Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Washington Square Park

There was Minetta Creek. There were two cemeteries. There was a public gallows. And then came the beatniks, hippies, folkies (the very young Bob Dylan used to play by the fountain) and chess players. Perhaps no 9.75 acre parcel in New York City has as quirky a history as Washington Square Park. Located in Greenwich Village and surrounded by the urban campus of New York University, the park is still a magnet for the most colorful characters in New York. The arch, inspired by the Arc de Triomphe and designed by Standford White, was built to commemorate the 1879 centennial of George Washington's inauguration. It is actually the second arch, the first being made of wood and so well-accepted that a second arch made of marble was commissioned and finished in 1895. The musical and nonconformist traditions of the park continue to this day. While much of it is currently undergoing extensive renovation you can still enjoy the ever present-clutches of folk, reggae, jazz and rock musicians sprinkled around the still open parts of the park. Summer weekend evenings, deep into the night, are best. Located at the bottom of Fifth Avenue. A, B, C, D, E, F, N, R, V, W trains. Nearby - West Village, East Village, manhattantheatresource (great Off-Off Broadway shows), NYU. Much of "Annie Hall" was shot in the streets around the park. Photo by Tour Guide Mark.

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