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Washington Square Park

26 Washington Square N, New York, New York 10012 USA

  • Independent
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“The historic park in the heart of it all”

A marsh. A cemetery. A parade ground. A gathering spot for avant-garde artists. A battleground for chess enthusiasts. A playground for canines and children. Washington Square Park has served various roles for its community throughout the years, adapting to meet its needs. Well-known for its arch, honoring George Washington, the man for whom the park is named, and its fountain, the arch's elder by 43 years and a popular meeting spot, Washington Square Park also houses several other monuments and facilities. Washington Square Park is named for George Washington (1732-1799), who served as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and presided over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. On April 30, 1789, six years after the victory of the colonists, Washington was inaugurated in New York City as the first President of the United States. He served for two four-year terms. The parkland was once a marsh fed by Minetta Brook. It was located near an Indian village known as Sapokanikan or “Tobacco Field.” In 1797 the Common Council acquired the land for use as a Potter's Field or common burial ground. The field was also used for public executions, giving rise to the tale of the Hangman’s Elm which stands in the northwest corner of the park. The site was used as the Washington Military Parade Ground in 1826, and became a public park in 1827. Following this designation, a number of wealthy and prominent families, escaping the disease and congestion of downtown Manhattan, moved into the area and built the distinguished Greek Revival mansions that still line the square’s north side. One of these provided the setting for Henry James’ 1880 novel, Washington Square. In 1835, the park also hosted the first public demonstration of the telegraph by Samuel F.B. Morse, a professor at New York University, which is adjacent to the park. Use of public space in Washington Square Park has also been redefined throughout the 20th century. Fifth Avenue ran through the arch until 1964 when the park was redesigned and closed to traffic at the insistence of Village residents. With the addition of bocce courts, game tables, and playgrounds, the park has become an internationally known meeting ground for students, local residents, tourists, chess players, and performers. A $900,000 renovation was completed in 1995. Parts of the Coen Brothers' 2013 film Inside Llewyn Davis were filmed at Washington Square Park.

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Reviewed by

  • Road Warrior
  • 401 Reviews
  • 296 Helpful
September 12, 2014
Rated 5.0

This place is a combination of events. History meets art and people meet nature. Music can be heard from all around while you enjoy your breakfast, lunch or dinner.

It is busy all the time and during every second of the day.

The only disappointing is the trashes people leave behind when they finish their walks.

Great to visit in order to relax.

1 person found this review helpful
  • Tour Guide
  • 172 Reviews
  • 215 Helpful
April 14, 2014

Best part about this park is all the people playing music together singing and jamming. It's like people just come down there and form impromtu bands. It's really cool to see.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
March 26, 2015

I went to high school not far from the park, we'd go there after school & hang out til late at night. There's no prejudice there, everyone is as one under the sun. There's also 15,000 bodies still buried under the ground.

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Washington Square Park

26 Washington Square N
New York, New York
10012 USA
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