“an urban oasis!”
The Madison Square Park Conservancy is the not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to keeping historic Madison Square Park a bright, beautiful and active public park.Madison Square Park, a seven-acre urban oasis, is located in the heart of Manhattan’s Flatiron District at East 23 Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues. The Conservancy raises the funds that support lush and brilliant horticulture, park maintenance, park security and a variety of free cultural programs. The area known as Madison Square Park has existed as an urban public space since 1686. Named for James Madison, fourth President of the United States, Madison Square was formally opened as a public park in 1847. Soon after the creation of New York City’s first Department of Public Parks in 1870, the square was re-landscaped by William Grant with Ignatz Pilat, the department’s chief landscape architect and a former assistant to Frederick Law Olmsted in the design of Central Park. The park incorporated both formal and pastoral elements with well-defined walkways and open lawns similar to the park plan we know today.In the late 19th century, Madison Square was the focal point of one of Manhattan’s most elite neighborhoods. Society’s most fashionable residences and hotels, including the luxurious Fifth Avenue Hotel, bordered the park. Novelist Edith Wharton was born to a well-to-do New York family nearby on West 23rd Street. Tycoon Leonard Jerome, the grandfather of Winston Churchill, built the most elaborate mansion alongside the park at Madison Avenue and 26th Street. The neighborhood surrounding the park also flourished as a bustling commercial district, home to wonders like Barnum’s Hippodrome, the first and second Madison Square Gardens, the daringly narrow Flatiron Building and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Building.
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Madison Square Park
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