Creativity and the Parks

Both parks have stimulated and enriched the creative spirit of New Yorkers. Writers used the parks for inspiration and the settings of their works. O. Henry used Madison Square Park as the backdrop for many of his short stories. Other writers who resided in the area included Edith Wharton, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, and, in the twentieth century, Gore Vidal, Arthur Miller, Jack Kerouac, and Thomas Wolfe, to name just a few. The beauty of the parks was also inspiration for artistic creativity. John Sloan, a leading figure of the Ashcan School of art, who lived on West 23rd Street, was known to frequent Madison Square Park during his years living in the neighborhood. Union Square Park also has a history of igniting the imagination of visitors to the park. Whether in literature, music, or art, these two parks have left a record of their existence.