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NYC: Madison Square Park | by wallyg
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NYC: Madison Square Park

Named after President James Madison, Madison Square Park is 6 acres (24,000 m²) and bounded by Madison Avenue, 23rd Street, 26th Street, and Fifth Avenue. It leant its name to Madison Square Garden, whose first incarnation was located at 26th and Madison. The Square was once known as "Diana's little wooded park" in reference to the bronze statue of the Roman goddess that sat atop the Garden.


Madison Square first came into existence as a public space in 1686, when the governor of the Province of New York Thomas Dongan revised the city charter. Quickly becoming an important gathering place, it became a potter's field in 1794, until that was relocated to Washington Square Park 3 years later. The United States Army's arsenal called the square home starting in 1811, but fell out of use by 1825 and became a home for young transients. The Aresenal was destroyed by fire in 1839.


In 1847, Madison Square Park opened to the public. In 1853, plans were made to build the Crystal Palace here, but public opposition forced it to Bryant Park. The square was relandscaped in 1870, bringing in sculptures like that of William H. Seward, Chester Arthur, and David Farragut. An ornamental fountain was added in 1867. And the "Eternal Light Flagpole" was built in 1923.


Many people (not Hobokenites, though) believe this ground to be the birthplace of baseball, since Alexander Cartwright formed the first club, the New York Knickerbockers, here in 1845. P.T. Barnum began hosting his circus in an abandoned railroad depot on the Square. In 1876 a large cententnial celebration was hosted in the park. From 1876 to 1882, the torch and the arm of the in the middle of the park.


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Taken in December 2001