What is the Sasaki Garden?

NYU is applying through the ULURP PROCESS to destroy the Sasaki Garden in Washington Square Village in order to build two NYU towers (one 125 ft high and the other 215 ft high) and a campus quad.

The Key Park playground will also be destroyed in order to accommodate an NYU temporary gym while NYU constructs a new athletic facility at the current Coles Gym site. The current Key Park playground will be moved and replaced by a smaller (non-key access) playground which could be potentially dangerous for children. The new reduced-in-size playground is proposed to be situated in the new NYU campus quad area which will have extremely high pedestrian traffic again putting the children at great risk.

The Sasaki Garden at Washington Square Village was designed by a foremost leading modernist landscape architect, Hideo Sasaki. Hideo Sasaki studied at the University of California, Berkeley in the 1940s prior to being interred at the Poston War Relocation Center during World War II.  Read a biography here.

After the war, Sasaki completed his landscape architecture studies at the University of Illinois and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Sasaki was the Chairman/Dean of Harvard GSD from 1958 to 1968.  Sasaki, Walker and Associates designed the Sasaki Garden at WSV which was completed in 1959. The Sasaki firm was recommended to Paul Lester Weiner, the project architect of the WSV apartment complex, by Professor Josep LluĂ­s Sert of the Harvard Graduate School, who like Weiner had worked with and for Le Corbusier on past projects.

The WSV complex is said to be designed in the Le Corbusier style.

Hideo Sasaki’s partner on the WSV Sasaki Garden project was Peter Walker of Peter Walker Partners, the landscape architecture firm that designed the World Trade Center (WTC) 911 Memorial.

The WSV Sasaki garden was “one of the first rooftop gardens covering a parking garage in the country”.  The Sasaki garden is 1.5 acres. It has been described as “an excellent example of a successful integration of landscape and hardscape in an urban setting” by The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Hideo Sasaki died in 2000. The Sasaki Garden at Washington Square Village was referenced in the obituaries in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. In the latter publication, the Garden was described among three “landmark urban spaces” (the other two are Boston’s Copley Square and the St. Louis Gateway Mall). Hideo Sasaki also designed the walkway leading up to JFK’s burial site in Arlington National Cemetery.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation has listed the Sasaki Garden at Washington Square Village as “at risk”. In April 2011, the entire WSV complex was deemed significant enough to “qualify for possible listing in the State and National Register of Historic Places” which requires SHPO review before state or federal funding can be used on the project.

Please help save the WSV Sasaki Garden from destruction 
by emailing and/or writing to the following!
  • NYU President John Sexton 
  • Community Action Alliance on NYU 2031
  • District 1 Councilmember Margaret Chin 
  • Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
  • Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer
Click here for contact information for the above individuals and organizations.

Send all emails and letters to info@caan2031.org and please send a copy of your email and letter to savethewsvsasakigarden@gmail.com.