This unique tour takes you from the quaint ambiance of Greenwich Village to the bustling commercial center that is Columbus Circle, New York’s best-known roundabout.
We begin at Washington Square, a former potter’s field. Surrounded by the buildings of New York University, the park is a magnet for students. From jazz bands to pianists to solo guitar players, musicians flock to the park to perform. There are several important monuments here, as well important historic architecture bordering the park.
We will walk up Lower Fifth Avenue, known as the Gold Coast, to Union Square. Four days a week the square is alive with the city’s oldest farmers market founded in 1976. This square also attracts students from New York University an the New School. The square has several monuments, including those to General George Washington and his friend, the Marquis de Lafayette.
On foot we continue to Madison Square, which is anchored by the uniquely-shaped, 1902 Flatiron Building. In Madison Square we will see monuments to heroes, statesmen and politicians, all of whom were friends in 19th-century America.
Our feet get a rest as we ride the subway to the fourth square. The Madison Square subway stop has subway art, great for a fun photo-op! Next up is Herald Square. An impressive monument to the father-and-son publishers of the now-defunct New York Herald stands at the northern end of this small square.
We walk further along Broadway. From the size of the buildings here we can see clearly that the character of the street has changed. The 19th-century, lower-rise buildings between Union and Madison Squares have given way to the high-rise office towers of the 20th and 21st centuries. We are headed to Times Square, called the Crossroads of the World.
Times Square is the last square on the Five Squares and a Circle Tour. It is the only square without a park. We will find very little that is green here. Instead bright lights, dazzling video displays and great crowds have replaced any thing that Mother Nature would recognize. The ABC-TV studios of Good Morning America are located in this entertainment hub.
We jump on the Red Line #1 subway in Times Square. Having finished with the tour’s Five Squares, we end at Columbus Circle, with its monument to the Italian explorer. In September of 2012 I took advantage of a temporary art exhibit, “Discovering Columbus.” The Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi enclosed the sculpture of Columbus that tops the column in what he called a living room. This was a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience to see this marble version of Cristoforo Colombo at close quarters.
The USS Maine Memorial Monument marks the southwest entrance to Central Park located at Columbus Circle. Discover the “lungs of New York City” during Walk About New York’s Central Park Walking Tour.
The Tour’s cost is $30 for adults, $20 for seniors 65 years and older, and $15 for youths 13 to 18 years of age. The tour lasts between 2.5 and 3 hours. It is strongly suggested that you travel light. We are on our feet for the entire time. Carrying heavy backpacks and shopping bags can only distract from your enjoyment of the Tour.
We gather at the Washington Arch in Washington Square, located at the foot of Fifth Avenue. Please consult the Calendar Schedule for the dates and time that the Five Squares and a Circle Tour is offered.
The terrain of this tour is mostly level, traveling along the sidewalks of New York. We will be climbing stairs to access the subway. It is advisable to wear comfortable shoes. You will get a solid walking and climbing workout on this tour. You will need a valid MetroCard to ride the subway for two parts of this tour.
All sales are final. The Five Squares and a Circle Tour will take place rain or shine. All tours are conducted in English. Tours must be booked at least 36 hours in advance.
All Tour participants assume normal liability for their behavior during the Tour.
Come along, let’s talk about and walk about New York!
ALL PHOTOS AND TEXT © THE AUTHOR 2014–2017