Results 1-6of 6 Reviews
Great Falls, Virginia
June 2, 2006
From journal I'm in a New York State of Mind….
District of Columbia County, District of Columbia
November 9, 2004
Located in Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park is one of the neighborhood's small parks, and the front yard for many area residents. The park is well-known for its famous arch, located on the north end of the park where Fifth Ave. dead-ends at Waverly Place. The site of the park has a long history as public cemetery, dueling ground, and site for public hangings. Apparently, the elm tree used for hangings is still there, in the northeast corner of the park. Today, Washington Square is a scenic green space, with a fenced dog park where the neighborhood’s canine residents are free to play, benches, picnic tables, fountains, and the arch.
Even on a cold day in February, the park was full of people. I stopped here for about half an hour to give my feet a rest and observe the people in the park. During my time there, numerous flower delivery people passed through the park, delivering flowers and balloons from the local florists to neighborhood houses (it was Valentine’s Day), a group of older men played chess on several tables, and groups of friends gathered to visit. The atmosphere was charged with the sounds of people enjoying their Saturday afternoon. I could not help but feel the spirit of community that existed here. One could almost forget that he was in one of the largest cities in the world in this place, as it had a certain quaintness to it, not unlike a small town. I had once been told by a former Manhattan resident that, despite the city’s immense size, neighborhoods were closely knit, small communities. Nowhere else did I experience that feeling more than my walking tour of Greenwich Village, and especially while sitting here in Washington Square.
In addition to the wonderful atmosphere of the park, the surrounding neighborhood is worth a visit. On the north side of the park, a row of fine red brick Greek revival houses with marble accents flanks Waverly Place. These houses are absolutely stunning in their perfect uniformity and architectural detail. Surrounding the rest of the park are other elegant homes, buildings that make up part of the NYU campus, and the architecturally interesting Judson Memorial Church and Tower. Many of these houses and buildings have been home to a number of well-known artists, poets, and writers throughout the years.
As with other New York neighborhoods, the only way to really experience Greenwich Village is on foot. Washington Square Park would rank high on my "not-to-be-missed" list for this area of the city, as it is a beautiful, vibrant place. It’s the perfect spot to take a break from walking to sit and watch the people around and take in the urban atmosphere of this incredible neighborhood.
From journal Valentine's Weekend in New York City
Washington, District of Columbia
May 16, 2002
Washington Square Park's arch, located at the southernmost point of Fifth Avenue, welcomes you to what is a decidedly urban park. Although lots of New Yorkers will talk about grassy retreats such as Central Park or
Riverside Park, WSP is a whole lotta concrete with some patchy lawn bits. Still, you should not miss this gateway to downtown NYC.
In the very center, there's a big round bowl of a fountain around which, when empty of water, people congregate to witness spontaneous performances. Breakdancers, jugglers, whoever has some skill they think might elicit a few dollars from the park's visitors. Some will actually make you want to reach for a $5.
It's not large enough park to make a jog worthwhile (unless you go around and around and...), but I've seen plenty of people learn to skate here. You'll find vendors hawking hot dogs, shish kebab, sodas, water, all of the usuals. A small building on the south side houses restrooms and on the corner nearby, there are tables set-up for chess. Willing partners of all ages and walks of life hang out day and night. There are a few decently grassy areas where you can spread out a blanket for a picnic or to catch some rays while enjoying a book or some people watching. Dog lovers, don't miss the very social dog run on the north side of the park.
Something else you can't miss: the VERY large Police winnebago parked on the park's south border. You see, the park has/had a reputation as a hub of the Village drug trade. Apparently you could find whatever you might seek, day or night, just a few years ago. The NYPD realized that drug busts in
the park alone would keep a sizeable group of cops busy so they set up shop, wiring the park with a good number of mostly hidden cameras. Now when a deal is spotting in-progress, out they come.
Still, the number of tourists plus the constant influx of new gullible college freshmen keep a few wily "entrepreneurs" interested in their WSP marijuana business. Word on the street is that anyone crazy enough to risk getting caught by the on-site police will be disappointed upon arriving back
home with their "herb", more likely to taste good on pizza than anything else.
The park is generally very safe. Still use caution during early morning or evening hours - the same you'd use to protect yourself anywhere.
The park is located just east of the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Fourth Street. From the east, enter from Broadway and Waverly Place.
From journal Greenwich Village Walking Tour
Sea Girt, New Jersey
March 8, 2001
The park was first built in the 1820's on the site of a former potter's field and then public gallows. It went through several incarnations before arriving at its current design. The lovely central fountain and famous triumphal arch are the focal points of the park. Once home to the weathiest New Yorkers, the park is lined with brownstones on two sides and New York University buildings on the other two sides. The old mansions are gone, but you can just imagine what the place must have been like at the turn of the century. Washington Square is where the Olivia deHaviland character in the film "The Heiress" lived. There's a lot of history here, and I believe there will continue to be as the Village changes and re-develops over time.
No doubt, it was a scary place at one time, particularly in the 1980s when it was a well-known spot for drug dealers. That has all changed now. While I wouldn't spend too much time in any New York City park after dark, Washington Square is very safe during daylight hours, and also much, much cleaner than it's ever been. You have to credit Mayor Rudy Giuliani for that - no matter how you feel about him, everyone admits that the city is much cleaner and safer since he took office.
We like to walk over to the park early on summer evenings - some of the street performers are pretty amazing. Last summer there was a troop of teen-aged dare-devil acrobats that drew a huge crowd and really knew how to work the crowd. People loved them and it was really cool to see people from all walks of life laughing together along with the performers. And the park is a true crossroads for Greenwich Village - you never know who you'll run into. I once ran into an acquaintance from high school who had moved to the West Coast and was in town on business - small world.
Washington Square is loaded with history and perfectly situated for a little break from shopping in the Village. It's worth a stop.
From journal Fun Things to Do in NYC
by Simon Morley
Denville, New Jersey
October 25, 2000
From journal Passionate About Pizza - NYC
New York, New York
July 9, 2000
From journal New York City Scavenger Hunt: On a budget