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Ed Yourdon explores the comings and goings of Verdi Square in the heart of New York City.

New York City’s Verdi Square, located Broadway & West 72nd Street, right across the street from the 72nd street IRC train
,has a complicated history.

As one of the city’s oldest parks, Verdi Square attracted many musiciansEnrico Caruso, Lauritz Melchior, Igor Stravinsky – until in the 1960s the square became a drug-infested neighborhood filled with crime.

Today, Verdi Square is entirely redecorated and landscaped, making it one of the most high-class areas of New York City to live in. It’s also the perfect location to capture snapshots of everyday, regular people as they go about their day.

Photo Essay


About The Author

Ed Yourdon

Ed Yourdon's "day job" is in the IT profession, where he works as a consultant, author, speaker, and expert witness. Visit his website at or his blog at

  • JoAnna

    This is a fantastic photo essay! I love the pictures of the people on the park benches, especially the old woman with the magnifying glass.

    • Candice Walsh

      Might be a place we’ll have to check out in NYC, eh?

  • joshua johnson

    People watching anywhere can put me in a “travel” state of mind. I love to sit in the sun and watch the world flow past, unaware of my perspective as a watcher.
    Great idea for a photo essay.

  • Nick Rowlands

    Agree with Josh – watching the world flow by is an inspiring and grounding experience.

    Little concerned about where the guy holding the “Puppetry of the Penis” paper’s left hand is, though…

    • Leigh Shulman

      Nick! You slay me.

  • Nancy

    Never knew that bit of trivia about Stravinsky. How appropriate (re: Le Sacre du Printemps).

    These are my favorite kind of photo essays: everyday scenes that are magical just by capturing and witnessing them.

  • Leigh Shulman

    I lived in NYC for almost 15 years. Fifteen years. And I passed this place all the time. I mean, the 72nd street subway is a hub. I went to Zabars. I went to H&H bagels not too far away. It’s near the 79th street boat basin. And I am a huge people watching fan. Yet I never spent any time in or watching Verdi Square.

    I also love how these photos so perfectly captures NYC and the nutty cross-section of people who live there.

  • Anne

    #2 made me laugh out loud. Great photos! Makes me want to see NYC in the spring.

  • Ed Yourdon

    Leigh did a fantastic job of picking out some of the best shots that I’ve been able to take in Verdi Square these past few years. But if you’d like to see more, here’s a Flickr album of Verdi Square photos I’ve taken so far in 2010:

    and another Flickr album of Verdi Square photos taken in 2009:

    and yet another one of Verdi Square photos from 2008:


  • Tisha

    Haha, great photo essay! Your captions really put the icing on the cake. Good stuff!

  • Heather Carreiro

    Love #10 – Missing people? Personal ads?

  • Carlo

    Loved this. That mismatched shoe lady is classic. Had to do a double-take there. I’ll assume it has something to do with her using a cane, but still…

    People-watching is one of my favourite things to do, and it’s free…yet I end up not doing a lot. Why is it so hard to just sit somewhere for a good amount of time and just observe? Always feeling like you gotta be doing something, or be somewhere. I’m inspired, thanks!

  • Conner

    Im a native NYer and was thinking huh? verdi square? never heard of it. Fabulous photos, but even by the end, I couldnt guess what/where the hell verdi square is. Which is kind of ironic since I used to live 2 blocks from here. Back in the day we knew it as Needle Park. Looking a lot spiffier than back in those drug infested days!!

  • Sean

    It is hard to see but the t-shirt in Photo #10 looks like pictures of the artist Keith Haring.

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