As Broadway stretches north and west across Manhattan, it forms a series of squares beginning with Union Square at 14th Street.
Union Square is noted as the site of the first Labor Day Parade in 1882. Over the years, it has also been the staging ground for historic rallies, demonstrations and gatherings.
Today, the Union Square neighborhood is a thriving cultural, business and education hub. Throughout Manhattan and beyond, the vibrant community is celebrated for its top-notch restaurants, diverse retailers, excellent universities and hospitals and one of the city’s most popular parks.
Union Square Park is home to the greenmarket, where more than 70 farmers bring fresh produce, baked goods and more every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. During the holiday season, the southern end of the Park becomes the Union Square Holiday Market.
If you’ve got a laptop you can also benefit from a great park feature- bring your computer to Union Square and log onto the Internet through the free wireless internet offered there.
A local legend is Pete's Tavern, which first opened its doors in 1864 and has remained open ever since, making it an official historical landmark and the longest continuously operating bar and restaurant in New York City. Not even Prohibition forced Pete's to close its doors: it remained open disguised as a flower shop.
To its east of the Union Square area is Gramercy Park. This small, fenced park is accessible only to residents of its surrounding townhouses, although once a year it is opened to the public offering thme a chance to visit this hidden enclave in Manhattan.
Union Square History
In the beginning the square, the last open public space that performed as the doorway to New York City, was mostly residential – the Union League Club initially occupied a residence loaned for the purpose by Henry G. Marquand on the corner of 17th Street and Broadway – however following the Civil War Union Square became mostly industrial, and the square started to lose social cachet with the change of the last century. Tiffany & Co., which had gone to live in the square from Broadway and Broome Street in 1870, left its premises on 15th Street to move uptown to 37th Street in 1905; the silversmiths Gorham Organization relocated up from 19th Street in 1906. The last of Union Square's free-standing personal mansions, Peter Goelet's at the northeast corner of 19th Street, made means for a commercial building in 1897.