Located in Lower Manhattan, Union Square Park is one of the oldest public parks in New York City. This famous square is beautified by lush trees and several statues that honor great American presidents and other international leaders. A farmers market, children’s playground, dog run, and meandering trails are installed in this historic park that’s surrounded by skyscrapers.
Features and Landmarks
The most prominent installation at Union Square Park is an equestrian statue of George Washington. Henry Kirk Brown was commissioned to design this massive bronze sculpture to commemorate the legacy of the first president of the United States.
This American sculptor emphasized Washington’s charisma and authority in a scene that focuses on Evacuation Day of 1783. The installation was officially dedicated on Independence Day of 1856. Since then, the statue of Washington has been a popular fixture in Union Square Park.
Dedicated in 1870, the Abraham Lincoln Statue stands at the north end of the park. The Union League Club funded the installation that honored the president who abolished slavery. If you’re a history buff, then you’ll also embrace the statue of Marquis de Lafayette, a French general who supported the American Revolution. Additionally, the park has a small statue of Mohandas Gandhi that was unveiled in 1986.
The northern end of Union Square Park is occupied by the Greenmarket Farmers Market. Open several days a week, this outdoor market is one of the largest and busiest of its kind in New York City. Placing an emphasis on green living and sustainability, the Greenmarket mostly sells produce and other items from local farms and businesses.
On any given day, the park is likely to have an eclectic mix of musical performers, skateboarders, college kids, hipsters, and religious zealots, as well as businessmen and nannies. It is hard to beat for people watching.
The park is centrally located with Greenwich Village to the south and the Flatiron District to the north. New York University and the New School are also nearby.
The bustling area has numerous stores, coffee shops, restaurants, theatres, and hotels.
A Popular Spot to Meet and Hang Out
The park is generally crowded, if not downright crammed with people. The most popular place for people to congregate is at the large plaza on the south end. There are gatherings of people at almost any hour of the day or night here. People sit on the steps and railings or stand in groups.
A statue of George Washington on a horse seems to oversee the plaza’s activities. The park also has statues of Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, and Marquis de Lafayette.
Enjoy the Day and Take In the Scene
The park has wide tree-covered walkways lined with benches which, although plentiful in number, are at times completely full. Sunbathing and lounging on the grass are also popular activities when the lawns are open.
If you’re looking to bring a picnic lunch or a snack to the park, there is a Whole Foods store right across the street from the south end of the park. There are also plenty of cafes and casual eateries all around the perimeter.
There is a playground at the newly renovated north end of Union Square Park complete with a giant sandbox. A dog run is located on the west side.
Visiting Union Square Park
The 14th Street-Union Square station is one of the busiest New York City Subway hubs in Lower Manhattan. This underground complex gets service from the 4, 5 and 6 lines that run through the eastern part of the borough. The N, Q, R and W lines connect Manhattan with Queens. Additionally, the L Line links Manhattan with Brooklyn.
There are also more than a dozen bus stops within walking distance of Union Square Park. All of the buses are part of the MTA Regional Bus Operations (RBO), which is a transportation division that serves all of NYC.
Finding a parallel parking spot near the park might be a problem during the day. However, several parking garages and metered parking spots are available on the busy 14th Street, which is directly connected to the FDR Drive on the eastern flank of Lower Manhattan.
Click here to visit Union Square Park official website.