Washington Square Park

From Academic Kids

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A view of the park showing the Washington Square Arch and the central fountain
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Close-up of the Washington Square Arch
The Washington Square Arch
The Washington Square Arch

Washington Square Park is located within the New York City borough of Manhattan. One of more than 1,700 parks in New York City, Washington Square is, along with Central Park, arguably one of the most well-known parks in New York City. Because of the fact that it is surrounded by New York University—indeed, the park doubles as the university's "campus green"—and that it is a part of Greenwich Village, the park is typically inhabited by a variety of bohemian, intellectual, and non-traditional people. Perhaps because of this, the park has developed a reputation for being a drug dealing hotspot, a fact often remarked upon in contemporary fictional accounts.

Washington Square is a major landmark in Lower Manhattan, as well as being a popular meeting place. Various statues and monuments are displayed in the park; in addition to the obvious monument to George Washington, there is a prominent statue of Garibaldi.

The park is bordered by Washington Square North (also known as Waverly Place) to the north, Washington Square East (also known as University Place) to the east, Washington Square South (also known as West 4th Street) to the south, and Macdougal Street to the west.

The property for the park was originally acquired in 1797 beside Minetta Brook for the purpose of a potter's field. The cemetery was eventually closed in 1823 and designated as a public park.

In 1871, the park was relandscaped by the newly formed New York City Department of Parks.

In 1889, to celebrate the centennial of George Washington's inauguracy as president of the United States, a large plaster and wood Memorial Arch was erected at the northern entrance to the park.

The plaster and wood arch was replaced in 1892 with a marble arch designed by Stanford White.

Built-in chess tables encourage outdoor playing along with throngs of watchers.

Little of the park is actually used for plantings, as much of it is paved. The two prominent features are Washington's Arch and the large fountain in the center of the park.

Each year, thousands of New York University graduates march under the arch into the park to participate in commencement.

Reference links

pl:Washington Square


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