Sunday, March 30, 2008

City Walk #15 - Union Square to Madison Square

Card no. 19 - photos
Spend a Saturday the way New Yorkers do.

Begin at 14th Street and Broadway (L, N, A, R, 4, 5, or 6 train to 14th Street).
Union Square, with a statue of Lincoln at the north end and one of Washington on horseback at the south, might be assumed to have been laid out along patriotic lines. In fact, Union refers to the 1831 "union" of the old Bowery road with Broadway. The happy result is the center of a lively neighborhood known for its home-furnishings stores, publishing houses, modeling agencies, and stylish restaurants - the Union Square Cafe (21 E. 16th St.) and Mesa Grill (102 Fifth Ave.) being two of the best. Home to Manhattan's first and largest farmer's market, Union Square is transformed into one of the city's most delightful communal spaces every Saturday, when farmers from within a 100-mile radius of Manhattan arrive with truckloads of fresh produce, flowers, maple syrup, eggs, cheeses, and baked goods. (It's also open Monday, Wednesday and Friday when it draws a much smaller crowd.) Show up early, grab some coffee at the Coffee Shop (corner of Union Square West and 16th), wander the market in the company of New Yorkers at their most cheerful, then head up Broadway to ABC Carpets and Paragon Sports, at Broadway and E. 18th Street. Walk west on 18th to Fifth Avenue and up Fifth to the Flatiron Building, which has been turning heads since it was completed in 1902. On the north side of 23rd Street is Madison Square Park (site of the original Madison Square Gardens), shaded on the east by two of midtown's earliest skyscrapers, the Metropolitan Life Building (1902), at 1 Madison, and the New York Life Insurance Company (1928), at 51 Madison.

From City Walks: New York: 50 Adventures on Foot by Martha Fay

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