Practical Man’s Guide to Washington Square
August 2, 1962
The fantastical map above was conceived by Jaf to complement “A Practical Man’s Information to Washington Square.” The numbers in parentheses within the article may be coordinated with the numbers on the map.
Monuments and Shrines
Washington Square Park is the acknowledged centre ville of Greenwich Village.
It’s entered from Fifth Avenue on the north by uptown varieties and runaway buses by way of a big triumphal arch to the reminiscence of George Washington, the first President of the USA (1).
Two statues entrance the arch. The statue on the fitting appears like George Washington. Nobody can determine the statue on the left. Nevertheless, the words “Help Psychological Well being” scraped into the stone there led many to consider that it’s the statue of a former Parks Commissioner.
The present Parks Commissioner, Newbold Morris, is of the opinion that Washington Sq. Park is lopsided. He has solved this drawback by leaning to the left every time he confronts it.
The top of the arch is used for parties.
In back of the arch is a flagpole (2). It was erected to provide an appropriate backdrop for procheck demonstrations and rallies (see Where the Park Individuals Are).
Behind the flagpole and slightly to the west of it is a shallow round pit usually known as the fountain (3). It’s used as a shower by frightened youngsters. After quite a lot of controversy, the fountain has just been redecorated. It now has 9 squirts. The central and largest squirt comes out of an aluminum pipe in the midst of the fountain (four). Eight smaller and fewer dependable squirts are evenly placed across the circumference. The rim of the fountain is alternately baked by the solar and cooled off by the water. It’s used for sitting (see Where the Park Individuals Are).
To the west of the fountain is the marble head of a metal tycoon referred to as Holley (5). Holley is smiling. He was commissioned by inventory brokers who need to cross the park every day to get from the Seventh Avenue subapproach to the Fifth Avenue bus.
To the east is a statue of Garibaldi drawing his sword (6). Garibaldi was commissioned by Italian park-goers who needed protection from newer varieties who had begun to inhabit Washington Square.
The Park’s Paths
Washington Sq. Park is reduce by many paths, which all result in seats on the rim of the fountain. Probably the most traveled path runs from the circle to the coffee houses and is called the By way of Veneto of Washington Square. It’s lined with benches, and other people sit there either to attend for fountain area or to observe for women.
To be picked up in Washington Square, the widespread route is down the By way of Veneto, once around the fountain, and again up the path again (7). Should a woman fail there, she is going to find yourself conveniently close to the espresso homes, the place she is going to then go and check out her luck once more. Ought to she fail on the espresso homes, she can be shut sufficient to the substrategy to go residence. On the finish of this path are the checker, chess, and go tables (see Sightseeing in Washington Square Park).
The path from the circle to the northwest nook is less populated and leads to the pigeons, who’ve a bit of circle there (see Flora and Fauna within the Park).
The trail from the fountain to the northeast nook results in Chock Full O’ Nuts and is used solely for that function.
The trail due north leads uptown and is considered to be contaminated by gasoline fumes from the Fifth Avenue Coach Line (8). It’s usually deserted by day, apart from bus drivers and hardy youngsters.
The trail due south leads to Judson Church. It’s used only to enter the park to protest people-singing bans.
The trail across the park is for people who need to be alone.
East Aspect, West Aspect within the Park
Until lately, the west aspect of the park was In. At present, nevertheless, it’s extra In to frequent the Out areas of Washington Sq., notably the southeast corner. Few individuals are that In.
There are fewer benches on the east aspect of the park than on the west aspect. This reality has led some east-siders to recommend that the In-Out concept of park life had no basis in personalities initially and was merely founded upon an order-blank error in the Bench Workplace of the Parks Department.
Sightseeing in Washington Sq. Park
Washington Square Park has 4 playgrounds. The one simply east of the arch is usually acknowledged to be the In playfloor (9). Youngsters of very hip and/or wealthy mother and father play there (see The place the Park Individuals Are). Their carriages are both fairly previous or brand new. It’s believed that this playground will get tanbark earlier than the others. At the entrance to the playground is a sign which reads “For Youngsters and Guardians Only” (10). Benches for dwelling mother and father are offered outdoors.
The playground east of the Judson Church path (11) is famous for its water cooler, which is the perfect within the park (12).
The playground west of the church path (13) is subsequent to a big brick outhouse (14) and smells. There’s some question as to its reputation. It’s utilized by youngsters with colds. They may grudgingly admit a bonus in its proximity to the bicycle rack. Also, some moms prefer this playground as it is close by the telephones (15).
The playground to the west of the arch just isn’t a playground at all however a sandbox with benches round it (16). It was designed for fast conversion right into a launching pad in occasions of national emergency. It’s utilized by babies. Babies who’ve outgrown the launching pad can typically be seen ready by the shelter arrow on the southwest corner outdoors the park. This arrow factors nowhere and was the sensible joke of pacifist groups which frequent the park (see Where the Park Individuals Are).
Across the fountain are eight evenly spaced wire trash baskets. Certainly one of these is used exclusively for The Voice (17) and one other for the New York Occasions. The six remaining baskets are for Good Humor wrappers and previous pickets and petitions.
Washington Sq. has numerous circulating Good Humor wagons, yellow and fringed on prime. The lads who wheel them are uniformed in hand-me-downs from Carabinieri kin overseas and charge from ten to 25 cents, in response to the regulation of provide and demand. They’ll accept credit in case you are well-known around the park (see Who the Park Individuals Are).
The chess, checker, and go tables on the southwest nook of the park are reserved exclusively for chess, checker, and go players (18). A big warning has been posted to discourage anybody else from sitting down at them. This warning have to be noticed at all hours of the day and night time.
The west edge of the Square is bordered by a fence recognized affectionately as the Meat Rack (19). It claims as precedent the west fringe of the Acropolis.
Flora and Fauna within the Park
Washington square Park was nourished into its present lush green life by the bones of 1000 paupers who have been buried there between 1797 and 1823. Its beauty has been stored intact via the years by indicators that say “Maintain Off the Grass.” They are meant for individuals.
There are various timber in Washington Sq. Park. They grasp low on the east aspect and contribute significantly to its gloomy appeal.
The perfect tree within the park is the English elm on the north-west nook (20). Individuals used to grasp from it earlier than electricity. Lafayette counted the hangings there as among the most spectacular he had ever seen.
The English elm is subsequent to the pigeon circle (21), and this proximity has given rise to a concept that pigeons are advanced from the vultures who as soon as attended hangings there. An extension of this concept holds that the pigeons in Washington Square are in search of blood, not crumbs.
There is a flower bed behind Mr. Holley (22). The flowers are principally purple. Some are white. This is the one flower mattress in Washington Sq. Park. It was just lately been immortalized within the Karachi Vacationer World as a refuge for drunks, who lie in it, “the sunlight draining color from their garments.”
Where the Park Individuals Are
Several thousand individuals are all the time out of work in Inexperiencedwich Village, and most of them cross the time in Washington Square Park. They typically put in an eight-hour day there if the climate is sweet. The older and extra formidable of this specific group sit alongside the north edge of the park (23), which known as Henry James Row because of the brownstones throughout the street. Dealing with uptown, they learn the classifieds.
The benches along the west fringe of the park are for lovers within the preliminary levels of courtship (24).
The lads who play chess on the stone tables at the finish of By way of Veneto are previous retired sea captains from New England (25). They appeal to large crowds of different previous retired sea captains. Few ladies are allowed to observe.
The park police are most lively in the chess, checkers, and go corner. An officer is all the time on obligation there (26). He patrols the tables, waiting for somebody to make a false transfer.
Farther down the coffee house path is a unique crowd, which thickens toward the fountain. Previous ladies sit on the benches there, sunning souls (27). Alternating with the ladies are young male varieties who have gained seats on the By way of Veneto by way of a capability to speak about art and decide up ladies on the similar time (28).
Toward Holley’s head is a small circle used virtually solely by travelers who’ve come by A-train from Harlem or by foot from Avenue A (20). The Bowery gentlemen congregate there between five and 6 in the afternoon and intercept the by way of visitors from Wall Road because it pours out of the southwest path.
On the fountain circle, simply to the north of Holley, is the In bench of Washington Sq. Park (30). It’s thought-about personal property by Italians, intellectuals, junkies, and moms. It’s generally referred to as Moms’ Bench, however until she is pregnant a mom should battle it out for a seat there. Seats on Mothers’ Bench may be bought, though, from intellectuals.
The moms sit on Moms’ Bench to speak to the intellectuals. The intellectuals sit there to speak to themselves. Italians like the bench as a result of is instructions a superb view of Garibaldi’s sweeping Baroque curve. Junkies prefer it as a result of they will look innocent there, sitting, as it have been, next to mothers.
From Mothers’ Bench moms are capable of regulate their youngsters, who come to the park to participate in the all-day tricycle races around the fountain (31). When the youngsters stray north into the bus zone, it is usually conceded that they have the proper of method.
The fountain itself is utilized by everyone, though by regulation no one over 11 except mother and father is allowed in in the course of the day.
On scorching days the fountain is filled with youngsters, who will courageous the sting of the 9 squirts for the sake of the cold water. Pails, shovels, and large plastic seashore balls share the fountain with the youngsters (32).
At night time the fountain is used for conga strains and events. On Sundays it’s used for singing.
The rim of the fountain is acknowledged to be the perfect spot within the park. Individuals get there early and keep all day to maintain their seats (33). At meal occasions the ice cream wagons will come to them. Writers want to take a seat on the rim in order that their associates will see them considering. Additionally it is the scene of probably the most smoothly maneuvered pick-ups within the park. Rim pick-ups usually begin with a comment on splashing infants and a fond, paternal nod in their path. From babies to intercourse is a simple conversational flip.
The preferred makes use of for the world instantly surrounding the fountain are intercourse and music.
The area due east of the fountain, nevertheless, is stored clear for the frisbee group (34). The frisbee workforce is Greenwich Village’s solely gesture toward bodily health. It meets within the middle of the park to point out off. Among the members of the Frisbee staff are an artist, a junkie, a photographer, a inventory broker, and a writer.
Northeast of the fountain, originally of Chock Full Lane, is a bench for two (35). It is known as the Love Seat and is put aside every day by widespread consent for a deserving male couple.
Garibaldi is used by New York University undergraduates for hiding behind until their beards grow in they usually can step with confidence up onto the rim of the fountain (36).
Apart from the students, the one east park regulars are the heterosexual lovers (37). These lovers use the obscure peripheral paths and are usually in additional advanced levels of courtship than their west park counterparts. Together with the Sixth Precinct, they type the leitmotiv of Washington Sq..
The opposite east aspect park individuals cannot be categorized. They do not congregate. They’re either to date In that they will afford the anonymity of east park-going, or up to now Out that they do not know the distinction. Sightseeing on the east aspect of the park is thus all the time an adventure in definition.
Nobody goes down the trail that results in nowhere.
Although protesters might enter the park by the Judson Church path, nobody depart the park by it. It has been designated because the Washington Sq. void. Individuals who go to church from the park comply with protocol and take an alternate route: up the By way of Veneto and turn left.
Due north of the fountain, politicians and pacifists and rallyers to all causes assemble (38). This a part of the Sq. is especially in style for rallies. It offers a simple escape route up Fifth Avenue ought to the police seem. It has been the stage for a Paul Revere Wake Up America Rally and a pacifist name to arms.
The congressman who needs the Village vote speaks there a minimum of once a campaign. The flagpole and the triumphal arch might be counted on so as to add an appropriate observe of patriotism to any occasion. Vive la France!
Who the Park Individuals Are
The New Conservative woman before the arch, her again turned on Socialism and Title I, is Rosemary McGrath (39).
The ice cream man open for enterprise close to the trail to the lads’s room is Morris, who gave a free Good Humor to the Governor in 1958 (40).
The large, brown man in the midst of the trail to the coffee homes is studying soiled poetry out loud ( 41).
The person tailing him is Captain Savitt, leader of the Sixth Precinct park patrol (42).
John the Swamp Rat is standing underneath Holley. He will take you on a tour of the Village (43).
The gentleman on the northwest nook of the park is Henry Hope Reed, accumulating individuals for an additional type of tour (44).
Sitting on Moms’ Bench are, respectively, Delmore Schwartz, Gilbert Millstein, and an out-patient from Bellevue (45).
The person on the east edge path needs to be left alone ( 46).
The red-plaid-shirted, yellow-tied, and blue-checked-trousered previous man on Henry James Row is reading Murray Kempton (47).
The Moonman is standing in the midst of the fountain, waving a map of Pennsylvania. He has come from a mysterious planet to search for Village women (48).
The previous man walking up the west aspect with a picket field on his back will shine your footwear if he thinks they’re dirty. In any other case he will move you by (49).
The actor with the lengthy, muscular brown legs and the long, muscular brown arms and hardly and clothes in any respect is the star of many avant-garde Bible films (50).
The little woman in the pink playgo well with crying in the midst of the sandbox has to go to the bathtubroom (51).
The person with the beard on prime of the arch is Jaf, tossing a small celebration (52).
A Cause a Day, Keeps Ennui Away
Washington Square Park is the trigger celebre of Greenwich Village. Beats and hips and hangers-on who by no means vote or work or in any approach commit themselves to action have prior to now rallied, and even organized, to save lots of the Sq..
One current fashionable trigger was the folk-singing trigger. It had an enormous attraction. Park-goers united towards Newbold Morris and saved the singers from perpetual banishment. Morris, to save lots of face, reduce their allotted fountain time.
The no-road trigger was equally effective in uniting all park people towards the City, which wanted to separate the park in two. The tricycle set threatened to stage an enormous sit-down demonstration in the midst of the intended bus route. The City retracted, and the Sq. was again saved.
Park individuals again joined forces towards the Parks Department in 1961, when, in his passion for concrete, the Commissioner proposed that new benches be positioned in Washington Sq.. This was referred to as the Previous Bench Cause. It was a huge success.
A brand new park cause is barely underneath method. That is the trigger to save lots of the Square from DDT. It was inspired by Rachel Carson and is being organized at the Village Unbiased Democratic Club. There’s nonetheless time to hitch this cause.
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