Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Petrosino Park Undergoing Large Scale Improvements

Little Italy's Petrosino Park appears to be falling into disrepair, going to pot even.

After much fanfare when it  re-opened in October—the triangular shaped park doubled its previous space and was a welcome addition to the neighborhood—the little park that could has been beset by constant closures and repairs on one side or another. Or as is the case now, on all three sides!

I've heard from a reliable source the work happening now is necessary to correct problems with the original contractor. I have not confirmed this. 

With so much repair taking place at the park now, NYC The Blog phoned Council Member Margaret Chin's office yesterday and spoke with staff member Patricia Owen to get the 411.

The south east end has been fenced off since the park opened and remains so today, being used a staging ground of sorts. Owen explained the Parks Department is currently installing a permanent water service to keep the grounds watered. Unfortunately, dozens and dozens of potted plants currently lay about in this area in a kind of plant graveyard, uncared for and dying.

This restricted area has now expanded westward and encompasses the main entrance as well (see photo at top), where the main entrance fenced off, the stone path removed. And now, as of last week, the north west side of the park has been fenced off too, the benches there removed (see photo at left below).

New fencing will be installed throughout the park (replacing the useless chicken fencing guarding the landscapes now) as well as new granite walkways to replace the "temporary stonework in place now." The benches removed from the north end were temporarily moved southward, and will be placed in their original spots again. This seems like a lot of material and labor to repeat and replace so soon, temporary or not. 

The east side of the park has become a de facto skate park, but it seems the Parks Department have been taking an active role in trying to prevent this as of late.

And who is taking care of the landscaping? Apparently no one at this time. The carefully planted lush greenery on the north side of the park is being overrun with weeds. Though admittedly, anyone concerned could remove the weeds themselves if one saw fit, being careful of course not to damage the other plants.

In spite of all this, and even because of, Petrosino Park is a stellar example of reclamation of public space, transforming what was in effect four or more lanes of traffic into a well designed public square. When people have value as pedestrians and community members, parks like these are the result.

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