“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Minetta Green

Minetta Green Marker image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, March 25, 2015
1. Minetta Green Marker
Inscription.  This small park is a memorial to a not-quite-gone and not-quite-forgotten water feature of Lower Manhattan. When Dutch colonists settled in Manhattan in the 1620s, they learned from local Native Americans about a small brook that was full of trout. It originated near what is now Gramercy Square, burbled its way through (mostly beneath) Greenwich Village, and emptied into the Hudson at what is now West Houston Street.

Local Native Americans called the stream "Mannette," which was translated as "Devil's Water." Over the years, this name was spelled and respelled and spelled again in a variety of configurations: Minnetta, Menitti, Manetta, Minetta, Mannette, and Minetto. The Dutch called the water Mintje Kill, meaning small stream. In Dutch, "min" translates as little, "the" is a diminutive, and "kill" translates as stream. The water was also known as Bestavers Killitie, Bestevaas Kelletye, Bestavens Killitie, Bestavers Killatie, and Bestaver's Killetje.

Several families of freed slaves, released by the Dutch, established farms and settled along the Minetta Brook as early as the 1640s. With African-Americans continuing to settle
Minetta Green image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, April 16, 2009
2. Minetta Green
here in the 18th and 19th centuries, the area became known as "Little Africa." Most of the brook has been covered over, though some Village residents can claim that it flows beneath their basements and sometimes causes flooding. In the lobby of the apartment building at 2 Fifth Avenue, there is a transparent tube that is said to contain murky water spouting up from Minetta Brook. The brook's most recent claim to fame is providing the namesake for the Minetta Tavern, one of the original watering holes of the Beat generation.

Minetta Green is located at the southeast corner of Minetta Lane and the Avenue of the Americas. In 1934 Board of Transportation granted the Department of Parks a permit to develop this parcel for recreational purposes. A playground opened on the site the following year. After the Board of Estimate assigned this parcel to Parks in 1953, it was developed as a sitting area. Privet hedges were added around the existing pin oaks, and benches were installed.

In 1992, community members formed the Bleecker Area Merchant and Resident Association, or B.A.M.R.A. Along with the Bedford Downing Block Association, or B.D.B.A., they began the process of revitalizing Minetta Triangle and nearby Sir Winston Churchill Square and Minetta Green. With the help of Community Board #2, B.A.M.R.A. and B.D.B.A developed a successful proposal for the renovation of all
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three parks. In 1998 State Senator Tom Duane, who was then their council member, and Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields funded the $742,000 reconstruction of the parks.

New trees and shrubs, along with the creation of a curvilinear bluestone path featuring images of trout, transformed the rigid geometry of Minetta Green. The garden path is punctuated by small circular sitting areas surrounding trees, world’s fair benches, boulders and fluted cast iron urns. Small mounds, built up in the interior of the path, add depth to the previously flat landscape and create more of a pastoral setting. Once predominantly concrete, the sitting areas have become green garden coves.

City of New York Parks and Recreation
Rudolph V. Giuliani, Mayor
Henry J. Stern, Commissioner
July 2000
Erected by City of New York Parks and Recreation.
Location. 40° 43.823′ N, 74° 0.106′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is on Sixth Avenue near Minetta Lane, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10012, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Minetta Playground (within shouting distance of this marker); Mascha Kaleko (within shouting distance of this marker); Minetta Triangle
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(within shouting distance of this marker); West 4th Street Courts (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of the San Remo Café (1925 - 1967) (about 400 feet away); Golden Swan Garden (about 500 feet away); MacDougal-Sullivan Gardens Historic District (about 600 feet away); The Varèse House (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
Also see . . .  Official NYC parks site. (Submitted on September 11, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
Categories. Colonial EraParks & Recreational Areas

More. Search the internet for Minetta Green.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 11, 2019. This page originally submitted on September 11, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 54 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 11, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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