A park in the New York City's East Village
, named after former NY State governor and US vice-president Daniel D. Tompkins
(1774-1825). It first appeared on the map in 1811, but has been shut down, re-opened, shut down again, renovated, re-opened again, etc. many times since.
The park is bordered by 10th Street (to the North), Avenue B (to the East), 7th Street (to the South), and Avenue A (to the West). Perpendicular to Avenue A in the West is St. Marks Place, the infamous NYC mecca for punk rockers, many of whom congregate in the park.
Tompkins Square Park has a long history of politics and protest. First, in 1874, workers peacefully protesting against unemployment were massacred by police. In the 1960's, Tompkins Square was the place for rallies and protests against hunger and the draft.
In the 1980's, the park was a shantytown, dubbed "Tent City" by the locals. The homeless were joined by all manners of NYC activists in sleeping on benches and patches of grass to make a statement. This led to the infamous Tompkins Square Riots of 1988, in which the New York City police taped over their badge numbers, drew their nightsticks, and attempted to clear the park of people. All very violently, I might add. Followup investigations criticised the police, saying that most, if not all of the violence could have been avoided.
After the 1988 riots, the city attempted to make the park safer. In 1991, they established an 11 PM curfew, although it is hardly enforced. The park is still a political mecca for New York City activists and punks. The NYC Radical Cheerleaders practice here in good weather, as well as several other street performance groups. ABC No Rio hosts the NY chapter of Food Not Bombs in the park, and the Hare Krishna have a sacred tree here. During the 2003 Blackout, a massive bonfire was constructed in the center of the park and parties were held long into the night.