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Minetta Playground

.206 acres

 
 
Minetta Playground Marker image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, March 21, 2008
1. Minetta Playground 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, "tje" 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 free African-Americans, released from slavery by the Dutch, established farms and settled along the Minetta Brook in the 1600s. With African-Americans continuing
Minetta Playground image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, July 16, 2010
2. Minetta Playground
to settle 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.

Minetta Playground is located at Minetta Lane, West 3rd Street, and the Avenue of the Americas. In 1934 Board of Transportation granted the Department of Parks a permit to develop this parcel as a playground which opened the following year. In 1953 the Board of Estimate assigned the site to Parks. The northern side of park included a jungle gym, swings, a see-saw, and benches, and the area south of the open pavilion served as a sitting area, with two octagonal play houses, garden swings, and many benches. In 1996-97 the adjacent McDonalds installed new play equipment, safety surfacing, fences, and gates.

City of New York Parks and Recreation
Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor
Adrian Benepe, Commissioner
 
Erected by City of New York Parks and Recreation.
 
Location. 40° 43.85′ N, 74° 0.09′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker
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is on Sixth Avenue near West Third and Fourth Streets. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Minetta Playground, 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 Green (within shouting distance of this marker); West 4th Street Courts (within shouting distance of this marker); Mascha Kaleko (within shouting distance of this marker); Father Demo Square (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Golden Swan Garden (about 300 feet away); Minetta Triangle (about 400 feet away); Site of the San Remo Café (1925 - 1967) (about 600 feet away); Willa Cather and Richard Wright (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
 
Also see . . .  Minetta Playground. Official NYC parks page. (Submitted on September 9, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansColonial EraParks & Recreational AreasSettlements & Settlers
 

More. Search the internet for Minetta Playground.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 9, 2019. This page originally submitted on September 9, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 51 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 9, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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