Today in History: Evacuation Day, 1783

george washington statue
photo via Travel Photo Base

If you’ve ever wondered what President George Washington was doing riding through Union Square on that horse of his, look no further. The iconic sculpture depicts President Washington triumphantly leading his troops back into New York City on November 25, 1783 when the British finally left the city during the Revolutionary War. The statue, modeled by Henry Kirke Brown, was unveiled in 1856 and is actually the oldest statue in any park in NYC.

For over a century, Evacuation Day was a huge celebrations.  Each year, people gathered to celebrate, with one activity consisting of boys competing to tear down a Union Flag from a greased pole in Battery Park. While we do not suggest that you grease any poles in the park today, we do suggest that you think about that triumph the next time you stroll through Union Square Park and see President Washington sitting high atop his horse.