When they unveiled Greenwich Village's Father Demo Square in the summer of 2007, after a lengthy renovation process, there was much jubilation. People largely welcomed the stylish new park, with its fancy paving stones and central fountain. I myself thought it was a fine job, an improvement.
But, just into what is only its second winter, the park is not holding up well. On a recent rainy night, I looked down, wondering why my progress through the square seemed so rocky—I was losing my footing again and again. Dozens of the gray, hexigonal paving stones had fallen out of place. Some has sunk slightly below their original level. Others had risen up. Many were very loose, so loose they could easily have been taken out of the pathway.
The uneven pavement was in evidence all around the square. Larger, black, square stones were also off their moorings. A elderly Villager stopped next to me while I took pictures. She knew what I was doing. "It's terrible," she said. "Look at the bad job they did. They should have kept it the way it way. This is terrible." As an old lady, she was having trouble keeping her balance as she walked along the square.
The last two winters have hardly been harsh. Paving should be able to hold up to worse weather than this. Accounts say landscape architect George Vellonakis did the redesign of Father Demo Square. Vellonakis also designed the highly unpopular Washington Square Park renovation plan. The job cost taxpayers $1,455,000. What did he use to put the stones into place—Elmer's glue?