Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park sits at the foot of Fifth Avenue between Waverly Place at it's north border and 4th Street at it's south, in New York City's Greenwich Village. The park has long represented a tradition of nonconformity, and is a magnet for the bohemian culture that populates Greenwich Village as well as the student population of New York University.
The park has close ties to New York University as most of the buildings surrounding the park belong to NYU and are used for academic and residential purposes. The university also uses the park for its graduation ceremonies, and uses the Washington Square Arch as an icon in its promotional materials.
Although closely associated with NYU, Washington Square remains a public park, which local residents have protected as an essential part of the neighborhood. It's most prominent features are Washington's Arch at the north end and the fountain located at the center of the park. It's fountain area has long been a focal point for rallies and demonstrations.
Used as military training grounds in the early 1800's, by mid-century the grounds were reworked into an early version of the park we know today. The first fountain was installed in 1852. In 1871, the park came under the auspices of the newly-formed New York City Department of Parks, and it was re-designed again with a new fountain replacing the original in 1872. The fountain was renovated yet again in 1934 so that it would also serve as a wading pool.
In 1889, in celebration of the centennial of George Washington's auguration as president, a large temporary Memorial Arch was erected over Fifth Avenue just north of the park. The arch was so popular that in 1892 a permanent marble arch, designed by the renowned New York architect Stanford White, was erected just inside the park, standing 77 feet tall.