There are two main reasons to visit this small midtown park, which takes up the three city blocks between Madison and Fifth avenues from 23rd to 26th streets. The first is that its lawns, benches and temporary art installations all have views of the dramatic Flatiron Building—the wedge-shaped tower made famous in Alfred Stieglitz’s 1903 photo. The second draw is the original location of Danny Meyer’s now legion Shake Shack chain—where the ShackBurgers and frozen-custard milkshakes are worth waiting in line for.
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Madison Square Park
Located in the centre of the busy Flatiron district, Madison Square Park is a great little spot for those seeking a bit of green in amongst the madness of the city. The park has become a hotbed for foodies, music junkies and art lovers alike, creating a vast array of events and things to see. Most recently I came across the impressive installation by Orly Genger, ‘Red, Yellow and Blue'. These towering waves of colour – created using rope alone - are vivid and beautiful, and flow in a way that compliments the surrounding parks natural landscape.
I'm a sucker for Union Square Park in New York City - they have the farmer's market, they have my favorite Starbucks, the Strand bookstore is within spitting distance. But I realized on my last trip to NYC that I wasn't giving the city's other large parks nearby a fair shot.
So one cold, sunny, winter Saturday morning, I found myself wandering down 5th Avenue en route to Union Square Park and what should I run into? Madison Square Park. I stopped and pondered. 'What a cute patch of green space,' I thought to myself. I wandered through the winding sidewalk path, gazing up at the bright blue sky through the bare tree branches. I love how the sidewalks in New York parks take a winding path - not the fastest or the straightest way, as the rest of New York is designed.
Over in one corner of the park is the original Shake Shack: the burger and fry joint that started the craze. I couldn't resist stopping for an early lunch - an extremely early lunch, since it was only 11:00am - and slurping a milk shake from the famed eatery.
As I continued my walk south, ready to bid the park good-bye, I glimpsed over my shoulder. There, standing tall on 5th Avenue, was the Empire State Building. To my immediate right, the Flatiron Building. All of New York's iconic landmarks within view of one single park.
'Move over Union Square,' I thought. 'I think I have a new park love.'