Washington Square NYC was originally a field in a rural hamlet just outside of the city limits. Today, the hamlet has been overtaken by the city and transformed into Greenwich Village, and the field has become one of the most well known parks in New York City, after Central Park.
In the early 19th century, the city bought the land that contains the park and developed it into what was then called the Washington Military Parade Ground. Subsequently, the surrounding area became very desirable for residents. North of Washington Square NYC is a set of Greek Revival houses still remaining from that era. Near the middle of the 19th century, the parade ground was converted into Washington Square Park. As the years progressed, improvements and development transformed the park into an expanse of beautiful scenery, magnificent monuments, and areas of congregation and socializing. At the center of the park is the Washington Square Arch, modeled after the Arc de Triomphe, which was erected in 1892 after the huge popularity of a temporary arch was constructed to commemorate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration.
During the excavation of the permanent structure, a grave was unearthed from nearly a hundred years earlier, when a cemetery occupied the land - revealing a previously unknown facet of New York history. Above the arch there is an inscription of the words of Washington. “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.” In addition to the Washington Square Arch, there are several other monuments and structures to enjoy in the park, including a large central fountain, statues, paths, and picnic, and chess areas.
Top image: stevendamron (flickr)