A marsh. A cemetery. A parade ground. A gathering spot for avant-garde artists. A battleground for chess enthusiasts. A playground for canines and children. Washington Square Park has served various roles for its community throughout the years, adapting to meet its needs. Well-known for its arch, honoring George Washington, the man for whom the park is named, and its fountain, the arch’s elder by 43 years and a popular meeting spot, Washington Square Park also houses several other monuments and facilities.
Washington Square Park is a public park in the New York City neighborhood of Greenwich Village, Manhattan. One of the best known of New York City’s 1,900 public parks, it is a landmark as well as a meeting place and center for cultural activity. It is operated by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
The Park is an open space, dominated by the Washington Square Arch, with a tradition of celebrating nonconformity. The Park’s fountain area has long been one of the city’s popular spots for residents and tourists. Most of the buildings surrounding the park now belong to New York University, but many have at one time served as homes and studios for artists. Some of the buildings have been built by NYU while others have been converted from their former uses into academic and residential buildings.