Friday, October 11, 2013
Haunted Manhattan: Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park came into existence in the 1820s; but before that, the land was used to entomb the yellow fever victims of the 1700s outbreak. Yep, more than 20,000 corpses still lie under the lush lawn where visitors gather to catch the sun. Digest that.
And now that you have decided to sit on the benches from now on, let me proceed with the story.
The area where the famed parked is now located has always been well liked, and 19th century New Yorkers came to watch people die. Oh yes, you read that right. Back in the 1820s, today's hot spot in popular Greenwich Village was a public gallows and execution site. And you can never be sure which trees they used...
And just because there is no better place to build a gathering site for the well-to-do than a Potter's field-turned-public-gallows, in 1826 the city leveled the ground and laid the square, turning it into the Washington Military Parade Ground. Only four years later, the streets surrounding the square became some of the most desirable areas to live (How could they not!), and the rest is history...
So, yeah, I'd think twice before telling my friends I just want to "hang" in the park.
Sweet dreams, my friends!