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Washington Square Park - New York City, New York

Learn guitar chords for FREE through our new game Chord Master: Mahalo travel expert Asha K. shares travel tips and information on Washington Square Park in New York City, New York. Overview --------------------------------------------------------------------- Washington Square Park lies over 9.75 acres in New York City's Greenwich Village at W 4th and MacDougal Streets. It is a great meeting place and center of cultural activity. The park was originally made famous by Henry James's novel "Washington Square" (1880).c?? Nowadays, you will find New York University students using the park as a de facto campus area, while chess players come out regularly to play their game on any one of the park's 19 concrete tables. Street performers are common, as are poetry readings.c? History --------------------------------------------------------------------- Washington Square Park used to be a marsh located near the Native American village of Sapokanikan, or "Tobacco Field." The Common Council received the land in 1797 with the intent to use it as a burial ground and a field to be used for public executions. This led to the tale of the Hangman's Elm, located in the northwest corner of the park. In 1826, the park was used as the Washington Military Parade Ground, not becoming a public park until the following year. At the time, wealthy families moved into the area around the park, building the Greek Revival mansions that line the north side of Washington Square to this day. Fifth Avenue ran through the park until 1964 when the entire site was redesigned and closed to traffic. A $900,000 renovation in 1995 installed bocce courts, game tables and playgrounds.c? Washington Square Arch --------------------------------------------------------------------- The Washington Square Arch was based on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. It was built out of wood in 1889 to commemorate the centennial of President George Washington's inauguration. It was rebuilt in marble?between 1890 and 1892. Both versions were designed by architect Stanford White. President Washington has two other tributes on the arch itself, both statues installed on the north face of the arch in 1918: "Washington as Commander-in-Chief, Accompanied by Fame and Valor" by Hermon MacNeil and "Washington as President, Accompanied by Wisdom and Justice" by Alexander Stirling Calder. The arch is also a well-known landmark that has been used as a location in notable films like " When Harry Met Sally" (1989), as well as television shows like "Friends." Outdoor Art --------------------------------------------------------------------- Every Memorial and Labor Day weekend, Washington Square Park hosts a large art fair. The tradition was started in 1931 when acclaimed painter?Jackson Pollock, in dire need of money to pay rent in his Greenwich Village studio, took several of his paintings and set them up for sale on a sidewalk near the park. He was soon joined by fellow artists and praised by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, founder of the Whitney Museum of Art, and Alfred H. Barr, Jr., director of the Museum of Modern Art. That one act on Pollock's part has blossomed into the current Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit, attracting artists from around the world twice a year. Art exhibitors are chosen by a jury of fellow artists and cash prizes are awarded in various categories to exhibit winners. c? Halloween Parade --------------------------------------------------------------------- Other special events include a Halloween Parade every October through the park. Known as New York's Village Halloween Parade, it was begun in 1973 by Ralph Lee, a mask maker and puppeteer from Greenwich Village. What began as a walk from house to house in his small neighborhood has grown exponentially to become one of the largest parades in the nation if not the world. Nearly 40 years after its inception, the parade draws over 60,000 participants dressed in costume and nearly 2 million spectators every year. The parade has won an Obie Award and recognition by the Municipal Arts Society and Citylore for their contribution to the life and culture of New York City. c? Dog Lovers Delight --------------------------------------------------------------------- There are two areas for dogs designated in the park, one for smaller breeds and one for larger. Extra lighting and the absence of any toxic plants make Washington Square Park a perfect place to walk your dog. Read more by visiting our page at:
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