Washington Square Park

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Washington Square Park
Section: Lower Manhattan
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
Address: Wash Sq N at the 5th Ave Terminus
Owner/Operator: Public Space
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The center of Greenwich Village and NYU is Washington Square Park. A neo classical arch crowns the square that serves as a gathering point and a place of relaxation for village locals. The interior is more of a plaza than the traditional notion of what one might think a park is. Grass is sparse and mostly fenced in by wrought iron gates and wide cobblestone walkways stretch across the plaza which is always crowded, especially during the summer months.

Street performers make the area their outdoor office, seeking out strategic crossings in the square's paths to set up shop while they amuse tourists and New Yorkers alike with their antics for modest donations while hot dog vendors, dot the area with their little carts and classic New York wit.

Washington Square's main area features a large fountain which attracts New Yorkers seeking to beat the heat in the muggy summers. Here the colorful Village denizens and college students gather to relax and hang out. Off to the sides of the fountain plaza and the wide walkways benches and tables with built in tiled chessboards attract a regular group of aficionados of the game. Street hustlers selling hot items or trinkets that have no particular use like wind up dolls or cheap costume jewelry also line the walkways and compete with the local hippies selling incense and hand-made crystal amulets or hemp clothing.

The streets bordering the outside of the square are busier than even the square itself as it is a focal point of the city and a gateway to the downtown neighborhoods with busy streets like 5th Avenue leading right to it. New York University occupies the streets to the south and east and student housing stretches along the area as well. To the north and west sidewalk cafes over-looking the square across the street, shops, java joints, bars, delis, pizza by the slice joints, etc, have a constant flow of customers. The subway station on the border of Washington Square is also very busy as it serves as a transfer point to lines leading out to the other boroughs as well as other parts of Manhattan, with two entries on the sidewalks opposite of the area.

Senior citizens that have lived in the neighborhood for ages, college students, tourists, hippies playing hacky sack, local bums, crazy street preachers, nerds, skaters, punks, sidewalk artists, street performers, etc. all swoop down on Washington Square.

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