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Washington Square Park
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Washington Square Park The Highlights
Washington Square Park is a 9.75-acre (39,500 m2) public park in Greenwich Village. One of the best known of New York City's 1,900 public parks, it is a landmark as well as a meeting place and center for cultural activity. The Park is an open space, dominated by the Washington Square Arch at the northern gateway to the park, with a tradition of celebrating nonconformity. The Park's fountain area has long been one of the city's popular spots for residents and tourists. Most of the buildings surrounding the park now belong to New York University, but many have at one time served as homes and studios for artists. The two most prominent features are the Washington Square Arch and a large fountain and include children's play areas, trees and gardens, paths to stroll on, a chess and scrabble playing area, park benches, picnic tables, commemorative statuary and two dog runs.
Washington Square Park is named for George Washington (1732-1799), the commander of the Continental Army, who was inaugurated in New York City as the first President of the United States on April 30, 1789. The marble Washington Arch, designed by noted architect Stanford White, was built between 1890-1892 and replaced a wooden arch erected in 1889 to honor the centennial of the first president’s inauguration. Washington Square Park was redefined socially and culturally throughout the 20th century. Following the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, labor unions marched here and the bohemian community of the late 19th and early-20th centuries congregated here. The Beat generation of the 1940s and 50s and the "folkies" of the late 1950s and early 60s also made the park their sanctuary. During this period, the park became a renowned haven for performers and protestors. Today Washington Square Park, rich in history, remains one of the jewels in the park system, serving as a dynamic commons for local residents, chess players, students, performers and tourists from around the globe.
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