CaVaLa Park in TriBeCa Evokes Manhattan's History of Acronyms
By Gabriela Resto-Montero
DNAinfo Reporter / Producer
TRIBECA — First there was SoHo. Then came TriBeCa and NoLita, and even WaHi and SpaHa. Now, Manhattanites have a new shorthand name to remember: CaVaLa.
The city officially opened a new $3.4 million park here last week that evokes the neighborhood and its history. A 114-foot long fountain, for example, harkens back to when there was a canal at Canal Street. And its name — derived from the boundaries of Canal, Varick and Laight streets — reminds the park goer that they're in the Triangle Below Canal.
"It's a little kitschy for me but, whatever. The name is not important," said Judith, a TriBeCa resident who lives near the park. "It's if it serves the city and the people."
"If you look up you can see a huge amount of sky and that's a very rare place in the city," she said.
The pocket park brings a touch of green space to land that was once a parking lot. The city allotted the plot for a park in 2005, and an infusion of cash from the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006 kept the project moving forward.
Now, instead of cars, there are trees, benches and a small landscaped lawn. But the main feature is the fountain, designed by SoHo artist Elyn Zimmerman. Water flows along it and down several tiers, meant to conjure images of a canal.
For people taking advantage of the new space, the park is a welcome oasis amid the turmoil of city life.
"This one is very nice because it's made of the city," said Jean-Marc Lewis. "You can see all the view around."