Union Square

Union Square was created in the early 19th century at the convergence of what is now Broadway and Fourth Avenue. The square is a popular place for political rallies and public protests. It is also known for its Greenmarket, an outdoor market where local farmers sell fresh produce.

Originally used as a potter's field, the history of the current square goes back to 1811 when the gridiron plan of Manhattan, originally conceived in 1807, was approved. The area was named Union Place since it was the site of the 'union' of two major streets: Broadway and Fourth Avenue (then Bloomingdale Road and Bowery Road). It was officially designated as a public space in 1831.

In 1939 a fenced, oval-shaped park laid out around a central fountain was created at the center of the square. The following decade, when large residences of affluent citizens lined the square, was the area's heyday. In 1872 the renowned landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux - of Central Park fame - redesigned Union Square Park. They removed the fence and opened up the space so as to accommodate large rallies, which were often held here at Union Square.

Today Union Square is constantly bustling with activity. The square can be divided into three parts. The north of the square is paved and home to the outdoor Greenmarket.

The central part of the square is occupied by a 3.6 acre (1.5 ha) large park with wide pedestrian paths and a central lawn. Several statues can be found in the park, the most important of which is an equestrian statue of George Washington, erected here in 1856 to commemorate the reclamation of New York from the British.
The plaza at the south section of the square is still used by political activists and you'll often see groups of protesters here. People often occupy the stairs leading to the park while reading a book or eating a snack, especially on sunny days, when the park often becomes overcrowded.
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