As I walked into Washington Square Park I passed by a pianist at his grand piano and sat down by an impromptu jazz band to listen to the cultured sounds of the famous Washington Square Park. It sits in the off-beat Greenwich Village surrounded by buildings mostly belonging to New York University; it's young, exuberant, non-conformist take on New York city is baked in.
An infamous event in its history tells this story: the so-called "Beatnik Riots" of the 60s took place here, where the authorities insisted musicians have permits to perform here, and then refused them to the folk singers because of the people they attracted here, the poets, artists and lovers of the underground - the Beatniks. The riots were just the police throwing non-violent protesters out of the park.
Today musicians play here in peace, and it is a laid back island of low crime in an already low crime city. In addition to musicians there are street performers, the most famous of which was Pierre Petit, the Frenchman who walked a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade centre. He worked a slack rope in the park before his grand escapade. The chess players are also a big feature, and have appeared in films like Searching for Bobby Fischer.
“Yes, young men, Italy owes to you an undertaking which has merited the applause of the universe. You have conquered and you will conquer still, because you are prepared for the tactics that decide the fate of battles.”
— Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807–1882)
Dedicated to General Giuseppe Garibaldi, this bronze monument stands in Greenwich Village’s Washington Square Park. Cast in bronze in 1888, it was dedicated on the fourth of June of that year, the sixth anniversary of Garibaldi’s death. Sculptor Giovanni Turini designed the standing, over life-sized figure, which was donated by the Italian-American community. The Italian ‘George Washington’ stands on a gray granite pedestal.
At the start of the American War Between the States, Abraham Lincoln offered Garibaldi a command in the Union Army. He declined; He wanted to continue the fight for his fledgling Italian nation.
“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”
— George Washington (1732-1799)
Because Washington Square Park is surrounded by New York University many of its visitors are college students and other young folk. This gives the Park a lively feeling.
Most of the buildings surrounding the park belong to New York University; some have been built by NYU, others have been converted from former uses to academic and residential purposes. The university rents the park for its graduation ceremonies; and it uses the Washington Arch as its logo.
Artistic expression has been a distinct characteristic of Greenwich Village for most of the 20th century. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney founded the Whitney Studio, which would grow into the Whitney Museum of American Art, nearby to the Park at West Eighth Street.
Poets, musicians, fine artists and performing ones are attracted to Greenwich Village for its relaxed, accepting atmosphere. Performers of many stripes use Washington Square Park as their stage. This jazz group was entertaining listeners on a warm September weekday afternoon.
My son went to college in NY and when visiting we went to Washington Square Park---Woody Allen was filming something nearby! We were both enchanted with the park and George's statue---we had to pelt him with a snowball or two, tho----just seemed to need it. This park is fine for visiting in all seasons. Chess players congregate here and there is a dog park as well...
Some music for strolling Washington SqSeems like there is always something going on @ Washington sq.
A historic spot / park in the Village. With a fountain and the definitive arch,
there is always music playing, buskers / entertainers and for some reason the place always seems to have a certain positive energy.
A good place to chill out from walking, have a picnic or just hang. (Also a good place if you're an experienced chess player)
Here's the usual Parks & Rec info
Though sometimes if strolling the park alone @ night you may occasionally be politely & in a subtle way solicited by some of the local "merchants" to buy some herb,
I always felt ridiculously safe there whether alone or with a friend, and I enjoyed hanging out at Washington Sq Park very much, day or night.
In Honor of Alexander Lyman Holley
Foremost Among Those Whose Genius and Energy
Established in America and Improved Throughout the World
The Manufacture of Bessemer Steel
This Memorial is Erected by Engineers of Two Hemispheres
— the inscription on the Memorial Monument to Holley in Washington Square Park
In the newly renovated western side of Washington Square Park stands a bronze and limestone memorial monument to Alexander Lyman Holley (1832-1882). A mechanical engineer, Holley was the foremost steel expert of his time, as well as an engineer and designer of steel plants. He was awarded 15 patents, 10 for improvements to the Bessemer process, which he purchased the rights to in England in 1863 and brought with him to the United States.
The Alexander Lyman Holley Memorial was dedicated on 2.October.1890. John Quincy Adams Ward (1830-1910) sculpted the bronze portrait bust of Holley that tops the memorial. Funds for the memorial were raised by, and the monument was commissioned by three engineering societies: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME International); the Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (AIME); and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Holley played a leading role in each of these organizations.
“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”
— George Washington (1732-1799)
Located at the foot of Fifth Avenue, Washington Square Park is at the heart of Greenwich Village. This 9.75-acre landmark serves as a meeting place for neighborhood locals, as well as tourists. Two prominent features that attract attention are Washington’s Arch and the large fountain at the center of the park.
The land that the park now occupies once was owned by black slaves, that the settling Dutch gave them when the slaves were freed. “The Land of the Blacks,” as the area was known, was owned and farmed by the freed slaves from 1643 to 1664.
In April of 1797 what had been farmland up until then was bought by the Common Council of New York to serve as a “potter’s field,” and remained so until the cemetery was closed in 1825. Today, the remains of more than 20,000 early New Yorkers are at rest under the ground of Washington Square Park.
Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, at the southern end of Fifth Avenue, Washington Square Park is one of New York's most beautiful. The relatively small park is surrounded by many red brick townhouses and other buildings mostly owned by New York University (NYU) and is thus filled with students during the day, especially around the large central fountain. The old townhouses surrounding the park, along with the trees in the square, make this part of New York reminiscent of London. At the northern end of the park is a beautiful Neoclassical memorial arch, built in 1892 to commemorate George Washington's hundredth anniversary as president (the anniversary was in 1889). The arch was designed by Stanford White, who modelled it after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, albeit much smaller. A project to repave and beautify the park has been ongoing for a couple of years, and as of Oct 2009, large sections of the park were still closed.
Sooner or later, any walk in Greenwich Village is likely to lead you to Washington Square. This open space is perhaps to the Village what Central Park is to upper and midtown Manhattan: at once lungs, meeting place and alfresco entertainment venue. It is dominated by the 77 foot high Washington Arch, built to mark the centennial of the first President's inauguration. (In fact the existing arch was built between 1890 and 1892 to replace the original wooden arch of 1889.) Another notable feature is the large fountain where street entertainers traditionally gather. Around these are paved areas, patches of lawn and a few flower-beds. The park is used by students spilling out of the New York University buildings that surround the square, as well as dog walkers, skateboarders, roller-bladers, musicians, chess players and of course weary tourists.
I had looked forward to revisiting the square as I had happy memories of people-watching here on our previous visit and thought it would be a good place for candid photography. Unfortunately this time round (September 2008) we found much of the park closed for restoration, with only a small section on the eastern side open. This still retained much of the atmosphere we’d remembered, but on a reduced scale, so we only sat for a short while before continuing our wanderings around the Village.
This park in Greenwich is probably just as famous as Central Park. Prior to it becoming a park it was a cemetary and execution by hanging spot (the hanging elm on the northwest corner is a bleak reminder). This may be the reason why the New York village halloween parade takes place here every year on 31 October. Do admire the Washington Arch modelled on the Paris Arc de Triomphe. It has been used in many films & is the setting for a Henry James novel. A haven for students & a favourite hang out of chess players. Beware of taking on some of these chess hustlers though as they are on the lookout for naive tourists.
When in New York I always seem compulsively drawn to Washington Square. This is a common starting off point for a visit to Greenwich Village and a focal point of the neighborhood.
The park is the home of one of New York's most famous landmarks, the Washington Arch, a white marble arch built in 1892 that stands on the north side of the arch. Stand at the base of the arch and you can look up 5th Avenue and into heart of New York. Washington Square is been a gather point for NYC university students, street musicians, chessplayers and skateboaders. This is despite the fact that there is very little that is green in the park except a few trees. During my most recent visit there was concert being held by a classical assemble. These sort of events are held frequently in the park and part of the draw. Unfortunately there are a few drug dealers that linger here too but uncover police detectives are common too.
If you find yourself in Greenwich Village and enjoy seeing pooches at play take a bit of time out to relax in Washington Square Park. This park has introduced the fab' idea of exercise areas specifically for dogs. It even has a separate one for smaller breeds who may not be up to the rough and tumble of the big boys and girls. The place had a real community feel and the local people join together to maintain the facility. As you can tell from this photo the dogs and owners seem to be having a pretty fun time.
Washington Square Park is quite a large open space, bigeer than I thought from research. Others will tell you how this place is alive with performers during the summer but in a cold Easter break it used as a thoroughfare and by dog walkers, it was too cold to hang about. The arch I found quite impressive. I was interested to find out how public hangings took place here in days of yore.
From the top of the Empire State Building you can look stright down 5th Avenue to see the Arch.
If you are walking through Greenwich Village take time to stop here for a rest but only in the summer
Washington Park is the small green place of Greenwich Village.
There are better times than when it is -15C to be there. When weather is good, plenty of students of couples are meeting or hanging out on the field
Inspired by Roman triumphal arches, this structure was erected in 1889 to celebrate the centennial of George Washington's inauguration.
More after the jump: