Madison Square Park

Fifth and Madison Aves.

From the City of New York/Parks & Recreation Historical Signs Program: Madison Square Park is named for James Madison (1751-1836), a Virginian who was the fourth President of the United States (1809-17). Madison earned the title “father of the Con... more

From the City of New York/Parks & Recreation Historical Signs Program: Madison Square Park is named for James Madison (1751-1836), a Virginian who was the fourth President of the United States (1809-17). Madison earned the title “father of the Constitution,” from his peers in the Constitutional Convention. He also co-authored The Federalist Papers (1787-88) with New Yorkers Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. Madison was Secretary of State from 1801-09, serving through both of President Thomas Jefferson's terms. As President, he was Commander-in-Chief during the War of 1812 with the British. Madison was the rector of the University of Virginia from 1827 until he died in 1836. The largest parcel of this land was first designated as public property when Royal Governor Thomas Dongan revised the City Charter in 1686. Since then, this area has been used for a variety of public purposes. A potter's field was established here in 1794, and then was moved in 1797 to Washington Square. By 1811 the land was home to a United States Army Arsenal (1806) and laid out as part of a military parade ground (named for Madison in 1814), bounded by 3rd and 7th Avenues and 23rd and 34th Streets. The ... more

From the City of New York/Parks & Recreation Historical Signs Program:

Madison Square Park is named for James Madison (1751-1836), a Virginian who was the fourth President of the United States (1809-17). Madison earned the title “father of the Constitution,” from his peers in the Constitutional Convention. He also co-authored The Federalist Papers (1787-88) with New Yorkers Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. Madison was Secretary of State from 1801-09, serving through both of President Thomas Jefferson's terms. As President, he was Commander-in-Chief during the War of 1812 with the British. Madison was the rector of the University of Virginia from 1827 until he died in 1836.

The largest parcel of this land was first designated as public property when Royal Governor Thomas Dongan revised the City Charter in 1686. Since then, this area has been used for a variety of public purposes. A potter's field was established here in 1794, and then was moved in 1797 to Washington Square. By 1811 the land was home to a United States Army Arsenal (1806) and laid out as part of a military parade ground (named for Madison in 1814), bounded by 3rd and 7th Avenues and 23rd and 34th Streets. The arsenal fell out of military use, and served as a “House of Refuge” for juvenile delinquents from 1825 until 1839, when it was destroyed by fire.

After being leveled, sodded, and enclosed, Madison Square Park opened to the public on May 10, 1847, with boundaries of Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenues and 23rd and 26th Streets. Citizens quickly claimed the public park as their own. Their protests against plans to erect the Crystal Palace here in 1853 resulted in its relocation to Bryant Park. Nevertheless, the park has been host to grand celebrations, replete with temporary decorative arches, to commemorate historic occasions and anniversaries such as the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1876 and the triumphant return of Admiral Dewey from the Spanish American War in 1899.

The original Madison Square Garden was located adjacent to the park at Madison Avenue and 26th Street. It was owned by William Vanderbilt, and opened in 1879. The building was razed in 1899 and replaced with a Moorish style building designed by Stanford White. The second Madison Square Garden stood until 1925 when it was demolished and replaced by the headquarters of the New York Life Insurance Company. Promoter Tex Rickard built the third Garden that same year at 8th Avenue and 50th Street.

Soon after the creation of the Department of Public Parks in 1870, the square was relandscaped by Ignatz Pilat, Chief Landscape Architect, and William Grant. The new design brought in the sculptures that now highlight the park. One of the works capturing a politician in bronze is Randolph Ranger's statue of William H. Seward (1876), the Secretary of State who purchased Alaska in 1867. He was the first New Yorker to have a monument erected in his honor. Others include J.Q.A. Ward’s sculpture of Roscoe Conkling (1893), a reconstructionist politician; and George Edwin Bissell’s monument to Chester Alan Arthur (1898), the 21st American President. War heroes are represented by James Goodwin Batterson's monument to General Worth (1854-1857), the Mexican War veteran who is buried just west of Madison Square, and the Admiral Farragut monument, Augustus St. Gaudens’ first major work that was dedicated in 1881 to the Civil War naval officer. Other features are the ornamental fountain (1867) and the Eternal Light Flagpole (1923).

In an effort to recapture its tradition of splendor, Madison Square Park underwent a complete renovation and was reopened in June 2001. To recapture the park’s magnificence, Parks asked the City Parks Foundation to organize a revitalization campaign. Funds for capital construction were secured through $2.5 million from MetLife, New York Life Insurance Co., Credit Suisse First Boston, Rudin Management Company, Inc. and the Union Square Hospitality Group. These funds were matched by the city from the Mayor’s Executive Budget, City Council Speaker Peter F. Vallone, and Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields. Most recently, an additional $750,000 was allocated by Mayor Giuliani for the renovation of the park’s playground in its northeast sector. The park now features an expanded south-east corner, lush lawns and flowering plants, a restored 19th fountain, a contemporary reflecting pool, new benches, and ornamental lighting. Additionally, the park’s $6 million permanent fund will provide for its ongoing security, maintenance, and programming in the years to come.


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Flatiron District Walking Tour

The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership is sponsoring free walking tours of the historic Flatiron district every Sunday year-round.

Join our professional guides on a 90-minute journey through this vibrant neighborhood, viewing some of the City’s most notable landmarks, including the New York Life In... [ + ]surance building, the MetLife tower, the Appellate Courthouse and the famous Flatiron Building.

Of the 134 walking tours given to date, over 2,090 people have attended representing 42 different countries including China, Scotland, India, Sweden, Australia, Israel, Argentina, South Africa, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and more. In the United States and Canada, over 213 cities have been represented by attendees. The Flatiron Walking Tour not only provides a rich history of the Flatiron District but also produces a great international vibe through its diverse audience.

Tour meets on the southwest corner of Madison Square Park, at Broadway and 23rd Street.

11/18/2018 11:00 AM
Sun, November 18
11:00AM
$
Free

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Fifth and Madison Aves.
New York, NY 10010
212.538.1884
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Upcoming Events

Flatiron District Walking Tour

The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership is sponsoring free walking tours of the historic Flatiron district every Sunday year-round.

Join our professional guides on a 90-minute journey through this vibrant neighborhood, viewing some of the City’s most notable landmarks, including the New York Life In... [ + ]surance building, the MetLife tower, the Appellate Courthouse and the famous Flatiron Building.

Of the 134 walking tours given to date, over 2,090 people have attended representing 42 different countries including China, Scotland, India, Sweden, Australia, Israel, Argentina, South Africa, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and more. In the United States and Canada, over 213 cities have been represented by attendees. The Flatiron Walking Tour not only provides a rich history of the Flatiron District but also produces a great international vibe through its diverse audience.

Tour meets on the southwest corner of Madison Square Park, at Broadway and 23rd Street.

11/18/2018 11:00 AM
Sun, November 18
11:00AM
$
Free

Flatiron District Walking Tour

The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership is sponsoring free walking tours of the historic Flatiron district every Sunday year-round.

Join our professional guides on a 90-minute journey through this vibrant neighborhood, viewing some of the City’s most notable landmarks, including the New York Life In... [ + ]surance building, the MetLife tower, the Appellate Courthouse and the famous Flatiron Building.

Of the 134 walking tours given to date, over 2,090 people have attended representing 42 different countries including China, Scotland, India, Sweden, Australia, Israel, Argentina, South Africa, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and more. In the United States and Canada, over 213 cities have been represented by attendees. The Flatiron Walking Tour not only provides a rich history of the Flatiron District but also produces a great international vibe through its diverse audience.

Tour meets on the southwest corner of Madison Square Park, at Broadway and 23rd Street.

11/25/2018 11:00 AM
Sun, November 25
11:00AM
$
Free

Flatiron District Walking Tour

The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership is sponsoring free walking tours of the historic Flatiron district every Sunday year-round.

Join our professional guides on a 90-minute journey through this vibrant neighborhood, viewing some of the City’s most notable landmarks, including the New York Life In... [ + ]surance building, the MetLife tower, the Appellate Courthouse and the famous Flatiron Building.

Of the 134 walking tours given to date, over 2,090 people have attended representing 42 different countries including China, Scotland, India, Sweden, Australia, Israel, Argentina, South Africa, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and more. In the United States and Canada, over 213 cities have been represented by attendees. The Flatiron Walking Tour not only provides a rich history of the Flatiron District but also produces a great international vibe through its diverse audience.

Tour meets on the southwest corner of Madison Square Park, at Broadway and 23rd Street.

12/02/2018 11:00 AM
Sun, December 02
11:00AM
$
Free

Flatiron District Walking Tour

The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership is sponsoring free walking tours of the historic Flatiron district every Sunday year-round.

Join our professional guides on a 90-minute journey through this vibrant neighborhood, viewing some of the City’s most notable landmarks, including the New York Life In... [ + ]surance building, the MetLife tower, the Appellate Courthouse and the famous Flatiron Building.

Of the 134 walking tours given to date, over 2,090 people have attended representing 42 different countries including China, Scotland, India, Sweden, Australia, Israel, Argentina, South Africa, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and more. In the United States and Canada, over 213 cities have been represented by attendees. The Flatiron Walking Tour not only provides a rich history of the Flatiron District but also produces a great international vibe through its diverse audience.

Tour meets on the southwest corner of Madison Square Park, at Broadway and 23rd Street.

12/09/2018 11:00 AM
Sun, December 09
11:00AM
$
Free
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