Washington Square Park

Art & Culture | History

Iconic Greenspace Considered the Heart of Greenwich Village

washington square park fountain greenwich village

About Washington Square Park

 & why it made the Carpe City list

  • Washington Square Park is one of New York’s most iconic, beloved, and popular green spaces, particularly well known as a gathering space for generations of artists, poets, and musicians.   
    • Some famous parkgoers include Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Eugene O’Neil, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Jackson Pollack, Marcel Duchamp, and Alan Ginsburg.  
  • The area was originally marsh-land with a creek the Lenape Tribe named Minetta. Then, duringthe Dutch period, the area was farmland reserved for free black citizens. 
  • In 1797, the New York Common Council acquired the land for a public burial ground. Today, there are more than 20,000 dead bodies buried. 
  • As a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the city made the area a military parade ground and named it after George Washington. 
  • Washington Square was officially made a park in 1870 by New York senator Boss Tweed. Today, the park features an arch commemorating Washinton’s inauguration and is home to the oldest tree in Manhattan. 
  • The park is featured in many films, including 1995’s Kids, Addicted to Love, A Perfect Murder, When Harry Met Sally, Barefoot in the Park, Inside Llewyn Davis, and August Rush. 

Carpe City Trivia

There used to be a Parks Department office inside the arch!

The arch’s attic space was once Parks Department Office, and features a skylight and Guastavino tiles, the interlocking terra-cotta tile system also seen at Grand Central. 

By: Lucie Levine and Cyd Sacks

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