Union Square Park | Historic, Vibrant and… a Foodie Destination

by NYJ Team

This vibrant and historic urban park is the perfect place to people watch in New York City. Located at the intersection of Broadway and 4th Avenue, Union Square Park was the site of the first Labour Day parade in 1882. It also houses the flagship location of the popular Greenmarket Farmers Market, a state-of-the-art children’s playground and a majestic bronze sculpture of George Washington.

Union Square Park

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Things to Do at Union Square Park

From art vendors to street entertainers to the occasional protest, there are plenty of interesting things to do and see in Union Square Park. Friends can congregate by the James Fountain and kids can play at the 15,000 square-foot playground which features a mini-mountain and rubber-tiled floor to protect little knees from scrapes.

Union Square Park is a popular destination for foodies- it is home to the flagship location of the world-famous Greenmarket Farmers Market. Situated at the north end of the park, the Union Square Greenmarket attracts thousands of visitors all year round eager to shop for fresh, locally grown produce, heritage meats and artisan breads and cheeses.

Union Square Park is also a perfect place to relax and do nothing at all. There are lots of benches to perch and people watch or grassy spots to spread out a blanket and enjoy a picnic lunch.

A Historic Public Space

Union Square Park opened in 1839 and quickly became a bustling town square and one of New York’s most popular public spaces to meet. Centrally located in Manhattan, Union Square was named for its location at the “union” of Bloomingdale and Bowery Roads which is known today as Broadway and 4th Avenue.

Union Square has a history of being a hub of political and social activism and was the site of many workers’ rallies in the 1930’s. It has served as a place for people to gather for political demonstrations, labor protests and community events.

A crowd of 10,000 workers gathered in Union Square for the first Labor Day parade on September 5th, 1882. Labor Day became a national holiday in 1884 and Union Square’s role in American labor history led to its designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1997.

Statues in Union Square Park

Union Square Park is one of the most popular places for New York City locals to meet up at and one of the highlights of the park is its collection of majestic statues. They not only honor important historical figures, but they also are a great way to find someone – “meet me by Abraham Lincoln!” In addition to a statue of America’s 16th president, Union Square Park features sculptures of the Marquis de Lafayette (created by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, the designer of the Statue of Liberty) and Mohandas Gandhi.

Visitors should be sure to seek out the spectacular equestrian statue of the first president of the United States, George Washington. Located at the south end of the park, this bronze work is the oldest sculpture in the New York City Parks collection.

Where Is Union Square Park in New York City?

Union Square Park runs from East 14th Street to East 17th Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway.

For more information on Union Square Park including maps of the area and directions call 212-New-York or visit Union Square Park official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with official website.

The High Line | Take a Stroll Above the Streets of Manhattan

by NYJ Team

Take a stroll on The High Line and you’ll find yourself walking high above the streets of Manhattan admiring some pretty amazing city views. This New York City public park is built on a former elevated railroad structure in Manhattan’s West Side.

The High Line stretches from Gansevoort Street to West 34th though the neighborhoods of West Chelsea, the Meatpacking District and Hell’s Kitchen. This unique park is a greenway over a mile and a half long landscaped with regional flora and dotted with benches where you can sit, relax and experience spectacular vistas of the city.

The High Line

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A Part of Manhattan’s Industrial Past

This elevated park is built around an old rail line that operated from 1934 to 1980. Known as the West Side Line, the tracks were built to lift the increasingly busy and dangerous traffic caused by the freight trains into the air. This helped to eliminate the growing number of train accidents and fatalities in Manhattan’s biggest and busiest industrial area.

For decades this freight rail moved a variety of goods around the west side of the city 30 feet above the streets. Agricultural products and manufactured goods made their way to factories and shipments of meat were delivered to the Meatpacking District. The West Side Line also moved mail to the city’s Post Office.

From the Threat of Demolition to Urban Oasis

The last train (carrying frozen turkeys) traveled The High Line in 1980. A few years later, the structure faced demolition. Property owners with land located under the former rail line, which was now unkempt and overgrown, wanted the tracks removed.

Recognizing the historic importance of The High Line, a non-profit group called Friends of the High Line was formed by community residents in 1999. The group was successful in lobbying the government to preserve the structure and eventually develop it for pedestrian use. An international competition was held for the architectural firm and landscape design team that would transform the old rail line into the elevated public park it is today. The High Line opened to the public on June 9th 2009.

Friends of the High Line now works together with the City of New York to maintain the park and raise funds for its preservation and development.

Experiencing the High Line

From the rotating art exhibits to the stunning sunsets over the Hudson River, the High Line is a great destination to check out the next time you are shopping in the trendy Meatpacking District or Chelsea Market (where High Line tracks run through the second floor).

The park’s landscape showcases a wide variety of colorful perennials and trees with many of the plantings inspired by the species that originally grew along the rail line.

Visiting the High Line in New York City

The High Line stretches from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues.

Visitors can access The High Line park from Gansevoort, 14th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 23rd, 26th, 28th, 30th Streets as well as 30th Street and 11th Avenue along with 34th Street and 12th Avenue. Elevator access is available at 14th, 16th, 23rd and 30th Streets and bike racks are located outside the stairs at Gansevoort, 16th, 18th and 20th. Bicycles and dogs are not permitted on the High Line. Visit The High Line website where a downloadable/printable pdf guide is available. Hours vary by season.

Mailing Address: 529 West 20th Street, Suite 8W, New York City, New York
Phone: 212-500-6035
Fax: 212-206-9118
E-mail: info@thehighline.org

Click here to visit The High Line official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with official website.

Madison Square | Surrounded by Historic & Contemporary Landmarks

by NYJ Team

Situated in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, Madison Square is a public space that’s surrounded by historic and contemporary skyscrapers. This famous square is cantered on Madison Square Park which is a 6.2-acre park that includes monuments of prominent politicians and other leaders. From parades and farmers markets, Madison Square is a popular gathering spot for local events.

Madison Square Park

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Architecture and Sightseeing

Constructed in 1909, the Metropolitan Life Tower is one of the most recognizable landmarks at Madison Square. This 50-floor skyscraper has Italian Renaissance and Revival elements that were designed by Napoleon LeBrun and Sons.

In 2015, this historic property was renovated and transformed into a luxurious hotel. Designed by the acclaimed architect Cass Gilbert in 1928, the New York Life Building is another prominent building at this famous square. This 40-floor skyscraper has a Gothic Revival facade that’s been beautifully preserved over the decades. As the name implies, the skyscraper is primarily occupied by the New York Life Insurance Company. A golden pyramid on the rooftop is the signature feature of this elegant property.

In 2011, One Madison Park became the second tallest building at Madison Square. Home to hundreds of upscale residential units, this modern high-rise tower has an architectural height of more than 617 feet. The curtain-wall facade with glass and steel components has dramatically transformed the traditional atmosphere at this square.

Some other architectural landmarks in the neighborhood include the Madison Square Building, Victoria Building and Croisic Building. Built in the 1910’s, these properties were some of the tallest in Lower Manhattan for several years.

As you stroll or relax at Madison Square, you’ll also notice the iconic Flatiron Building. Wedged in between Broadway, 5th Avenue and West 23rd Street, this triangular edifice was erected in 1902. The 20-floor building was one of the tallest in New York City for multiple years. Today, the Renaissance Revival landmark has 22 levels that have been expanded to accommodate modern demands for commercial use. The Flatiron Building is one of the most photographed skyscrapers in NYC. Situated at the southwest corner of Madison Square, the Flatiron Plaza offers awesome views of this iron-shaped wonder.

Located at the northern end of the square, the National Museum of Mathematics is a kid-friendly museum that presents dozens of educational exhibits. Floor 0 includes the Twisted Thruway, Tracks of Galileo, Hoop Curves and other awesome installations. Floor 1 features the Hypercube Room, Harmony of the Spheres, Octahoron Room and other exhibits that will surely stimulate the minds of curious visitors. The Enigma Cafe is a great place to recharge and relax after learning about arithmetic, geometry and other advanced mathematical concepts.

Madison Square Park

The heart and soul of Madison Square is a 6.2-acre park that dates back to the 1840s. The green space includes impressive monuments of Chester A. Arthur, David Farragut, William Seward and Roscoe Conkling. After admiring the bronze figures of these prominent American statesmen, you can pay tribute to World War I soldiers at the Eternal Light Flagstaff.

Madison Square Park has plenty of wide and paved trails that are suitable for walking, jogging and bicycling. You’ll also find lots of comfortable benches under dense trees or near lush plants that beautify most of the grounds. Dozens of restaurants and cafes surround the Madison Square Park, so you won’t have to walk far to grab some treats and drinks.

Location and Directions

You can get to Madison Square by hopping on a New York City Subway train that stops at the underground station on East 23rd Street. The N, Q, R and W routes offer express and local services at this rail station. Carrying traffic heading uptown, Madison Avenue has several stops for Metropolitan Transportation (MTA) buses. Some of the buses also stop on various points along 5th Avenue, which runs downtown. Additionally, Madison Square is considered one of the most pedestrian and bicycle-friendly areas in Manhattan.