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Union Square Park

The Daily Plant : Friday, August 29, 2003


Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, a massive gathering of humanity on behalf of the Civil Rights movement in America, at which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have A Dream" speech. The march’s principal (and principled) organizers were Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) and Asa Philip Randolph (1889-1979), who are honored by a monument and park respectively.

From 1955 to 1960 Rustin was a close advisor to Dr. King, and helped establish the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1958 and 1959 he coordinated the National Youth Marches for Integrated Schools, which led to his appointment as Deputy Director of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Asa Philip Randolph achieved fame by organizing the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first black union in the country. In 1941 he influenced President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 8802, which banned discrimination in the defense industry, and led to the creation of the Fair Employment Practice Commission. In 1955 Randolph became the first black vice-president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), and in 1965 he founded the A. Philip Randolph Institute, dedicated to advancing the causes of labor and civil rights. In 1964 the park at 116th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, formerly known as Kilpatrick and Dewey Square, was renamed in his honor.

Rustin later took over the helm of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and was instrumental also in the creation of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE). In 1986 he was the keynote speaker at the unveiling of the Gandhi statue in Union Square Park. Late in life he was also an outspoken advocate for the gay rights movement. On January 23, 1990, a monument was unveiled in his honor, located in the south planting bed of Ralph Bunche Park at 42nd Street and 1st Avenue. Appearing on the monument is Rustin’s credo: "The principle factors which influenced my life are non violent tactics, constitutional means, democratic procedures, respect for human personality, and a belief that all people are one."

Written by Jonathan Kuhn


New York City children will soon be trading in their swimming suits and flip flops for Back-to-School clothes and shinny new shoes. But summer is not quite over yet. This weekend everyone has a chance to participate in the "last swim" of the 2003 summer season. Labor Day, Monday, September 1 is the last day that the City's 14 miles of beach and 52 outdoor pools will be open until summer 2004.

"We encourage everyone to come out and take a last dip in the water," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Benepe. "Labor Day Weekend is great chance to take advantage of the City's free beaches and pools, but everyone must always remember to be cautious when swimming and only to enter the water when a lifeguard is on duty. Also please remember that alcohol use and water sports can be a dangerous combination. Using common sense will help keep the last weekend of summer enjoyable and safe."

Over 11.5 million people have visited the City’s beaches and outdoor pools. The summer’s highest attendance was over July 4th weekend with a total of approximately 3 million people.

New York City beaches are open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and pools are open 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week. The beaches opened on Saturday, May 24 and the pools opened on Saturday, June 28, 2003.


"When one tugs at a single thing in nature,

he finds it attached to the rest of the world."

John Muir


Directions to Union Square Park

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