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Sasaki Garden at Washington Square Village

About this listing

Cherished green space in the heart of Washington Square Village

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Greenwich Village
Parks and Gardens

Place Matters Profile

Many mid-20th century urban planners believed that they could make old cities more modern and functional by replacing tenements and other historic architectural fabric with freestanding apartment towers on “superblocks.” The US Housing Act of 1949 labeled tenement districts as “slums” and provided federal assistance to cities replacing such districts with “Tower-In-The-Park” and “superblock” developments. These new planning models were considered safer and cleaner than the dense, low-rise development that existed from earlier eras. Integral to these designs were large open spaces that were supposed to offset the tall buildings and provide residents with more light, air, and better opportunities for social interaction.

The Sasaki Garden at Washington Square Village was conceived as part of one such urban renewal-era plan to redevelop the forty acres south of Washington Square Park. In 1954, three superblocks were assembled between West 4th and Houston Streets, Mercer Street and La Guardia Place. The superblocks...

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Anonymous Nominator

The Sasaki Garden at Washington Square Village is a significant example of modern landscape, garden, and green roof design. The 1.5 acre garden was designed by Sasaki, Walker and Associates, and was completed in 1959, making it an historic greenspace. The garden offers passive and active uses: people practicing Qi Gong, parents push their babies in strollers, naturalists photograph birds, children play games like hide and seek, and people in groups or alone eat lunch, read, and relax.

The gardens physical details are of central importance! There are over 100 individual trees from a variety of species including willow, dogwood, Japanese maple and redbud. The garden features a "bosquet" of crabapples, concrete planters that double as seating, allees of London planetrees on the exterior, game tables, central platforms, globe pendant lighting and much more! The garden is also a good place for bird watching-- you can spot the Northern Cardinal, Hermit Thrush, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker among others.

NYU 2031, New York Universitys 20-year expansion plan, would completely destroy the Sasaki garden. (February 2012)

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