Madison Square Park has been recognized as a public park since 1847, but has existed as a public space since 1686. The park is named after the fourth President of the United States, James Madison and has hosted historic events and seen plenty changes over the years. Baseball, America’s pastime, is said to have began in this park after Alexander Cartwright formed the first baseball club in 1845. The park has also hosted the first two Madison Square Gardens, the arm and torch of the Statue of Liberty, as well as temporary arches commemorating George Washington’s first integration all at the end of the 19th Century. This was a time where Madison Square was the focal point one of Manhattan’s most elite neighborhoods.
The park was the site of the tallest building in the world in 1909, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Building pictured on the left, and also featured America’s first community Christmas tree in 1912. Despite its huge impact in history, the park was in disrepair in the 1990’s with lack of maintenance and increase in crime. The City Parks Foundation would not let this historic park just deteriorate however, and raised 6 million dollars during a capital restoration project completed in 2001. Now the park is popular as ever with a recently added playground, kept lawns and gardens, and even cultural programs.
To read a more in depth history about Madison Square Park be sure to check out the park’s official site here.