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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Minetta Green and Minetta Triangle

Across Sixth Avenue from Father Demo Square sit two little parks named after Minetta Brook: Minetta Green and Minetta Triangle.

Minetta Brook, though long since vanished under city streets and buildings, still bubbles somewhere underground, and its memory is marked by Minetta Lane, the famous Minetta Tavern, and these little parks.

The pavement of Minetta Green is even etched with fish:

image of Minetta Green fish

On a windy early spring day, the Green can feel a bit forlorn. But that can also be conducive to pausing and thinking about history.

image of Minetta Green

According to the Parks Department, "Several families of freed slaves, released by the Dutch, established farms and homes along the Minetta Brook as early as the 1640s. With African Americans continuing to settle here in the 18th and 19th centuries, the area became known as 'Little Africa.'" The Ephemeral New York blog quotes a New York Times report from 1910: "In Minetta Street and Minetta Lane the last of the Cornelia Street colored colony remains entrenched."

The Triangle, a bit larger, feels a lot more expansive. Maybe there's enough vegetation here to make a palpable difference in the air's oxygen content. Or maybe it's all psychological.

image of Minetta Triangle

But signs of spring were abundant when I ambled through the other day:

And this loudly chirping sparrow was enjoying the day as much as I was.

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