By Julie Shapiro
FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The long-awaited DeLury Square Park opened this week at Fulton and Gold streets, adding a patch of calm, green space to a busy intersection.
The 8,800-square-foot park has drawn a continuous stream of local residents and workers since opening its gates for the first time Thursday afternoon.
"I’m ecstatic," said Artie Knapp, 62, site safety manager on the new residential building rising at 40 Gold St. nearby. "I’ve been down here for a year and I’ve been sitting on a garbage can. Now I have a bench."
In addition to benches, the $2.6 million park, funded by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., has a waterfall cascading down large boulders, a curving path, trees and bushes.
"We wanted to pay tribute to the original conditions that were there, the upland forests," said Alex Hart, the park’s designer. The rocks, water and shrubbery, all designed to evoke the island before Europeans arrived, "create an interesting contrast with the rest of lower Manhattan around [the park]," Hart said.
The city carved space for the park by squaring the formerly curved intersection of Fulton and Gold streets and by buying a parcel of land from the adjacent Southbridge Towers for about $5.5 million.
"This was a win-win for Southbridge," longtime resident Paul Hovitz said. "It’s a great addition to the neighborhood."
"It’s very nice," agreed Nick Logrippo, 64, another Southbridge resident who was sitting on a bench in the park on Friday. "It’s a convenient walk, and I enjoy the scenery."
Not everyone is a fan of the new park, though.
Barbara Molinelli, a 54-year-old Southbridge resident who was walking her dog Friday afternoon, said she was concerned that it would soon be overrun with rats, homeless people and unruly teenagers from the nearby Murry Bergtraum High School.
"We have to sit here to take the park back," Molinelli said. "I don’t think it’s going to be a good thing. I hope I’m not right."