Union Square has long been a hub of activity in New York City. But it has a rich history you may have missed in all the activity enlivening the park.
Here are 10 facts about Union Square that you may not know:
by David Stone
1. Union Square opened in 1839 as a 6-acre public space.
The Union Square area was developed in 1839 as a public space. Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, the designers of Central Park and Prospect Park, helped finalize the design of the park, adding lush greenery and making the logistics of the space more conducive to large gatherings. The goal was to create a public square that would be open and accessible to all residents of New York City.
It has also been a gathering place for protests and political rallies.
Some of the earliest protests and rallies held in Union Square include those for women’s suffrage, civil rights, and anti-war causes. In recent years, the square has been used for Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and climate change rallies.
A statue of George Washington is located in the center of Union Square Park. It was erected in 1856 and is one of the oldest public statues in the U.S.
2. Union Square is home to New York City’s first statue of Abraham Lincoln, erected in 1868.
3. The area around Union Square was once known as the ” Printing District” due to the high concentration of printing businesses in the area.
4. The park is named for the union of two streets: Broadway and the Bowery. Bowery Street is now 4th Avenue and enters the east side of the square.
5. Union Square was the site of many political rallies and speeches throughout the 19th century, including those by Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Susan B. Anthony.
6. The first Labor Day parade was held in Union Square in 1882.
The first Labor Day parade was held in Union Square on September 5, 1882. The parade was organized by the Central Labor Union and featured over 10,000 participants. The purpose of the parade was to celebrate the success of the labor movement and to call for more workers’ rights.
7. A farmers’ market has been operating in Union Square since 1976.
In 2006, Union Square became an official “Greenmarket,” meaning that only farmers from within a 250-mile radius of the city are allowed to sell their goods there.
8. The Union Square Holiday Market has been a holiday tradition since 1993.
9. Union Square was the site of a deadly subway derailment in 1991, killing 5 people and injuring 200 more.
In 1991, Union Square was the site of a deadly subway derailment that killed 5 people and injured 200 more. The accident occurred when a train leaving the Union Square station suddenly went off the tracks, hitting a wall and crashing into the station platform. Investigations later revealed that the cause of the accident was a faulty wheel on the train.
10. Union Square is one of the most popular tourist destinations in New York City, with over 344,000 visitors each day.
Union Square is open 24X365, alive with genuine New Yorks mingling some of the best shopping and eating experiences in New York City. Discover for yourself.