By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Madison Square Park is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the park’s naming in style this weekend with a historical fair and contemporary art party featuring period-themed activities and displays from the 19th and 20th centuries.
There will be popular lawn games from the past 200 years set up throughout the park, including badminton/shuttlecock, croquet for both adults and kids, jump rope, marbles, hopscotch and a 1914-inspired dice game of hearts.
The Museum of Interesting Things, which is a traveling interactive exhibition of inventions and antiques, will be at the event with a booth containing popular cultural items from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries on display. Betsy, a Fifth Avenue Coach Company double decker bus that ran in Manhattan from 1931 to 1953 will be on display thanks to the New York Transit Museum and attendees will be able to check out the clothing and fashion from the early 1800’s and 1900’s in an exhibit from Leading Lady Costumes.
There will also be a number of performances throughout the afternoon, featuring music, dancing and magic popular during the early 1900’s. The Mad. Sq. 200 Quartet is a string quartet with alumni from the Juilliard School and will perform popular classical music from the 1800’s. The Commonwealth Vintage Dancers will demonstrate some of the line dances popular during the early 1800’s and 1900’s, all while in full costume.
The historic daytime fair will be Saturday, September 6 from 3 to 6 p.m., but after that until 9 p.m., the improvisational art organization known as TASK will be hosting an experimental, contemporary art party.
TASK was created by artist Oliver Herring and participants follow two simple rules: write down a task on a piece of paper and add it to a designated TASK pool, then others take a task from the pool and interpret it any way they want, using materials and props provided.
Madison Square Park Conservancy executive director Keats Myer recently spoke to the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership about the fair and party.
“This event is to honor Madison Square Park’s rich history, while also celebrating the diverse and vibrant community that makes the Park so special today,” Myer told the BID.