Department of Design and Construction311Search all websites

Press Releases

November 6, 2015

New York City Department of Design and Construction Discovers Second Burial Vault during Washington Square Park Water Main Project

Shavone Williams
Public Information Officer

NEW YORK—The New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) discovered a second burial vault on Wednesday, with wooden coffins likely dated to the 19th century. DDC was in the process of upgrading century old trunk and distribution water mains within Washington Square Park when the contractor came across the first burial vault on Tuesday. The project scope also includes the installation of catch basins, sewer manholes, traffic lights, roadway restoration, green bicycle pavement overlay, street signage and upgrades to private utilities.

“DDC will prohibit work at the specific location, which is on Washington Square Park East, near the intersection of Waverly Place to permit further evaluation by archaeologists and anthropologists. Working together with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, DDC will continue to evaluate the extent and significance of the vault and its contents,” stated DDC Commissioner Peña-Mora.

The New York City Department of Design and Construction will continue to excavate south of the burial vaults. The vaults are being protected and passage by vehicles and pedestrians will be restricted. The impacted area will be blocked off until further information is developed. DDC is redesigning the work to accommodate findings, while minimizing the impact to the construction schedule.

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $10 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit