• LOCATION 1 | INFINITE CITY #4: Riots, Disasters and Bachelor Clubs

    origins of new york university

    Welcome to Infinite City, a portrait of New York in endless detail. I am the voice of this city, an accumulation of all its memories and a gathering of everything that has ever been written about the obsessive and never-ending city that is New York.

    This tour will be unlike any tour you’ve ever taken. We’ll take two trips around this block, focusing on a different level of detail during each trip.

    On our first loop, we'll hear about the riots and tragedies that have occurred on this block.

    To start off, you should be standing at the corner of Washington Place and Washington Square East. The park will be right in front of you.

    You’re standing in the shadow of New York University, an institution with humble beginnings that has grown to swallow the neighborhood. The university was established in 1831 with the goal of admitting students based on merit, not social class.

    Its first graduating class had only three students and classes were held in a set of rented rooms downtown. It now has buildings all over the neighborhood and has gradually surrounded the park.

    The building you're standing in front of is the location of the university’s first building. Within its walls, the Colt revolver and Morse Code were invented. The first photograph of the human face was made on its roof.
    The building that once stood here was a towering marble homage to the medieval university buildings of England.

    Let's get going. Walk down Washington Square East, keeping the park on your left.

    You can put your phone in your pocket now and the tour will operate automatically. You can refer to the map on the screen if you need it, but you probably won’t. We’re just going to take a clockwise trip around the block. I’ll tell you when to turn.

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INFINITE CITY #4: Riots, Disasters and Bachelor Clubs