Washington Square Park consists of several layers: The inner fountain, followed inside-out by the inner roundabout, then the iconic circle of stone benches encircling the fountain. Next outward we have the grassy lawns and the network of walkways between the lawns, connecting the outer edge of streets to the inner circle. Amongst it all we have the ‘Arch,’ a miniature replica of Paris’s monument.
Washington Square Park has an interesting shift in demographics as the day wears on. Early in the morning, just after sunrise, there is a thick flock of pigeons that occupies the inner roundabout, pecking at the scraps of the previous days’ humans without worry of getting stepped on. They join the bench-sleeping vagabonds and the insomniac (probably) homeless men as the early morning’s primary inhabitants.
After a morning of increasingly human activities, the pigeons & homeless disperse and the students & street performers take their place. By noon, the park has transformed into a significantly louder & more jovial destination. The performers vie for patrons’ attention by spacing themselves evenly throughout the inner circle (and some on the network of outer paths) to be sure their sound can’t be drowned out by an adjacent performer.
By midday, space on the stone benches has become tough to come by. These benches get EXTREMELY hot in the sun, so you will see many open spot in the sun as people huddle onto the shady ones.
In the afternoon, activity is in full force, and the collegiate atmosphere comes through in full-force. Overheard conversations reveal that most of the patrons in the afternoon seem to be NYU students, and Wash Sq Park is an outstanding rendevous spot on campus.
Nighttime in the warmer months offers more entertainment, lights under the arch, and a particularly warm feel. One can absorb him or herself into the atmosphere of the park and feel right at home without even directly interacting with anyone.