Manhattan boasts scores of busy intersections, where residents and visitors, taxis and bikers, folks young and old all converge to take in the magic of the city that never sleeps. One in particular, however, is a hub of modern tourism and transit, while also brimming with history.
Union Square is a popular gathering point for locals and tourists, who take in the sights and sounds of the impressive park and plaza. Surrounding the square is a ring of urban enclaves that are home to some of New York City’s best cultural offerings, shopping districts and nightlife icons.
Many luxury short-term apartments in Manhattan are just a stone’s throw from Union Square, so make sure to pencil in a day at the park into your itinerary.
What is Union Square?
Before you venture into Union Square, you should learn a bit about its history. The area dates to the early 1800s, named for the convergence of Broadway and Bowery Road. In 1856, park backers unveiled a bronze statue of President George Washington, which commemorates an 1873 Revolutionary War victory over invading British. In the ensuing years, sculptures to other iconic figures like Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi were erected in the area.
The historic square has been the focal point of many protests and demonstrations over the years, including a massive rally to celebrate the end of the Civil War, the first-ever Labor Day celebration in 1882, union strikes and more recently vigils for 9/11 victims.
Exploring the area
Union Square’s history is all around you on your visit, and so is its modern culture.
Locals and visitors alike take part in exciting games of street chess, and you can catch musicians and more entertaining passersby. Kids will delight in the park’s play areas, while adults can relax at the seasonal outdoor restaurant. Visitors of all ages can find something to snack on and shop for at the Union Square Greenmarket, a massive outdoor market featuring everything from fresh produce to artisan crafts.
The area surrounding the park also offers a wealth of options. Architectural fans should take a quick trip over to see the Flatiron Building, a triangular building known internationally for its unique design. Just a few blocks’ walk from Union Square Park is Greenwich Village, where art galleries, boutique shopping, bookstores and more abound. Southeast of the park is East Village, a haven for bars, restaurants and nightclubs.In just one day at Union Square you can find outdoor opportunities, retail therapy and a history lesson near luxury short-term apartments in Manhattan. Experience it all!