If you have ever spent time in the area where Bleecker Street meets Sixth Avenue, then you know it’s a busy place with lots of people, cars, buses, bicycles, strollers, pianos, and more.
When the weather is nice, a lot of people like to get a slice or a bagel and sit on a bench in Father Demo Square to watch the world go by, or indulge in some of the city’s best people-watching.
This can be fun, of course, but I prefer to avoid the crowds and relax in a little corner of shade and greenery just around the corner, Sir Winston Churchill Square.
“What does Winston Churchill have to do with Greenwich Village?” you may ask. Well, nothing, really. His mother, Jenny, was born in Brooklyn, but that’s not close enough. The best explanation we have heard for naming this little park for Sir Winston is that it’s across the street from 10 Downing Street! Rumor has it the name was chosen by former New York City Parks Commissioner Henry Stern.
I wrote a few weeks ago about another favorite spot in this neighborhood, the Golden Swan Garden, a few blocks north. Like the Golden Swan Garden, Sir Winston Churchill Square is one of those special little places that you just have to go to yourself to experience. I can tell you all about it and do my best to describe it, but that won’t do it justice. If you have a crossword puzzle to do, or a brown-bag lunch to eat, you will love this quiet little park. And if you have youngsters in tow, there is a gate that connects to the Downing Street Playground next door.
On June 17th, GVSHP will recognize Sir Winston Churchill Square with a 2013 Greenwich Village Award at our Annual Meeting and Awards program. Our nominating committee found it to be a “hidden treasure amongst the hustle and bustle” and a “beautiful enclave,” and that its “small scale allows the visitor to feel as though they are visiting someone’s private garden.” I couldn’t agree more!
The park was originally purchased by the NYC Parks Department in 1943, but redesigned and rebuilt in 1998-1999. Today it is cared for by a dedicated group of neighborhood volunteers, led by Bert Waggot, whom I had the pleasure to meet last week at a GVSHP program (a tour of gardens, what else?)
Bert has personally recycled plants and rocks from other NYC parks that were destined for the dumpster, and brought them to Sir Winston Churchill Square. With support from generous donors and the City Parks Foundation’s Partnership for Parks, Bert and his colleagues have provided us with a little place of peace in our busy neighborhood.
We hope you can join us at our 2013 Annual Meeting and Village Awards program on June 17th, to help us honor and recognize Bert, Sir Winston Churchill Square, and the other honorees who make Greenwich Village the special place it is.