The 2019 heat wave is upon is in New York City. As part of an earlier research, we worked with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Archive to locate these photos from 1935 when the Washington Square Park fountain (in its earlier form and location) was converted into a wading pool. The renovation of the fountain took place in 1934, on the initiative of Robert Moses, who is otherwise reviled for his plan to put a highway through Greenwich Village.

Photo from NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Photo taken July 17, 1935.

The fountain was designed by Jacob Wrey Mould, who also was behind the fountain in City Hall Park, the recently renovated Belvedere Castle in Central Park, and much more. In 2009, the fountain was restored combining elements from all time periods of its existence and shifted ten feet over to align with the Washington Square Park arch.

To this day, it’s not technically illegal to jump into a New York City park fountain, but you aren’t allowed to use it to take a bath or for personal hygiene. The 32,000 gallons of water that flows through this fountain is filtered, like the roughly 50 other fountains in New York City parks. We’re guessing there are going to be some bathers in the city’s fountains this weekend!

Next, check out the Top 10 Secrets of Washington Square Park.