Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village is a wonderful respite from the city with is magnificent arch and public spaces. But all around it, secrets abound in the history of how it came to be. Here are our top 10 favorite secrets of Washington Square Park:
One of Manhattan’s coolest vintage bars has kicked off a new a new fashion craze–the “feminist” manicure. Beauty Bar is a real 1950s beauty salon on 14th Street–complete with chrome-domed hairdryers–with a bar inside it, and it’s been giving $10 manicures with free cocktails for years. But recently, one of its manicurists decided to give her clients something to laugh about at their boring day jobs by painting their middle fingers an alternate color, or leaving it nude, for what she calls the ‘feminist manicure’.
When you think of horses and New York City, usually the carriages of Central Park come to mind. But right outside Queens is Belmont Park, a racetrack that still stands testament to a glory era of horse racing in America. It has not only has hosted famous thoroughbreds winners like Secretariat, War Admiral and Sir Barton, but also has been the sight of many historic moments: an airshow by Wilbur and Orville Wright and the first airmail service between Washington D.C. and New York. In addition, the track was built at the initiative of August Belmont and former Secretary of the Navy William C. Whitney, on the grand 650-acre estate of William de Forest Manice, who once literally owned the plot of land that became Herald Square.
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As you may know from our Top Ten Secrets of the Metropolitan Museum, The Met’s got a roof bar with a view, and this past month, its annual summer exhibit went up, this time a modern sculpture garden complete with a deconstructed floor. French artist Pierre Huyghe (pronounced hweeg) arrived at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 12 with a sculptural installation designed especially for the museum’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden.
The 1964 World’s Fair pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park by Philip Johnson is viewed by some as a symbol of past glory. To others, it’s just an old, decaying building that has been in the park for decades, prominently featured in the 90s science-fiction action-comedy Men in Black. To the “history nerds and World’s Fair geeks” that filled the Queens Theatre to witness the world premiere of director Matthew Silva’s fantastic new documentary Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion, the structure means so much more.