Important thoroughfares which lead away from the park are Broadway, leading both north and south; Fourth Avenue, leading southeast to the Bowery; and Park Avenue South, leading north to Grand Central Terminal. Union Square lies over 14th Street–Union Square, a New York City Subway complex served by the 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, and W trains. Neighborhoods around the park are the Flatiron District to the north, Chelsea to the west, Greenwich Village and New York University to the south, and Gramercy to the east.
Union Square is noted for its impressive equestrian statue of George Washington, created by Henry Kirke Brown and unveiled in 1856. Other statues in the park include the Marquis de Lafayette, created by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and Abraham Lincoln, created by Henry Kirke Browne. A newer addition, added in 1986, is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the southwest corner of the park.
In April 1861, soon after the fall of Fort Sumter, Union Square was the site of a patriotic rally that is thought to have been the largest public gathering in North America up to that time.