Washington Square Park
1 5th Avenue, New York, NY, USA
Washington Square Park New York Reviews
A green spot in the city center Apr 04, 2010
I entered Washington Square Park from the corner of MacDougal Street which I found a really nice place. The corner I entered was full of people playing chess on the tables at the first little square in the corner of the park, close to Hangman's Elm, or simply "The Hanging Tree".
The old English Elm is located at the Northwest corner of the park. It stands approximately 35 m tall and has a diameter of almost 1.5 m. In 1989, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation determined that this English Elm was 310 years old, making it the oldest known tree in Manhattan.
The earliest references to the elm as a "hanging tree" date from the late 1800s, long after the supposed hangings were said to have taken place. Recent extensive research into the park's history by more than one historian has shown that the tree was on a private farm until the land was bought by the city and added to Washington Square in 1827.
The only recorded execution in this area was of Rose Butler, in 1820, for arson. She was hanged from a gallows in the city's potter's field about 150 meters from the elm.
I was taken by the calm of the park and the laziness and decided to stay there sitting on one of the benches listening to jazz music. There were two bands playing one was at the entry and the other group played at the centre of the park.
I walked around for some time afterwards and enjoy the Washington Arch. The arch goes back to 1889, where there in order to celebrate the centennial of George Washington's inauguration as president of the United States, a large plaster and wood Memorial Arch was erected over Fifth Avenue just north of the park.
The temporary plaster and wood arch was so popular that in 1892 a permanent marble arch, designed by the New York architect Stanford White, was erected, standing 23 m was built just inside the park. During the excavations for the eastern leg of the arch, human remains, a coffin and a gravestone dated 1803 were uncovered 3 m below ground level.
White modelled the arch after the 1806 Arc de Triomphe in Paris. In 1918 two statues of George Washington were added to the north side. The inscription on the arch reads: Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God. — Washington
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Washington Square Park Aug 14, 2009
So you are an out of towner and might not know of Washington Square Park BUT you have probably seen a little show called "Friends" :). I believe in the beg. where the cast credits roll, a glimpse of the park is shown with the copy of the Arc de Triomphe, that would be WSP.
This is a great refuge in the summer. Neighborhood sleazy men hanging out, hipstery NYU students, chic Manhattanites, too trendy you could die tweens, neo-hippie protesters, chess players, dog walkers, and knitters, (like my knit club), all commune. It's a great slice of NYC.
You can play chess, hackey sack or frisbee, stretch out on the bits of lawn, sit inside the huge recessed fountain, protest, sit by the arc, get a hotdog, or the numerous benches that decorate the park. There's usually someone playing their sax or guitar for lovely outdoor music, and other sorts of buskers, traveling troubadours/entertainers, beggars, and on one occasion a guy selling "Obama" condoms.
Come join us!
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