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Washington Square Park

The concrete capital of NYU's Greenwich Village, Washington Square is a kind of gravitational center for all of Lower Manhattan above Canal Street, drawing an eclectic crowd of students and professors, East Village hippies and West Village yuppies, punks and professionals, musicians and guest lecturers, drug dealers and drug users, chess fanatics and skateboarders, tourists and native New Yorkers. The area that now comprises the park has been a potters' field (a makeshift cemetery for the poor...

The concrete capital of NYU's Greenwich Village, Washington Square is a kind of gravitational center for all of Lower Manhattan above Canal Street, drawing an eclectic crowd of students and professors, East Village hippies and West Village yuppies, punks and professionals, musicians and guest lecturers, drug dealers and drug users, chess fanatics and skateboarders, tourists and native New Yorkers. The area that now comprises the park has been a potters' field (a makeshift cemetery for the poor and unknown), the site of public hangings, and a military parade ground. The Park was built in 1828, and elegant townhouses grew up quickly around it, but lacked real character before the construction, by Stanford White, of the memorial arch, which sits at the base of Fifth Avenue on the northern end of the park. Built in 1889, the arch commemorates the inauguration of George Washington as first president of the U.S., and along with the large central fountain dominates the landscape of the square. At the turn of the twentieth century, the townhouses that lined the park were among the most fashionable in New York (inspiring, among other things, the Henry James society novel), and the squat brick structures still give the square an air of dignity and refinement, though most were gutted and refitted as NYU offices decades ago.

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Address:
Washington Square
New York City, NY 10003
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Stories in the spotlight: Washington Square Park

In the aftermath of the Triangle Fire, Washington Square served as the endpoint for a vast funeral...

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Funeral at Washington Square
March 15, 2011

Washington Square Park is very popular among picnickers, musicians, artists, and people seeking an...

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The Hangman's Elm
December 7, 2010

Are you good at chess? I bet the people who play at The Snake Pit are better - a lot better.

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The Snake Pit
December 5, 2009

One of my favorite stories about The Village centers around drinking, anarchy and The Washington Square...

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Anarchy and the Arch
By Mark
December 4, 2009
Travelgoaters at Washington Square Park
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tnogzq
July 11, 2012

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fact

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masmith
September 19, 2010
photo