USP in the Park
The Union Square Partnership works closely with the City’s Department of Parks & Recreation to upgrade, beautify and maintain Union Square Park. Through this successful public/private partnership, USP coordinates closely with the city agency to set benchmarks to meet the growing demands of our bustling park. In addition to the North End Project, USP’s largest capital project to date, we also invest in a number of targeted projects and programs to create a cleaner, safer and more enjoyable park experience. The services provided are only made possible through generous contributions of our community members. We invite you to show your support of Union Square Park and make a difference in the community.
Wi-Fi Provided by USP
The Union Square Partnership has recently upgraded our free Wi-Fi system in the park, a wide-ranging public network for the use of laptops, smart phones, tablets and other wireless devices. This new “unionsquarewifi” network allows fast and easy access to the web for over 2,000 simultaneous users, and contains a portal page showcasing local happenings in the area. The Wi-Fi hotspot, one of the most comprehensive in the country, covers the entire park and along the surrounding side streets.
Keeping the Park Green, Clean & Safe
In response to increased foot traffic during the summer months, the Partnership maintains a special Park Task Force from April through October. This five-person sanitation team cleans the park exclusively, supplementing our regular sanitation efforts and those of the City’s Department of Parks & Recreation and Sanitation. The Union Square Partnership also provides year-round extermination services for the park, and a series of other maintenance efforts such as power washing of trash cans and painting of park benches and railings.
The Partnership funds an additional daytime Parks Enforcement Patrol Officer and in the evenings the Department of Parks has assigned a PEP Officer who patrols the area to ensure the park is safe during operating hours.
The safety surface in 15,000 sf Evelyn’s Playground was recently replaced in May of 2014. In addition to the new SofSurface, crews fixed up existing playground equipment and added fresh sand in the sand box. Thank you to our partners at the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, including project manager Brad Romaker, Nam Yoon, Elliott Sykes, Barbara Vaccaro, Timothy Birch Day, Danny Hernandez, Walter Marin, and Omesh Harnarain, and Don Campbell from USP. This project is made possible through a generous donation made by the Union Square Partnership, which also funded the original design and construction of the playground as part of The North End Project.
Beautifying the Park
USP supports a wide-range of beautification projects in the park such as landscaping and lawn maintenance, including reseeding the lawns of the 3.5-acre park. Our landscaping team conducts regular soil aeration, fertilizing and maintenance to ensure the lawn stays green and lush. Additionally, we plant thousands of beautiful annuals, perennials and shrubs, and USP also funds a gardener to ensure that the park stays vibrant throughout the seasons.
The Union Square Partnership also enhanced our public spaces by providing and maintaining seating areas furnished with 600 bistro tables, chairs, and umbrellas. We also collaborate with City partners to participate in programs such as Art in the Park and “It’s My Park! Day,” where volunteers come out to celebrate one of NYC’s great public spaces.
Community Programs & Events
Each year, the Union Square Partnership presents Summer in the Square, a nine-week, free, community event series in Union Square Park. Thousands of people come to the park weekly to enjoy free fitness classes, children’s acts, dance performances and more! Also during the summer months, USP funds a playground associate to program children’s activities in Evelyn’s Playground.
For nearly two decades, USP annually hosts Harvest in the Square, our signature local food & wine tasting event benefitting Union Square Park. Harvest features over 50 chefs from Union Square’s hottest restaurants, all cooking up signature dishes featuring fresh produce from our very own Union Square Greenmarket. Guests dine on delectable cuisines that are expertly paired with local microbrews and wines, all while enjoying live music, taking photos and mixing and mingling in the ambience of Union Square Park.
The North End Project
The Union Square Partnership spearheaded The North End Project, the third and final phase of the park’s ongoing renovation. New trees were planted along the perimeters of the park; the public plazas were repaved in a decorative hex-block pattern; the historic Pavilion was rehabilitated; electrical and water connections for the Greenmarket farmers was added. The cornerstone of the project – a new playground, triple the size of the former play space, opened in December of 2009, followed by comfort stations which opened in the Fall of 2010. Combined with the new DOT Pedestrian Plaza at 17th and Broadway, the North End Project has remarkably transformed the park’s northern entrance. The final element of the project is a seasonal restaurant and concession, slated to open Spring of 2014.