Union Square Park

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Union Square is a busy metro stop, but if you head up the stairs, you’ll find yourself greeted by George Washington himself at the entrance of a small but charming park.

Union Square Park is sandwiched between 14th and 17th streets and surrounded by tall office buildings and modern structures like the kinetic sculpture, Metronome.

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The square originally served as a potter’s field until 1815, when the city commissioners moved to transform the plot into a common area for local residents. During the next century, architects worked to install different features to the park, like the imposing state of George Washington the park is known for, and the James Fountain, located in the center of the park.

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Today, the park comes alive as the local gathering spot the 19th century commissioners hoped it would be. Dog owners bring their furry friends to the dog park, and it often poses as a gathering place for political activists. After the 9/11 attacks, Union Square Park was a place for mourners to gather and remember the ones they lost.

The park also provides a space for the Square Greenmarket every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.  Local vendors sell almost any type of produce you can imagine, from apples to eucalyptus leaves, and stranger items like onion jam and ostrich jerky (yes,really).

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Visitors can also get a hearty snack at the Mighty Pie stand on the north end of Union Square. Choose from a spinach, mushroom or ham and cheese pie and give it a good dunk in a side of tahini for a warm bite that’s sure to fill you up.

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If you find yourself at Union Station subway stop, take a few minutes to check out the view upstairs – and if you’re brave enough, grab some ostrich jerky from the Greenmarket and let me know what you think. I’m not that daring.

 

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