The oldest public park in New York City, Bowling Green dates to the 17th century and is firmly rooted in the city’s early development and history. Located in Lower Manhattan’s Financial District, the park now serves as a refuge from the traffic and skyscrapers, and is home to the city’s totemic Charging Bull sculpture, added in 1989.
Used as a cattle market and parade field in the 1600s before becoming a park in 1733, the teardrop-shaped Bowling Green originally incorporated a bowling green—hence its name. Through the centuries, town houses and skyscrapers rose around it, making it a green oasis in the heart of the urban jungle. The tree-framed park features a fountain, flower beds, lawns, benches, and antique-style lamps, with the Charging Bull at its northern tip.
Explore the park independently or on one of the city’s many tours. Lower Manhattan tours include the park along with other sights such as the 9/11 Memorial; or you can chart the park’s past on a history-themed or Financial District–focused excursion. Otherwise, consider a city bus tour—or a guided walk in the footsteps of 18th-century Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, the statesman celebrated in the hit musical Hamilton.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bowling Green attracts sightseers and those interested in New York’s history.
- With shade and free Wi-Fi, the park is perfect for taking a breather during summer sightseeing.
- The park is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
Bowling Green sits on Whitehall Street at Broadway’s southern end and is well-served by public transit. Catch the 4 or 5 subway line to Bowling Green station (situated just south of the park), or take a bus to the Broadway/Morris Street stop.
When to Get There
Open from 6am till 7:30pm (or dusk), Bowling Green is busy throughout the day, and the Charging Bull is a crowd-puller. For fewer people, get there right after the morning rush hour or in the early evening. Avoid lunchtime, when the park fills with Financial District workers, especially in summer.
Must-Sees at Bowling Green
Most travelers visit Bowling Green to see Arturo Di Modica’s Charging Bull sculpture. However, once you’ve photographed the bronze beast, take a look at the park’s wrought iron fence. Installed in 1771, it’s New York’s oldest, and still bears saw marks from 1776 when American patriots removed the park’s statue of King George III and the fence’s royal emblems.