My OBT

What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Seneca Village

14 Comments

I have to admit that we New Yorkers like to glamorize our city’s history. I’m sure the rest of the world doesn’t find this one of our more likeable traits. It’s not that we think we’re better than everyone else. It’s just that sometimes we get carried away about the magic of the bubble in which we live our lives. But as the years pass and the stories unravel, we learn that our history is every bit as shameful as everywhere else. We hate that.

In the 1820s, though downtown Manhattan was crowded, the area that is now Central Park was mostly just open countryside. It became home to a population of roughly 1,600 people, predominantly comprised of black, Irish, and German families. It was, in fact, known as one of the first truly, peacefully integrated communities. The community, known as Seneca Village, got together to purchase the land, on which it built homes, churches and a school. It became known as Seneca Village. Then on July 21, 1853, the City seized the land to create the first major landscaped park in the U.S., known as “The Central Park.” This is the story of that lost community.

You can learn more about Seneca Village and more of New York’s history on NYHistory.org.

Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

14 thoughts on “Seneca Village

  1. Interesting. Never hurts ,well…maybe a little, to know history.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You can find more here: https://www.centralparknyc.org/blog/seneca-village. So they did pay for the property. Was the property undervalued? We will never know but at least they did pay some. Interesting story. Hal

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sounds like the property was seized. And from what I understand, the politicians spread rumors that it was a shanty town, but the excavated properties they’ve found are very much established, middle-class households. Such a shame.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting and sad that power plays were in place even back then….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I only just learned this fact in the last week or so. I had no idea. I could use the fact that I am not American born and raised as an excuse but I suspect I would not have heard of this even had I been educated in this country. Thanks for the link to the video. I look forward to watching it later when I have peace and quiet.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The more we learn the more we question why we have been allowed to still be here.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I had no idea. Quite sobering indeed. I checked the years to see if the incident was referred to in the show Copper, but the seizure took place before the civil war. I will never look at Central Park in the same way.

    Liked by 1 person

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