The spirit of the 1960s is still very much alive here, though Union Square Park’s tradition of political activism goes back to the first Labor Day Parade in 1882, which ended in the park. Since that time, it has become soapbox central, a place where orators come on a daily basis to blast whatever current administration is in power, weighing in on all the big topics of the day A statue of Gandhi, a gift of the Indian people, calmly watches over these proceedings, a fresh wreath of flowers always draped about his neck. Along with the political folk, Union Square hosts the finest greenmarket in the city (on the western side of the park) every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Most days you’ll find about 100 vendors hawking locally grown produce, organic wines, cider, flowers, artisan cheeses, even gourmet pickles. It’s a lot of fun to visit. Three playgrounds, a dog run, and a very fine equestrian statue of George Washington are also on-site.
- Pauline Frommer