After many years and much controversy surrounding its long period of closings and recontruction, including the moving of its fountain, almost all of Washington Square Park is open again (unfortunately not in time for NYU's Class of 2011 to enjoy it over the last three and a half years).
It was a beautiful sight to see the inside of the iconic Washington Square Arch lit on a lovely late-spring evening at dusk last week, framing the Empire State Building in the distance. And for the aural senses, there was a grand piano directly underneath the arch playing for a small audience of classical music enthusiasts (he got the piano there, but couldn't manage the bench?).
The 9.75-acre park was active and full of life that evening. It reflected a microcosm of New York City in its diversity. And now all spiffed up and shiny new, its visitors seemed to exude a pride I would not have expected in the park's previous incarnation. Or it could have been the weather, the fact that school is out for summer, that it was the end of the business day, or who knows, but it was just perfect for une promenade après dîner.