Any Office Near Madison Square Park should thank the Madison Square Park Conservancy

June 24, 2024

Office near Madison Square Park

Any office near Madison Square Park should thank the Madison Square Park Conservancy for its ongoing efforts to keep this modern urban oasis vital.

Three organizations go a long way toward supporting the neighborhood and looking out for all who live, work and play in NoMad: The NoMad Alliance, the Flatiron NoMad Partnership BID, and Madison Square Park Conservancy.

By the numbers, NoMad is home to over 35 million square feet of commercial space, 35,000+ residents, a workforce of over 100,000 people, and 13 million visitors a year – all of which comes together in a symphony of cooperation, inclusion, and mutual respect. Clearly, there is no place like NoMad.

Kew Management, one of New York City’s premier commercial real estate companies, has over one-quarter million square feet in NoMad and beyond – most of which is office space near Madison Square Park. Kew is a long-time supporter of Madison Square Park Conservancy, and its President and CEO, Leslie Spira Lopez has served on its board for many years.

To learn more about The Madison Square Park and the Conservancy, read on.

From Gilded Age Escape to Modern Urban Oasis

The gem of NoMad, Madison Square Park has witnessed the dramatic transformation of New York City over the past century. From its beginnings as a military parade ground to its current realization as a thriving urban oasis, the park holds a unique place in the city’s history.

In the late 19th century, during what has become known as The Gilded Age, New York City experienced unprecedented economic growth and opulence. As wealth poured into the city, the need for green spaces became apparent. Madison Square Park became one such sanctuary. Initially a military parade ground, it was transformed into a public park in 1870 and quickly gained popularity among New Yorkers seeking respite from the city’s crowded, noisy urban environment.

The park’s early days were marked by grandeur and elegance. Landscaped gardens, fountains, and statues — including notable landmarks such as the William H. Seward Monument and the Eternal Light Flagstaff — became cherished symbols within the park.

Here are a few highlights that have made Madison Square Park an iconic destination — from its creation to the present day.

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The Birth of Madison Square Park

In 1847, a unique patch of land bordered by Fifth Avenue to the west, Madison Avenue to the east, 23rd Street to the south, and 26th Street to the north was established as a public space for New Yorkers to enjoy leisure and recreation. What was once a barren parade ground soon became a lush oasis with manicured lawns and walkways. Madison Square Park’s early years set the foundation for its future as a cherished green space within the bustling city.

The Statue of Liberty’s Arm

In 1876, the park was the temporary home to a captivating piece of the Statue of Liberty. As part of a fundraising campaign to finance the construction of the statue, Lady Liberty’s arm and torch were exhibited in Madison Square Park. New Yorkers flocked to the site to marvel at what would soon become an iconic symbol of freedom, gaining a unique and up-close perspective of the monumental sculpture.

Madison Square Garden

On the corner of Madison Avenue and 26th Street, a new arena designed by noted architect Stanford White opened its doors in 1890. Costing more than half a million dollars to build, the original Madison Square Garden quickly became a cultural and entertainment landmark. The state-of-the-art venue — which replaced a rundown open oval arena — hosted a wide range of events, from boxing matches and ice hockey games to elaborate theatrical productions. Madison Square Garden became synonymous with spectacle and grandeur.

The Shooting of Stanford White

In a sensational turn of events, Madison Square Park was thrust into the spotlight in 1906 when renowned architect Stanford White was shot and killed by Harry Kendall Thaw in a jealous rage. The infamous crime, which occurred at the top of the Madison Square Garden Tower, captivated the public’s attention and was forever etched into the park’s history.

The Roaring Twenties and Jazz Age

The 1920s witnessed a cultural revolution and Madison Square Park was part of the excitement. The park became a vibrant hub for jazz music, a genre that took the city by storm. Jazz bands filled the air, attracting locals and visitors alike to dance and revel in the park’s open spaces. The creative hub of Tin Pan Alley continued to percolate just blocks away.

World War II and the Victory Gardens

During World War II, Madison Square Park became a symbol of resilience and community spirit. In response to food shortages, the park’s lawn was transformed into Victory Gardens, where citizens were encouraged to grow their own vegetables. These gardens not only provided sustenance but also fostered a sense of unity and determination during challenging times.

Protests and Civil Rights Movements

As the country underwent significant social and political transformations in the 1960s, Madison Square Park became a site for protests and demonstrations. It served as a backdrop for civil rights movements, anti-war rallies, and calls for social justice. The park became a platform for free expression, reflecting the spirit of activism that defined the era.

Revitalization

The late-1990s marked a turning point for Madison Square Park. The park had fallen into disrepair, but efforts by concerned individuals and organizations initiated its revitalization.

Bill Lukashok, one of the three founders of Madison Square Park Conservancy recalls, “Danny [Meyer] got the ball rolling when he signed the leases for Tabla and Eleven Madison Park and encouraged MetLife and New York Life to be great partners in the effort [to revitalize the park].” The Campaign for a New Madison Square Park was funded by Danny Meyer, MetLife, New York Life, the Rudin Family, Credit Suisse, and others, with matching funds from New York City. This resulted in a comprehensive restoration project for the park.

Shaking It Up

In 2001, Danny Meyer opened a hotdog cart in Madison Square Park, which was created to support the first art exhibition in the park curated by the Public Art Fund. This simple hotdog cart would inspire and lead to the opening of the now iconic Shake Shack three years later. Visitors began lining up for a taste of Shake Shack’s concise yet crave-able menu offerings. The addition of this famous eatery helped to invigorate Madison Square Park and attract a new generation of visitors.

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The Madison Square Park Conservancy

The Madison Square Park Conservancy was formed in 2003, marking a significant milestone in the park’s history. Through community engagement and public-private partnerships, the Conservancy successfully transformed Madison Square Park into a thriving and inclusive urban oasis — one that is open to all visitors and hosts educational and cultural events, and programs art installations. Its new art installations are highly anticipated and curated by Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Artistic Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator.

Of note, Madison Square Park is Manhattan’s only accredited arboretum. Led by Stephanie Lucas, Director of Park Operations and Horticulture, a team of gardeners curate seasonal exhibitions throughout the year. Now employing ecological horticulture – the science and art of growing plants that enhance the surrounding environment for the benefit of all other life – the park has seen the reintroduction of hummingbirds, the return of raptors, and the preservation of endangered trees.

Its office is located near Madison Square Park at 11 Madison Avenue, 15th Floor. They can be reached at info@madisonsquarepark.org

A Hub of Creativity and Sustainability

In recent years, Madison Square Park has solidified its reputation as a hub of creativity and sustainability. The park’s public art installations continue to draw visitors, while its commitment to eco-friendly practices and green initiatives sets an example for urban parks everywhere. Madison Square Park stands as a testament to the power of public spaces in fostering community, inspiration, and environmental stewardship.

Through community-driven efforts and the establishment of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, the park has evolved into an urban oasis that celebrates art, history, and the spirit of New York City. Its unique blend of green space, public art installations, and engaging programming creates a vibrant hub for both locals and tourists alike.

If you walk from your office near Madison Square Park and through its pathways, you can’t help but feel the park’s rich heritage and the collective experiences that have shaped it into the beloved NoMad destination it is today.

Office near Madison Square Park