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Madison Square

Madison Square (65)

This wonderful place is visited by every tourist to get one of the best angles to photograph the iconic Flatiron Building. Some of them even ask if Madison Square Garden is here, home of the New York Knicks of the NBA and the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League, among others. But although the stadium was named after this square because it was located in the northeast corner, since 1925 it has been just over a fifteen-minute walk from here, up Broadway and then along 31st west. It is impossible to get lost.

Regardless, Madison Square is a place that we recommend you visit and savour calmly, because around it are some of the most famous skyscrapers in New York such as the Flatiron itself, the Met Life Insurance Tower and New York Life Insurance Building and also because in more than 2 wooded hectares one can take a break from the hectic pace of the city and even spot squirrels.

Before becoming a park, this area was a hunting area and a public area from the late 17th century and early 19th barracks were located here as well as a large arsenal, which then became a juvenile prison until 1839 when fire destroyed the building. That same year, a country house in the current Fifth Avenue and 23rd became a small guesthouse that served as a last refuge for those who ventured into northern Manhattan. It was the Madison Cottage, named in honour of the 4th President of the United States, James Madison. Obviously, the true origin of the name of the current Madison Square.

The square is also historically known because it says the first modern baseball games were played here around 1845, although it was invented in Hoboken, New Jersey, across the Hudson River. Already in 1847 Madison Square Park was opened and has always been such a popular and beloved park that in 1853 was about to be the site of the Crystal Palace, but was finally erected in Bryant Park, about a 20-minute walk from here, picking up Broadway and Sixth Avenue later.

Among its large trees you can also find several important monuments dedicated to Admiral Farragut, hero of the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War, designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1880. To the south of the square, there is a sculpture of Secretary of State William Henry Seward, who bought Alaska, but the funny thing is that an urban legend says that the artist just created the politician's head and placed it on the body of an old statue of Abraham Lincoln.

Regarding the landmark buildings around Madison Square, do not miss the elegant tower of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company on 24th Street, built in 1909 by architect Napoleon LeBrun & Sons. If you have been to Venice or at least seen pictures of the city, you'll remember the famous campanile in the Piazza San Marco. For several years this wonderful 213 metre tower was the tallest building in the city, until the Woolworth Building surpassed it in 1913. Also, the Met Life was expanded in the 30s and we can assure you that the art deco lobby you'll find in the building across 24th street is a jewel of Italian marble.

Another notable landmark building is the New York Life Insurance Company Building, built in the Gothic style in 1928 by architect Cass Gilbert, the same as the Woolworth. The golden pyramid that crowns it is superb. In addition, you will find it interesting to know that the building is located on the site where the Madison Square Garden had been shortly before.

And finally, a tip for travellers. If you want to take one of those pictures that will make your friends jealous, go to Fifth Avenue, between 23rd and 24th. There you will find a great gold clock that will look impressive in your New York album. It is the clock on Fifth Avenue. Do you dare photograph the Flatiron in the background?

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