
  • The designers will install an outdoor exercise room in the corner of the remodeled basketball courts.
  • Schiff Fountain, which received a plumbing upgrade as part of the 2000 remodeling, is not part of the agenda here. Nor is any potential rejiggering of Straus Square.

Here is some demolition porn:

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