One of the most fascinating of all the New York City neighborhoods, Union Square is a rare combination of affluence and convenience, with a handful of subway stops all converging in one place. A popular "town square" of sorts, Union Square is one of the city's most exciting spots, where upscale restaurants and well-trafficked destination shops meet a group of bohemian lofts and luxury high rises.
Known as the crossroads of New York City, Union Square Park - once a potter's field - was opened in 1839 and named for its location at the "union" of Broadway (then Bloomingdale Road) and a street that no longer exists. The site of many ground-breaking events, from the first Labor Day Parade in 1882 to the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, this national landmark has, perhaps coincidentally, been the stage for countless labor rallies.
Just west of Gramercy and centered around the historic park, Union Square has a wealth of sites to experience, from gourmet food, cutting-edge fashion and luxury spas to popular retail chains and centrally-located office spaces. A major subway hub, Union Square is home to the first Greenmarket in New York City, and the joyful Union Square Holiday Market. Inside the park, which runs from 14th Street to 17th Streets and Union Square East to West, are a handful of auspicious statues including Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi and the equestrian George Washington. At the south end of the park is a view of the controversial public art piece Metronome, which includes a clock made of LED digits and a massive metallic structure that playfully puffs smoke at noon and midnight.