Manhattan Snaps: ’69 Washington Square renovations

Mayor John Lindsay addressed the crowd at the 1969 groundbreaking. (Courtesy NYC Parks Archive)

Fifty years ago, in July 1969, Mayor John Lindsay addressed a crowd at a groundbreaking in Washington Square Park. The renovation project would include lowering the fountain in the central plaza, adding a raised plaza in the southeast area of the park, and building three concrete play mounds. “The Mounds,” as they were known, in the park’s southwestern quadrant, were for years used for snow sledding in winter, and also by skateboarders, but eventually became dilapidated and infested by rats. They were razed in the most recent park renovation in the 2000s, and have since been replaced by a kids’ climbing net suspended over sunken slopes lined with artificial turf — a very popular children’s play spot.