“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 Playground

.206 acres

Minetta Playground Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Larry Gertner, March 21, 2008
1. Minetta Playground Marker
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
Minetta Playground image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Larry Gertner, July 16, 2010
2. Minetta Playground
Click or scan to see
this page online
continuing 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.
Erected by City of New York Parks and Recreation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansColonial EraParks & Recreational AreasSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1934.
Location. 40° 43.85′ N, 74° 
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
0.09′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker 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); Sir Winston Churchill Square (about 500 feet away); Downing Street Playground (about 500 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.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 20, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 9, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 93 times since then and 7 times this year. 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.

Share this page.  
Share on Tumblr

Paid Advertisements

May. 16, 2022