This little patch of green surrounded by grand Broadway office buildings survives as New York City's oldest public park - Bowling Green. It served as a cattle pasture and a parade ground before being designated in 1733 as a bowling green by the City's Common Council, for the "Beauty & ornament of Broadway as well as for the Recreation & Delight of the Inhabitants of this City." Bowling Green remains one of the few spots in Downtown that would be recognized today by the Dutch settlers of the West India Company who founded the trading post of Nieuw Amsterdam here in the 1620s.
In 1770, the British chose Bowling Green as the site for a gilded, equestrian statue of King George II - followed in 1771 by a fence meant to protect it from hostile colonists. The statue was pulled down on July 9, 1776 by a revolutionary crowd, after the Declaration of Independence was first read in New York, but much of the fence survives, a rare remnant from Colonial times here on the site of the city's Dutch origins.
Sports Museum of America
Football, baseball, basketball, soccer - what unites Americans more than our love of sports? Over two dozen of the city's ticker-tape parades - all passing right by 26 Broadway - have honored athletes, including Olympic teams, tennis champions and World Series winners. What better location for America's first and only museum celebrating every American sport?
As sports means action, this is no ordinary museum. Even rare artifacts cannot fully convey the thrill of a grand slam or a slam dunk - so interactive exhibits put visitors inside the game and on the field. Be a hockey goalie watching an incoming 100-mph slapshot, or a NASCAR driver screaming around a racetrack. It's all about reliving those glorious goose-bump moments.
Among its many attractions, the Museum houses the Billie Jean King International Women's Sports Center, the world's first hall of fame for female athletes, and the original Heisman Trophy.
Canyon of Heroes
Since 1886, with festivities marking the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, Broadway has seen some 200 ticker-tape parades - grand processions of honorees and dignitaries marching north from Bowling Green up to City Hall Park, to the cheers of thousands of New Yorkers lining the sidewalks. The parades have celebrated everyone from presidents, generals and royalty to aviators, veterans, and athletes. That history is now written in stone - literally - thanks to commemorative plaques installed in the Broadway sidewalks. Each plaque identifies the date of the parade and the name of the honoree, spelling out the history that has transformed Broadway into the "Canyon of Heroes." You can obtain a history of the parades from the Alliance for Downtown New York, by calling 212.566.6700.