Tompkins Square Park



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Tompkins Square Park is a 10.5 acre (42,000 m²) public park in the Alphabet City section of the East Village neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. Tompkins Square Park is square in shape, and is bounded on the north by East 10th Street, on the east by Avenue B, on the south by East 7th Street, and on the west by Avenue A. St. Marks Place abuts Tompkins Square Park to the west.

The main playground, closest to Avenue A, features many unique jungle gyms, including rock climbing features. The water fountain spurts out unpredictably, in the summer time. There is a large sandbox, swing sets, and benches. There are two smaller playgrounds in the section of Tompkins Square Park near 7th Street and Avenue B.

There is a monument the north side of Tompkins Square Park to the General Slocum boating disaster on June 15, 1904. This was the greatest single loss of life in New York City prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Thirteen hundred people, mainly German immigrant mothers and children, drowned in the East River that day. The area near Tompkins Square Park, formerly known as Kleindeutschland, effectively dissolved in grief as shattered German families moved away. This disaster is also memorialized in James Joyce's novel Ulysses.
Tompkins Square Park is also the place where Indian Sadhu A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada came to sing and preach in 1966, beginning the worldwide Hare Krishna movement. An elm tree inTompkins Square Park's southern plaza that he chanted beneath is now considered sacred to the Hare Krishna faith, as noted by a New York City Department of Parks and Recreation plaque.
The southeast corner of Tompkins Square Park contains a statue of Samuel S. Cox (1824–1889), a New York City politician who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio and New York, and as U.S. Minister to the Ottoman Empire in 1885-86


The outdoor Events drag festival Wigstock, held in Tompkins Square Park, is now part of the Howl Festival. The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival is a musical tribute to the famous former resident of Avenue B. In 2007, the New Village Music Festival was formed[. This is a community music festival dedicated celebrating New York's diverse music scene. In addition, the event highlights the importance of music of culture and cultural arts programs throughout the city.
There is also an annual "Riot Reunion" concert every summer called "Cracktöberfest" that features the neighborhood crust punk band Leftöver Crack or one of their many other incarnations such as Choking Victim or Star Fucking Hipsters.
The Food Not Bombs Manhattan chapter serves every Sunday in Tompkins Square Park, rain or shine.
Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation have a popular free outdoor French film festival which shows a critically acclaimed French films each Friday at sunset in city parks including Tompkins during June and July.

The Tompkins Square Dog Run was the first dog run in New York City. It opened in 1990 as part of a large-scale renovation of the dilapidated park. It recently underwent a $450,000 renovation, much of which was funded by the New York City government and fund-raising by dog run patrons. It now includes a surface of crushed stone (sand), three swimming pools, picnic tables, and bath areas and hoses to spray off your pet.
One such fundraiser is the Halloween party the run hosts to raise money to maintain the run. This is the biggest dog Halloween party in the United States, boasting an annual attendance of more than 400 dogs in costume and 2,000 spectators.

American elm trees are known for their towering canopies, which provide abundant shade throughout the spring, summer, and fall. It is rare today to find such a collection of American elms, since many of the mature elms planted across the country have been killed by Dutch Elm Disease. This incurable disease, a fungus carried by elm bark beetles (Coleoptera scolytidae) that colonize on the branches of the elm tree, swept across the United States in the 1930s and remain a threat to Tompkins Square Park's collection of elms. Despite having lost at least 34 of the trees, Tompkins Square Park still hosts a large assemblage of elms, which continue to this day to enchant park patrons. The East Village Parks Conservancy, a volunteer group, raises significant private funds for the ongoing care and maintenance of the American elms and other historic trees in Tompkins Square Park.
One of Tompkins Square Park's most prominent features is its collection of venerable American Elm (Ulmus americana) trees. One elm in particular, located next to the semi-circular arrangement of benches in Tompkins Square Park's center, is important to adherents of the Hare Krishna religion. It was beneath this tree, on October 9, 1966, that A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, held the first recorded outdoor chanting session of the Hare Krishna mantra outside of the Indian subcontinent; participants in the ceremony included Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. The event is seen as the founding of the Hare Krishna religion in the United States, and the tree is treated by Krishna adherents as a significant religious Tompkins Square Park site.