Long one of the city’s great public spaces, Union Square Park is known to New Yorkers both as a stage for historic events and a hub for daily activity. Originally opened in 1839, the current renovation of Union Square Park has been ongoing since 1986. The first phase rebuilt the area south of 16th Street, creating new, redesigned paths and new lighting. In 2002, the second phase reconstructed and expanded the park’s southeastern triangle and southwest border.  The third and final phase will redevelop and expand the outdated playgrounds, rehabilitate the historic Pavilion, and redesign the north plaza to support Greenmarket farmers and greater use of parkland.

The North End Project is the result of a collaboration between the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and the Union Square Partnership, with review and feedback provided by community stakeholders.  The final project design was approved in 2007 after meeting the required regulatory approvals. The Parks Department will manage the construction phase.


  • New and expanded playground with equipment for children of all abilities
  • Finished plaza with new utilities for Greenmarket farmers
  • New shade trees and new flowering trees
  • New light poles, both in and around the park
  • New lighting for the Abraham Lincoln Statue and James Fountain
  • Renovated Pavilion to accommodate a seasonal concession and off-season community space
  • New public restrooms

This Week's Construction Update

Not even last month’s near-blizzard could keep kids away from our new 15,000-sq playground, which opened December 2nd.  Since then, Union Square's littlest constituents have been enjoying the many new amenities the playground has to offer.  The Pulsar and Mountain top the list of favorite new activities as kids from 5-12 sample the dynamic central and eastern play areas for spinning, surfing, climbing and rocking. The western play area with swings, sandbox and jungle gym is geared towards kids up to age 5. If your child hasn't checked out all the fun there's no reason to wait until spring as the playground is open year round from 8 AM until dusk, keeping kids active and healthy all winter long.

In other project news, the structural damage to three Pavilion columns has now been repaired, and crews are presently mending the ceiling beam drops associated with this unanticipated delicate work.  Once beams are refurbished, new light fixtures will be installed and the finishing touches on the floor slab, namely the installation of glass block, can be completed.  Progress on the restroom facility awaits the delivery of stainless steel and eco-resin screens, which have been fabricated and are due to arrive on site this week.  Final lighting and plumbing fixtures will follow once the building is enclosed by these decorative screens.

Question of the Week

Question:  What makes the Union Square Playground unique from other New York City play spaces?

Answer:  The Union Square Park playground, designed by landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, is one of the most innovative and integrated play spaces found anywhere in the City.  SofSurface rubber tiles, rather than asphalt, cover the playground's surface in an appealing checkerboard fashion. Trees and plant material were thoughtfully integrated into the design to connect children to their environment while at play. Some of the most exciting spots include the “Nest,” a futuristic spinning teacup, and a swinging mini-carousel called the “Icarus.” Little climbers can scale the shiny silver “Mountain,” the only one of its kind anywhere in the City, or swing from the bendy metal “Cattails.” In the summertime, the area in front of the Pavilion will transform into a miniature water park with misters providing children a fun way to cool off on hot summer days.  To find out more, read New York Magazine's article on the new playground's "fifteen coolest features," then bring the kids out and let them see for themselves!

Past Construction Updates

December 2, 2009

September 14, 2009

August 14, 2009

July 22, 2009

June 18,2009

May 18, 2009

April 23, 2009

March 26, 2009

February 27, 2009

January 30, 2009

January 5, 2009

December 8, 2008

November 14, 2008

October 16, 2008

September 30, 2008

September 12, 2008

August 20, 2008

July 30, 2008

July 10, 2008

June 18, 2008

June 11, 2008

June 2, 2008

May 26, 2008

May 19, 2008


Visit the City's first, largest and most famous Greenmarket year-round every Mon-Wed-Fri-Sat from 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM in Union Square Park. Though the layout may shift, the market will remain in operation throughout construction.


INFORMATIONThe NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and the Union Square Partnership will regularly update the public on construction progress. Stay tuned to this website for details to come. Click here to sign up for email updates.


DIAL 311311 is New York City's non-emergency government services phone-line. During the North End construction period, dial 311 to report non-emergency quality of life matters, and mention the code "Union Square North End." For construction emergencies, dial 911.


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