Take a walk around New York's Union Square and discover the history behind some of its buildings and monuments.
Union Square is a public space at the intersection of two historic thoroughfares, Broadway and Bowery Road (4th Avenue today). Its name derives from the fact that it was at the "union" of these roads. Union Square has long been associated with protest movements, having been a frequent gathering point for political and social demonstrations since the mid-19th century. Union Square's most distinguishing physical feature is its statue of President George Washington. This equestrian statue, created by artist Henry Kirke Brown, was dedicated in 1856. The statue is notable as the first public sculpture erected in New York since the colonial era. Prior to the dedication of this statue of the first American President, the last public dedication of a statue occurred in 1770 and honored England's Kiing George III.
This statue of Mohandas Gandhi was created by Kantilal B. Patel and dedicated on October 2, 1986. The dedication included a speech by civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, a close friend and trusted advisor to Martin Luther King. The ceremony coincided with the 117-year anniversary of Ghandi's birth. The monument was installed at Union Square because of the tradition of protest associated with the park.
Samuel Klein founded the discount department store S. Klein, with his flagship store at this location (presently Zeckendorf Towers) around 1910. Although his business grew to include 19 stores in New York and New Jersey, changes in discount retail shopping led to the decline of the once-popular chain and this store closed in 1975. During the 1940s and 1950s, the store was famous for its bargain bins and the enthusiasm for which shoppers would "dig" through them, competing with others for the best deal. The experience of shopping at S. Klein has been depicted in such iconic television shows as I Love Lucy.
This statue made of bronze honors Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat who fought on behalf of American rebels during the American Revolutionary War. The statue was cast in 1873 and designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated in 1876. The statue was a gift from the French government in appreciation for help provided by the state of New York to Paris during the Franco-Prussian War. The statue is inscribed with the words, “in remembrance of sympathy in times of trial.”
The Tammany Society Hall was opened in 1929 as centre of operations for the notorious political organisation of the same name. From the 1850s to the late 1920s the Tammany Society decided who would govern New York City through an impenetrable network of corruption and bribery. The society’s prominence in New York’s affairs was relatively uninterrupted until the 1930s, when reform mayor Fiorello la Guardia together with Franklin Roosevelt cracked down on reducing the influence of its members. Although crippled, the organisation remained in existence until it was finally ended by Mayor John Lindsay in the 1960s. In 2013 the Tammany Hall building became a landmark site.
Constructed in 1892 for the Decker Brothers piano company architect and radical anarchist John H. Edelmann, this building has been home to numerous companies. It's most famous tenant, however, was Andy Warhol, who leased studio space on the sixth floor from 1968 through 1973. The studio was known as the Silver Factory and was known for cutting-age art and decadent parties. The studio is also famous for being the place where radical feminist Valerie Solanas shot Andy Warhol and art critic and curator Mario Amaya in 1968.