Madison Square Park

MadisonSquarePark-sig.jpg
New York, NY
United States
Madison Square Park

Named for fourth U.S. President James Madison, the nearly seven-acre park is located in downtown Manhattan on East 23rd Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues. The site was first designated as public land in the City Charter of 1686, and used as a potters field and arsenal before opening as a park with a simple lawn in 1947. Ignatz Pilat and William Grant created a more formal design for the park, with gently curving paths lined with benches, open lawns, a large fountain, and deciduous trees lining the paths and planted in the lawn. They also introduced numerous statues and monuments honoring politicians and veterans, including the Admiral Farragut monument, Augustus St. Gaudens’ first major work. The center of a fashionable neighborhood, Madison Square Park thrived for over 100 years. However, by the end of the twentieth century the park was in decay and the historic plan was barely recognizable. In 1999, the City Parks Foundation took the lead in organizing a revitalization campaign, which included restoring pathways and some of the open lawn and adding a dog run, children's playground, and new reflecting pool. In 2004 the popular Shake Shack food stand was added, with the Modernist structure bringing more commercial traffic to the park. The park also serves as a venue for Mad. Sq. Art, a public art program run by the Madison Square Park Conservancy which presents newly-commissioned, multi-media artwork on an annual basis.