Getting to Know Washington Square Park!
Located at the foot of Fifth Avenue, the park is bordered by Washington Square North (Waverly Place east and west of the park), Washington Square East (University Place north of the park), Washington Square South (West 4th Street east and west of the park), and Washington Square West (MacDougal Street north and south of the park).
While the Park contains many flower beds and trees, relatively little of the park is actually used for plantings due to the paving. The two prominent features are Washington's Arch and a large fountain. It includes children's play areas, trees and gardens, paths to stroll on, a chess playing area, park benches, picnic tables, commemorative statuary and two dog runs. Plants need to be watered every day.
Those commemorated by statues and monuments include George Washington; Italian patriot and soldier Giuseppe Garibaldi, commander of the insurrectionist forces in Italy’s struggle for unification, and one to Alexander Lyman Holley, a talented engineer who helped kick-start the American steel industry after the invention of the Bessemer process for mass producing steel.
Birth of Washington Square
A view of the park showing the Washington Square Arch and the central fountain
In 1826 the City bought the land west of the Minetta, the square was laid out and leveled, and it was turned into the Washington Military Parade Ground. Military parade grounds were public spaces specified by the City where volunteer militia companies responsible for the nation's defense would train.
The streets surrounding the square became one of the city's most desirable residential areas in the 1830s. The protected row of Greek Revival style houses on the north side of the park remain from that time.
The New York City Police Department operates security cameras in the park. The New York University Department of Public Safety also keeps a watch on the park, and the city parks department has security officers who sometimes patrol the park. The area is one of the lowest crime areas in the "safest big city in the United States."