Washington Square Park: The Village's Beating Heart

Since its creation in the 1800s, Washington Square Park has always been the cultural center of Greenwich Village. The land evolved from marshes and farm-land to a military parade ground to a rural hamlet for NYC's elite to a bohemian paradise to a bustling part of downtown New York. On most days, the park today is radiating with energy and noise, in a way that is unique to any other city park.

I have been doing a lot of walking tours of the area this month, and though I would share some images I have taken:

Beyond its central fountain, we see the famous Washington Square Arch (now marble, originally constructed of plaster & wood for the centennial of George Washington's inauguration in New York), as well as a row of Greek-revival townhouses dating back to 1832.

Beyond its central fountain, we see the famous Washington Square Arch (now marble, originally constructed of plaster & wood for the centennial of George Washington's inauguration in New York), as well as a row of Greek-revival townhouses dating back to 1832.

Moving west in the park..

Paul, who lives in a rent-controlled apartment in the neighborhood, is a staple of Washington Square. Known affectionately as the "bird man" or the "pigeon man", he can be found on the same bench every day, feeding the birds he considers his old friends. 

Paul, who lives in a rent-controlled apartment in the neighborhood, is a staple of Washington Square. Known affectionately as the "bird man" or the "pigeon man", he can be found on the same bench every day, feeding the birds he considers his old friends. 

On the southwest corner, at Macdougal Street...

This corner of Washington Square features chess tables where masters &  novices gather to play every day (some for money, some for sport). Child prodigy Bobby Fischer, director Stanley Kubrick, & many others played these tables in their youth. 

This corner of Washington Square features chess tables where masters &  novices gather to play every day (some for money, some for sport). Child prodigy Bobby Fischer, director Stanley Kubrick, & many others played these tables in their youth. 

Are you interested in joining me on one of my next walks/tours? I'd love to share some of the amazing sights of the Village (a home dating back to 1799, the "Friends" apartment, Bob Dylan's old haunts, the birthplace of the LGBT movement, & more!), as we take in its beautiful, tree-lined streets. Every visitor I've had finds something new to discover.

Contact me for dates and options!

The Meatpacking District

One tour I've been getting a lot of bookings for lately is a 2+ hour walking tour of Greenwich Village, and the High Line. It's a great tour (contact me for info!). Sandwiched in the middle of this tour is a visit to the historic Meatpacking District.

During the early half of the 20th century, this industrial neighborhood was the hub of New York City's food industry... over 250 slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants were operating there around the turn of the century. The current, popular Chelsea Market was at that time the home of the National Biscuit Company (NaBisCo) and the birthplace of the Oreo cookie. After WWII, the industry, and the neighborhood, fell into sharp decline. This article below from today has some great shots of the area at its most desolate... it's quite a fascinating look back:

'Vintage photos uncover the industrial origins of Meatpacking District locales'

What does this area-- which has experienced one of NYC's most dramatic renaissances-- look like today? I would love to help you discover it.