Washington Square Park
Originally a marsh surrounding Minetta Brook, in the early years of New York this area was used as a graveyard for
slaves and yellow fever victims, a dueling ground and a place of execution. Near the northwest corner can be found the
Hanging Elm, perhaps the oldest tree in Manhattan. The Marquis de Lafayette is said to have witnessed the festive hanging of 20
highwaymen here in 1824. In 1826 it was designated the Wahington
Military Parade Grounds, which soon was transformed into a public park.
Washington Square was at one point the center of New York society, later becoming the unofficial quadrangle of NYU. In
1961 it was the site of protests over a police crackdown on folksinging, and in 1963, a plan to extend Fifth Avenue through
the park was defeated. The present landscaping of the park dates to 1971.
Alexander Lyman Holley was an engineer
who perfected the Bessemer steel process, launching the U.S. steel industry. His statue was placed here by a coalition
of engineering societies.
Washington Square Arch
Designed by Stanford White, it was put up in 1892 to replace
a temporary plaster arch erected in 1889 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Washington's
inauguration. Members of the bohemian Liberal Club, including artists Marcel Duchamp and
John Sloan, climbed on top of the arch in 1917 to proclaim the Independent Republic of
360 Degree Panorama of Washington Square.
a guerrilla fighter, is the hero of Italian
reunification. While in exile, he lived
briefly in New York City, first on Irving Place and
then on Staten Island.