Union Square Park is an important and historic intersection in New York City, located where Broadway and the Bowery came together in the early 19th century; its name does not celebrate the federal union but rather denotes the confluence of several trolley lines, as in the term "union station." Today it is bounded by 14th Street to the south, Union Square West on the west side, 17th Street on the north, and on the east Union Square East, which links together Broadway and Park Avenue South to Fourth Avenue and the continuation of Broadway. The park is under the aegis of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
Neighborhoods around the park are the Flatiron District to the north, Chelsea to the west, Greenwich Village and New York University to the south, and Gramercy to the east. Also nearby is The New School. The eastern side of the square is dominated by the Zeckendorf Towers.
Union Square is noted for its impressive equestrian statue of George Washington, created by Henry Kirke Brown and unveiled in 1856. Other statues in the park include the Marquis de Lafayette, created by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, Abraham Lincoln, created by Henry Kirke Brown and James Fountain, donated by Daniel Willis James and sculpted by Adolf Donndorf. A newer addition, added in 1986, is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the southwest corner of the park.
In April 1861, soon after the fall of Fort Sumter, Union Square was the site of a patriotic rally that is thought to have been the largest public gathering in North America up to that time.
Union Square lies over 14th Street–Union Square, a New York City Subway complex served by the 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, and W trains.
In March 2008, an 18-month renovation began to the north side of the park, which will result in a restaurant and improved playground facilities. The Farmers Market has been relocated on the west side of the park. (c) Wikipedia
The Riverside Church in the City of New York is an interdenominational (American Baptist and United Church of Christ), interracial, international church in New York City, famous not only for its elaborate Gothic architecture — which includes the world's largest carillon — but also as a center for the promotion of progressive causes. It is situated in Morningside Heights, Manhattan between Riverside Drive and Claremont Avenue and between 120th Street and 122nd Street. It is the second tallest church in the United States (Second only to First United Methodist Church of Chicago) and the 26th tallest in the world. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Christian churches in New York City and their members were in debate over the future of their faith. Some preached a fundamentalist interpretation, made famous previously by thinkers such as William Jennings Bryan, who believed in a strict interpretation and enforcement of the Bible. Others, however, disagreed, and believed that for religion to succeed it must take what they regarded as a more modern approach and become actively involved in the world, following the example of Jesus as social revolutionary. In 1922, the congregation of the Park Avenue Baptist Church, with the major financing and support of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a member of the church, and modernist Baptist pastor Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, decided to create a large, cathedral-like church dedicated to these values in New York City. This church was to be built around three main principles advocated by Rockefeller and Dr. Fosdick: a church in an interdenominational setting, a large church in a neighborhood important to the city, and a church open to all who profess faith in Christ. Based on these requirements, land was purchased by Rockefeller, Jr. and construction was completed in 1930. Modeled after a famous French cathedral, the Gothic Riverside Church remains not only an important landmark for tourists, but also an important center for lively political discussion. Past speakers at the pulpit have included the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., articulating the immorality of the Vietnam War, Nelson Mandela on his first visit to the United States after being released from prison, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan after September 11, 2001, and Fidel Castro during one of his rare visits to the country in 1999. The Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr., who was Senior Minister from 1989 to 2007, is the Distinguished Senior Minister Emeritus of The Riverside Church. His tenure is the second longest in the history of the congregation. He has been heralded by Newsweek magazine as one of the twelve most effective English-language preachers, and called one of the best black pastors by Ebony magazine. Dr. Forbes was preceded at Riverside by the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, who was senior minister from 1977 to 1987.
Serious proposals for a bridge linking Manhattan to Long Island City were first made as early as 1838 and attempts to finance such a bridge were made by a private company beginning in 1867. Its efforts never came to fruition and the company went bankrupt in the 1890s. Successful plans finally came about in 1903 under the city's new Department of Bridges, led by Gustav Lindenthal in collaboration with Leffert L. Buck and Henry Hornbostel, designers of the Williamsburg Bridge. Construction soon began but it would take until 1909 for the bridge to be completed due to delays from the collapse of an incomplete span during a windstorm and from labor unrest (including an attempt to dynamite one span). The bridge opened to the public on March 30, 1909, having cost about $18 million and 50 lives. It was then known as the Blackwell's Island Bridge, from an earlier name for Roosevelt Island. Between 1930 and 1955, there was a vehicular elevator to transport cars and passengers to and from Welfare Island, now known as Roosevelt Island. This was demolished in 1970.
The lengths of its five spans and approaches are:
* Manhattan to Roosevelt Island span length: 1,182 ft (360 m) * Roosevelt Island span length: 630 ft (192 m) * Roosevelt Island to Queens span length: 984 ft (300 m) * side span lengths: 469 and 459 ft (143 and 140 m) * total length between anchorages: 3724 ft (1135 m) * total length including approaches: 7449 ft (2270 m)
The bridge has two levels. Originally the top level contained two pedestrian walks and two elevated railway tracks (as a spur from the IRT Second Avenue Elevated Line) and the lower deck four motor traffic lanes, and what is now the "outer roadway" and pedestrian walk were two trolley lanes. There was a trolley stop in the middle of the bridge for access to Roosevelt Island. Passengers using the mid-bridge station would transfer to a structure built alongside the bridge containing elevators down to street level. The railway would be removed in the late 1930s and early 1940s as well as the 2nd Avenue Elevated Line. The trolley lanes and mid-bridge station were removed in the 1950s, and for the next few decades the bridge carried 11 lanes of automobile traffic.
No tolls are charged for motor vehicles to use the bridge.
The bridge was known as the 59th Street Bridge before WWII. (c) Wikipedia