Why You Should Visit Washington Square Park, NYC

New York City is always bustling, with many things to do and lots of places to visit whether you’re sightseeing or just out and exploring. One place that definitely deserves a look is Washington Square Park and the area that surrounds it. The many different things to see, places to eat, and interesting people to meet, you won’t be bored. Washington Square park is located in lower Manhattan, with one corner on West 4th and Mac Dougle street, and the opposite on East 8th and University Place.

Within Washington Square park itself, you can always find a hotdog or bagel stand. In the center of the park, facing the famous Washington Arch, stands the fountain. On hot summer days, it is turned on for people to play in or, if you don’t feel like getting wet, simply admire from a distance. When the fountain is off, you can often see a show in it. Sometimes there are magic shows, other times you can see men leap over audience members. The entertainment never ends.

Two dog parks – one for the big dogs, the other for the small ones – stand across from one another, making the perfect place to take your pooch where you can sit and relax in the shade. A small square is surrounded with benches and chess tables for those who like to compete, or just play for fun. A small children’s park is also located in Washington Square park, if you have little kids who need a place to climb on monkey-bars and swing. Only people with children are allowed inside the little playground, so it’s a nice place to get your children away from the business of New York.

Musicians come to play in the park, and sometimes you can find salespeople who make their wares – anything from art to beaded necklaces or knitted hats – right there in the park, to sell to passerby’s. You can see things in the park that you probably wouldn’t see anywhere else – I have seen everything from a man walking around with a parrot on his shoulder, to five people standing completely still on different colored dots for almost an hour, to a man in a giant chicken costume.

If you walk in and just outside the park, chances are you meet people giving out granola bars or energy drinks for free. All around the park are great places to eat, and a Starbucks around practically every corner where you can get coffee with your breakfast (and, if you’re like most New Yorkers, your lunch and your dinner). The park is within walking places of attractions such as Chinatown, Little Italy, and Union Square, to name only a few. The area is also the major part of New York University, so you’re likely to meet people from all over the United States, and all over the world.

The park is also rich in interesting, though tragic history. The park grounds used to be a major lynching site and a burial ground for Revolutionary War soldiers and people who could not afford a proper burial during the 18th century. Since as early as 1998, old bones have been discovered there by construction workers. Across the street from the park stands Silver, one of the main lecture and class buildings for NYU students. This very building used to be the Triangle Waistcoat Factory, the same one that burned in 1911 and cost many lives.

Washington Square Park is the place to visit if you’re in the mood to see something new and unique. There seems to be an endless supply of curiosities surrounding this park, and there is never a dull moment. It provides a different side of New York – where in other places around the city people act distanced and always seem to be rushing to get somewhere, here things are more relaxed. People come to the park to rest and get away from their busy lives, and there is a much higher chance of starting a conversation with a stranger. So if a man with a parrot on his shoulder smiles at you, don’t be afraid to smile back – that’s just part of what Washington Square park is all about.

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