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Guide to the Washington Square Park Redevelopment Collection
1952-1966
 MS 678

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Tiffany Schureman

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 21, 2022
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Washington Square Park Redevelopment collection
Dates [inclusive]: 1952-1966
Abstract: This is a collection of records of various community organizations fighting the redevelopment of Washington Square Park and the surrounding area. Their efforts included closing the park to traffic, fighting the construction of NYU's library and university housing, and the creation of more parkland. The collection contains letters and statements of opposition from local community groups and individuals. Also included are government documents and New York University publications relating to the potential redevelopment.
Quantity: 0.63 Linear feet (2 boxes)
Location: Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit www.nyhistory.org/library/visit.
Language: The documents in the collection are in English.
Call Phrase: MS 678

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Historical Note

Missing Title
1952 New York University announces plans to redevelop Washington Square Park Southeast area.
1954 Washington Square Park Committee announces its plan to fight the project.
1958 Washington Square Park converts from being open to all traffic to only being open to bus traffic.
1959 Washington Square Park completely closed to traffic.
1964 New York University reveals design of library on Washington Square South.
1965 New York University asks the City Planning Commission to review proposal of campus expansion, including the library.
1966 Community Planning Commission holds public hearing on the project.
1973 New York University's Bobst Library completed.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection is comprised of materials relating to Washington Square Park's history from 1952 to 1966. The issues that these papers cover are the traffic through the square, New York University's new library and housing project, parkland and park use. The collection consists of letters and statements of opposition, community organizations' records opposing the redevelopment, government documents and New York University publications. Also included are letters to Shirley Hayes, a local community leader who was instrumental in getting the park closed to traffic.

Arrangement

Most of the collection is arranged by organization. The letters from individuals and to Shirley Hayes are arranged chronologically. The papers are arranged into the following series:

Series I: Community Organizations

Series II: New York University Publications

Series III: Government Documents

Series IV: Letters and Statements of Opposition

Series V: Other Material

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Abrams, Charles, 1902-1970
  • Dean, Sidney W., Jr.
  • Hayes, Shirley, 1921-2001
  • Koch, Ed, 1924-2013
  • Wittenburg, Ruth

Subject Organizations

  • Association of Village Homeowners
  • Community Planning Board No. 2 (New York, N.Y.)
  • Greenwich Village Association (New York, N.Y.)
  • Lower West Side Civic League
  • Save Our Square Committee
  • Washington Square Neighbors
  • Washington Square Park Committee (New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • City planning -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Discrimination in housing -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Housing
  • Land use, urban

Subject Places

  • Greenwich Village (New York, N.Y.)
  • Washington Square Park (New York, NY)

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit www.nyhistory.org/library/visit.

Use Restrictions

Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff.

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, rightsandrepro@nyhistory.org. Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit: https://www.nyhistory.org/about/rights-reproductions

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as the Washington Square Park Redevelopment Collection, MS 678, New-York Historical Society.

Related Material at The New-York Historical Society

Further material on Washington Square Park can be found in the Records of the Washington Arch and in the Shirley Hayes Papers.

Processing Information

Processed by Tiffany Schureman, before 2011.

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Container List

Series I: Community Organizations, 1953-1966

Scope and Contents note

This series contains a variety of materials from various community organizations that supported the Washington Square Park and Greenwich Village community. Most of these community organizations supported the closing of the park to traffic and not building the New York University library. Materials include newsletters, letters, minutes, reports, petitions, and meeting flyers.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Association of Village Home-Owners
1966
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Community Planning Board #2
1965-1966, Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Greenwich Village Association
1953, Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Lower West Side Civic League
1953-1954
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Save Our Square Committee
1966
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Washington Square Park Neighbors
1954-1955, Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Washington Square Park Committee
1954, 1958, Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Other Community Organizations
1953-1966, Undated

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Series II: New York University Publications, 1952-1966

Scope and Contents note

This series contains publications produced by New York University. The materials included are chancellor's reports, student newspapers, newsletters, reports, a map, and newspapers clippings. This part of the collection gives the university's prospective on their projects.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Materials Regarding Redevelopment of Washington Square Park
1952-1966, Undated

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Series III: Government Documents, 1956-1966

Scope and Contents note

This series contains documents from New York City agencies and New York State agencies. The materials included are letters from the agencies, reports, meeting minutes, calendars, and law amendments. The letters show what individual members of the local government thought about the projects.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 10 City Planning Commission
1966
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Manhattan Borough President's Office
1966
Box: 1 Folder : 12 City of New York Publications
1956, 1958, 1966
Box: 1 Folder : 13 State of New York Publications
1957, 1960

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Series IV: Letters and Statements of Opposition, 1953-1966

Scope and Contents note

This series contains letters and statements of opposition from individuals, mostly from the Greenwich Village and Washington Square Park areas. It also includes letters written to Shirley Hayes. Hayes was influential in getting the park closed to traffic.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Letters and Statements Regarding Development
1953-1966, Undated
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Letters to Shirley Hayes
1953, 1966, Undated

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Series V: Other Material, 1953-1966

Scope and Contents note

This series contains newspaper clippings, notes, and a map. The clippings do not include New York University newspapers. It is unclear who took the notes, but they do provide information on the redevelopment of the square. The map is of the proposed street changes to what was then known as West Broadway (La Guardia Place now).

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Clippings
1952-1966
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Notes
Undated
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Map
1965

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