Bowling Green is a small public park in Lower Manhattan at the foot of Broadway. It is located next to the site of the original Dutch fort and is the oldest existing park in New York City. It is most famous for its bronze sculpture, the Charging Bull.
In its early years, the park was used as a cattle market and parade ground by the Dutch colonists. In 1733, the local government converted the area by laying down a bowling green (hence the name), and put it up for rent for one peppercorn a year. Another interesting time the park was used in the past was when the British evacuated New York after the American Revolution. Legend has it that the British nailed the Union Jack, their flag, to a greased flagpole in the park before they left. There was some trouble to remove the flag, but one boy did it and replaced it with the American flag before the British ship were out of view. Today this tradition is upheld with an annual competition to remove a Union Jack from a greased flagpole in the park.
Driving by in your New York car rental you may notice that the park is in an odd shape. It is formed by the wedge that splits Broadway into two forks, the eastern on turning into Whitehall Street and the western one into State Street after Broadway ends. Part of the park is a fenced-in grassy area, popular with local workers from the Financial District for lunch. There are many tables and chairs here where you can enjoy a picnic after you park your New York car rental. New additions to the area is a fountain and pool.
On the south end of the plaza is the entrance to the Alexander Hamilton US Custom House, currently the home of the National Museum of the American Indian. During the week, you may notice as you drive by in your New York car rental that there are food vendors as well as unofficial vendors selling grey-market goods to people passing by. There is also an entrance to the subway system. The Bowling Green Station is part of the IRT Lexington Avenue Line
While you are visiting Bowling Green Park with your New York car rental, you may also want to stop by the National Museum of the American Indian. As part of the Smithsonian Institution, this museum is dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. There are two other locations to this museum, one in Washington D.C. and the other in Maryland. The location in New York is found in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, right by Bowling Green Park.
When you visit with your New York car rental, you will see that the museum has a very impressive collection. There are more than 800,000 objects and 125,000 images. All of these artifacts have been collected over a 54-year period by George Gustav Heye, who was very interested in Native cultures in both North and South America.
Although Bowling Green is a small park, there are many reason to stop here with your New York car rental. As the oldest park in the city, it is an important landmark. Also, there are many things to do nearby such as the National Museum of the American Indian.