Verdi Square cradles the northern head house of the four-track 72nd Street Subway Station (Broadway IRT 1, 2, and 3 trains), which serves 7.8 million riders yearly. The beautiful iron fenced, mature treed square is proximate to two 120 year old ‘Golden Age’ buildings (The Ansonia at 73rd Street and The Dorilton at 71st Street ), the 1928 Central Savings Bank and the original 1905 head house on the south side of 72nd Street.
Giuseppe Verdi’s Carerra marble likeness (sculptor Pasquale Civiletti) was unveiled in 1906. During the 1950s and 60s, the square was a hangout for injected drug users, inspiring the 1966 James Mills novel (and subsequent film) ‘Panic in Needle Park’.
Things have changed. Now, a sun soaked park bench is a destination neighborhood residents know, spending time there in observation of the uncountable comings and goings of all those people while feeling through their feet the rumble of the trains bringing them here.
I’ve noticed that smokers sometimes occupy seats at either end because, though smoking is not permitted in most places, it seems to be tolerated when smokers are attentive to their infringement on the air quality of others. Further, it is legal to smoke weed in The City if you are at least 21 years old and hold three ounces (54 grams) or less.
Because 72 Street is an express stop for this beautiful and very expensive neighborhood, the spectrum of people who pass through will range from the highest levels of fashion and personal grooming to the lowest.
It’s one of the more fabulous NYC stages.