Walking through the two N.Y.U. superblocks just north of Houston Street can be both a tranquil and oppressive experience. Surrounded by brusque, mid-century apartment buildings many times taller than the townhouses and loft buildings surrounding them, the open space at the Silver Towers and Washington Square Village is not exactly inviting.
Created by some of the greatest landscape architects of their day, these spaces are, to put it mildly, challenging. Like the modernist architects redefining what buildings should look like in the middle of the last century, so too did these landscape architects, favoring viny slopes and more concrete than vegetation in places. At the corner of Houston Street and LaGuardia Place, Alan Sonfist’s Time Landscape, which to most New Yorkers may look like an overgrown thatch, is actually a celebrated space taught in design and art schools around the world.
These “parks” need, if not improving, at least updating. That is a big part of N.Y.U.’s pitch to the community as it works to rezone the area, one of the most vicious Village NIMBY fights since Robert Moses built these superblocks half a century ago.
Still, does that mean N.Y.U. can bend the truth when talking about the project? Read More